Outdoor Bike Art in Vancouver —Artistic Harbinger for a Green City

Along Adanac St. bike route near Clarke St. Vancouver, BC.

Along Adanac St. bike route near Clarke St. Vancouver, BC. Less than 2 km. from old Chinatown. Combines cycling imagery and national railroad history of which Chinese-Canadians helped build. Photo by J.Chong

 Metro Vancouver has a plethora of permanent outdoor bike art scattered across our region. In City of Vancouver, there are over 40 different art works.  For whole of Metro Vancouver, over 60 art works are spread across adjacent communities of Surrey, Burnaby, North Vancouver and others.

For some pieces, you simply have to stop cycling and hunt for a few minutes:  it may be right near your foot –a bike art mosaic, a wall mural on the backside of an industrial building or school building.  There is even bike art as structural steel art work on top of a street pole or shaped into public seating.

"Transported Through Time" By Bruce Walther (2008).  Smithe and Burrard St. Historic rendering of transportation modes in Vancouver --First Nations boat, electric inter-urban streetcar, bus, seaplane, ocean liner, train and bicycle. Photo by J. Chong

"Transported Through Time" By Bruce Walther (2008). Smithe and Burrard St. Historic rendering of transportation modes in Vancouver --First Nations boat, electric inter-urban streetcar, bus, seaplane, ocean liner, train and bicycle. Photo by J. Chong

Why do images of cycling or the bike, crop up in our public art?  I’d like to think that artistic vision in good public art, often expresses creatively, hopes and dreams of what the city can become: the possibilities for people by thinking and envisioning out of the box. 
 
Each art work was conceived and installed independent of one another at different times. Some artworks were funded by the City of Vancouver’s public art program whereas others were supported by the local Business Improvement Association where volunteer community groups  have been led by an artist.  The lead 

Well protected mountain biker. Metal bike artwork at Burnaby Mountain Bike Park. Burnaby, BC 2011. Photo by J. Steil

Well protected mountain biker and shining like a knight. Metal bike artwork at Burnaby Mountain Bike Park. Burnaby, BC. Photo by J. Steil (2011). No, there is no one inside that cycling steel armour!

artists designed the work and then it was installed and finished collectively, with each  paint stroke or with each mosaic tile, by community volunteers of all ages.  These artworks are a wonderful testament to a shared desire to beautify collectively  for creating a permanent image  within their neighbourhood. 

Public art work as one artist friend said, is a sign of making a community more liveable. And what could be more apt, than  outdoor bike art. 

 John Steil, a community planner, artist and book author for  Public Art in Vancouver, is outdoor bike art detective –par excellence in Metro Vancouver. For the past few years, while cycling (and occasionally driving) around to track down 500 different outdoor public art for his book, he also included bike art in his photographic discoveries.  He notes:

“I have put in a lot of kilometres on my bike, researching Public Art in Vancouver.  I thought I’d seen all the public art that included cycling, but I’m always delightfully surprised when I come across new pieces in Vancouver or in the surrounding municipalities as I expand my search for public art in general. Public art is a dynamic field.” 

Bike guerilla art planted within a traffic calming circle with an flourishing community garden plot. Along 10 St. East. Photo by J. Steil (2010)

Bike guerilla signage art planted within a traffic calming circle with an flourishing community garden plot. Along 10 St. East. Photo by J. Steil (2010)

He reflects on his most recent discovery a few months ago, guerilla bike art:

“I was particularly intrigued by the ‘guerilla art signs’ along the 10th Ave East that I saw recently.  Not only do they fill a need for warning signs, they do so in an artistic way.”

1175 Adanac St. outdoor mural. Part of a Business Improvement Area project that involved community volunteers. Artistic project lead Cristani Peori. (2009) Photo by J. Chong

1175 Adanac St. outdoor mural. Part of a Business Improvement Area project that involved community volunteers. Artistic project lead Cristani Peori. (2009) Photo by J. Chong

  Just a handful of guerilla bike art signs are  installed within the popular traffic calming circles on certain streets in Vancouver. Vancouver uses traffic calming circles far more frequently to control car speed compared to many other Canadian cities.  In some neighbourhoods, these concrete circles are enlivened with budding community garden plots. While cycling at various times of the year, one can see some local volunteers tending their flowers and bushes.

Outdoor wall mural that suggests: Who can resist fun on a bike? Tweedsmuir Elementary School. New Westminister, BC. Photo by J. Steil

Outdoor wall mural that suggests: Who can resist fun on a bike? Tweedsmuir Elementary School. New Westminister, BC. Photo by J. Steil

 You would need several hours to cycle in Vancouver and view at least 10 different outdoor bike art installations, with a hill or two along the way.  Some bike route planning is advised, but all possible. You may even be able to check out enroute,  a few traffic circle community garden plots, large botanical gardens (Queen Elizabeth Park and Van Dusen Gardens) and some mosaic outdoor public art. (More about the this in another blog post.)

"Big Bike" scultpture and bike themed street bench. By Barry Luger & Bob Potegal. At Ontario St. & 37th St. by Queen Elizabeth Park. Photo by J. Chong

"Big Bike" scultpture and bike themed street bench (on giant bike rack). By Barry Luger & Bob Potegal. At Ontario St. & 37th St. by Queen Elizabeth Park. Vancouver, BC. Photo by J. Chong.

 In the cycling intensive cities of Freiburg (Germany), Strasbourg (France) or even Copenhagen, we did not see nor were aware of much outdoor bike art.  We look to local cyclists there, to tell us of bike art that we may have missed . Perhaps cycling is deeply embedded into the culture for some European cities, or maybe such art is not highlighted.

Some of Metro Vancouver’s outdoor bike art has been around for us to enjoy since the early 1990’s.  We are reminded and inspired by this artistic wish,  a harbinger of Vancouver’s hope and realization for a city that is fun, cycleable and people-scaled.

Note:
For photos of 50 more different outdoor bike art works:
Chong, Jean. More Outdoor Bike Art in Metro Vancouver.  Feb. 2, 

"Trial by Stone". By Ross Argo (2002). Sculptural wall mural underneath a road overpass by a bike park, Port Moody, BC. Photo by J. Steil.

"Trial by Stone". By Ross Argo (2002). Sculptural wall mural underneath a road overpass by a bike park, Port Moody, BC. Photo by J. Steil. An archaelogical-like, ghost image of cyclist ricocheting through the dust.

  2011.  Article lists more links to more bike art photos in articles for our region.

Posted in sightseeing, Vancouver | Tagged | 2 Comments

Bike Trip on Vancouver Island – Jammed with Nature, Some Wineries, Art and Food. Part I

Galloping Goose bike route is connected to Lochside bike route. This route will take you into Victoria, Vancouver Island. Photo by HJEH Becker

Galloping Goose bike route is connected to Lochside bike route. This route will take you into Victoria, Vancouver Island. Photo by HJEH Becker

By HJEH (Jack) Becker. This article will describe a three day trip from Vancouver to Victoria, then north to Duncan, and then over to Salt Spring Island before the final leg back to Downtown Vancouver.

