WORK IT. CYCLING IS A GREAT COMMUTING OPTION ANY TIME OF YEAR.
Visit www.translink.bc.ca/bikes for information on cycling in Metro Vancouver, including a list of Regional Bike Map retailers near you.
momentum and the vacc celebrate autumn riding in this issue’s bc section
Al ways Fresh,
Al ways Smooth!
momentum is grateful to the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition for helping us bring you information in this issue to support the vacc’s November Bike to Work Week campaign. You’ll find tips on what to wear, how to start a Bicycle User Group, and see some beautiful end-of trip facilities. This fall we encourage all BC cyclists to keep on riding! Many of us ride in the fair weather but have never experienced riding in the rain or the cold. With appropriate warm and waterproof clothing with all the gaps sealed to prevent wind and water from reaching your skin, fall and winter riding is a joyful experience. When you are warm and dry and whizzing through the watery wonderland of the city, you wonder why people choose to travel in any other way. As winter approaches, watch out for slippery surfaces like frost, wet metal sheeting or wet leaves. The best way to avoid slipping is to Slow Down! It’s also the best way to enjoy the autumn colours, the pulse of the streets, and the winter wonderland which will soon follow. Happy riding!
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 15
Cargo Co-op Gathers Speed Getting Schooled in the Rain Guide to Winter Commuting Apple Trees on Campus Urban Transportation Showcase VPL Pedal Pushers City Hall Facilities The Advocate Bicycalendar Meghan Winters Legal Brief
celebrate the end of bike to work week at momentum’s issue #36 launch party.
friday november 21 location tba music + dancing. good times guaranteed. we hope to see you there!
call 604-669-9850 for details the high heels ride from march 2008. photo by ben johnson.
wherever good taste is important! WWW.LIGHTHOUSEBREWING.COM
happy winner rides a new bike home
Lighthouse Brewing Company is pleased to announce the winner of their momentum readers survey prize draw: Darren Mansell from Vancouver, BC. “I’ve never won anything before, but I think a bike is the best thing I could have won,” says Darren. “It’s like winning the lottery!” Congratulations, Darren, and thanks to everyone who participated.
in february of this year, a group of local cycling
gathers speed by aaron pettigrew
top: aaron and zoey testing out an electricassist cargo trike at renaissance bicycle company on main. photo by miriam stuart. middle: diana testing out a trailer and recumbent combo on the ontario bike route. photo by miriam stuart. bottom: a cargo trailer. photo by ron richings.
enthusiasts began working on a legacy project to honour the memory of beloved friend and activist Isobel Kiborn. This project, known as the Vancouver Cargo Bike Co-operative, aims to make a variety of cargo bikes and utility trailers available to Vancouver cyclists as a low-cost and car-free option for moving large loads. While the Cargo Bike Co-op isn’t quite “open for business” yet, it’s making great progress. A summer campaign inviting donations of the BC Liberals’ $100 “Climate Action Dividend” helped raise enough money for the group to begin building up a small fleet of pedal-powered cargo vehicles. And to that end, after much research and a few test rides, the Co-op actually made its first purchases last month: two high-capacity trailers designed to carry up to eight large Rubbermaidtype bins each. The trailers, nicknamed Isobel 1 and 2, are the first in what will eventually become a diverse offering of cargo vehicles, including two-wheeled cargo bicycles, stable high-capacity cargo trikes, a wide range of trailers, and even some electricassist arrangements for hauling really big loads. Along with sourcing and test-riding various models of bikes and trailers, the group is also working out some of the organizational issues involved in starting up a bike-sharing cooperative. There are still some open questions about things like how membership will work, how to organize fees, and where to locate lending stations. Answers are beginning to come, though, thanks partly to an online survey (cargobikecoop.org/cargobikes-survey) which helps to get input from the community at large. The Vancouver Cargo Bike Co-op is humming along quite nicely, but there’s still lots to do. If you might like to become a member, or if you’re interested in helping to get the project off the ground, please check out the website (cargobikecoop.org), where you can join the mailing list or find contact details. Donations (bikes, trailers, dollars, skills, whatever!) are greatly appreciated.
