Bike to Work Week on a roll

Volunteer Lawrence Surges makes sure the pile of volunteer T-shirts stays well stocked during the Greater Victoria 17th Annual Bike to Work Week kick-off event held at Victoria City Hall on Tuesday. Bike to Work Week is May 30 to June 5.

Volunteer Lawrence Surges makes sure the pile of volunteer T-shirts stays well stocked during the Greater Victoria 17th Annual Bike to Work Week kick-off event held at Victoria City Hall on Tuesday. Bike to Work Week is May 30 to June 5.

If employees at the Observatory can do it, anyone can.

Each year, a dedicated group sign up for the annual Bike to Work challenge.

“Everybody thinks it’s hard … but the gradient isn’t that bad,” said Michael Peddle, the team leader since 2003.

“It takes me about 12 minutes to make it from the bottom of the hill to where our offices are,” he said of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics.

On Tuesday, Peddle served sandwiches as a volunteer at the B.C. Bike to Work launch event at Victoria City Hall.

The celebration marks the start of registration, whereby offices and other organizations form teams to participate and compete in the 17th annual five-day event.

It takes place in communities around the province from May 30 to June 5.

The goal is to encourage more people to use bikes.

“It’s a fun, evil plot to get people to change their behaviour,” said Lori Garcia-Meredith, vice-president of the non-profit society, addressing the crowd.

“We’ve been encouraged to see the numbers grow every single year,” she said. “Bike to Work Week is the introduction – it’s the gateway drug,” she joked.

Peddle helps to keep participation rates high at his office by organizing fun events.

Of the 70 people employed there, 35 participated last year – including one employee living in James Bay.

On Day 1, the group starts their day downtown for breakfast before starting their cycle to Saanich. On Day 5, cyclers get their reward at the end of their journey.

As they approach the top of the observatory hill, the wafting smell of bacon greets them.

“It’s a bacon symposium,” Peddle said.

rholmen@vicnews.com