Venturing to the islands is made much more feasible by combining public transit with cycling on both sides of the waters.  One could take municipal transit to the ferry and then to Victoria.

Crossing South Vancouver
Starting off from downtown Vancouver, there is only one hill to cross with a vertical climb of 90 metres, then a plunge back to the shoreline of the North Arm of the Fraser River.  The cycle is made much more pleasant by using Ontario St bike

Free bike shuttle in Richmond, BC. Near the airport.  Helps cyclists get around the  George Massey Tunnel which illegal to cyclists.  Richmond, BC. Photo by J. Chong

Free bike shuttle in Richmond, BC. Near the airport. Helps cyclists get around the George Massey Tunnel which illegal to cyclists. Operated by B.C. Ministry of Transportation. Richmond, BC. Photo by J. Chong

route and then the bike lanes on Cambie St after 49th Ave.  The trip passes through Vancouver residential neighbourhood.  In the spring, the street is lined with cherry blossoms.  Local community gardening happens on the street in traffic circles and on the shoulders along the road.

Bike Deck on the Canada Line Bridge
Crossing the North Arm of the Fraser River is now a pleasure 24 hours a day with the bike deck on the Canada Line rapid transit system.

Richmond
Richmond is a flat city with dykes to keep the sea water at bay, reminiscent of The Netherlands.  Being flat, it is a simple city to cycle through with little scenery to distract one from a speedy trip.

The destination is the bike shuttle at the George Massey Tunnel, a cycle of about 30 minutes.  From the bike deck, River Road takes one to Shell Road.  Then southbound, residential housing with some mixed commercial activity sets the background for the cycle.  Instead of this road, on 5th Road, temples appear along the way.  When Shell road comes to an end, then one can continue on a pathway where in August and September one can stop and pick some blueberries.  By Wiliam Street, it is time to jog over to 5th Ave and down to River Rd.  Best look at the TransLink cycling map for exact details.

B.C. ferry with 2010 Olympic markings. A relaxing, cost-effective ride to Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. Scenery is ever-changing and wonderful. Photo by J. Chong

B.C. ferry with 2010 Olympic markings. A relaxing, cost-effective ride to Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands. Forget about luxury cruiseline ships! Scenery is ever-changing and wonderful. Photo by J. Chong

Delta
Flatland continues but this time with the backdrop of agriculture lands.  From the bike shuttle stop, it is a 14 kilometer ride that has to be done in 45 minutes in order to catch the next ferry to Swartz Bay and Victoria.  The only distractions from the scenery of farmlands and the birds is the overpass on Highway 99 and the eventual headwinds coming of Georgia Straits.

B.C. Ferries – Tsawwassen to Schwartz Bay
With a travel time of one hour and 35 minutes, there is plenty of time to enjoy the offerings onboard the ferry from staterooms, conference rooms, special easy chairs to buffet meals.  Internet access is available onboard.

Bakery stop near Galloping Goose bike route in downtown Victoria, BC. Photo by J. Chong

Bakery stop near Galloping Goose bike route in downtown Victoria, BC. Photo by J. Chong

From Schwartz Bay to Victoria
The Lochside Trail and the connecting Galloping Goose Trail will take you right into downtown Victoria in about an hour and three quarter.  Else one can stay on the highway and cycle the shoulders.  The trails pass through a mixture of sights from agriculture lands to woods to residential lands to commercial sections.  Some of the trail is on street, some on separated pathway, some paved, some gravelled, some on bridges passing over water and sensitive eco areas, some through a deep cut originally intended for trains.  Stop at the Mitchell Market for a drink or visit the agriculture museum by the path.   Sharing the path with the equestrian set while being buzzed by remote control airplanes provides some

Generous seafood plate for lunch at Muse Winery, less than 10 km. from Swartz Bay ferry stop. Vancouver Island. Photo by J. Chong

Generous seafood plate for lunch at Muse Winery, less than 10 km. from Swartz Bay ferry stop. Vancouver Island. Photo by J. Chong. A lunch with local seafood is more likely at a Vancouver Island winery than other places in Canada.

variety.  A deer or two might just jump in front of you, while rabbits play on the shoulders of the trails.

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Velo-city 2012 at Texas Bike / Ped Summit, San Antonio. Feb. 1-3, 2012

By the river walk. Downtown San Antonio, TX 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

By the river walk. Downtown San Antonio, TX 2012. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Velo-city 2012 conference team members, Jack Becker and Paul Dragan were at the Texas Bike / Pedestrian Summit in San Antonio. 

Paul plied delegates with conference information and networked those who drifted by the Velo-city 2012  exhibit.  Jack presented for an hour on the contribution of cycling infrastructure development and social marketing to cycling growth.

After the conference, some city staff in Austin gave Jack an informal bike tour on that city’s cycling facilities and near future plans.

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Vancouver as Canada’s Pacific Rim City: Canadian Fusion in Asian Demographics, Cuisine, History and Arts

At a cycling event. Richmond, BC 2009. Photo by J. Chong

At a cycling event. Richmond, BC 2009. Photo by J. Chong

  By J. Chong.    Visitors to Vancouver may  notice, within the first few hours of being in  downtown, or even just in shopping areas in Richmond near Vancouver International Airport, there is high visible presence of Asians.  So many of them.

While some are visitors and foreign students, most of us are either Canadians  or recent immigrant-residents.  Some of us like myself, barely or may not even know their mother tongue.  Metro Vancouver has a long history of Chinese and Japanese-Canadians  in its cultural fabric, along the southern coast and in the interior British Columbia since the late 1800’s onward. Just to give 2006 census numbers:   382,000 are of Chinese descent  in Metro Vancouver ( 2 million population). There are enough 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations of these Canadians who penetrate every socio-economic class and live everywhere in the region.

Goat. One of the 12 Chinese animal zodiac pavement mosaics. By front entrance of Sun-Yat Sen Gardens, a Chinese garden to visit. Downtown Chinatown, Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

Goat. One of 12 Chinese animal zodiac pavement mosaics. By front entrance of Sun-Yat Sen Gardens, a Chinese garden to visit. Downtown Chinatown, Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

 Later, the Vietnamese, Koreans, Filipinos, Cambodian and South Asians from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have joined Vancouver ranks.  2006 Statistics Canada census data highlight the demographics between City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver (includes adjacent suburbs of Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, etc.).  In the city of Richmond alone, over 50% of the population is of Chinese descent, whereas in Vancouver it is 30% of the population.    In Surrey,  30% of the population is of South Asian descent.

