It's Sustainability Month! This October, we're profiling FortWhyte staff and volunteers to find out what they're doing to live sustainably.
Eva is FortWhyte Alive's Forest School Facilitator, and an avid cyclist. Check out her tips for living a more sustainable life!
What do you do on a daily basis to live more sustainably?
I would consider myself a minimalist in most ways. I tend to avoid purchasing new whenever possible and either make things myself using the materials I have at home or purchase something used instead. Books are an exception for me as well as art and craft supplies - I'm fully loaded in those areas. I also cycle on a regular basis.
Why do you cycle?
Cycling has been a big part of my life. I vividly remember teaching myself to ride my brother's bmx at the age of 6 and my life was changed. I ride because usually it's the quickest way to get places, you get exercise and fresh, avoid paying for parking or looking for a parking spot, and you arrive at your destination feeling awesome. The cycling community in Winnipeg is incredible. You have instant friends as a result of cycling.
I also cycle because it helps me see the world differently. You experience your city differently, you move at a slower, more humane pace. You can absorb things and reflect on what you see or what you feel. I often say it's my form of free therapy 😉
Cycling is a great way to travel and experience another city. My favourite cycling city is Copenhagen by far. The infrastructure is incredible. I could go on about my experience for days. Cycling changes you bit by bit - for the better. You get to know yourself, your strengths, your limits, your truest, rawest self - you feel strong and capable, dare I say invincible, at times. You become comfortable venturing into the unknown places both in the real world and within yourself. You find your place in the world and become deeply connected to the places you have cycled and the memories you create on your ride. You also develop a more accurate sense of the grand-ness and beauty of the world. You discover small, off-the-road places you'd never discover in a speeding car.
What's your favourite bike path in the city and why?
I really love the cycling path along Sherbrook up to Notre Dame. Any cycling infrastructure downtown is also pretty incredible. I love cycling downtown - it's an experience and always an adventure. If I'm looking to take a scenic route, cycling along Wellington Avenue or up near Silver behind the golf course is great. Oh, and did I mention the cycling paths entering FortWhyte Alive from Sterling Lyon? Gorgeous!
If someone was interested in starting to biking to work, what tips would you give them?
Be prepared! Pack the appropriate clothing, have a tool bag of items you may need along the road for quick-fixes, plan your route, and give yourself a lot of time on day one. It also helps to cycle with a friend if you've never done it before. The most important thing is just to get out and do it. Bike Week Winnipeg has come great cycling tips here to help get you started: http://www.bikeweekwinnipeg.com/riding-tips/
Do you listen to music while you're biking and if so, what's on your playlist?
MPI recommends not cycling distracted by wearing headphones. I was a bicycle courier in Winnipeg for about 6 years and in order to communicate with my dispatcher, I wore a bluetooth headset in just one ear and would sometimes listen to music just loud enough so I was able to hear it, but could still hear what was going on in traffic around me.
What are the basic tools you'd recommend every cyclist carry?
Appropriate sized wrenches (for wheels and seat-post adjustments), a bike pump, extra bike tubes, a patch kit, tire levers, chain lube and some snacks in my tool-kit bag in case of emergencies. My go-to snacks were a bag of mixed nuts, clif bars, and hard-candy like weather's original to use as a pick-me-up in really difficult weather or when I was very cold and tired.
How do you avoid helmet hair?!
You don't. I embraced helmet hair fully. My hair is short, thick and coarse so it tends to do whatever it wants. Figure out what works best for you, whether that means tying it back, a braid, or just accepting whatever happens. Running your hands under water and then working your hands through your hair to tame any outliers has also worked well for me.
Get inspired to turn over a new leaf and make some eco-conscious changes of your own! Post photos of what you're doing to go green on Instagram with the hashtag #GetSustainableFWA, and you'll be entered to win some great FortWhyte prizes. Learn more by clicking here!