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in the rain by christina thiele
a fear of tiny falling drops of water seems to be endemic in Vancouver,
keeping people from cycling to work during the “rainy season.” Having biked to work year-round to both UBC and Langara College with only semi-waterproof gear found at the thrift store, I can say I’ve lost my fear of the rain. This is thanks to great end-of-trip facilities which makes cycling in the rain much more bearable, and learning to “make do” when facilities are sparse. UBC’s Centre of International Relations, housed in the Liu Institute for Global Issues, has first class facilities. There are showers, lockers, and an outlet for hairdryers so I could make myself presentable after the long, sweaty haul up NW Marine Drive. They were put there specifically to encourage people to bike to work. During the Institute’s construction, its current director, Brian Job, suggested to the late founding director Dr. Ivan Head, that part of making the Liu “green” should include facilities to make it easy for people to choose not to take their cars to work. Dr. Head made it happen. These are beautiful facilities, and Job himself often leaves his car behind and runs to work from his home in Point Grey, taking advantage of the facilities he had a hand in implementing. It’s encouraging to think that a simple suggestion made during the construction phase of a building could have such an effect on a commuter cyclist’s quality of life. Especially when Langara College is in the planning stages of their 25-year Master Construction Plan. The plan’s transportation initiatives include enhancing “cycle access and the level of secure and accessible bike parking.” As things were when I was there, commuting in the rain could be tough; if there were free showers and change rooms for cycling commuters, I was not able to find them. I looked at it as a creative challenge. Because my clothes got wet on the way to school, I simply brought a change of clothes and let my wet clothes dry during class time. Changing in the washrooms was a bit uncomfortable because the stalls were small and there wasn’t much privacy. In spite of this, cycling to Langara also has its good points. There are plenty of safe places to lock your bike; the security staff is only too happy to walk you to your bike when classes end late, and there are hand dryers in some of the bathrooms to dry your things in a pinch. The college’s top brass also ride their bikes to work; this includes Doug Soo, Ken Pawlak and Linda Arnold, just a few of the Deans at the school who also made a valiant showing during Bike to Work Week in May. In future revisions of the Master Plan, it would be nice to see more amenities for cyclists like private change rooms near the proposed cyclists’ entrance.
christina thiele undeterred by wet cylcing clothes at ubc. photo by david niddrie
Whether your final destination boasts first class end-of-trip facilities or not, cycling there is its own reward, even if it’s in the rain, and even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on fancy rain gear. For me, it’s a chance to keep my body healthy, meet some of the amazing people who cycle in this city, and share the nod of mutual admiration with other cyclists who have also shed their fear of tiny drops of falling water.
a short guide to winter commuting
by rob brownie illustration by josue menjivar the alarm goes off sometime after 6 am and
my first thought on this dark November morning is whether or not I hear the thumping of rain on the roof and the sound of water rushing over the leaf-clogged eaves. If there is silence, the next step is to make my way to the window and check the sky for cloud cover or starlight. If cloudy, what direction is the wind blowing? And how dense is the grey hue? Like an intrepid sailor setting out for a clear passage to the next port, I have to make daily calculations to ensure my ride to work will be as warm, dry, and hazard-free as possible. Most winter days in Raincouver this means being prepared for anything, including snow. The clothing I use for winter riding varies only in the number of layers I wear, and I strive to keep it to a minimum. I prefer the combination of a light under-layer with a wool and/or fleece shirt on top; for bottoms I wear a pair of Swrve dry-skin knickers with thermal tights when the thermometer dips below 5°C. Rain gear is fairly standard – I suggest anything that is water repellent but breathes. Finally, aside from wool socks and old hiking shoes,
I pull on a pair of thermal gloves with waterresistant covers. Everything else I need for work (clothes, shoes, and occasionally a laptop), I stuff into one of my Ortlieb Classic panniers. These 25-litre bags have loads of room and are made of waterproof tarp material that won’t mould – ideal for commuting on the Wet (sic!) Coast. When it comes to choosing a bike for winter, it is crucial to find a bike that fits both your body and the roads you ride. Now that road bikes have adopted sturdier frames with a more refined geometry, I have switched my cranky old mountain bike for a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I find my weight is better distributed between the front and rear of the bike and I am less upright in my saddle, both important details when selecting a commuter bike according to Ed Luciano of Vancouver’s Mighty Riders bike shop. Ed also insists that when choosing a tire that can manage heavy rain and frost patches, consider a tread with a high-end rubber compound (try Schwalbe). If you are able to spring for an upgrade, get the best tires you can afford. To extend the life of your bike (and legs), regular maintenance means
treating your bike to full pre/post winter tune-ups but also cleaning your drive train each month. My 10 kilometre ride to work from Mt. Pleasant to South Marpole takes me about half an hour (snow can double the time). I have to admit that my early bike routes were purely utilitarian. I rode like a drone along major roads falsely assuming that side streets would just slow me down with all of those stop signs, speed bumps and jaywalking pets. Over time I have sought out commutes that ensure a minimal loss of elevation and a generous mix of quiet residential streets, designated bike routes, and back lanes. After twenty years of year-round riding I now have a network of about eight alternate routes and I always leave room for spontaneity. In addition to the pleasure that this inventiveness brings to my journey, I am motivated to ride my bike year-round knowing that driving to work would release upwards of one ton of CO2 and cost about $1000 in fuel alone – savings that will more than cover my VACC membership renewal, the brake pads I’ll burn through, and maybe that set of studded tires I’ve had my eyes on… you never know!
a story nearly lost
xvX isaac newton’s
apple trees on campus
the apple trees. photo by chris oram. below: the apples. photo by margo mctaggart.
