They came with and without training wheels, on tricycles and mountain bikes, and even on rollerblades and skateboards.

Cyclists of all ages and skill levels, and other self-propelled people on wheels, rode over to the Halifax Common Sunday afternoon to celebrate sustainable and active transportation.

The open street party was part of HRM Bike Week, which kicked off last Friday and runs through Sunday. The city shut down motorized traffic surrounding the north side of the park for a couple of hours, letting bikes take over the streets and forcing cars to take a hike.

 

Co-ordinator Lauralee Sim of the Halifax Cycling Coalition said the neighbourhood bash that drew dozens outside into the warm weather simply had to happen.

“We need to open the streets and make sure they’re more accessible to everyone,” she said. “How often can you take your whole family out and ride on the street?”

It was a family event indeed, with everything from bike decorating to bubble blowing for children, and lots of entertainment for adults too, including a dynamic display of Brazilian dance.

Halifax residents Jesse Williams and Michelle Forward, along with one-year-old son Alex Williams, pulled their bikes over and sprawled out across the grass to take in the sunny skies and laidback vibe.

The couple agreed the municipality should follow in the footsteps of Ottawa, by shutting down a section of street once a week to let cyclists ride freely. They also said they would use their car much less if HRM had more bike paths.

Gabrielle Riley, active living coordinator for Halifax Regional Municipality, said the city is improving at pushing active transportation, adding initiatives such as Bike Week are prime examples of that.

Riley said not only is hopping on a bike “a lot healthier for you and your environment,” but added “it’s also a great way to get out and see your city.”

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