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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