Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

If a car, a bus and a bike all left Billings Bridge for the Canadian Museum of Civilization at the same time, which would arrive first?

It’s not a riddle or a math problem – it’s Ottawa’s Bike-Bus-Car Challenge, and it took place on Friday, Sept. 16 during morning rush hour, with the bike, bus and car all starting out at 7:45 a.m.

The bike won. Bike rider Eric Kunstadt arrived at the Museum at 8:25 a.m. The car followed at 8:35, and the bus at 8:48. (By not taking their cars, points out Ottawa’s Envirocentre, the bus riders saved $13 for parking plus the costs of gas, insurance and maintenance – not to mention their lower carbon emissions).

The Bike-Bus-Car Challenge was the kick-off to Sustainable Transportation Week, happening September 16-22 in Ottawa and Gatineau. The aim of Sustainable Transportation Week is to get people using healthier and eco-friendlier alternatives to car commuting, like biking, walking, taking the bus or carpooling.

The week’s events include

  • a sold-out Breakfast Conference on “Sustainable Mobility” with speakers from Ottawa, Gatineau and the U.K. on Wed. Sept. 21;
  • Car Free Day” on Thurs. Sept. 22, where people in Ottawa and Gatineau are encouraged to try out cycling or another sustainable transportation option;
  • a “Bike Museum” featuring unusual bikes (you can contribute your own) and a display on the evolution and significance of the bike on Thurs. Sept. 22 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. outside Ottawa City Hall.

As well, Gatineau’s Sustainable Transportation Week included Park(ing) Day on Sept. 16 and a rally on Sept. 17-18.

This week also saw the launch of Right Bike on Sept. 17 during the Taste of West Wellington festival (which included a very colourful bike parade). Right Bike is a community-supported bike share program established by Causeway. Starting in 2012, Right Bike will offer 30-40 bikes for short trips at 3-4 stations along Wellington and Richmond through Wellington West and Westboro. I can hardly wait!

Let us know how you get around Ottawa and Gatineau this week, and happy sustainable travelling.