by margo mctaggart i was headed for an appointment at the University of British Columbia
when I found myself pedalling alongside a fellow middle-aged cyclist on a well-used touring bike. We began a conversation that continued as we entered the south campus. The south end of Wesbrook Mall – formerly a cul-de-sac – had recently been upgraded to a through road as part of a wave of development on campus. We swung around an old traffic circle, planted with seven weathered apple trees. “You know the story of these trees, don’t you?” I asked him. I assumed many on campus did. The story was familiar to me, since we were at the entrance to TRIUMF, the physics research lab where my husband has worked for many years. At the completion of the TRIUMF facility in 1969, the original director, a hobby orchardist, had taken a creative approach to the required spending on landscaping. He produced trees from cuttings taken in England, continuing a line of propagation by cuttings from an apple tree in the garden that belonged to Sir Isaac Newton’s parents. These were planted in 1969 during a ceremony for the opening of TRIUMF. The aging trees we were passing formed a direct link to an iconic moment in the history of science; they were genetically identical to the tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to propose his theory of gravity in 1661. My fellow cyclist seemed captivated by the story. He stopped and asked me to repeat it. When he handed me his card, I saw he was a professor of AgroEcology. Quite naturally, he turned a little later to enter the UBC Farm, where sustainable agriculture is studied and demonstrated. At his request, I followed
up by outlining the story in an email and providing him with contacts to the oldest TRIUMF researchers who could fill in the story details. Some months later, an article – Newton’s Trees at UBC – appeared in UBC Reports, the university’s media newsletter. This was followed by an article in The Vancouver Sun and an interview on CBC radio. I hadn’t realized how close this story had come to being lost, but now it was in the public eye. More importantly, the agricultural specialists working less than a kilometre from the trees were now aware of their existence and significance. I should have known as much, what with physicists’ tendency to bury themselves obsessively in their world of theories and accelerator projects, which can sometimes cause them to neglect communication with the outside world. After all, I’m married to one. Could it be that the trees’ future will be secure against premature removal, as development marches across the south campus? Could it be that the campus gardeners will once more prune them and care for them? I hope so. As the UBC Reports article says, “…the story of these seven trees may have been lost, were it not for a recent chance meeting between two cyclists passing by the site.” Margo wonders if eating these “physicist apples” makes you smarter or simply eccentric. They certainly make good pies! Read the UBC Reports article: www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/ubcreports/2007/07jun07/trees.html
urban transportation showcase program by talia fanning
photos by david niddrie
vancouver’s main street village has been receiving a number of cycling-related improvements as part of the federal government’s Urban Transportation Showcase Program. Participants in the program, of which Vancouver is one of only eight across the country, receive funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using alternative transportation strategies. The showcase project in the Greater Vancouver Area is a six-pronged initiative which includes major improvements to the Central Valley Greenway, introducing hybrid buses, creating “transit villages,” education and awareness raising, improving goods movement, and redeveloping the Main Street corridor. In Vancouver, federal government money was supplemented with funding from the provincial government and TransLink, with the intent of making the project a model for future development. Improvements to Main Street, in particular, are designed to make the area safer and more convenient for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit vehicles. Most of these improvements have been accomplished by sidewalk redesign. Moving bus stops to the corners of intersections and creating bus bulges, so buses no longer need to swerve in and out of traffic to pick up passengers, also benefits pedestrians by narrowing the crossing distance at the corners. Cyclists benefit as well, because the buses stay in the centre lane, leaving room in the curb lane for parked cars and bikes. However, lanes shared by parked cars and bikes have inherent dangers as well, most notably, a “door prize,” when cyclists are injured by hitting or being hit by a car door opening in front of them. A relatively new bike symbol has emerged to help reduce such injuries. “Sharrows” incorporate the familiar bike
stencil, placed below two chevrons, indicating to motorists and cyclists that the lane is to be shared (share + arrow = sharrow). The symbol is also found in San Francisco, Portland, and even Australia, and it serves as a visual cue to cyclists on where to position themselves most safely in the lane. When on-street parking is permitted, the sharrows direct cyclists to the left side of the lane, out of the range of opening car doors. They appear in the centre of the lane when there is not enough room for motorists to overtake without changing lanes, and on the right side of the lane when a car and bike have room to travel side by side. The Urban Transportation Showcase Program is also improving the Central Valley Greenway, a 22-kilometre stretch of paths and parks connecting Science World and New Westminster Quay. The Greenway is designed to offer an alternative to shared road facilities that is also fast and convenient. By travelling its length, instead of on the street, cyclists bypass half the road intersections and can connect with 27 other bike routes, and 11 bus stations. Additional facilities, including bike boxes and median refuges, provide a place on the road for cyclists when the path meets the street. Bike boxes have been in use in Europe since the 1980s and have recently become a part of the bike network in Vancouver. They are coloured boxes where cyclists can wait for lights to change in full view of motorists, reducing the chances of receiving a “right hook,” when a driver makes a right turn across a straight-riding cyclist’s path. In Holland and Denmark, special bike traffic signals give the waiting cyclists a few seconds of lead time before car traffic proceeds. The Transportation Association of Canada has recently approved these signals for use in Canada; however, they have yet to be mandated by the province.
