Each year when winter approaches, my family eagerly awaits all the fun activities that will keep us active: skating on the canal, skiing, snowshoeing, hours spent building snowmen and climbing snow banks. Ah, beautiful winter! Unfortunately, when winter actually arrives, more often then not, snow conditions are poor, winter sport activities are minimal, and we are spending more time hibernating.
While I love curling up in a cozy blanket to read a book in front of the fire, I am starting to feel like I am not getting enough physical activity. Sometimes it takes a little reminder that even if I can’t get out on my skis, I can add some physical activity into my daily routine by continuing to use active transportation — even in winter.
Winter Walk Day and Winter Bike to Work Day, which take place in the first week of February each year, are ways to motivate and celebrate active transportation for our trips to school and work.
Across Canada, Green Communities Canada’s Active and Safe Routes to School celebrates walking to school on the first Wednesday of February, promoting walking to school or at school for daily physical activity, a healthier environment, safer streets, making friends, and having fun! This year, Winter Walk Day is Wednesday, February 7th.
Locally, Active and Safe Routes to School Peterborough promotes walking, rolling, or busing to school everyday through our Car Free Wednesdays program and emphasize that it is especially important to celebrate walking to school in the winter.
Peterborough’s annual Winter Walk Day celebration takes place at schools as a motivator for all schools to walk in winter because it is good for you, safer for our school zones, and fun too.
Last year, for Winter Walk Day 2017, St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School in Peterborough set a wonderful example for all schools, when the whole school walked the block that day, led by the school’s Ecoclub, local eco-super hero Cool Captain Climate, and members of the Peterborough Petes. The walk was meant to motivate students to enjoy being active in winter and helped to decrease the number of cars in the school zone.
This year, Active and Safe Routes to School Peterborough’s Winter Walk Day event is being hosted by the very enthusiastic grade 6/7 class from St. Anne Catholic Elementary School. Various activities are being planned to promote, celebrate, and prepare the school for a day that is car-free.
St. Anne students promise a fabulous Winter Walk Day with plans being made for a group walk, winter wear fashion show, hot chocolate, an assembly with Cool Captain Climate, as well as plenty of build up and preparation for all students with daily walk reminders, trivia, and more.
All schools are encouraged to follow St. Anne’s lead and host their own Winter Walk Day celebration; parents are encouraged to help their kids get to school without the car that day, and any day!
Adults shouldn’t feel left out of the active transportation celebrations this winter. International Winter Bike to Work Day this year is on Friday, February 9th.
The day promotes and celebrates travelling to work by bike. Participants can ‘Commit to Ride’ on the winterbiketoworkday.org website and track other riders from around the world.
If enough Peterborough riders commit, we can get our city highlighted on the international standings. Come on Peterborough! Let’s see how many people we can get riding their bikes to work on the 9th.
Commuting by bike in the winter adds physical activity into your daily routine, decreases the number of cars on the road, helps build connections to your community, and is a lot of fun.
The City of Peterborough and B!KE: The Peterborough Community Cycling Hub know riding a bike in the winter is a fun, safe, and reliable way to travel. This year they worked to break down one barrier to winter riding – the fear of slipping – by providing the opportunity for citizens to obtain studded bike tires for their bikes.
The Winter Wheels program has equipped people with studded tires as a way to initiate community conversations and demonstrate strategies to overcome barriers to riding bikes in winter. Follow the Winter Wheels program on Twitter and Instagram for inspiration and tips so you too can get out on your bike this winter.
Embracing the winter means you can enjoy travelling to school or work. You can continue to have physical activity in your daily routines by walking and biking, even when it is cold and snowy. Skip scraping your windshield and don’t bother warming up the car; warm yourself up with a walk or a ride.
Celebrate Winter Walk Day and Winter Bike To Work Day. Your body will thank you, the environment will thank you, and when you get home you can reward yourself by cozying up by the fire.