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Earthgauge Radio May 10: Pedal power! The two-wheeled revolution is coming…

On Earthgauge Radio this week, we’re talking bikes. After all, May is Bike to Work month so I have three cycling-related interviews for you on today’s program:

  • Jess Wells, Program Coordinator at Envirocentre, which is coordinating activities for Ottawa Bike to Work month.
  • Caron Cheng of Mountain Equipment Coop, who tells us about the MEC BikeFest on Sunday, May 13.
  • Seb Oran, co-found of the Ottawa chapter of Bicycles for Humanity. B4H as they’re known is an amazing movement that enables people to raise funds andcollect unwanted bicycles to send to partners in developing countries.

    Biking is a political act… and it’s darn fun

Earthgauge Radio is broadcast every other Thursday morning at 7:00-8:00 AM on CKCU 93.1 FM in Ottawa. Click the audio player above to hear the full show. Right click here to download today’s full show. Scroll down to listen to individual interviews only.

Remember that Earthgauge Radio is podcast on iTunes if you type earthgauge into the search bar, you’ll find us. Contact us at earthgaugeradio@gmail.com. Facebook address is www.facebook.com/EarthgaugeRadio and Twitter handle @earthgaugeCA. Please do get in touch if you have story ideas, a comment on something you’ve heard or want to get involved or contribute to the show.

On today’s show, we also have our usual segment with Ecology Ottawa who update us on local environmental events. And we hear the week’s round-up of intl eco-news from Deutsche Welle Living Planet.

Did you know?

— A cyclist can travel 1,037km (644 miles) on the energy equivalent of one litre of gasoline.
— A cyclist consumes 1/50th of the oxygen of a car making the same journey.
— A twice daily half-hour commute will, over a year, consume the energy equivalent of 24lbs of fat.
— In 1949, 34 per cent of all mechanized journeys were made by bicycle. Fifty years later that figure had fallen to 2 per cent.

In 2006, Transport Canada reported that, while cycling is a fairly popular form of recreation in Canada, its use for non-recreational purposes in most cities – i.e. as a mode of urban transportation – can at best be described as marginal. The bicycle occupies a distant fourth place after the automobile, public transit, and walking in terms of modes of transportation.

As May is Bike to Work month, it got me thinking about how Ottawa  is doing in terms of promoting cycling and how we can get more people using their bicycles. As mentioned above, only 2% of Canadians use their bike to commute, this despite the obvious benefits of cycling, including…

  • Environmental benefits, through reduced emissions of toxic pollutant and greenhouse gases;
  • Health benefits related to higher levels of physical activity, including improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of obesity;
  • Health benefits related to the reduction of airborne pollutants, including lower incidence of respiratory diseases;
  • Economic benefits, such as reduced household expenditures on transportation, reduced work hours lost in traffic jams, and reduced healthcare costs thanks to the effects of regular exercise and reduced pollution.

So what is stopping us? Is it the cold weather in Ottawa? The long distances? Safety concerns? Or maybe the thought of arriving all sweaty in our work clothes. Whatever it is, we can and surely need to do better. After all, the bike is such a simple and inexpensive way to address a number of urban problems. Is Ottawa a bike friendly city? To find out, I spoke with Jess Wells, the Program Coordinator of the Ottawa EnviroCentre and the organizers of Bike to Work month in Ottawa. EnviroCentre is a non-profit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by delivering energy-efficiency goods and services, such as energy audits and weatherization services,primarily in Eastern Ontario.

Jess Wells interview, right click here to download:

Next on today’s biking special program, we hear from Caron Cheng of Mountain Equipment Coop. The annual MEC BikeFest is happening this Sunday, May 13 at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa so Caron kindly came into the CKCU studios recently to let us know some more about this year’s event.

Caron Cheng interview, right click here to download:

Finally on today’s show I speak with Seb Oran of Bicycles for Humanity.  I love to showcase and publicize ideas and initiatives on Earthgauge that are simple yet powerful and can really make a lasting impact for positive change. This is what B4H is all about. This is a  movement of concerned groups started in 2005 with the simple goal of raising funds and collecting unwanted bicycles here in Canada and other countries to send to partners in developing countries where the bikes can be put to good use. Seb Oran is the founder of the Ottawa chapter of B4H.

Seb Oran interview, right click here to download:

Upcoming local environmental events (courtesy of Ecology Ottawa):

This Saturday, May 12, 2012, Fair Trade Ottawa presents its first annual wine-and-cheese fundraiser
to celebrate the bounty of Fair Trade in Canada’s Capital. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door
and Includes one free Fair Trade cocktail! You can buy your tickets at http://fairtradeottawa.ca/take-a-
sip-for-fair-trade/

There will be a Work Bee as part of the the Feast of St. Isidore on Tuesday May 15 th at the Galilee
Centre in Arnprior. Contact Ken Mansefield at kmansfield@galileecentre.com for more information.

Also on May 15 Ecology Ottawa will be hosting a Volunteer Orientation at 6:30 pm at the Ecology
Ottawa office on Nicholas Street. Come find learn more learn more about what the organization does
and how to get involved. Please RSVP to volunteer@ecologyottawa.ca .

On Tuesday May 22, from 5 to 6:30 Just Food will be hosting their first Annual General Meeting.
While Just Food has had a strategic board for eight years, and many open community meetings, the
organization has recently become incorporated as an independent, not-for-profit. This meeting will
allow you to hear in more detail the work that is happening on several projects Just Food is involved
with and take part in discussions of our future plans. Light refreshments will be served and RSVP is
required.

Upcoming local environmental events (courtesy of Ecology Ottawa):

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