One of my earliest memories is riding around on bikes with my Dad. It was 1983, his shorts were short and his ‘stache big. We rode around our neighbourhood watching the world go by with the wind blowing in my mushroom cut - it was the best.
Exercise time + outside fresh air + hanging out with your family makes for a pretty great day.
Have you ever tried riding your bikes to The Forks as a family? With Canada Day around the corner and busy festival season upon us (Canada Summer Games Festival - ## nights of free entertainment + fireworks, and Interstellar Rodeo), it’s pretty awesome to ditch the car and roll on into The Forks not having to worry about traffic delays and parking. Bonus: on Canada Day there will be a free bike valet, a wonderful service run by volunteers to keep your bike (and gear) safe and sound while you play the day away.
Wondering where to start?
Let’s begin by helping you plan your route. There are many bike routes to get your family to The Forks safely.
The four main active transportation routes to The Forks:
1. North: Waterfront Drive
2. South: Churchill Drive
3. East: Esplanade Riel
4. West: Assiniboine Ave (and bonus Riverwalk!)
From each of those routes, this map identifies two additional bike routes leading away from downtown to suburban neighbourhoods. Most leisurely bike travel is about 20km/h, which means most of the city is only a 30 minute bike ride to The Forks. It doesn’t take very long!
If you live outside the map area, Google does an excellent job of outlining safe bike routes and travel times. Use Google maps as you normally do, but click on the bike icon, voila! There’s your bike route!
What to ride? Little ones who aren’t quite big enough to bike solo can be supported by a number of ways: chariots, bike seats or even tandem attached bikes. There are many bike shops around town that can help connect you to the right equipment to fit your needs. bikewinnipeg.comis also a great resource for all things cycling.
What to pack? Water, sunscreen, frisbee, soccer ball, sidewalk chalk, bug spray, and a big old blanket for chilling! One of biggest perks about riding to The Forks to hang out is - everything else is there! Food, beer (yay!) and washrooms! It really is a phenomenal public space for families just to hang out. You can pretty much just show up.
Riding bikes together as a family is wonderful way to spend time together. It’s ridiculously fun. It shows your children the value and importance of movement. Parents are role models for behaviour, bike riding together shows them that it’s fun and helps them build safe healthy habits of active transportation.
The Forks is leading the city in active transportation initiatives with Target Zero. There’s a 24/7 bike repair station next to the Forks Market by the bright orange rail cars. Get all the air for you need for your tires the tools to keep your bike in tip top shape! If you want to find your riding legs, you can try riding around The Forks on your next visit with a rental at Bee 2gether (tandem, quad and novelty) bike rentals and the White Pine Bicycle Company.
Having the Forks as a destination is a pretty way to ride around and see the city. Then, you arrive and play outside. And just hang out together.
Can’t wait for you to try it and see what all the fuss is about! See you this summer at The Forks!
Lindsay Somers is a Lifestyle Health Coach in Winnipeg. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter. All photos by Janine Kropla @janinekropla. Special thanks to Vinh and Rebecca Huynh for letting us tag along on their family bike ride.