BC Superweek features 8 exciting bike races over 10 days in Greater Vancouver. I wrote about the other bike races in the BC Superweek here. This year featured a brand new event, the New Westminster Grand Prix, raced on the steep hills of downtown New Westminster! This post is not about who won the races – you can get that from the Superweek web site.
To me, the biggest winner was the city and the people in it. Founded in 1858, the City of New Westminster is the oldest city in Western Canada, but it has never looked like it did today, with its streets full of colorful cyclists and enthusiastic spectators and volunteers.
This short video I made gives you a little taste of what the New Westminster Grand Prix was like.
It was inspiring to watch the cyclists battle up the steep hill of 8th Street, past New Westminster skytrain station. Some of the smaller, younger cyclists really battled with this – but they kept on going!
I think the best part for me was seeing that the future of cycling is in very good hands. The turn-out of very young cyclists was overwhelming, and they were enthusiastic, brave, and – of course – incredibly energetic. This video I made highlights the kids and youth cyclists, who helped to make this a great day.
It was fun to see the cyclists hammering up 6th Street as the skytrains passed over their heads!
It was thrilling to watch the cyclists taking the corner from Carnarvon Street into 6th Street at incredible speed.
It was scary and impressive to watch the cyclists thundering down 6th Street in speeds in excess of 60 km per hour, before skillfully turning onto Columbia Street!
Most of all, it was fun to be on the streets watching the spectacle of athletic skill, endurance, strength, and courage with a whole lot of happy strangers. Everyone was having fun; everyone was awed by the speed and skill of the cyclists.
A man next to me told me that he was going to get his kids cycling in next year’s events. His kids enthusiastically agreed.
At the beginning of the event, there were very well-attended events for 3 to 10 year-olds, and for 10 to 12 year olds. It was the first time I ever saw cyclists “racing” with training wheels! It was great to see so many enthusiastic kids, with their supportive and equally enthusiastic parents.
The kids all seemed to have a great time, despite a few falls.
And finally, everywhere I walked, it was inspiring to see the polite, enthusiastic, and efficient volunteers and support staff, making sure all went smoothly and everyone was safe.
This woman stood on the corner of 6th and Carnarvon and shouted encouragement to every one of the youth cyclists who toiled up that steep hill!
I even saw three volunteers put out a fire that mysteriously started in a bush on 6th Street. They were not expecting fire, so they did not have any water. Fortunately, several of the Youth cyclists converged to donate their water bottles, and the volunteers were soon able to extinguish the fire!
An enormous number of people worked together to make the 11th of July 2017 a very special day in New Westminster’s history. Thank you to them all!
You can read more about cycling in New Westminster, BC, here.
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