'Coat check for bikes' grows

It's like a coat check for bikes, and it's proven very popular in Penticton.

The Penticton and Area Cycling Association has operated a free Bike Valet service at events like the Farmer's Market, Canada Day and Ellis on the Rise for two years, and this summer was a milestone.

They have parked over 1,000 bikes at local events in 2019, a sign that this will be a banner year for growth. 

"At this rate, we will likely park 50 per cent more bikes this year than we did in 2018. We knew that people wanted to use their bikes for transportation in Penticton, but the success of the Bike Valet has far surpassed our expectations,” said Matt Hopkins, urban cycling director for PACA. 

Users of all ages are repeat customers, and the footprint of the Bike Valet is roughly three car parking spaces to accommodate 60 bikes at any one time. 

Most recently, they operated at the Pedal Penticton event at Gyro Park on Sept. 7. An all-time high of 101 bikes were parked that day, which was a celebration of planned bike routes connecting both ends of the city. 

"We are so excited by the positive steps the City of Penticton is taking to address the desperate need for safe cycling infrastructure and encourage everyone to participate in the ongoing engagement for a future lake-to-lake route,” Hopkins said.

The Bike Valet will be offered at the Penticton Farmers Market through the end of September, set up on the 100 block of Main Street, just south of City Hall from 8:30-1:00pm on Saturdays.

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