When I was in my early twenties, leaving school and entering the world, I thought my limitless potential could change the world.
But I didn't do anything for the world. I made a life for myself, I worked for myself, I put time into myself. I wasn't at peace with the world, and I wasn't really doing anything about it.
Twenty-five years later, I meet people like Kino — and Kino specifically — and I feel like it might be okay.
First thing you'll notice is that, compared to many of the folks profiled on this site, he doesn't qualify as 'the old guard'. Excuse the term, but anyone working on cycling since the '90s is the old guard. Kino is a Millennial — he was actually born in the '90s.
Coming from Ottawa to Maple Ridge at the age of 8, Kino settled into suburban life with his family. He didn't bike much, certainly not as a regular activity. He says he was kind of lazy. It sounds like a Millennial stereotype, but he was simply raised in a slightly different world. Like many of that generation, he was driven to school.
When they drive you, you're not going to say, hey I'm going to bike to school instead. You're not going to fight against it.
Kino did, however, have to find his own way to university, and with SFU at the top of a small mountain, it gave him an excuse to put the lazy label to bed.
There was one summer where I thought I'll bike to school. At first, I was taking trails up which was nice. Then I thought it would be faster if I took the road.
It really ended up being on par with or faster than transit, because of the bus connections to Maple Ridge. It was actually more worth my time.
And that way I didn't have to go to the gym. So knock off two birds with one stone.
A convenience soon turned into a lifestyle. Kino cycled with a friend to San Francisco. He mixed some sporty gear into his everyday cycling wardrobe. And he started to look for others like him in Maple Ridge.
I was looking for cycling groups on Facebook. I was like, maybe there are people who want to ride together.
I saw HUB and they have meetings. I went to one, and saw it wasn't a ride group, it's an advocacy group. I was like, oh, this is interesting.
I've always been interested in city politics, something that seems attainable to change. It's the kind of advocacy where it's like, okay I kind of have a chance. Whereas provincially and federally you can do stuff but it seems less hopeful, it's so big.
But when you can meet your mayor and meet your city councillors, and be on committees, all in your community...
I had never met Kino before our conversation, over a drink at the end of summer. All I knew was he came highly recommended. I had worked with HUB committee chairs Jackie and Ivan for a few years, providing occasional support as part of their long, frustrating and lonely battle for safe cycling in F150 country — Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
A fresh new face is not unusual for the committee, which has about a half dozen regulars. But a fresh face who returns, and who becomes a regular — that's something else.
I enjoyed my first meeting, everybody was really nice and welcoming. They were really surprised to see someone my age. I thought it was cool and I kept showing up.
I got more involved, and then I ended up applying for the Active Transportation Advisory Committee for the City of Maple Ridge, and I got on that. It's really fulfilling to do something that helps your community.
And who exactly is in Kino's community? People who, generally and perhaps even stereotypically, are not exactly in favour of bike lanes. I try not to trade in stereotypes, but I ask you, if you have not already done so in your life, to cycle east along the Traboulay PoCo Trail in Port Coquitlam, cross over the Pitt Meadows Bridge, and then cycle along Lougheed Highway into Maple Ridge. It's a fun ride. It's also enlightening. Not everyone is like you. It doesn't take long to get the picture.
There's those people with their giant trucks and they cuss at you. It definitely can rattle you, scare you.
People who don't have a thick skin, that's going to really affect them, that's going to make them not want to bike.
For me, I've dealt with traffic a lot and so you kind of get used to it. People who don't have that thick skin, they're just not going to bike, which is sad.
That's ultimately what anyone working on active transportation in Maple Ridge is really working for. Protection.
It's all about the two main arterials, Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road. They were originally built for people passing through. And for farming and forestry vehicles, freight trucks and F150 pick-ups.
And over the decades, residential neighbourhoods and numbered streets and avenues have sprung up around them. Today, Maple Ridge has families and schools and retail businesses to support. And a road network that is not working for them.
I live off 216 - you could literally land an airplane on it. It's so wide. You have two drive lanes, and then parking on both sides, and then unprotected bike lanes as well.
I'm always doing parking surveys of the street, and there's only 5% use of the parking. It's crazy.
I'm not going to live in Maple Ridge forever, but I don't want to be just like, "oh, I'm going to leave Maple Ridge, so there's no reason for me to do anything that would help".
Even if I'm helping to put seeds in place for projects that happen ten years from now. It doesn't matter if it's not going to help me, but it's going to enrich the community.
It's interesting to me how Kino can express the sentiments of a politician, and somehow come off as completely genuine. Because of course, it's completely unscripted. It's just who he is. He knows his stuff, and he works hard, and he has great ambition.
He's also untested and has no reputation yet, so isn't it all just talk? But I believe him. Also, I know he know his stuff. It just seems too good to be true, that he could express himself with much of the substance and the confidence — and none of the occasional impatience or entitlement — of some of his peers in the cycling community across the region. And he does it with about ten times less experience than many.
When you're completely restructuring a road, you have the space to put in bike infrastructure, and I think that they're doing that whenever it's politically easy.
The hard thing to do is take an existing road, take out parking or driving lanes or whatever it is. So that's where there needs to be a push.
Reading the stuff about Vancouver gets me excited, because it's not happening all the time in Maple Ridge. Every time they do something, cycling just skyrockets.
I see people biking around Maple Ridge. But I don't see them come to open houses, I don't see them on committees. I get it — people are like, why should I waste my time. It's work, right?
Maybe he found his voice simply from listening to Jackie, Ivan, Peter, Dave and the gang at those Thursday night HUB meetings at the library. I don't know. But however it happened, I'm looking forward to seeing where he'll take it. And he'll get my vote, if he's ever on the ballot.
I think that it's really important that young people have a voice. Young people are not apathetic, they're really interested and have a lot of ideas and they don't like how things work.
I want to be a leader in that regard. As a young person it's really important, because this is going to be your future.