Pull on your comfy running shoes or tune up your bike to discover how easy, fun and fast it can be to get around on foot or by bike. It’s healthy and costs almost nothing. Short trips are great for walking or cycling. For longer trips, combine walking with transit. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about a parking ticket!

Here are a few tips to get you on your way:

Plan your trip

Check out the Winnipeg Cycling Map, either online or a paper copy available at many bike stores and other locations. Map out a route that fits your comfort and skill level or personal preference – a combination of residential streets and pathways or the most direct route on major streets. Ask a colleague or friend who commutes by bike regularly for advice. You might want to consider first riding the route when you have lots of time. You don’t need to race down Portage Avenue on your first adventure to work, school or whatever your destination might be.

Check out the handy photo guide to decipher cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and help plan your route.

Gear up

All you really need for walking is a good pair of shoes and a backpack to carry things. Consider leaving a pair of dress shoes for a quick change at the office. For cycling, make sure your bike is in good working order and that you will be visible in a brightly coloured clothing. Bike lights (front and rear), panniers/saddlebags or a basket to carry gear, and a quality helmet and bike lock are other essential items. With a little extra preparation, you can even cycle in winter.

Lock it don’t lose it

Bike locked properly (Green Action Centre)

Increase your odds of thwarting bike thieves: (1) Always lock your bike, even if you’re only going to be away a few moments. (2) Use a high quality U-lock – this is generally the strongest type of lock. (3) Lock to an immovable object – beware of sign posts with a ‘collar’ at the bottom, as the pole can be removed. (4) Lock the frame and the wheels – use the U-lock to secure the bike frame to the immovable object and add a cable lock as needed if you have quick release wheels.

Want to know more? Help thwart the myth “You can’t park your bike outside, it will get stolen.”

No secure bike parking at your office? Work with the property management company and other offices in the building to install a secure bike cage on-site. The space required to park one car can accommodate 12 bicycles.

For workday trips, encourage your workplace to offer a bike fleet.

Smell nice

Showers and lockers at your office are helpful for walkers and cyclists. If your building doesn’t currently have these, check out any gyms that would consider offering a discounted rate for use of their showers. Consider leaving a change of clothes at the office if you plan to shower. Or try cycling or walking at a pace that keeps you dry and fresh!

Haul your gear

A full bike trailer! (Photo: Green Action Centre)

Or your groceries, library books, dog food – whatever you might want to pick up on foot or by bike. Trailers for bikes are an easy and handy way to transport just about everything. No longer need your child’s bike trailer? Use it to carry groceries instead! If you’re on foot, consider a rolling pull cart – they now come in fancy designs and colours. In winter, a toboggan makes quick work of carrying the kids and the kitty litter from the store.

Play it safe

Haven’t been on a bike for a while? Not comfortable riding with traffic? Check out our Top 10 Safer Cycling Tips and consider signing up for a course. Equally important is keeping your bike in good working condition. Check out our handy advice on getting your bike ready to ride in spring or fall or learn how to maintain and repair your bike at one of Winnipeg’s community bike shops, including the W.R.E.N.C.H. (Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub).

Have fun together

Organize a walking wellness or cycling safety workshop at your next staff meeting or over lunch. Help promote events like the Commuter Challenge and Bike to Work Day at your office.

Walking: The Activity of a Lifetime

Check out some tips on setting up your own walking program with the brochure Walking: The Activity for a Lifetime.

Green Action Centre’s Workplace Commuter Options program can help encourage walking and cycling at your office!