On Monday, around fifity teenagers on bikes invaded the streets of Saint-Laurent in order to sensitize its residents toward the adoption of better environmental habits.
The young people - all of them between fourteen and sixteen years old - departed from the Raymond-Bourque Arena at the end of the morning on a biking tour of ten km around the historic places of the district. Their objective was simple: to share with the residents of Saint-Laurent their passion for the environment and to show them that the bicycle is a more attractive means of transportation than the car.
"Getting on a bike everyday, that's not something unpleasant," relayed Youssef Zitouni, a sixteen-year-old youth. "We need to demystify the idea that biking is very demanding."
All the teenagers who participated in this first bikeathon are members of the C-Vert Saint-Laurent project. Since its creation in 2005, this program attracts young people from all backgrounds, but with one thing in common: a great passion for nature and ecology. More than anything else, they want to transform their neighborhood and conduct environmental projects in Montreal’s neighborhoods.
Furthermore, most of the bikes used during this first bikeathon were bicycles that the youth of the C-Vert project had rehabilitated. In the past, they also planted a vegetable garden in front of the Saint-Laurent YMCA.
The District Embarks
In the absence of Mayor DeSousa, it was City Councilor for the Cote-de-Liesse district Francesco Miele who showed up to encourage the cyclists. The DeSousa administration counts itself a "proud partner" of the C-Vert project, indicated Miele.
"The goals of our administration share this project's vision. Thus, we are marrying two objectives that are the same," he declared.
The district already has more than forty km in bike paths, and eleven km will be added this year, stated the councilor. Nevertheless, there is more work to do, admitted Miele.
"Saint-Laurent needs to become an example for others. We need to create a consistent network with the adjoining districts in order to develop the bicycle in the metropolis."
Does seeing people biking in groups make you want to bike more? How is your city encouraging bike use through programs or infrastructure?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.