This summer, cyclists hope to celebrate the completion of the Trans Canada Trail, connecting Canada from coast to coast, but there are already plenty of inviting and enjoyable bike trails and routes right here in St Vital for everyone to enjoy. There are some great resources and services available to help any cycling enthusiasts, or beginners, get out and enjoy the local trails and parks.
To coincide with the completion of the trail, the University of Manitoba is finishing construction on the new UMCycle Bike Kiosk, which will be available not only to staff and students, but also the community. UMCycle will include a new bike shop, repair hub, with tools available for the public to use for their own bike repairs, and cycling plaza and will be available for workshops, races, and other cycling events that will be open to the public. The new UMCycle will open this summer, but there are other great cycling shops and services already in St Vital.
Woodcock Cycle, owned by Tim Woodcock, has a repair shop on site and a large selection of bicycles and riding equipment; they also offer a buyback program on some models for anyone looking for a new ride. Last year, Woodcock opened a café with a view of the Red River, and a small patio in the works. They also have a Ride Club with groups and routes planned throughout the summer.
For anyone looking to get more active, in addition to the cardiovascular benefits, cycling is also helpful for muscle and bone strength and flexibility and also for improving posture and coordination. Cycling is a great physical activity, but it may also have benefits for mental health as well, as it is shown to decrease stress. André DeBattista of Woodcock Cycle notes that it is great for your “all round well-being,” in addition to providing an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
Cycling provides a different perspective from driving, so you will appreciate things about your neighbourhood that you may have never noticed before or explore a new area; St Vital Park, the St Vital Trail, Bishop Grandin Greenway, the Niakwa Trail are just a few great local riding options.
As the summer begins, it is a great time to get back on your bike, whether for pleasure or for a fun commute to work. For those who enjoy a challenge, races are also a fun way to get active and stay motivated. The Manitoba Cycling Association has information on upcoming events and cycling clubs in Manitoba. Remember to wear a helmet and to bring water, a snack, and an emergency repair kit for long rides. Then get out there and ride, alone, with family and friends, or join a club, whatever speed suits you.