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Bike to Shop Days highlight the functional capacity of regular bicycles as everyday transportation devices.
When many people think about cycling, they think about spandex-clad racers on streamlined carbon fibre bikes that barely seem sturdy enough to carry their riders, let alone a bag of groceries. When they think about urban cycling more specifically, most still often picture minimalist fixies or single-speed city bikes with narrow handlebars and tyres, and nary an accessory in sight. While both forms of cycling have their benefits and appeal for sure, there is a different kind of bicycling that broadens the scope of what a simple bicycle can be capable of.
Throwing a few accessories onto your city bike – specifically racks, baskets, trailers, and panniers – enables you to carry a significant amount of cargo on your bike without any added strain on your back or shoulders. This simple conversion from minimalist to utilitarian may knock you down a few style points on Instagram (although there are some seriously beautiful utility bikes), but transforms your bike into a high-functioning transportation device for not only you, but the things you need as well.
In an effort to draw attention to the functional capacity of bicycles as transportation devices and celebrate urban cycling in a new light, Bike to Shop Days highlight how bicycles can making running errands fun, easy, and convenient. Starting in California’s Silicon Valley a few years ago, the momentum has since spread and Vancouver, BC recently announced their first annual Bike to Shop Day, taking place on August 13th, 2016.
Bike to Shop Day is a simple concept. Participants pick up a passport from HUB, the local bike advocacy station, and visit celebration stations and registered discount providers to get stamps in their passport for a chance to win prizes. Celebration stations located near popular shopping centers around the city offer free food, drinks, prizes and mechanic services, as well as tips on how to shop by bike, and a list of participating businesses encourages participants to visit and discover bike-friendly businesses in their area. Or if you’re outside of the area where the stations are located, participation in Bike to Shop Day can be as simple as doing your regular errands by bike, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.
While urban cycling is seen significant growth around the world, many people remain attached to the notion that bicycling is only good for weekend leisure or rides when you don’t need to carry more than your wallet and phone. Bike to Shop Days work to dispel that notion by proving that running errands by bike is not only possible, but in most cases and much more convenient than any other form of transportation, and in every case much more fun.
If you’re new to transportation cycling or unsure how to shop by bike, check out our guide, How to Shop By Bike, and our guide to carrying lots of stuff on a regular bicycle if you have a serious amount of stuff to pick up.