This Pacific Rim demographic  has transformed Vancouver permanently and has injected a dynamic drive and vibe that touches restaurant cuisine, the arts, events, economy, politics and social relationships. 

Furiyama, a local Japanese supermarket on Clarke St. along Adanac bike route, less than 6 km. from downtown Vancouver. Pick up or eat in for lunch, low-cost, wide variety of freshly made sushi and sashimi with accompanying miso soup. Photo by J. Chong

Fujiya, a local Japanese supermarket on Clarke St. along Adanac bike route, less than 6 km. from downtown Vancouver. Pick up or eat in for lunch, low-cost, wide selection of freshly made sushi and sashimi with accompanying miso soup. Photo by J. Chong. Note: One of the rare Japanese food supermarkets in Canada.

 Vancouver has an impressive array of restaurants in traditional cuisines as well as those offering exciting East-West fusion dishes.  In Metro Vancouver, there are literally hundreds of restaurants covering various Asian cuisines.   Japanese sushi and sashimi are very popular with many locals, of which many non-Asian locals, have already learned to use chopsticks.  It is not uncommon in Vancouver for multi-course, catered business lunches for groups to include sushi –simply because locals are accustomed to sushi, like hamburger. And such folks aren’t even Asian at times. 

For restaurant reviews with the inside scoop from locals who were raised on Asian cuisine and understand its myriad culinary points, go to this popular food blog  chowtimes.com .  It’s read by other Asian foodies.   It is a labour of love by a Malayasian-Chinese Canadian couple  in Richmond.
 

Dropping by information cycle manned by Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition at Olympic Village event 2010.  Photo by J. Chong

Dropping by information table manned by Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition at public opening of Olympic Village 2010. Photo by J. Chong

 It is well-known among  Chinese-Canadians and Chinese-Americans, that Metro Vancouver is one of the top major North American spots for the greatest number and range of Chinese restaurants  and variety on several regional  cuisines. 

There are 3 major Chinatown areas in Metro Vancouver of which some are directly accessible by light rapid rail:  historic downtown Vancouver city (Skytrain stop:  Chinatown/Stadium Station), Marpole area and in City of Richmond (Canada Line: Aberdeen-Landsdowne  Stop).  See right-hand side on this blog for TransLink maps.

There are bike routes that run through or near these areas.  The Carallel Street Greenway/Bikeway runs through old, historic Chinatown to the Vancouver Portlands area. The most difficult cycling route for visitors  to determine, is Richmond Chinatown area:  It tends to be jammed with cars on weekends.  The Canada Line rail might be more convenient  unless you find a bike parking spot against a post, etc. 

Fusion of Asian and First Nations (aboriginal) imagery that points to local Vancouver history. Part of mural on wall of Britannia Community Centre, near Adanac bike route. Vancouver, BC. Mural's theme is a tribute to local groups that prevented a freeway from being constructed through this area and historic Chinatown. Photo by J. Chong

Fusion of Asian and First Nations (aboriginal) imagery that points to local Vancouver history. Part of mural on wall of Britannia Community Centre, near Adanac bike route. Vancouver, BC. Mural's theme is a tribute to local groups that prevented a freeway from being constructed through this area and historic Chinatown. Photo by J. Chong

 Local annual events that reflect the convergence of East-West include:  Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner (a fun annual dinner that is fusion Chinese-Scottish celebration of Chinese New Year’s and Robert Burns Day, a Scottish poet) and the Dragonboat Festival  which  attracts many international dragon boat teams to compete by plying the waters of False Creek in yes, downtown Vancouver  — 10 days before Velocity Global 2012 begins.

From June onward after 6:00 pm on weekends,  there are summer night outdoor markets with street food and souveniers at the downtown Vancouver Chinatown and in Richmond. Streets are closed for this event or for Richmond, an empty lot is occupied.

At local Bike to Work Week event.

At local Bike to Work Week event. Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition has bike station stops for cyclists and the public with snacks and information.

 So make sure not to stay in your hotel.  Get out, taste some different food and see some sights that are a harbinger of a global city in spirit and its people while in Vancouver.

Note:  We would welcome locals to post suggestions for things to see, events and key eating areas that South Asians and others  would recommend for other cultural/fusion activities.  (ie. there is a huge local practitioner base for bhangra dance, many South Asian restaurants in Surrey, etc.) 

Further Reading:
Statistics Canada. Community profiles from 2006 Census: Metro Vancouver compared against entire province of British Columbia. Note: Population has grown since the census.

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Alberni Inlet Trip, Vancouver Island. Part 2

Along Alberni Inlet, through middle of Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Along Alberni Inlet, through middle of Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

By HJEH Becker.  This is the second part to an earlier blog post on travelling down the Port Alberni Inlet through the middle of Vancouver Island on a small charter freight boat.  The first part covered tips on how to get to Vancouver Island, with highlights on the towns of Port Alberni, Tofino and Uclelet.

The Alberni Inlet is a fjord lined by low mountain ranges on both sides with sparse population strung along the coasts from the Pacific Ocean, 40 kilometres towards the east which ends at Port Alberni, now a paper mill town.

If it were not for a 400 metre hill between the canyon walls just east of Port Alberni, the fjord would provide passage across the Island and separate it into two islands by dissecting the island in the middle. The fjord at its deepest point, extends 350 metres downward.

Canadian Coast Guard station at Bamfield, Vancouver Island. On western end of Alberni Inlet. This is also a federal research facility for the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans. Photo by HJEH Becker

Canadian Coast Guard station at Bamfield, Vancouver Island. On western end of Alberni Inlet. This is also a federal research facility for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Photo by HJEH Becker

Valley with Highest Rainfall in North America
The MV Frances Barkley passes a valley with the highest rainfall in North America at Henderson Lake.

This freight boat makes a daily or bi-daily journey, depending on the season, it stops at hamlets along the way to drop off mail, home deliveries, kayaks and other things.  Sometimes locals will phone the ship ahead before it reaches floating docks, to order something from the menu of the kitchen onboard, their floating restaurant.  The cook pops out of the boat as the Barkley docks, makes a meal order delivery, and collects money for the meal.

Making a delivery of a new large kitchen appliance to residents living along coast in this more remote area of inlet. Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Making a delivery of a new large kitchen appliance to residents living along coast in this more remote area of inlet. Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Order a new dishwasher and the 40 metre long freighter, the Frances Barker, will pull up at your doorstep and lower the unit onto your doorstep of your floating house.

A land mass of rocks and soaring trees rise into the sky from the edges of the fjord as the freighter makes its way towards the Pacific.

