Inspired by the San Francisco Giants, David Wieser knew he had to find a way for Winnipeggers to safely bike to public events. In 2009, Wieser made a phone call to the San Francisco Bike Coalition about the bike valet they had set up for baseball fans to park their bikes during Giants games.
With a vision for what could be in Winnipeg, Wieser got to work as soon as he could, “We didn’t really have the funding to buy one [bike valet] so I started manufacturing with my slight variations. Mountain Equipment Coop was my first sponsor so they provided me the money to actually buy the materials.” Soon after the building of the valet, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers became the first client.
It was a bit of a slower start Wieser says, “I wasn’t super well known so I would go around with my bike and tell all cyclists there was a free place to keep their bikes and someone would be watching it the whole time.”
The Bicycle Valet was a time-consuming project for Wieser who did the majority of it on his own at the beginning, “There was a limited number of volunteers and they were often busy doing the core parts of Bike to the Future so I was out there pretty much doing the bike valet on my own with the intention of growing it and turning it over to Bike Winnipeg.”
Wieser’s time with the valet was short and sweet as he was posted for the military outside of Winnipeg in 2011. The memories of working with such a small group of committed and excited volunteers at the Bombers games is something Wieser fondly remembers, “I was able to gather a lot of new volunteers who weren’t involved in Bike Winnipeg yet and I think it inspired others to join and it was exciting to bring new people on through a different way.”
Almost ten years later, Wieser’s idea has grown bigger than he would have thought, now being involved with Canada Day festivities and NHL whiteout parties, “I was really hoping to get involved with the Jets when they came back so I’m excited that we’re involved with the NHL.”
Wieser’s vision from the start was to remove the possibility of bikes getting stolen at events in the city as “The city is well known for high theft rates for bicycles, so it’s brought safety and security for people biking to events knowing their bike will still be there when they get back.” Wieser has made it a possibility for Winnipeggers to choose biking and has encouraged and inspired the city to become a more bike-friendly environment that continues to grow more and more each year.