Cargo bike documentary coming to Waterloo

By Kelly Pedro on Feb 19, 2020 2 min read

In 2016, Arcy Canumay was working with Sustainable Waterloo Region to interview people using the TravelWise program, which encourages people to take transit, cycle, walk or carpool to work. 

That’s when it hit him: As he was talking to commuters about all the different ways they travelled the region, he was driving to work every day even though there was a bus stop less than five minutes from his home. So that year, he traded in his SUV for a bicycle and a bus pass and hasn’t looked back since. 

“As I was interviewing people I thought, ‘This is the way to go,’ ” says Canumay, whose wife still owns a car that they use for carpooling.

He’s been such an avid cyclist that in January he was named Waterloo’s bicycle mayor for a two-year term. The bicycle mayor program is run by BYCS, an Amsterdam-based social enterprise whose goal is to have half of all city trips made by bike by 2030.

Canumay wants more people to think about using bicycles for trips shorter than five kilometres. Cargo bikes offer flexibility, he says, for family commuting or carrying larger items. That’s why on March 7, he’s hosting a screening of the award-winning cycling documentary, MOTHERLOAD, at Waterloo Public Library’s main branch.

The crowd-sourced documentary looks at how cargo bikes are used around the world, and follows director and mother Liz Canning as she explores how cargo bikes can help families navigate modern life. Canning cycled everywhere until she had twins in 2008 and switched to driving. Feeling isolated and unhappy, Canning searched for “family bike” one day in a bid to get her freedom and sense of adventure back and discovered the cargo bike community.

Canumay hopes the documentary will help people see that there’s another option for commuting locally besides cars.

“We can see that in Kitchener and Waterloo the cycling infrastructure is improving. There’s definitely more work to be done, but it is improving,” says Canumay, pointing to protected bike lanes that both cities have recently installed.

A discussion follows the documentary and there will be cargo bikes on display, along with information about local bicycle shops and cycling groups, such as CycleWR.

He hopes people will leave the event with new insight into the benefits of cycling, and consider it a transportation option for shorter trips.

Canumay’s term as the bicycle mayor lasts for two years. He has other cycling events planned later this year, including one planned for June, when the region celebrates bike month.

The screening was made possible with the support of the City of Waterloo, Waterloo Public Library, CycleWR, and People Protected Waterloo Region.

The documentary event on March 7 runs from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is free, but anyone who wants to attend needs to register.

(Image courtesy of MOTHERLOAD)

Kelly Pedro

Written by Kelly Pedro

Kelly Pedro is a journalist at Zeitspace.