The shoreline is populated with little communities, sometimes not large enough to be called hamlets.  Some of the houses are on hills, while others float on the inlet.  Some are served by logging roads which may go through First Nations lands.   Entry onto these roads may be restricted or not.  One hamlet had a very short section of road, but no land access outside, yet some residents had to have trucks, but it is a truck with nowhere to go, except the floating wharves.

Local island art blends First Nations imagery, fauna and place markers. Serves as artistic backdrop for some cat houses. Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Local island art blends First Nations imagery, fauna and place markers. Serves as artistic backdrop for some cat houses. Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

From the water rise white pillars with either green or red tops.  These navigation beacons assist boats in their journey on the fjord.

Along the shoreline, triangles advise that no boat or log parking is in effect.  Square signs signal the private, reserved parking spots for some lumber floats on their way to local mills, or on boat to foreign markets for processing.

Tiny communities or just homes dot along the inlet coast rely on the freight boat to deliver supplies and mail. Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Tiny communities or just homes dot along the inlet coast rely on the freight boat to deliver supplies and mail. Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Fjord Walls of Old Growth Trees, Temperate Rainforests
The walls rising from the sea are painted with trees, some light green while others are darker coniferous shadows.

On the rocks along the shore, a band of dark colour marks the high sea level.  Below the black line are lighter yellow / brown, rusty water lines.  Rust bronze painted rocks along the shoreline bringing colour to the green forest above.

Along the fjord, are some working fish boats waiting patiently for their meagre catches.

No sighting of bears or eagles.  All is quiet.  For the most sections along the waterline, the hills are too steep for bears.  Vancouver Island is well know as a place of congregating for cougars.  No mountain goats to be seen.  Nor are the whales, sea lions nor seals sighted today.

Winding through inlet, past temperate rainforest draped coast line. Alberni Inlet, Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Winding through inlet, past temperate rainforest draped coast line with misty clouds. Alberni Inlet, Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Seagulls are flying in parallel to the freighter, at the same speed in synchronization.  Not too fast to escape the freighter.

Wind is blowing up the fjord from the west.  Boat flags vibrate stiffly from the freighter into the sky. The waters of this fjord are slightly rippled by the wind. Loose logs float about, some jammed along the shore.

A stand of leafless trees. A legacy of forest fires.  A sample of years passed by.
Hill tops scalped by lumberjacks.
Log descends a chute down a rocky hillside on its way to the waters of the inlet.

Strolling dock at Bamfield, Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Strolling dock at Bamfield, Vancouver Island 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

A hiker from Germany on the freighter, is on his way to the trailhead of the West Coast Trail at Bamfield.  Two other German hikers are picked up as they completed their trip along the coast.  They are immersed on their cell phones once aboard with time to catch up on sleep.

The mood on board the freighter changes on the 4-hour trip back to Port Alberni.  Quietness descends the lounge with more reading, note taking, and sleeping, less action on the deck with picture taking.  Passengers with binoculars are more discouraged as they monitor the sea and the shoreline, no whales, seals, bears or other living things ply the water or shoreline today.

House along inlet coastline thick with rising old growth temperate rainforest. Vancouver Island, BC 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

House along inlet coastline thick with soaring thick wall of old growth temperate rainforest. Vancouver Island, BC 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Cruising Languidly  Down Inlet
A peaceful, relaxing day on a fjord.  Time to mentally and physically rest up from other demands. A couple from England, now living along the French shores of the Mediterranean, are enjoying the experiences of this trip to be followed up with whale sighting at Campbell River and kayaking days off the Broken Island Group in Barkley Sound.

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Cycling in Richmond, BC

Metal sculpture along River Rd., Richmond BC. 2011. Photo by B. Killborn

Metal sculpture along River Rd., Richmond BC. 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

By Brad Killburn. Of particular interest, may be a visit to Vancouver’s most immediate neighbor to the south, Richmond. In fact, if you’re planning to arrive by air, you’ll be visiting Richmond anyway, as Vancouver’s airport is located in Richmond.

Formed on a naturally occurring delta, Richmond lies just one meter above sea level and is surrounded by a dyke system that keeps the land drained and the ocean at bay. Its flat and fertile land has long attracted cyclists looking for an enjoyable ride. The roads allow riders to ride at their own pace, and the views are extraordinary.

Outside of the city’s core, Richmond’s agricultural heritage has been retained, and of particular delight to bicyclists, are the trails placed on top of the dyke system. Also of delight to cyclists opposed to British Columbia’s all ages’ mandatory bicycle helmet law, is that the law applies to roads only, so on these trails, helmet use is entirely optional.

The most popular dyke ride is the Middle-Arm trail connecting to the West Dyke Trail. The endpoint is Garry Point Park, next to the historical fishing village of Steveston. Once in Steveston, the wide variety of shops and restaurants you’ll encounter will make stopping for rest and refueling, irresistible.

Speed skating oval for 2010 Winter Olympics. Richmond, BC 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

Speed skating oval for 2010 Winter Olympics. Richmond, BC 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

Start your 12-kilometer trek at the junction of Cambie and River roads in the northwest corner of Richmond. Ride up the ramp and head west. This portion of the trail is paved and travels past parks and marinas before arriving at Richmond’s 2010 Winter Olympic Speed Skating Oval.

Past the Oval, the trail’s pavement is replaced with tightly packed gravel. Wider tires may be of benefit here, but I find my narrow tires handle just fine.

Continuing west, there are great views of the Fraser River, North Shore mountains, and Vancouver’s airport.

Kite-flying at Garry Point Park. Richmond, BC 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

Kite-flying at Garry Point Park. Richmond, BC 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

Eventually, this portion of the ride will end with a bend south. This bend will connect you to the West Dyke trail.

After rounding the corner, you’ll ride next to farms, a golf course, and suburban housing with sunset views. You’ll see herons, hawks, eagles and other assorted wild life that make their home in the western marshlands on the other side of the dyke. Looking even further west, you’ll see boats sailing on Georgia Straight, and the Gulf Island mountains.

Oh. And you’ll see pedestrians. There are lots of people who walk this trail too. Bells are very useful here.

The ride ends at Garry Point Park, where you can grab some fish and chips or an ice cream cone, and relax next to kids playing, kites flying, and boats docking.

By Stevenston to buy fresh fish. Fresh salmon can also be purchased a certain times of the year. Richmond, BC 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

By Stevenston to buy fresh fish. Fresh salmon can also be purchased a certain times of the year. Richmond, BC 2011. Photo by B. Killburn

After a rest, you may want to wander the streets of Steveston. Steveston may feel oddly familiar to you because it has been featured in countless movies and television programs. Salmon canning ruled the roost here up to just a short time ago, now people flock here to enjoy its unique character.

At this point, you may want to call it a day, return in the direction you came, or continue on. The choice is yours, but many find the ride to Steveston enough. I know I do. I found Steveston so wonderful I made it my home. Now, all of my rides end there.

