Monday, October 06, 2008
I want to ride my bicycle
A local man who enjoys fixing bikes out of his backyard has a goal of making Prince Rupert a bike crazy community.
Mike Duncan, has an idea in his head of a program in the city where bikes would be stationed strategically around town, free for the taking and riding and hopefully returned to another location in town for use by others.
It's a program that is popular in Europe and is built on a grander scale, though one suspects that Rupert offers up more than a few challenges to the program. Our fall and winter weather isn't particularly conducive to bike riding and with hills to rival some of those in San Francisco, one wonders how many of those folks who ride the bike down the hill, may be inclined to ride the bikes up back up again.
The full presentation of his ideas and a call for assistance from those with report and grant writing experience was explored in Friday's Daily News.
Cycling enthusiast pedals plan to roll forward
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, October 03, 2008
Pages one and two
Mike Duncan has an idea to get more people riding bicycles around town.
Duncan thinks that the city of Prince Rupert should invest in a borrow-bike scheme in which locals borrow bicycles supplied by the city for short-term use and return them to designated spots.
"The idea that I had is a 'fill the racks program'. I want to fill all the bike racks around town," said Duncan.
The idea is not a completely new one, it has been tried in other communities across the globe, especially in bike-bonkers Amsterdam, where bicycles are the most popular way to get around town.
Duncan said he got his idea from a CBC feature on the biking craze in Amsterdam.
"They take the bicycles held by police and either auction them or refurbish them and paint them in city colours and then leave them in racks with signs saying these bikes are free to take. Let's leave them in racks with signs saying they are free to take, please return them to another designated rack."
There is no comparable program in a community the size of Prince Rupert that is taking part in this kind of an initiative, but in Barcelona there is a program called "Bicing" that was established in March 2007.
In Barcelona, there are 3,000 bikes distributed throughout the city and the cost to operate the system is CDN$3.4 million annually.
Duncan said he isn't sure right now what the costs would be if a bike-borrowing scheme was adopted in Prince Rupert.
He repairs bikes on his own at home in his backyard. He is a self-described "grease monkey" but he says he is not a "bookworm", so it is perhaps not surprising that the thing he needs help with the most in moving forward is organizing.
Duncan said he has no idea how to bring his proposal to the attention of city council and he is calling on anyone with proposal experience and who is willing to help to get in touch.
Duncan's attachment to the bicycle is a long one that has been full of ups and downs. When he was 18, he moved to Prince George to attend the University of Northern British Columbia and bought an expensive bicycle.
"I rode that thing in to the ground," said Duncan.
After finishing his studies, Duncan moved back to Prince Rupert but had to sell his bike.
He was then blessed with a child and soon he was blessed with others and life seemed to get in the way of his love for biking.
When his eldest daughter Amy turned five he bought her a bicycle so that she might enjoy the art of two-wheeled transportation but he never thought about himself.
"Then she asked me 'Daddy why don't you come with me?'" said Duncan and his desire to ride again was rekindled.
Now he wants the rest of Prince Rupert, especially the children of this city, to have a taste of what he enjoys so much.
Some of his repair work has brought him trouble in the recent past. Last weekend, Duncan said his family's bikes were stolen.
"There was a party and some young teenagers were drinking next door and when they left their party it was six in the morning and they just helped themselves to five different bikes," said Duncan.
Duncan does not condone that type of behavior but would like to see those that need a bike to ride home given access to bikes.
Duncan says he was able to round up two of his bikes - he found them abandoned in trails around town - but was unable to track down the other three.
Readers wanting to get involved in the project are invited to email Duncan at email@example.com.