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Bike Month 2013 kicks off in Hamilton on Monday

On Monday, Grant Ranalli will transport himself to work his usual way — cycling from his redbrick house in Hamilton’s leafy Durand neighbourhood to St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School, deep in the city’s north end.

But instead tweaking a lesson plan before the first bell, the Grade 5/6 teacher will once again mount his two-wheeler to accompany the school’s principal, librarian and a handful of students to Gore Park.

They’ll be in attendance for the official kickoff to Hamilton Bike to Work Day, accepting an award on behalf of the school for promoting sustainable transportation.

The event also marks the beginning of Hamilton’s 7th annual Bike Month, which runs until June 23.

It will include a bicycle festival, which starts on June 9. The six-day program will include art exhibitions, group rides, workshops and even a bicycle scavenger hunt.

The campaign aims to promote cycling, both practical and recreational, in the city.

Ranalli doesn’t limit himself to cycling to work for just a month in the spring. He said he rides as much as eight months out of the year.

“Some weeks, I’ll bike three, four, five days a week. Other times, maybe one day a week.”

“If it’s pouring rain, of course, all bets are off,” he laughed. “I’m not a masochist.”

For Ranalli, the benefits go further than setting a good example for his students or saving money on gas.

“I’m reducing my carbon footprint,” he said. “Plus, instead of taking out a gym membership, which I may or may not use, I basically get a workout going to and from school. I arrive there more alert, more alive and just in a better frame of mind.”

The last factor, he added, is key for people in his line of work.

“If you’ve had a rough day teaching, it’s a very therapeutic way to burn of some excess energy at the end of the day.”


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