Some More Photos Elsewhere
Perry, C. Stevenson Fishing Village:  A Photo Essay. In Inside Vancouver Blog. Aug. 25, 2011.

Posted in BC Download Richmond, cycling infrastructure, Vancouver | Tagged | 2 Comments

Velo-city Global 2012 Conference Director Interviewed in Oil City

Cycling on Bow River bike-pedestrian path. Calgary, AB 2011. Background is nearly completed helical bike-pedestrian Peace Bridge. Photo by J. Chong

Cycling on Bow River bike-pedestrian path. Calgary, AB 2011. Background is nearly completed helical bike-pedestrian Peace Bridge. Photo by J. Chong

 “Cycling isn’t a goal . . . it’s not about transportation,” he says. “It’s one of the options for delivering livable, sustainable, active cities and urban centres. We have to find how cycling fits into that goal.”

An interview in Calgary with the conference chair of Velo-city Global 2012 Conference. More in article link below:
http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2011/12/21/how-an-ex-calgary-oilman-became-chairman-of-a-global-bicycle-conference/

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Cycling the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail, BC

By Ryan Mijker and Kate Berniaz

Myra Canyon bike rail trestle bridge section. Part of the Kettle Valley Rail Bike Route. Near Kelowna, BC. Photo by Ryan Mijker

Myra Canyon bike rail trestle bridge section. Part of the Kettle Valley Rail Bike Route. Near Kelowna, BC. Photo by Ryan Mijker

Central British Columbia’s Okanagan is home to what may be the premier recreational cycling trail in the province. The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail is made up of more than 500 km of bike trail across mountainous terrain, plains, river valleys, lake shore and forest. Along this route, cyclists will journey through time exploring both the natural and human history of the region, as well as discovering the contemporary beauty of the land and people.

Overlooking Okanagan Lake along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Photo by Ryan Mijker

Overlooking Okanagan Lake along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Photo by Ryan Mijker. Area has British Columbia's wineries.

The Kettle Valley Railway opened in 1915, winding its way from Castlegar to Merritt, and from Hope to Spences Bridge where the KVR connected to the Canadian Pacific Railroad  transcontinental line. Built initially to guard Canadian and British Columbia mining interests from American ambitions in the region, the KVR became a key passenger corridor and route to transport fruit from the Okanagan Valley.

In the mid 1950s, when highway transport became more popular, the KVR had high maintenance costs, persistent avalanches and rock slides along the rail line which doomed the KVR. A railroad that took 20 years to construct and costed more per kilometer to build than almost any other track in North America, saw only 60 years of service. However, the rail bed has been reborn as a successful multi-use recreational corridor.

Baby son joins  the bike ride with Ryan and Kate through Okanagan Valley vineyards.

Baby son joins the bike ride with Ryan and Kate through Okanagan Valley vineyards.

After the last tracks had been removed, the corridor was redeveloped in the 1990s. The trail is accessible to all yet will provide even the most seasoned riders with great entertainment. The gentle grade and quality trail makes cycling the KVR trail a very welcoming family event. At the same time, the rugged terrain and true wilderness that surrounds the pathway make this enjoyable for veteran riders.

Dramatic, Popular Views Along the Way: Between Midway and Penticton, BC
Likely the most popular segment of the trail, is the stretch between Midway and Penticton. The roughly 200 km stretch offers world class views and can be easily done in four days. Cyclists prefer to start the tour in Midway because the grade (though only a maximum of 3% to accommodate the trains) is in your favour going that way. On the ascent to trail height at Myra Canyon most cyclist will hardly notice the climb because of the low grade. The descent from Chute Lake into Penticton is a virtual coast to the shores of Lake Okanagan.

Kettle Valley Rail Trail has a variety of cycling surfaces. A section of hard packed gravel trail.

Kettle Valley Rail Trail has a variety of cycling surfaces. A section of hard packed gravel trail. Photo by R. Mijker

The quality of the trail varies from region to another. At its best, the path is a well-laid cycleway of crushed pounded gravel the width and quality of a well graded gravel road. Some sections of the trail are bumpy due to heavy use by all-terrain-vehicles. Other quarters form a single dirt track through a field.

Crossing the KVR Trail between Midway and Penticton cyclists will find a wide mixture of  accommodation options. Camping, both in paid and back-country spots can be found. Chute Lake Lodge and Hydrolic Lake provide popular and comfortable commercial camp sites. There are also many spots off to one side of the trail offering a hidden oasis. If you have a preference for some simply luxury or a warm bed and shower halfway through your journey you can choose one of the landmark hotels, B&Bs or lodges along the route. In Beaverdell, you can stay at the Highland Cabins, next night at Raven’s B&B, and then the Chute Lake Lodge for a touch of rustic comfort.

Ryan on Myra Trestle Bridge section. Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Photo by Kate Berniasz

Ryan on Myra Trestle Bridge section. Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Photo by Kate Berniaz

The highlights of the second half of the trip include the Myra Canyon trestle bridges, old tunnels, the wineries and view of Naramata.

Myra Canyon Trestle Bridges Section
The Myra Canyon trestle bridges are the most well visited section of the trail, due to their proximity to Kelowna (accessible by car) and great visual appeal. The 11 km stretch includes 13 trestle bridges. The longest of the wood bridges is 228m long and 55m high and turns the route almost 90 degrees. Although not the largest wood trestle bridges ever constructed, they are comparable and the number over a short distance makes them an awesome engineering marvel. Most are not original as many were destroyed during the great fire of 2003. Since the stunning photos from the fire, a huge effort was made to raise money and reconstruct the bridges. Though they now won’t hold the weight of the trains that originally trundled over them, the bridges are visually comparable to the original.

A great group ride for great scenery along the way. Okanagan Valley area, British Columbia.

A memorable group ride for great scenery and times together along the way. Okanagan Valley area, British Columbia.

As the end of the trip nears, there are still attractions on the last day of the trip. Once you hit Chute Lake, you quickly descend 600 metres in elevation to Penticton, so you can enjoy the easy ride. Between Chute Lake and Naramata there are two amazing tunnels. Though there is a detour around one, it is worth making your way to the closed tunnel to see the great wooden beams collapsing.

There are also impressive views of Okanagan Lake as you ride towards Naramata, an area famous for its wineries  –which brings me to the next treat: visiting wineries and tasting some of the premier wines of the province. There are a number of wineries along the KVR trail between Naramata and Penticton.  Since you are almost at the end of your trip, you can afford the weight of taking a couple bottles with you!

Additional Reading:
More about the Kettle Valley Rail Trail here.

