Report recommends city kick in $200k for two mass bike rides this summer

Vancouver Courier

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Cyclists at the start of the 2016 “Bike the Night” ride in Vancouver hosted by HUB Cycling. Photo courtesy HUB Cycling

City staff are recommending council approve a grant worth up to $200,000 in funding an in-kind services so two organizations can pull off family-friendly mass bike rides for a second year this summer.

The staff report, which assesses funding requests for the Our Cityride set for August and HUB Cycling’s Bike the Night planned for September, goes to council March 14.

Last year, council voted unanimously in favour of sponsorship funding for the two pilot events, which are described as “low-barrier, non-sport and family friendly.”

They’re expected to draw a total of 10,000 participants this year.

In 2016, two small all-ages and all-abilities rides took place, and Our Cityride and Bike the Night organizers built off of those rides and sought support to hold the larger events that took place in 2017.

More than 2,500 people took part in Our Cityride on Aug. 19, 2017, which saw riders travel 17 kilometres through downtown Vancouver neighbourhoods and Stanley Park. A festival attended by 6,000 was also held at David Lam Park.

Bike the Night, on Sept. 16, 2017, involved 3,500 participants who travelled a 10-kilometre route through the downtown and Kitsilano.

The city pitched in a total of $80,000 in cash and $155,000 in cost off-sets. The off-sets applied to expenses related to planning, management and execution of the events such as traffic planning, signs, street closures, traffic management and medical services.

Other contributions organizers were able to secure provided an additional $210,000 worth of cash and in-kind services for the pair of events.

City staff are proposing council approve the continuation of the city’s support for the rides.

“The success of the rides, the feedback from the public and the ability of organizers to secure other funding and sponsorship all provide a sound basis for this recommendation,” the report states.

“More significantly, without City support, both rides would need to charge entry fees for all participants; this would be antithetical to the spirit, and most likely, the success of the event.”

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