The Week: Aug. 9 — City replaces racks, again

Bike racks revisited for Ryder, National Relaxation Day comes to the Island

Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal has a whole day, and a few expensive new bike racks, in Victoria.

City replaces racks, again

The City of Victoria has a nice rack — four of them, actually.

This week, bike-crazed Mayor Dean Fortin proclaimed Aug. 10 “Ryder Hesjedal Day” in celebration of the Giro d’Italia star’s homecoming, and even unveiled a few specially designed bike racks — pink “Ryder Racks” — to permanently mark the occasion, and Hesjedal’s achievement.

“These bike racks will be a permanent reminder of Ryder’s historic Giro d’Italia win in May, and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute,” said Fortin. “Ryder is a wonderful example of the passion and determination of our local athletes. All of Canada is proud of his remarkable achievement.”

Especially, Victoria. Which is why the city opted to spend $500 each on the four new racks ($250 for creation, and $250 for each installation), with two racks popping up in Centennial Square, and two more adorning the bike skills park at Cecilia Ravine Park in Burnside-Gorge.

This, after last summer’s revamped “V” cluster racks set the city back close to $27,000 — $750 each — for the compact metal racks that hold up to six bicycles.

While the “Ryder Racks” are made to hold just two bikes, all that valour doesn’t come cheap — the new racks had to be specially water cut to bear the logo of Ryders Cycling Society of Canada (RCSC), an organization dedicated to creating and sustaining opportunities for Canadians to ride bicycles, and support up-and-coming riders.

“I want to be able to give back to the sport that has given me so much,” Hesjedal told media. “To represent Canada internationally, I know how hard that is, and the sacrifices that you need to make along the way. I know every little bit helps in achieving your dreams.”

Meanwhile, Victoria riders will continue to dream of the city investing in safer bikes lanes.

A day of national relaxation

That office may be getting stuffier as summer finds its tardy entrance, but with plenty of Victorians planning last-chance camping trips and trying to stuff four months of good weather into the few weeks we’ve been given, one little town up Island is saying, woah — put the brakes on.

For the first time this year, on Wednesday, Aug. 15, Parksville is hosting “National Relaxation Day” to inspire everyone to take the day off, quit spending and rushing, and just relax. Parksville Mayor Chris Burger will be (literally) taking his desk outside, and many city representatives will take the day off to stop filing paper work and instead enjoy the natural wonders of the area.

“When you go to your doctor they don’t tell you: you need to work more, sleep less, and above all, make sure stress is a big part of your daily routine,” says Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek, who is joining in with the Parksville initiative that was adopted from a similar campaign in the U.S.

The mayors are also urging people to take part in an ultimate relaxation challenge, offering a few pointers: just sit — pointing towards a multi-coloured sunset over the mountains if possible — and breathe deeply; splash around in the ocean; take a walk through your favourite forest; dance outside; just let loose.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this whole relaxation idea will catching on in a city as bustling as Victoria, according to our charming Mayor Dean Fortin, who says Parksville’s initiative is nothing more than a “brilliant marketing scheme.”

“This is just not a good idea for a place like Victoria — and 3.5 million visitors can’t be wrong,” says Fortin. “I want my city to be open and the restaurants and attractions to be functioning when I visit it. There’s always something to do in Victoria, and it’s a wonderful time to be a tourist in your own home town.”

Instead, Fortin encourages everyone taking the day off in Parksville to make it an opportunity to rediscover Victoria and see what a beautiful place it is, sitting only a few kilometres down-Island.

Nothing’s quite as relaxing as mayor rivalry.

“When you think of kicking back and really relaxing — where and what do you think of?” says Burger. “Commuting all day on scorching hot asphalt, or do you picture beaches, cool drinks, and the smell of sunscreen in the air? We’ve got the latter in abundance — so, we’re a natural fit.”

Wise Islanders might take the hint: avoid all the propaganda, and just go surfing in Tofino. M

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