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Granville Island Market : Cycling for Sea-Sky Views, Food, Art and Shopping

Serving up ravioli tastings at Duso's. Granville Island Market, Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

Serving up tortellini tastings at Duso's. Granville Island Market, Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

One memorable stop that many visitors do make and enjoy, is Granville Island, a 15 hectare (38 acre) piece of land with a year-round public food indoor market, shops, restaurants, cafes, art studios, park, community centre with a kayaking facility and much more.

Every year over 10 million people, visit Granville to shop, attend events or just hang out for beautiful scenery within the heart of Vancouver.

The island was originally a mudflat that disappeared with the ebb and flow of daily tides.  It was occupied by the Squamish Nation where they fished and had their villages nearby.

In the early 1900’s, the land was built up for permanent structures which became primarily for shipping and industrial activity.  After World War II, the Island fell in decline until the 1970’s when there was planned rejuvenation and development of the island to its present waterfront vibrancy.

Part of occasional student art work. Emily Carr University, Granville Island. Vancouver BC

Part of occasional student art work exhibit. Emily Carr University, Granville Island. Vancouver BC

You can shop there for fresh seafood, local and some international gourmet foods ranging from local Oyama’s handmade sausages with over 20 types (Sake chicken sausage or venison are among some choices.),  to sea asparagus available only in summer time, a salty tiny seaweed harvested along the coast.   There are art studios for British Columbian quality handmade art work and crafts, a culinary cooking school where the students offer up a daily, changing menu of delectable choices, an assortment of restaurants and bars, a hotel for enjoying the local spirits, and the nationally recognized art school, Emily Carr University.  Occasionally the school has free rotating art exhibits.  There is an art and design bookstore.

A water bike shuttle ferry takes bikes, passengers and strollers across False Creek to Granville Island. Vancouver, BC. Photo by J. Chong

Water bike shuttle ferry also takes passengers and strollers across False Creek to Granville Island. Vancouver, BC. Photo by J. Chong. Burrard Bridge and English Bay is in background

There is also theatre with indoor seating for plays as well as the outdoor mini public spaces where buskers perform their song, dance and skits daily.

On Granville Island, car parking is tight. Locals, like myself who frequent the market at least once or more weekly, use alternative transportation modes –the TransLink No. 50 bus takes you to and from Granville with the start and drop off point downtown at Waterfront Station.  I regularily cycle the flat route to the market from home downtown.  You can wind your way to the market along the Seaside-Seawall path to and from Stanley Park.  Since 2010, more bike racks have been installed  to accommodate growing evidence of cycling shoppers and visitors.

Sign above a soup place and their handmade salad dressings and sauces. Granville Island Market. Vancouver, BC. Photo by J. Chong

Sign above a soup place plus their handmade salad dressings and sauces. Granville Island Market. Vancouver, BC. Photo by J. Chong

On a rainy day or if you can’t be bothered to stroll along the path (it’s a 7 km. walk from downtown or less) one way, there are small water boat shuttles for a small fee that will take you across. One of the shuttles is designed for passengers with bikes and strollers. The longest ride is from Yaletown dock (under 10 min.) whereas the other rides are shorter for a scenic look on water. Either way, you will see a range of multi-family housing developments, Northwest coast landscaping, the waterfront and skyline and Burrard Inlet out to English Bay against the rising backdrop of the North Shore mountains.

Granville Island is cradled by the skyscrapered downtown core, the mountains, and the busy Broadway St. corridor on the south side.  You can also reach the Granville Market by bike on a separated bike lane over the Art Deco Burrard Bridge or stroll beside the bike lane 3 kms. to Granville Island from downtown.

Hot and cold smoked salmon varieties to buy. One can also buy salmon jerky (dried salmon), salmon cakes and salmon pepperoni. Granville Island Market. Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

In addition to fresh salmon, there are hot and cold smoked salmon varieties to buy. There are also salmon jerky (dried salmon), salmon cakes and salmon pepperoni. Granville Island Market. Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

Whether at sunrise, near sunset or any time, Granville Island offers a highly accessible oasis of human activity, scenery and relaxation from busy city life.

Posted in BC Download Vancouver, cycling infrastructure, sightseeing, Vancouver | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Register Now: Early Conference Discount Rate Before March 31, 2012!

Going down separated bike lane in downtown Vancouver BC 2011.

Going along separated bike lane in downtown Vancouver BC 2011.

  Finally!  Our online conference registration section is now open.

Check out this section here for rates, to register online and make payment. If you want save money register early, by March 31, 2012.  The savings will be for the 4 full conference days.
  
The speaker and student rates are available. There is also a rate for 1 day conference attendance.

Conference registration fees are in Canadian currency. 

Payment can be accepted by: Visa, Master Charge or cheque.  Please  fill all required information and submit it online. 

We have received over 380 paper submission proposals from not only North America, but also Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America.  We look forward to your participation to share expertise, best practices, innovations and  for stronger international  networking  in person.  Your presence and thoughts count in our global community!

 

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Deliver Your Velo-city 2012 Presentation Abstracts Online: By Nov. 15, 2011. Now Extended to Nov. 25, 2011

 Update:  Due to the large number of requests, we are extending the presentation abstracts deadline to:  Friday, Nov. 25, 2011.  

Meet this deadline. We then have to move on quickly to review and select speakers!  Thanks to those who have already submitted your abstracts.  Several hundred submissions have been made — a clear, pent-up enthusisam to visit and learn here in Vancouver, BC! 

Go to this page for our  submission guidelines and instructions.  Abstracts will be reviewed and selected.

Cycling with parent to a busy farmers' market Apr. 2011. Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

Cycling with parent to a busy Saturday farmers' market Apr. 2011. Vancouver BC. Photo by J. Chong

Just to jog your memory, there are 9 program theme tracks:

  • Leadership – Politics of Change
      – Political and Professional – Policies, strategies, funding, challenges and opportunities
      – Business
      – Advocacy
      – Research supporting policy decisions
  • How Cycling Achieves Community Aspirations and Addresses Global Problems
      – Environment and Climate Change
      – Health and Safety
      – Business and the Green Economy
      – Vibrant and Resilient Communities 

    Out cycling with friends. Bow River bike-pedestrian path 2011. Calgary, AB. Photo by J. Chong

    Out cycling with friends. Bow River bike-pedestrian path 2011. Calgary, AB. Photo by J. Chong

  • Essential Elements – Increasing Cycling and Safety
      – Networks and Infrastructure – Planning, Design and Engineering
      – Land Use, Urban Planning, the Built Environment and Public Spaces
      – Laws and Enforcement
  • Empowering People and Inclusivity
      – Children – Enshrining the Rights of Children to Mobility
      – Seniors – Creating Age-Friendly Communities
      – Equity and Diversity – Increasing Mobility Choices and Opportunities Globally
      – Social Marketing and Education – Encouraging Cycling Growth, Improving Relationships between Road Users
      – Sport and Organized Rides – Building their Relationship with Cycling for Transportation 

