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Shea vows to carry on her husband’s cycling vision
Karri Shea says she hopes everyone will have their own little adventure during Charlottetown Bike Week in memory of her husband and young son.
The City of Charlottetown will be holding a number of events June 15-22.
This year’s Bike to Work and School Day on Friday, June 21, is being held in honour of Josh Underhay and six-year-old Oliver, who died in a tragic canoeing accident in April.
“It means more than I can say to have my husband and my little boy remembered in this way,’’ Shea told The Guardian in an email interview.
Shea said Josh would take Oliver and his little brother, Linden, to school on his bike every day that he could.
“It was a special time for them, a few moments of stolen peace, a little adventure to start the day,’’ she said. “I hope that those who can will consider having their own little adventure that day in their memory.’’
Shea said Josh cycled to work every day of the year — in rain, snow or sunshine.
“He was stubborn enough about it that even if he got a flat tire, he would repair it on the spot before accepting a drive from me.’’
His wife said Josh had a vision for Charlottetown to become a leader in active transportation. He was a vocal advocate for bicycle safety and the creation of dedicated cycling and mixed-use paths to make cycling accessible and appealing to everyone.
Josh was actively involved in the process that led to the Fitzroy Street bike lane proposal that council ultimately rejected. He also made a presentation to the finance committee last year, looking at routes for the whole city.
Mayor Philip Brown has said Josh was one of the inspirations behind the creation of the mayor’s task force on active transportation.
Shea said her husband would pour over maps of the city and design efficient routes and practical approaches which he presented to council members.
“He believed in the power of transforming commuters into cyclists, to make a happier, healthier city as well as an environmentally friendlier one.’’
Mathieu Arsenault, an avid cyclist and one of Josh’s friends, said there is still work to be done.
Arsenault would like to see dedicated bike lanes and more driver education.
“Sometimes, drivers aren’t paying attention, so I know, for myself, I’m always careful,’’ said Arsenault, a self-employed entrepreneur who works out of the StartUp Zone on Queen Street. “In general, (cycling in Charlottetown), is pretty good, especially if you use the trail.’’
Arsenault said he and Josh talked a lot about how to make Charlottetown a better city for cyclists.
“I think it’s great that we’re remembering him, and I will personally like to work towards accomplishing his vision.’’
Shea echoes his sentiments.
“I intend to carry on his work as best I can, to bring his vision for a cycling-friendly Charlottetown into reality,’’ she said.
Charlottetown Bike Week events, June 15-22:
- Bike rodeo for children 12 and under and their families, Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Simmons Sport Centre, teaching children the skills and basics of riding and bike safety. Includes bike checkups, bike rodeo, free barbecue, information booths on cycling safety. Pre-registration required, event goes rain or shine
- Bike auction at Charlottetown Police Services on Kirkwood Drive, Saturday, June 15. Viewing opens at 8:30 a.m. with live auction beginning at 9 a.m.
- Cycling pop-up on Wednesday, June 19, at Charlottetown Farmers’ Market on Belvedere Avenue. Get help with cycling route planning for commuting, cycling safety, information and giveaways. Goes 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Thirsty Thursday Group Mountain Bike Ride on Thursday, June 19, 5:30 p.m., at the Parkman Complex in East Royalty. Suitable for all skill levels of mountain bikers
- Bike to Work and School Day on Friday, June 21, in honour of Josh and Oliver Underhay
- Free bike tuneups on Saturday, June 22, at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market on Belvedere Avenue
- Skate and BMX Competition on Saturday, June 22, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Victoria Park skate park, including a free barbecue. Onsite registration begins at 10 a.m.
- For more information or to register for any of these events, visit Charlottetown.ca/cycling
A reminder that helmets are mandatory and must be worn by all cyclists in the city.
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- Investigation into deaths of Josh and Oliver Underhay could take several weeks: P.E.I. coroner
- Friends gather to grieve the loss of Green party candidate Josh Underhay and his son, Oliver