There are two awards given out by the City of Ottawa for outstanding contributions in the encouragement of cycling each year. One is for an individual and the other is for a cycling organization.
Last year our family was nominated for the individual award. Because the award is supposed to go to an individual, I was chosen to receive it. This enormous honour was especially lovely because it literally opened doors for the Hintonburg Cycling Champions -- a neighbourhood cycling group that I co-chair -- to further promote cycling in the city and to connect meaningfully with other cycling advocates and educators from around the city including city staff, city planners and polititians at all levels of government.
The award meant a lot to my family who are very good natured (generally) about having me out at cycling-related meetings in the evenings and on weekends. Derek -- who runs his own bike repair club at the high school where he teaches; co-founded an outdoor leadership credit course at his school which includes a bike repair and bike riding component; takes his students on bike rides around the city; is a head mechanic at Re-Cycles; keeps our rather large fleet of bikes in good repair and stole my heart many years ago with his enthusiasm for cyling (and life!) -- felt like he was married to an Oscar winner. And the kids loved the beautiful bikey trophy and put it in their room beside Anna Sierra's bike racing trophies.
The award meant a lot to me. Because it's not every day that you are officially recognized for being yourself and for enjoying your life to the fullest. Which is how I see promoting cycling and cycling education.
The Pathway Patrol received the group Bruce Timmermans award. These volunteers cycle Ottawa's many recreational paths in pairs in their bright yellow shirts, making the paths safer places for everyone to enjoy.
Now that it's time to send in your nominations for this year's award, I'm thinking of quite a number of people working hard, working creatively and working generously to raise the profile of cycling in the city. I'm sure you have your own favourites in mind. And I would strongly encourage you to nominate those favourites.
Here are just a few of the people I know who have made an outstanding contribution to cycling in Ottawa this year:
There are folks in our neighbourhood who have started a cycling committee on our BIA. They have a number of projects in mind including surveying customers at local businesses to see how many people ride their bikes to run errands. This information would be used to advocate for more local bike infrastructure on public and private property.
There are also some folks working hard at setting up a local bike share called Right Bike in our neighbourhood. The program will launch this spring and soon our main street will be dotted with bright purple bikes.