This past Sunday, Citizens for Safe Cycling organized Ottawa's first winter bike parade. Many others have posted their photos and writeups already, and I've put links to those at the end of this post.
The cyclists gathered at the snowed-over community garden along Laurier at Percy Street. It was encouraging just getting there, as there were three other cyclists in the bike lane on Bay Street as I was heading up.
Dick Louch, who organized this year's Capital Vélo Fest, was there, with his helmet decorated with a spine of bright orange zip ties:
After some brief words by CfSC President Hans Moor, the group crossed the street and headed down the Laurier Segregated Bicycle Lanes. There were cyclists of all ages there.
The crowd was so big--40 to 50 people--that the traffic lights split us into two or three peletons. If you click on this photo and look at it full size, you can see another group of cyclists in the distance ahead of this group.
Because the bike lane is only 1.1 km long, we turned around at Elgin Street, most people diligently dismounting and walking their bike across the crosswalk.
This is no Critical Mass ride--everyone obeyed the rules of the road, and stopped at red lights. You can see one peleton ahead of Ken, here, of Bikeview.ca, and another even further in the distance. (Our cameras got the better of us and we were held back with the stragglers).
Then, at Bronson, we crossed the street again and headed back down. The leaders of the pack made a point of waiting for most people to cross before heading down the hill, giving me ample time to set up some good photos!
We ended at City Hall, took many group shots (including the one at the top of the post), then headed inside for cookies and apple cider, provided by CfSC and Councillors Hobbs, Wilkinson, and Fleury. There were also many brochures, including Cycling 365--with tips on winter cycling--and the new 2011/2012 Ottawa Cycling Map!
Dick Louch also had a poster up advertising the lineup for this summer's Capital Vélo Fest, the highlights of which were profiled Wednesday on the Citizen Cycle blog.
In the meantime, this doesn't need to be your bike in winter! Much of the time, the roads are dry and the cold is bearable! 50 Ottawa cyclists can't be wrong!
Other writeups of the parade are at the Urban Commuter blog, which is similar to the writeup on the CfSC website. CfSC has a Flickr photostream, and the Ottawa Citizen has also posted its own photos and a video.