cycling committee by talia fanning
getting together as a group is the most
important part of a BUG’s life, says Vancouver Public Library cyclist Jen Caldwell, the Branch Liaison for the library’s Pedal Pushers Cycling Committee. BUGs – or Bicycle User Groups – are the driving force behind the improvements to workplace bike facilities, and the strength of the group relies on the solidarity of people involved. Pedal Pushers came about after the conclusion of the 2007 civic strike. Library cyclists who had bonded riding from branch to branch supporting their cause were happy to get back to their offices, but they didn’t want to lose the sense of community they had developed out on the streets. Forming a unionrecognized committee made their informal group into a voice for cycling at the VPL. Caldwell says since most of the riders work at the central branch, the toughest part of keeping the group together is involving riders from other branches. This year, the Pedal Pushers produced a cycling guide of Vancouver libraries with information about showers, parking, and lock-up facilities, to make it easier for staff members to ride. They have also developed a bike buddy system. Over 30 library workers are registered on the Pedal Pushers web page, volunteering to meet and guide any new riders wishing to come to work by bike. “Every cyclist has tips and tricks they’ve picked up about the routes. This is an opportunity to learn from other riders, where people give advice, and knowledge can be passed informally.” The group also coordinates team events: most notably, the Bike to Work Week campaign, in which the library workers had two teams. To keep motivation high throughout the city, they organize prize draws, parties, and lunch meetings. The committee has raised the profile of cycling at the library, which in turn has increased the resources dedicated to bikes. Amenities such as oil, pumps, and bike tools, are available at the central branch bike room for staff. And, as one would expect from the city’s library network, their bike room is well equipped with reading material, including a list of books with resource information about cycling. Such official and organized BUGs are the exception,
the flying bicycle brigade. photo by james gemmill
a few members of the pedal pushers at the vpl. photo by amy walker.
rather than the rule in most workplaces, and Caldwell emphasizes the group members’ close bond as the primary reason for what they’ve been able to accomplish. To other workplaces wishing to develop BUGs, she recommends team-building events. “Meeting up somewhere and riding together, over a bridge,” she explains, “getting together as a group, and going for a ride. “We all want cycling to be promoted at VPL. We’re cycling because we believe in it,” she says. “It’s a collective experience, and it’s healthy for us, and for the environment, so we want to encourage people.” Making cycling more visible, Caldwell says, makes it easier for people to try it, and that means the signs of cycling have to be acceptable in the workplace. “Cycling style needs to be acceptable. Sometimes that means having wet socks, or no socks. The (dress code) in a bank, or a library, or a school, might be different, but it needs to be flexible.” Biking advocates everywhere emphasize that increasing visibility is the most important part of their work. Caldwell agrees, saying that if people see their workplace promoting and supporting cycling, they will feel more comfortable joining the group.
how to create a thriving bug (bicycle user group) by jodi peters
the city of toronto has a network of Bicycle
User Groups (BUGs), and their website provides a
detailed and insightful guide on how to start your own BUG. Here are a few highlights:
Survey for employee interest (e.g. leave notes on parked bicycles)
2. Networking (find a cycle-friendly advocate in as many departments as possible)
3. Planning (focus on three areas: facilities, incentives and promotion)
4. Proposals to management (stress cost-
effectiveness, and anticipate questions about budgets and space)
5. Spreading the word (host a cycling or commuting showcase event)
6. Keep your BUG alive and well (internal
communication and social connection is key)
deluxe new digs for
city hall cyclists by jodi peters
photos by ben johnson
it’s raining lightly as I roll into the underground parking at Vancouver’s City hall – a
the city’s new facilities include ample bike parking, drying hooks, lockers, showers, and even nice touches like hair dryers and ironing stations.
