Participants cruise down Shelbourne Street during the Saanich Cycling Festival in 2013. This year’s Big Family Bike Ride takes place on Sunday and begins at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus.

Saanich Cycling Festival celebrates five years

Saanich’s mass-participation Big Family Bike Ride follows a five-kilometre route along the Shelbourne Corridor

What started as a car-free day to honour Earth Day is now celebrating its fifth year. Saanich’s mass-participation Big Family Bike Ride follows a five-kilometre route along the Shelbourne Corridor and McKenzie Avenue.

It’s part of the Saanich Cycling Festival at the University of Victoria, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’re very excited it’s been five years since myself and others sat down to create a non-car event in support of our climate action,” said Coun. Judy Brownoff, co-creator. “It’s been on Shelbourne because it’s a key corridor for us to focus on improving cycling, though we might, for the first time, consider moving the route next year.”

The event will be very similar to last year’s.

A Saanich Police cruiser will guide the Big Family Bike Ride from Camosun College ending at the festival headquarters at the University of Victoria’s Parking Lot No. 10 where all participating cyclists will end up with stage entertainment, bike demonstrations, a Pedalheads skills challenge, face painting, a bouncy obstacle and giant slide, a mobile bike park, a bike rodeo, concessions, Ace the Saanich Police mascot and a kids’ treasure hunt contest for a new bike.

The designated Kid’s ride around UVic, for cyclists six and under, will be lengthened from the regular two-kilometre route, Brownoff said.

“I talked to kids last year who told me it was too short, so we’ve lengthened it,” she said.

The Big Family ride starts at 11 a.m. at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus route will feature a slow, welcoming pace for riders as young as seven, and Saanich Police will provide rolling street closures along the Shelbourne and McKenzie Avenue.

Free parking is available at UVic Lot No. 6, and cyclists are asked to use Henderson Road to access Camosun College Lansdowne prior to the ride.

The Kid’s ride begins at the University of Victoria at 11 a.m. in parking lot No. 10 as well. Look for the inflatable start/finish archway. The District of Saanich has partnered with 20 community organizations, businesses, groups and associations to put on the family-friendly event. Visit for more information.

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