UWSA Ice Riders
The University of Winnipeg Students' Association's Ice Riders and their Bike Lab are gaining momentum in the creation of an active cycling culture year-round. The UWSA Bike Lab and Ice Riders are aptly positioned in location and in their capacity for education and advocacy in Winnipeg's core. They provide resources, events and education to help cyclists find their traction Winnipeg winters.
Winnipeg, the coldest city in North America, is quickly becoming an example of the power of community building in increasing bicycle ridership. Despite frigid winters, limited AT infrastructure, and lacklustre political leadership to improve it, bicycles are increasingly becoming a common sight all year long. At the geographical and cultural centre of this movement is student leadership at The University of Winnipeg. The Ice Riders Bike Gang is a collective of university students that aim to foster the development of all season AT through advocacy, education, and community service. With over 50 core members, this group is illustrating the central role that fun plays in normalizing what was once thought to be fair-weather activity. This normalization in turn is pushing the boundaries of what kind of AT infrastructure citizens of this city are expecting from their political leaders. By linking this dynamic group of students to the recently constructed University of Winnipeg Students’ Association/University of Winnipeg Bike Lab – the completion of which can be seen as an outcome of the group’s efforts - opportunities for linkages between research and advocacy are emerging. The Ice Riders through their Bike Lab are an integral part of the University’s mission as an agent of downtown renewal. The profile that the Bike Lab enjoys, given its location on a downtown university campus, lends legitimacy and profile to the key role that community bike shops play throughout the city. This model illustrates what student movement and youth leadership can achieve in advancing AT agendas, even in the least hospitable of landscapes.