gentle foreshadowing of the winter weather to come. On the walk to the elevator (after locking my bike to one of the numerous public bike racks), I pass the newly installed bike cage. No chain link here; it’s not a material approved under the City’s parking bylaw as it can be easily cut. It is filled with a dozen or so bikes, despite the rain. What’s it like to commute by bicycle to the command headquarters of one of Canada’s most sustainable cities? Adequate (in terms of facilities), crowded, and getting better according to Peter Stary, an avid commuter cyclist who has commuted by bike to city hall, year-round for the past 25 years (his current commute is around 9 kilometres each way, from Burnaby to the City centre). According to Stary, employees at City Hall are fortunate to have access to what he deems the top two necessities that make winter riding possible: showers/ changing facilities and lockers (secure bike parking is a given for cycle commuting at any time of year). However, he points out that City Hall’s facilities are currently maxed out in terms of capacity, which brings him to the good news for both long-time and potential cyclists at City Hall: In February of this year, the City announced $360, 000 for improvements in end-of-trip cycling facilities as part of its Employee Mobility Program (EMP). After consulting with commuter cyclists, the facilities department has added a few flourishes to the improvement plans, which raise the bar for workplace end-of-trip facilities. Stary is enthusiastic about the new drying room, “If you’d asked me the top three things [to encourage year-round cycling], the third thing I would’ve said would be drying spaces, because soaked bike clothes will not dry in a locker.” Custom designed by the facilities department in response to input from Stary and other cycle commuters, the drying room sports perforated stainless steel surfaces through which air blows upwards. Another thoughtful feature mentioned by an excited Amy Fournier – Community Outreach Coordinator for the City’s Sustainability department – is ironing equipment installed in the new change rooms. Fournier pointed out that pulling wrinkled clothes out of your pannier bags is a definite barrier for an employee with professional meeting obligations. However, the City recognizes that while good end-of-trip facilities are the foundation of a bike-friendly workplace, a combination of incentives to cycle and disincentives to drive maximize its investment in infrastructure. Of the cycling incentives introduced by the EMP, Stary likes the Guaranteed Ride Home Program and the subsidized transit tickets, for the handful of days when conditions in Vancouver make cycling treacherous (black ice or heavy snow), or for unforeseen emergencies and overtime. He believes that for people dusting their bikes off after a decade in the garage, access to free bike mechanic services may be especially enabling. Key to maximizing the effectiveness of the incentive program is the powerful disincentive of introducing pay parking, which the City hopes to do by next spring. And what is the city, as a public servant, doing to promote a city-wide proliferation of bike friendly workplaces to follow its example? Stary, who is Bicycle Program Coordinator for the Greenways and Neighbourhood Transportation Branch, says that most encouragement on the part of the city comes in the form of bylaws. The city has required new developments of a certain size to supply standardized, secure bike parking and shower facilities since 1995. Recent revisions to development bylaws make it easier to retroactively provide bike parking by allowing older buildings to convert car parking spaces to secure bike parking (such as cages or bike rooms). Stary notes that the changes at City Hall are in part the result of internal pressure from employees. “I think a lot of this stuff comes from internal advocacy... like the drying room. It’s something that people that cycle to city hall here have been asking for for many years.” His advice to frustrated employees who contact his department over issues like secure bike parking is to start bicycle user groups to garner negotiating power with reticent employers. The climate for sustainable workplace initiatives has never been more favourable and, using city bylaws for support, anyone who can ride their bike to work has the potential to transform their workplace into a cycle commuting mecca.
Get ready for Bike to Work Week in November! Bike to Work Events Calendar am 6:30am â€“ 9:30am
pm 3:30pm â€“ 6:00pm (except friday)
Lions Gate Bridge N.W. Vancouver *Northwest pullout
Cambie Bridge Downtown Vancouver Northwest corner of Expo Blvd and Smithe.
tuesday november 18
Burnaby Station Burnaby Urban Trail â€“ Gilmore at Home Depot (just north of the railway tracks)
Surrey Station Patullo Bridge Southwest cyclist approach
wednesday november 19
10th and Cambie VanCity plaza
Adanac bike route Union and Main (Across from Jett Grrl)
friday november 21
Richmond Station Thompson Community Centre 5151 Granville St (just west of Lynas Lane).
Ontario and Broadway
participate in Bike to Work Week. Rally your team and get everyone ready to log their commutes on the VACC website for a chance to win prizes. Some of you will be lucky to find a commuter station near your workplace and find the VACC out on the streets during rush hour, encouraging those cyclists who are making a year-round effort to bike to work with hot coffee, tasty treats, draw prizes, bike mechanics and more. This is a great opportunity to encourage more year-round cycling. We hope youâ€™ll participate.
monday november 17
thursday november 20
from november 17-23 the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition wants you to
Wrap-up and Warm up Party! Entertainment Science World 4 â€“ 7pm Under the gazebo in Creekside Park. momentum Issue 36 Launch Party 8pm â€“ until late Location TBA â€œCelebrate the launch of Momentumâ€™s November Bike to Work issueâ€?
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advocate john luton
trouble in colwood
on + off the track
dave saunders is a councillor in Colwood, a
suburban, car-dependent municipality between the urban core of Victoria and the receding rainforest northwest of British Columbia’s capital city. He wants the cycling community to cut him some slack. The Saunders family owns the local Subaru dealership and are generous sponsors of competitive cycling events in and around Victoria. They are owed some thanks for helping to build an outdoor velodrome for the Commonwealth Games in 1994 and a dirt track for the BMX World Championships in 2007. More recently, Colwood and Saunders in particular, who also sits on the West Shore Parks and Recreation Commission, have come under fire for plans to fill in the velodrome and pave over the BMX track for football fields and parking lots. The plan is not selling well with the track cycling community and, increasingly, others in the suburban political community and media. Seen as a legacy project from the Games, the facility was built with provincial funds and was meant to serve the larger community, not just the West Shore on whose land the velodrome sits. The fact that the track no longer meets international standards for competition and is unused in the long rainy season, frustrates recreation planners who see an expensive piece of infrastructure standing in the way of more popular facilities. Saunders is promising an indoor facility that meets contemporary standards where cyclists could race all year round. The racing community remains unconvinced that the promise is sincere. They’ve been told that they need to help raise funds to build the track, a tall order for a sport that draws only a few dozen regular users locally. That the track is used by so few is ammunition for those who would shut it down, with or without concrete plans for a replacement. Commission Chair Mark Cardinal, a former rugby player and mayor of
better times at colwood’s velodrome. photo by john luton.
