GRPBS in 2015

Believe it or not, 2015 is upon us. For everyone here at GRPBS, that means a new and refreshed outlook for our company with goals we hope to push through in the coming months.

You could say we’re turning over a new leaf; renewing our commitment to the community by engaging in conversations that matter to you and that promote the most healthy environment in which to live and learn. We want to reach out to our neighbours and talk about the issues that are preventing the people of Waterloo Region from accessing things like safer bike lanes, sustainable transportation, and governmental support for grassroots green initiatives.

Our greatest partner in developing an accessible and affordable alternative to automotive transportation is you. Over the past three years, GRPBS has made great gains in the community by reaching many different demographics in an effort to create the most effective and inclusive business plan possible. Attending university sustainability fairs like ECOLOO and EcoHawks at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, respectively, allowed our staff to engage with the student population and really understand the challenges and opportunities that lay within the vast population of students in the region. To bolster our growing potential, Waterloo Regional and City Councils have expressed their support for our organization through talks and presentations spanning through the last two leadership cycles. GRPBS also has a number of stakeholders in the business community after presenting to several national corporations.

For GRPBS, we’re not just about bikes. We’re about developing sustainable infrastructure for generations to come, and we’re about improving the health and wellness of Waterloo Region’s inhabitants. We want to make sure the conversations carries forward from, “Where do I lock my bike when I’m done with it?” to something like, “How can I get my entire office to commute by bike?”, and eventually to, “How do we know our kids will be safe when they are using bike lanes?”. By partnering with schools, local government, and businesses of all sizes, our goal is to reach every person possible to reignite discussion about health, safety, and ongoing sustainability in our community – issues that matter to all of us.

Talk to us! We would love to hear from you. Chat with us on Twitter, Facebook, or via email.

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Introducing Carla Verwijs

Coming from the Netherlands, I don’t think I need to explain that bikes and cycling are a normal part of my life. Cycling as a way of transport, getting from A to B, or as part of a triathlon, or with luggage on vacation. It’s such ordinary thing to do that I never gave it special attention, except maybe when my bike got stolen or I had a flat tire. Rain or shine, I cycled.

Before moving to Waterloo, I lived with my partner almost 3 years in France. We lived in Rambouillet, not far from Paris, in a forest area with a great network of bike paths. How different was it here, in a country that we consider ‘green’ but hasn’t embraced cycling so much. I keep cycling, maybe not as much as I used to do, hoping to motivate other people to get out on the bike. In the 6 years that we live here, I’ve seen the number of cyclists increasing. As well, there is more attention for cycling and cyclists in general, which are both great improvements. But there is more to do!

That’s why I wanted to support the Grand River Public Bike Share. Get more people on the bike, let them experience how cycling gives a feeling of freedom and independence. I joined GRPBS summer of 2014 and I’m helping with creating plans for Operations. And of course, promoting the use of bikes in the region.

We lived in France when the bike share program (Vélib) was introduced in Paris and I read in the papers about the disaster that would follow. “It’s not safe”, was the main message. But the program has proven to be a success, not only with tourists. It’s cheap, convenient and flexible. If it works in Paris (and Toronto, New York, and many other cities), why not in Waterloo?!

Carla

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Hello cycling lovers!

My name is Victoria and I have been volunteering for GRPBS since February 2014 as an accounting technician. I am very excited being a part of the team, which is trying to implement a bike share system in the local community.

I understand the importance of a bike share system, as being a world traveler I always use bike share no matter what part of the world I go to. It is the best and the most convenient way to see the new place and enjoy it, staying healthy and fit at the same time!

At my everyday life I try to use bike as much as possible, especially for short distance trips. Every morning I start with a forty-five minute bike ride in my neighborhood. It gives me energy and a great mood for the rest of the day.

Biking is an important part of my life and I hope more and more people will get involved in the biking and eco-friendly community. GRPBS is here to show and help people to become a part of this community, and we always welcome new members and supporters of our ideas.

Victoria

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Sustainable Development Technology Canada Gets a New Chair

Congratulations to Waterloo local Jim Balsillie for becoming the latest chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. “Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is a not-for-profit foundation that finances and supports the development and demonstration of clean technologies which provide solutions to issues of climate change, clean air, water quality and soil, and which deliver economic, environmental and health benefits to Canadians.” (SDTC Website). Grand River Public Bike Share also hopes to improve the environment through low emissions active transportation. To read more about Balsillie’s latest achievements click here.

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The Latest Newsletter!

Click here for our latest newsletter! We are working really hard on launching the program and would love your support. Make sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and let your friends and neighbors know too!

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Meet Mithushaa!

