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There is something about summer in Edmonton. The days are long and warm, giving Edmontonian’s ample time in the day to get outside and #LiveActiveYEG. Growing up I loved our family bike rides in the summertime. After dinner we’d head out for a ride around the block, stopping to chat with neighbours who were out in their yard. Once home, we’d make strawberry milkshakes from the fresh strawberries we had picked from a neighbour’s garden earlier that week.

I look back on these memories as some of my favorites from my childhood. At a young age I realized that riding my bike built community, gave me independence, and was fun! Later I would realize that it supported my physical health and gave me a sense of accomplishment when I achieved a goal to ride faster or further.

Riding my bike has been incredibly meaningful to my mental and physical wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. I love that I can walk out of my apartment in Oliver and access over 160km of well maintained multi-use trails. During times where outdoor social gatherings have not been permitted, riding these trails has been something that I can do independently, allowing me to get outside and clear my head of the stress of the pandemic. I was able to do this safely because the City put in temporary shared street spaces to allow for cyclists and pedestrians to practice physical distancing. I hope we see those return this summer! When appropriate, I meet friends for a ride and stop at one of Edmonton’s craft breweries. There are so many amazing spots to check out. Sea Change Brewing Co. is one of my favorites.

I like that I can travel far distances on my bike passing through many different neighbourhoods, parks and landscapes. Riding east to The Quarry is one of my favorite rides. I’ll pass by folks who are biking or walking or wheeling, out with their dog, or having a picnic with their family. Sharing this outdoor space with them has given me a sense of community, like riding my bike through my childhood neighbourhood. With the first day of spring around the corner, days are growing longer and warmer, and I find myself eagerly looking forward to being back on my bike exploring and connecting with the #LiveActiveYEG community.