nearby Highlands municipality, complains that the track is an exclusive preserve for a small number of elite athletes and in use only “a few days of the year.” Some of those athletes, of course, include Olympians like Ryder Hjesdal, who only a few months ago completed his first Tour de France. That’s very elite indeed, but the velodrome is also used extensively for club racing, regional competitions, and school and family programs that support the development of athletes with more modest ambitions. The future of the track looks grim – a recent competition was cancelled after the track was closed by the commission over safety issues with infield conditions. The untimely closure has some suspecting payback for a lawsuit mounted by the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association who are challenging the right of the West Shore communities
to shut down a provincially-funded legacy facility. Saunders says he is willing to talk, but concedes that his proposal would still see closing the existing velodrome without a concrete plan in place to build a replacement. Unless a new velodrome is in place, resistance to shutting down the existing track is likely to harden. Beyond the velodrome, Colwood’s on-road bike facilities are behind most other municipalities in the region. There are few bike lanes, and new facilities planned do not yet address the key gaps in Greater Victoria’s regional network. So, while Saunders would like some credit for his past work, and credit is no doubt due, the reality on the ground is a little less appealing. One gets the feeling that support for cycling is generous, as long as they are riding somewhere other than Colwood.
bicyclists sewing workshop
Every Monday at 7pm
First Thursday of each month, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Science World Gazebo, 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver We ride hard and fast, usually around two hours total. The destination is decided at the start by those present and have included Iona, Deep Cove, and North Shore loops. Freewheels are welcome
Our Community Bikes, 3283 Main St, Vancouver An introduction to bicycle mechanics course taught by an OCB staff member. Bring your bike and a snack. Register at OCB with a $10 deposit. 604-879-BIKE for more information.
Saturday November 8
Vancouver Oakland’s B. Spoke Tailor (Nan Eastep) will offer a workshop for sewing bicyclists. Learn to convert regular trousers into bike knickers and wool sweaters into arm/leg warmers. Email bspoketailor@gmail. com or call 604-669-9850 for time & location.
introduction to bicycle repair workshop
Thursday, November 20, 7pm (doors/reception 6 pm)
Third Monday of every month, 6:30-9:30pm
Second and Fourth Thursdays every month, 11:45pm
Centennial Theatre 2300 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver This screening is part of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. DVDs will be available for sale at the screening. Tickets: $15 in advance; $17 at the door; vimff ticket package discounts available Advance tickets at www.vimff.org; and at the theatre 604- 984-4484. www.longroadnorth.com
Our Community Bikes, 3283 Main Street, Vancouver Ladies fix your bike night at Our Community Bikes. $5-$10/hour. This is a trans-inclusive space. 604-879-BIKE for more information.
Grandview Park, Commercial Drive, Vancouver A chance to see your city from a new perspective. A social club. A ride in a world without cars. A party on wheels. A place to meet people and share ideas. A celebration of the bicycle. An adventure - complete with tree forts and secret trails. A bike ride! All of these things and more, sometimes all at once. We meet on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, 11:45 pm, Grandview Park (Charles St at Commercial Drive, across from Havana and Turks). midnight-mass.blogspot.com
screening of long road north
Friday, November 21, 8pm – 2am
momentum #36 release vacc november bike to work week party
Location TBA Join momentum and the VACC for a hot and sweaty night of dancing and celebration. Ample bike parking provided. Phone for details: 604-669-9850
december Wednesday, December 3, 5pm onward
better environmentally sound transportation year end celebration for members, volunteers, supporters & friends Location TBA Jeremy Fisher and Shera Kelly will provide live music, complete with a Bicycle song, bicycle jokes, and more. BEST will serve food and get you started on your beverage of choice. Come and launch winter properly, and help BEST close the year with thanks to all who contribute to sustainable transportation. Hope to see you there. Check www.best.bc.ca for location. Saturday, December 13th, 6:30pm
greater victoria cycling coalition’s christmas lights ride
Victoria, BC A perennial family favourite ride! Join us on a new route, viewing award winning Christmas lights displays. Ride leaves from the Garden City United Church, 4054 Carey Road, and returns there for refreshments and door prizes! Functioning front and rear lights are required for this night ride. For more information contact Sam Macey at 250-382-8619
The Bicycalendar is a listing of rides, parties, bike-friendly and self-propelled events. Culture happens when we get together. Send your one-time or recurring events listings to email@example.com or register as a momentumplanet.com user to list your event on our website. Priority is given to events that are free and involve self-propelled transportation.