    Fruit and veggie vendor on motorbike, selling her wares. Changzi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

    Fruit and veggie vendor on bike, selling her wares. Changzhi, China Oct. 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

  • Emerging Technologies
      – Electric-Assisted Bicycles and Other Mobility Devices
      – Consumer Technology – Enhancing the Cycling Experience
      – Smart Cities – Facilitating Cycling Growth and Improving Safety with Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Pivotal Themes
      – Public Bike Sharing Systems
      – Cycling Logistics – Movement of goods by bicycles
      – Combined Mobility – Cycling Integration with Transit, Rail and other Modes
      – Cycling Tourism  

    One of several public bike share docking stations. This one located at the edge of University of Toronto campus, Huron and Harbord Streets. Toronto 2011. Photo by J. Chong

    One of several Bixi public bike share docking stations in downtown Toronto. This one is located at the edge of University of Toronto campus, Huron and Harbord Streets. Sept. 2011. Photo by J. Chong

    We are seeking a wide diversity of presentations. Presentations introducing innovative research, concepts and solutions, which include those that go beyond the themes from a broad range of backgrounds, disciplines, cycling cultures and organizations, are most welcome.  We look forward to reviewing your research, experiences and innovations.

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Velo-city Team on the Move: Sustainability Summit 2011, Vancouver BC

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Velo-city Global 2012 conference team was represented at the annual ACT Canada conference on transportation demand measurement, Sustainability Summit Oct. 30 – Nov. 2, 2011.  Conference site was at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, overlooking  Coal Harbour by the Seaside bike-pedestrian path. Jack … Continue reading

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Velo-city Team on the Move: Australia and Asia

Trying out public bike share, bixi style. Melbourne, Australia 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Trying out public bike share, bixi style. Melbourne, Australia 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

This October will be another active month for the Host Organizing Team. 

Jack Becker attended the 3rd Walk 21 Conference in Vancouver. Sue Roberts and Jack are attending the Bike Futures Conference in Melbourne, Australia October 12 to 14, a Bicycle Network Victoria event. 

Bob Paddon, TransLink VP of Customer and Public Engagement, as well as Jack, will be attending the EcoMobility Conference in Changwon, October 22 to 24.  The European Cyclists’ Federation Secretary General, Bernhard Ensink, will be addressing the conference. 

Recovering Cheonnggyecheon stream after downtown freeway was demolished. Revitalized core of Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

Recovery of Cheonggyecheon stream after downtown freeway was demolished. Revitalized core of Seoul, South Korea 2011. Photo by HJEH Becker

 Bob will also be in Seoul from October 24-25 promoting the conference at the UITP – International Association of Public Transport Asia Pacific Assembly.
 
Jack will then be speaking at the CUTPP’s Sharing Transportation Forum October 23 to 25 in Changzhi, China.  Management Committee member, Gil Penalosa, will be promoting the conference at many of his speaking engagements during the month.

Note:  Check out TransLink’s Mar. 2011 interview with President of Korea Transport that summarizes the project on removing the freeway to restore the hidden Cheonggyecheon Stream which spun off various benefits for the city.

Becker, Jack. Melbourne, Australia: First Impressions. Oct. 23, 2011.

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Vancouver, BC –Takes a North American Spin From Europe in Cycling

Poised on one pedal at Granville Market. Vancouver, BC 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Poised on one pedal at Granville Market. Vancouver, BC 2011. Photo by J. Chong

 By Amanda Winter.
Any article containing “North America,” “Europe” and “cycling” will largely conclude in a comparison to show Europe’s utopian cycling atmosphere versus North America’s lack thereof. This article will not propose this, mainly because 1. Each city has its own recipe; there is not one common urban planning rule book or cookie cutter approach for all. 2. As the environment does not function around national borders; we are all in this global green fight together, the time is now to cooperate and learn  from each other

Maybe we should think of Europe and North America differently, like North America is Europe’s little sister, younger, more careless, the kind that steals your favorite clothes and eats the last cookie without offering it to you. They like taking the easy way out and 

Along Seaside bike-pedestrian path beside Convention Centre with green roof.

Along downtown Seaside bike-pedestrian path beside Convention Centre with green roof. Raindrop sculpture ahead overlooking Coal Harbour with mountains in North Vancouver 2011. Photo by J. Chong

changing their behavior is extremely difficult, unless ‘all the cool kids are doing it.’ Let’s be that annoyingly functional family and inspire each other. Let’s have a family meal and share our recipes. Velo-city Global takes inspirational people at an international level, creating a global family not only to help you reach your goals, but to set new ones and step out of your box, try something on the menu you never tried before.

Goals, Big Goals.
At first I thought, wow, now that’s ambition: Vancouver wants to be the greenest city in the world by 2020. Then, I read that North Vancouver has an impressive 100 year sustainability plan. As the greenest city in North America, Vancouver could not be more ready to host an event like Velo-city Global 2012. Cycling in Vancouver is improving; the city boasts over 400 km of bike lanes, and a 4-10% modal share (depending on neighborhood). The success of Velo-city Seville shows the depths of such a conference, participants learned about bikes in Zambia and witnessed the establishment of an important policy document, the Charter of Seville.

Aboriginal sculpture along walkway from Vancouver International Airport to Canada Line light rail station 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Aboriginal sculpture along walkway from Vancouver International Airport to Canada Line light rail station 2011. Photo by J. Chong. Transit train will take you directly to downtown Vancouver.

Worried that a conference in North America about cycling would be a lost cause?

  • In a recent poll, 52% of Americans said they want to bike more than they do now. 
  • “I want the recipe” professed urban mobility extraordinaire Mikael Colville-Andersen about another Canadian city, Montreal.
  • The Rails to Trails Conservancy has 1,683 open rail-trails for a total of 19,872 miles, with over 700 active projects for an additional 9,000 miles. Just one of their projects, The Great Alleghany passage (runs from PA to MD) sees over $40 million in direct spending from users of the trail.

Americans are rethinking maps (not based on distance, but based on carbon footprint and time required for travel) and documenting the emerging cycling cities.  

Getting Personal.
I was asked to write this article utilizing my American perspective. Here are the stories that statistics don’t show you, the inside scoop:

Busy farmers' market only 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Apr. 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Busy Saturday farmers' market only 20 minute bike ride from downtown Vancouver. Apr. 2011. Photo by J. Chong

 My uncle, a life time resident of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, commutes by bicycle every day to work. He “simply enjoys it and the cost, health and environmental benefits are a great bonus” and thinks that people would cycle more if they were exposed to it. I expect that is not astonishing to you, but picture a poorly planned, run down city where the term alternative transportation sparks images of horses and buggies. This is a good sign.