As long as I can remember, my favorite method of transportation to school and around the neighborhood was my bike. Biking is more than a hobby to me, it’s a way for me to stay fit, relieve any stress I may be feeling and spend quality time with my friends and family. My family members all enjoy biking and it’s a great way to spend time with each other and we always set aside times to go biking together no matter how busy are lives may get. Now, as I attend Wilfrid Laurier University, I count down the days to when the warm weather will allow me to go cycling again. 

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My name is Mithushaa Berinpalingam and I joined Grand River Public Share as a volunteer Accounting Technician to not just gain further experience in accounting, but to support an initiative, which I strongly believe in and want to help promote. The launch of this program will be a great way to make Waterloo greener and healthier. Cycling is a fun way to gain excellent health benefits, and be more environmentally friendly while enjoying what you’re doing. I can give you numerous reasons to why you should bike, but it’s better if you get started and see the results in action for yourselves!

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Our Bike Share “Twins”

Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken in New Jersey, USA, are launching a tri-city bike share program this summer. It is very similar to what we plan to in Waterloo and eventually Kitchener and Cambridge with the major difference at this point being our cost of memberships and our sources of funding. The technology of free standing bikes (meaning you don’t have to find a station to lock up) will be the same. This is the latest in bikeshare technology and is the most flexible for the users. Stay tuned for more updates about our coming program and click here for more info about the “Bike and Roll” bike share in New Jersey.

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Why biking is important to me

So as a child I really liked biking. I learned to bike early on. Like most kids I started out with the tricycle peddling my little heart out up and down our block while my parents watched me on the front lawn. When I was 6 I upgraded to a “big kids bike” but I still needed the training wheels so I didn’t topple over. My parents and I would always bike around town to our favourite spots. The play ground down the street or the path down by the river. As I grew up I started biking less and less because my friends and I all got cars. We would think to ourselves “Who rides bikes any more… that’s so uncool” (Thinking back we weren’t exactly the trend setters of the high school either).

When I moved to Waterloo for school it seemed like lots of people would ride their bikes around town. Considering I left my car at home and had to walk and bus everywhere I was pretty jealous of the people with bikes. They had all the freedom to go where they want when they wanted (no waiting for the bus!) I still don’t have a bike with me in Waterloo but I look forward to the day when I can go up to a bike share station unlock a bike and go for a ride.

By Kara

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Biking in China

My name is Angel Liu. I moved to Canada from China five years ago and currently studying in BBA – International Business Management at Conestoga College. This volunteer opportunity at GRPBS appealed me so much because personally I believe in the public bike sharing program could be extremely helpful for the environment and individual’s health condition.
My role at GRPBS is marketing assistant. My major duties are promotion campaign planning and sponsor approaches planning. GRPBS will help people in the Kitchener and Waterloo community become closer. I also believe bike sharing program will become a great transportation option for university and college students in the future.

When I was in China, biking is the most popular transportation beside busing and driving. Almost everyone in China knows how to ride a bike. It was the daily transportation for me when I was going to school in China. In Canada, it is difficult to find a parking spot for cars. However, in China, there are times when people can’t find parking spot for bikes because there are too many of them. I am not kidding. There was one time I was waiting in line to park my bike for 15 minutes. The bike share programs were introduced in China few years ago and it become very popular once it was launched. People do not need to worry about bikes being stolen or looking for bike parking spot. This is why I love bike share program so much. I’m hoping the Grand River Public Bike Share program could come out soon and let everyone enjoy some biking exercise!

By Angel Liu

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Meet Sam

Hello Everyone!
My name is Sam Lidstone and I’m a volunteer marketing analyst for the Grand River Public Bike Share. I’m responsible for making sure you know about the GRPBS and the benefits of what our program can do for the Waterloo region. But most importantly, I am here to spread the word and show people why the Grand River Public Bike Share is for them!Image
Just to give you a little bit of information about myself, I am a graduate from the University of Guelph’s commerce program and I have always wanted to be involved in a green movement of some kind. I have worked on sustainability projects while in University which included advocating for grey water recycling systems, and building a sustainability business plan with the City of Guelph. I love biking around town to get to work, school, and explore the city with friends all while getting some exercise. I am also very passionate about music and I am currently working on an album with a local band. With the GRPBS I plan to assist in creating an engaging social media campaign to raise awareness in the community, develop a viral video to encourage donations, sign up sponsors and subscribers, and assist with special events.
In the coming months our team will be looking to raise money to support the ideal launch of our program in May. We are looking at subscriptions, donations, crowd sourcing, and sponsorship as our main avenues for funding. Any contributions will eventually help the Waterloo Region and our community through reduced emissions, more efficient transportation, healthier people, and a greener tomorrow for future generations!
 
Happy Cycling,
Sam
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