womyn on wheels
Every Tuesday night, 7pm
Science World Gazebo, 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver A fixie-inspired social ride (though having a fixie is not essential). www.fixedvancouver.com for info. First Tuesday each month (except July and August)
vacc-surrey/white rock committee meeting
Meeting Room 1, Newton Seniors’ Centre 13775-70th Avenue, Surrey If you ride your bike in Surrey or White Rock, come meet and work with other cyclists to help improve local cycling facilities. All welcome. www.best.bc.ca or contact Gordon Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org Fourth Tuesday of every month (except July, August, and December)
vacc-new westminster committee meeting
New Westminster Police Station 555 Columbia St @ 6th Street, New Westminster If you ride your bike in New Westminster, come meet and work with other cyclists to help improve local cycling facilities. All are welcome. www.vacc.bc.ca for more information, or contact Andrew Feltham email@example.com Wednesday, every week, 5:30pm
wednesday pie ride
Second Friday of every month, 10pm
midnight mystery ride Centennial Square, Victoria
Second Friday every Month, meet 7pm, ride 7:30pm
Science World Gazebo, 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver A rolling social ride which started as a chopper club event and mutated into a come one and all Friday Night Fun Ride. mcthree.blogspot.com Last Friday of every month 5:30pm meet – ride starts after 6pm
Vancouver Art Gallery, Georgia Street Centennial Square, Victoria A celebration of zero-emission transportation – a meeting place for the self-propelled – an exercise in anarchy and self-government – and a heck of a lot of fun.
Canada Place (west side), Vancouver Around Stanley Park, over to Canada Place, across to Kits, and out around UBC (if desired). Go for a bite at Calhoun’s on West Broadway afterward. 20-50km, depending on how far you ride. Please wait at predetermined spots for others. Contact Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org; www.vbc.bc.ca
Last Friday of the month after Critical Mass
Fourth Wednesday of every month (except August and December)
Vancouver If you ride your bike in Vancouver or at UBC, come meet and work with other cyclists to help improve local cycling facilities. All welcome. www.vacc.bc.ca for info, or contact Jack Becker email@example.com
Meet at 10 am by the coffee shop at 6th and Arbutus. Weekly leisure ride each Saturday morning at 10am. We’ll average 15-20km per hour following bike routes around Vancouver, going to Iona Island or crossing to the North Shore. The ride will go 30-50 km with a coffee break somewhere in the middle. Contact: Brian: firstname.lastname@example.org or Teresa: email@example.com.
Thursday, every week 4-7pm and Saturdays, 1-4pm
Meets monthly (except July and August)
Recyclistas, Victoria Learn how to fix your own bike. $20 for adult; $13 for youth. Call 250-418-8867 to register. www.recyclistas.ca/recyclistas/
Library at Coquitlam City Hall Guildford @ Pinetree, Coquitlam If you ride your bike in the Tri-Cities, come meet and work with other cyclists to help improve cycling facilities in the Tri-Cities. All are welcome. www.best.bc.ca or contact John Seinen at firstname.lastname@example.org
vacc-vancouver/ubc committee meeting
Anza Club, W 8th Ave @ Ontario, Vancouver $5 if you arrive with Critical Mass; $10 general. For more info, contact email@example.com Each Saturday
saturday leisure ride
vacc-tri-cities committee meeting
bikeability map by christie hurrell
does the built environment – the roads, buildings,
and infrastructure that make up a city – influence your decision to cycle? For Meghan Winters, the answer used to be no. “I would look for the shortest route to any given destination,” she says from her office at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia. “If that involved cycling many kilometers on a busy road, no problem.” Her no-holds-barred approach to cycling changed, however, with the birth of her son, who often travels with her in a child’s bike seat or trailer. “I started to understand why some people were hesitant to use bicycles to get around,” she explains. “It became clear to me that to get every age and stage using bicycles for transport, we need to improve conditions in the city.” Making the built environment more favourable to cycling might be a key factor in encouraging more people to ditch their cars and get on a bike. This certainly seems to be the case in many European countries with higher cycling rates, where infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes, secure bike parking, and easy access to public transportation are more common. However, here in North America, not much research, aside from opinion surveys, has been done to gather data about how the built environment influences cycling behaviours. Meghan’s research, which she is pursuing as a PhD student, is doing just that. Her goal is to create a “bikeability map” for Metro Vancouver, which shows how characteristics of the built environment – land use, transportation networks, and urban design features – relate to increased or decreased levels of cycling. By identifying engineering and environmental factors that encourage people to get on their bikes, her work will help policy makers and land use planners identify ways to design healthier communities. The research complements that of Prof. Larry Frank, a fellow UBC researcher who has studied how the built environment influences walking in various communities in the US. His research in Atlanta, GA, showed that residents who live in the most walkable neighbourhoods are two and a half times more likely to be physically active than those living in the least walkable areas. In Frank’s work, factors such as a grid road network; a diverse land-use mix combining residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational opportunities; and residential density all contributed to making a neighbourhood more walkable. These findings have been influential in bringing community planners, environmentalists, and public health officials together to plan communities that meet the goals of each group. The bikeability map will draw from the lessons