My younger cousin, a Nebraska native, whom several years ago, was making demands to her father regarding her dream car for the day she turned 16. Recently I asked her about her transport plans as her 16th birthday is approaching. My faith was restored in humanity in her answer: “I don’t really want a car; they are too expensive and seem like a pain. I plan to take public transport but I wish it was easier to bike around.” This is a good sign.

And finally my aunt, a true citizen of the world and for a few years a cycle chic Copenhagener, told me she “cycled to work every day, regardless of weather, because that’s just what you do in Copenhagen.” It really took me awhile to grasp the concept, as I spent the last few years living in Boston, where drivers are known for their complete disregard and cyclists are thought to be suicidal. That is until you become one, or it becomes you… That’s me, who is not only celebrating my third year anniversary of freedom (car free) but also just convinced you to attend Velo-city Vancouver 2012.

 Vancouver has various traffic calming circles on primarily residential streets. Often community gardens are planted in them 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Vancouver has various traffic calming circles on primarily residential streets. Often community gardens are planted in them 2011. Photo by J. Chong

Go there, meet inspirational people who will give you enough hope to last until the next Velo-city conference and inspire others with your inside scoop. It’s time for the oddballs of the family to be the car drivers.

Posted in cycling infrastructure, Vancouver, Velo-city Global 2012 Cycling Conference | 2 Comments

Velo-city Team on the Move: Mexico City, September 26 to 30, 2011

Directors Richard Campbell and Paul Dragan are in Mexico City at the World Road Congress, as part of the Canadian exhibition, to promote the Velo-city Global 2012 Conference next year in Vancouver.

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Conference Site Goes Live!

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The Velo-city Global 2012 team is very excited to share the news that the Velo-city Global 2012 Conference web site is now up and running!! Check the website www.velo-city2012.com and find out more about the Registration, Call for Presentations, Program Themes, Sponsorship, … Continue reading

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Conference Site, Call for Papers: Coming Soon

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Pulling together a conference web site requires alot of planning. But we hope to announce its release soon –within the next few days. Shortly thereafter, there will be an international call for papers.  Velo-city Global 2012 conference team planners have … Continue reading

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Travelling to Velo-city Global 2012 the Scenic Way: from Calgary to Vancouver

Banff National Park, Alberta. Part of a Unesco World Heritage site along with 3 other Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks: Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay. Banff is 130 km north of Calgary

Banff National Park, Alberta. Part of a Unesco World Heritage site along Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks: Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay. Banff is 130 km north of Calgary.

 By HJEH Becker.  In Seville, while attending the Velo-city 2011 Conference, delegates dropped by the Vancouver booth.  They asked what else they can do on their trip to the Velo-city Global 2012 Conference. 

Well, Vancouver and British Columbia do have some fantastic mountains to spend some of your time.  Why not take some extra time and travel through the mountains either before the conference or afterwards?  Calgary and Edmonton, make ideal airport cities to fly in or out.  Then journey through the mountains to Vancouver.  Between Calgary and Vancouver, it is approximately 1,100 km.

26 km. Banff Legacy bike path between Canmore and Banff offers continuous, changing views of several mountains.

26 km. long Banff Legacy bike path between Canmore and Banff offers continuous, changing views of several mountains. Photo by J. Chong

 By bus or by car, the journey can be as short as one day.  You will not experience much that way.  By train, it is a two-day trip.  One VIA rail train travels through the mountains at night while the other train, Rocky Mountaineer stops to maximize your view of the mountains.  By bicycle, it is an 11-day trip where you will really start to experience the British Columbia scene.

Over the next few months, we will take you through this experience on bicycle, a chapter at a time.  A chapter will be one day in cycling time and 100 kilometres per day.  So allow yourselves time for this trip before the conference in mid-June.  Best to leave a couple of days early  for unexpected delays along the way.  After all, 

Along Bow River bike path. Calgary, Alberta.

Along Bow River bike path. Calgary, Alberta.

this is mountain country and snow at any time of the year over the mountain passes, can delay you.  Of course, this delay is off-set by experiencing the spectacular beauty in mountains.

Calgary Stampede in Alberta- A Post Conference Experience
Now, if one does the trip to Calgary after the conference ends, then one would arrive in Calgary just in time to don a cowboy hat and join into the raucous activities of the Calgary Stampede. Join in the morning flapjack breakfasts, then  horse riding and cow lassoing activities at the Stampede 

One of several free flapjack (pancake) breakfasts during week of Calgary Stampede.

One of several free flapjack (pancake) breakfasts during week of Calgary Stampede.

 grounds.  Finally, close off  the day with newly found friends from all parts of the world at a local entertainment spot with a local beer, British Colombia wines, or some fantastic Canadian rye whisky.  Of course, you will put on some cowboy clothes and boots for the occasion.  Maybe, you will want to cover your bicycle with a cow rawhide to make it look more like one of the cattle during a round-up.

From Calgary to Banff National Park, Lake Louise
You have several different choices to cross through the mountains.

From Calgary, you can travel 150 km. to Banff and then, Lake Louise in the Rockies. From there, select the Kicking Horse Pass or choose the route which takes you to Radium Hot Springs.  You may also decide to cycle to Jasper and cross the mountains on the Yellowhead Highway.  Other options  to cycle southward from Calgary to Lethbridge, or along the east side of the Rockies to Pincher Creek and then follow the Crowsnest Pass route.

Alpine meadow flowers in summer mist. Mount Revelstoke, British Columbia. Photo by HJEH Becker

Alpine meadow flowers in summer mist. Mount Revelstoke, British Columbia. Photo by HJEH Becker

 From Edmonton, you can take the Yellowhead Highway route through Jasper.

From Calgary to Vancouver, the most direct route takes you past Banff and Lake Louise into British Colombia, Revelstoke, the Okanagan and its wines into Vancouver.  For the Crowsnest Pass route, allow yourselves an extra day or two days, in case that the Crowsnest Pass is windy that day.  High winds through this pass are not uncommon.  However, you may encounter similar conditions that I did a few years ago:  The cycle from Lethbridge to Pincher Creek was a nightmare with 50 km. winds barrelling down the mountain pass into my face.  

Okanagan Valley vineyards, British Columbia's wine-producing region. Near Oliver, BC. Photo by HJEH Becker

Okanagan Valley vineyards, British Columbia's wine-producing region. Near Oliver, BC. Photo by HJEH Becker

Enough to make one want to quit and search for a ride with a small pickup truck.  The next day into the pass, was quite different with no winds until I reached the top of the pass.  Even these winds, were very moderate.  The Yellowhead Highway route through Edmonton and Jasper is a more northernly route.

Pick your route and enjoy the ride!

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