Liz Hagell, team lead for Cyclovia Red Deer’s organizing committee for 2019, says the annual event helps people stay active and build community. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Cyclovia Red Deer helps people stay active

Cooler temperatures didn’t stop many Red Deerians from coming out to play in the streets downtown Sunday.

Hundreds of people ditched their cars and biked, walked and skate boarded for the second annual Cyclovia Red Deer event.

The event not only encourages participants to think about the planet, but also keeps community spirit alive, say organizers.

Liz Hagell, team lead for Cyclovia’s Red Deer committee, said it’s easier for people to smile, say hi and start a conversation when they’re walking or biking on the streets.

That’s not always the case when they’re driving at 30, 50 or 60 kilometres per hour.

The Red Deer event is part of the open streets project – a global movement – that encourages people to stay active and think about the environment.

“It’s all about walking, running, bike, transit, more community-based, non-car kinds of activities. Chronic illness rates are skyrocketing globally, and here in Red Deer, we’re no different,” she explained.

The average commute in Red Deer is four kilometres, which is not that long for some of us, said the organizer.

“But not everybody can do that. So you can walk part of the way, or park a little further away and walk over to the shop, take the bus, so you do what you can do.”

The event also helped people start conversations about safety – cyclists who may not obey the traffic rules, those who may be riding too fast on trails and bike paths, “that’s all stuff we want to address,” said Hagell.

The event also provided people with tips to stay active. Some of the activities scheduled Sunday were an introduction to mountain biking, yoga for cyclists, urban pole walking and a kids’ bike repair clinic.

Hagell noted the event also encouraged people to shop downtown, helping the local economy.

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