learned from Frank’s research. However, there are likely to be important differences between walkability and bikeability. For example, whereas sidewalks are important for walking, the presence of cyclist-activated traffic signals might be a key factor for cyclists. To collect the extensive and detailed body of information needed for the bikeability map, Meghan is compiling data on streets (e.g. number of lanes), environment (e.g. elevation), and cycling infrastructure (e.g. bike-friendly traffic signals) around the Metro Vancouver area. Most of this information is readily available from sources such as the regional transportation authority, the provincial tax assessors, and the Canadian census. From these data sources, Meghan is creating a detailed map of the built environment as it relates to cycling. She is integrating this map with information from residents on frequent trips they take, and how they get there. By combining the mapped data about the city’s built environment with real-world reports of transportation activity from residents, Meghan will be able to identify cycling “hotspots” throughout the region. “Also, the map may identify areas that are pretty good for cycling but are missing one piece of the puzzle, like a key bike route or overpass,” she says. To refine the bikeability map, Meghan has also conducted focus groups with different types of cyclists (potential, occasional, and regular) and with members of a local cycling advocacy coalition, to get a sense of what bikeability means to a broad range of people. “People’s perspectives about cycling varied depending on how often they ride,” Meghan notes. “But certainly, things like traffic and safety were common concerns among most people I spoke with.” Meghan is hopeful that the results of her research will help planners in Metro Vancouver make the region more bikeable. “It seems we’re at the start of a new era of cycling,” she concludes. “It would be a great time to be bold and take on some innovative cycling projects here in the Metro Vancouver area.” For more information on Meghan’s research, visit www.cher.ubc.ca/cyclingincities/ For an article from Momentum #30 about a precursor “Cycling in Cities” survey, also done at UBC, visit www. momentumplanet.com/features/cycling-cities
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paradox a nice little
it’s a beautiful day and you’re preparing for a ride. You check off what
you need and out the door into the quarrel of traffic you go. You think you have everything you need and you’re probably right, but if you don’t have a driver’s license, think again. What?! How can this be? I am about to engage in a joyful experience which I regard as antithetical to driving a car, and I need a driver’s license to do it? To be clear, naturally, it is not illegal to operate a bicycle on urban roadways without a driver’s license. But if a cyclist in BC wants the full protection of the law, a driver’s license is required. Let us examine the legislative scheme at work. First, some context. Perhaps it goes without saying that a driver’s license may only be required by a cyclist if that cyclist is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Because cyclists are “insured” persons within the meaning of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, a license will not be necessary in order to collect Part 7 or “no fault” benefits from ICBC if the vehicle involved is registered and insured in BC. But if the offending vehicle is insured in another province, or from the US, an injured cyclist can only turn to ICBC for these benefits (including rehab expenses and total temporary disability benefits) if the cyclist: a) has a driver’s license b) drives a vehicle c) lives with someone who owns a vehicle, or d) lives with someone who has a driver’s license. Let’s assume you live alone and think of possessing a driver’s license as pure heresy, which you gladly renounce and you are seriously injured
by a driver visiting from Alberta – aka the nightmare scenario. You are still entitled to sue that driver, and, depending on a finding of negligence, eventually recover compensation for your injuries, income loss, and medical expenses. But in the short term, unless you are a cyclist described in a to d above, you have no insurer to turn to. Then there is the double nightmare. You are in the same circumstances with the added feature that the out-of-province driver who injured you has no insurance or inadequate insurance. In the double nightmare, if you have a driver’s license or meet any of the a to d conditions, you have entitlement to “UMP” (underinsured motorist protection) which can give you significant insurance through ICBC. But if you do not have a license, or car, and you live alone, and you are hurt on your bike by an out-of-province uninsured or underinsured vehicle, you are truly in a difficult spot, without any access to any form of insurance now, or even later. From a philosophical perspective, the scheme in place may assail the nostrils with the unmistakable odour of a carbased culture. It seems manifestly unfair that cyclists who live alone and have chosen to divest themselves of all things automotive must pay for their own rehab if injured by a negligent driver who doesn’t even reside in BC. From a legal perspective, given the present regime, there is simply no way around the fact that a cyclist is much better equipped to address the vagaries of modern urban cycling with a driver’s license in his/ her back pocket, or the back pocket of a household member.
“…a cyclist is much better equipped to address the vagaries of modern urban cycling with a driver’s license in his/her back pocket”
David Hay is a litigation lawyer and partner at Richards Buell Sutton LLP. He has a special interest in bike injury law and can be contacted at 604 6619250 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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The No. 36 B.C. regional insert appeared magazines destined for distribution in British Columbia, Canada. Included in this issue are storie...