Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rotary Duck Race, Sunday July 31, input MR/PM cycling plan

The Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Bicycle Advisory Committee will have a table at Sunday's Rotary Duck Race between 10 am and 3 pm. There will be draft bicycle maps, with routes and potential destinations for cyclists. The BAC would like people to drop by and let them know where they would like to cycle. The cycling map is updated as part of the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Bikeways Plan 2011. This is the first time that the plan is updated since 1994, and much has changed since then. Hopefully the new plan will reflect the many recent developments in Metro Vancouver, including the realization that many people do not feel comfortable cycling with traffic. Cycling courses will help those who are less confident on their bikes to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate our roads safely, but most importantly, our communities need to focus much more on building infrastructure that is safe for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

This is your chance to have some input!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Round the clock cycling in the Netherlands

Watch this video to get an impression of what cycling is like in the Netherlands. It's just a very normal way of getting around:

Did you notice the absence of car noise? Did you see any fat people?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer photo contest

The Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) is holding a summer photo contest. For more info on rules, categories, prizes and other details click here.
The deadline for entries is noon on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 and winners will be determined on Wednesday, September 14, 2011.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tynehead Perimeter Trail Opening - July 16, 2011

Casey and New Tynehead Overpass

My son, Casey, and I rode with the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows VACC members to the Opening of the Tynehead Perimeter Trail this morning. We rode from home to Memorial Peace Park where we met up with the first group of cyclists. From there we headed to the Golden Ears Bridge where we were joined by another group. Once over the Golden Ears Bridge, most of our riding was on the Off Street paved Greenway path all the way to Tynehead Park.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Photos of cycling in Holland

My family and I recently made a trip to Holland to visit my folks. They live in Lelystad, a city in the Flevopolder, which is reclaimed land. Lelystad is only 45 years old. My family moved there in 1972, when there were probably about 5,000 inhabitants. Now the  population is about 80,000. After focussing on car traffic for several decades after the second World War, in the seventies governments at all levels in the Netherlands started to make cycling a priority. So in Lelystad cycling was an integral part of transportation planning right from the start. 4 Lane highways were built for cars only, with many cyclist/pedestrian bridges crossing these highways. Through the years some of the highways have disappeared, and the routes for cars have sometimes become less direct. A few traffic lights have been added here and there, quite a few roundabouts - I can't think of any stop signs in Lelystad, yield signs are actually more common - and Lelystad now has a railroad with frequent trains to Amsterdam. But the most impressive part of the transportation system is the bicycle network, much of it separated. Anyway, I won't bore you with all the details, but I thought I'd post some pictures of some of the cycling infrastructure and some of the rides we did. Come along for the ride:

These are pics I just took randomly around Lelystad.

We also did a bike route all around Lelystad, mapped and signed by the ANWB (the Dutch Automobile Association). Total distance about 40 km. Much of it on separated bike paths. Some of Lelystad's surroundings are not the most exciting: it's flat everywhere, endless agricultural fields, long straight roads. But it's great for biking, and the bike infrastructure is great! Here are the photos.

On another day we rented bikes from the Dutch Railways: "OV Fiets". If you have a membership (cost $21 per year if you don't have a Railway pass), you can rent 2 bikes per membership for 3 euros per bike per 24 hours. Great deal. We biked along the river IJssel between Kampen and Zwolle, a 32 km round trip, again an ANWB bike route. Click here to see the pictures.

There are many bike routes in Holland. There are hundreds of local/regional routes throughout the country, and also national routes. You can also put together your own route, using the "knooppuntennetwerk" (cycling node network), with signage throughout the country, and maps along the routes. The only problem: there's just too much to choose from!  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bikes, bikes, everywhere!

One of two valet bike lock-ups at this weekend's Vancouver 125
celebration at Stanley Park.
Conclusive proof to the adage, "if you build it, they will come." Vancouver's 125 Birthday celebration at Stanley Park had people arriving to the festivities by the thousands by bike and on foot. I don't believe I have ever seen so many bikes in one spot - greater even than the official opening of the Golden Ears Bridge, which saw around 400 bikes in the valet bike lockups on either side of the Fraser River that day. My entire family (wife and 3 kids) parked our vehicle on Great Northern Way, and proceeded cycling along the north-shore seawall to the Hornby Avenue bikeway, north to the Convention Centre, then onto the seawall again at Coal Harbour to Stanley Park - all in the comfort and security of dedicated bike lanes! It really is exceptional to be able to ride right into and thru the core of the city on a "safe" bike route.
At Stanley Park, there are two bike valet lock-ups. As well, bikes were chained to every conceivable immovable object. Bands played at a number of stages around the Brockton Oval area and the crowd was family and relaxed for the three-day event. A great redemption for the city's Stanley Cup Massacre. Still time to catch the last of Sunday's acts if you read this blog post in time! I would recommend you to head on down.
Bikes locked up outside the valet lots. We chose to do the same to
avoid the after-concert crush to get the bikes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Discovery Bike Ride #4: Tynehead overpass Surrey

This month's Discovery Bike Ride will be on Saturday, July 16. Note: this ride will be "unguided" if we have more than 10 participants, due to liability issues.

We will take you to the Grand Opening party of the Tynehead Cycling and Pedestrian Overpass in Surrey, spanning Highway 1 at 168 St.  This overpass connects the Tynehead Greenway to the future Barnston Greenway. Here are some pictures of the overpass. This map shows the route we'll be taking from Memorial Peace Park to the Maple Meadows West Coast Express station  A and from there to the Tynehead Overpass.

You can join the ride at 3 locations:
9:00 am: Memorial Peace Park at 224th St. (distance one way: 19 km)
9:15 am: Zenberry Cafe, #7 - 12350 Harris Rd, Pitt Meadows (at the railway crossing) (distance one way: 16 km) (return trip to Pitt Meadows not guided)
9:30 am: Maple Meadows West Coast Express station A (distance one way: 13 km)
(note: please arrive 10 minutes before, so that we can get you to sign the required waiver)

The opening ceremony at the overpass will be at 11:00 am.

Most of the route on the Surrey side will be on beautiful, smooth, paved off-road paths, a real treat!

Please let me know if you will be joining us for this ride, and at which location.

For those of you who would like to explore this part of Surrey a bit more by bike at your own leisure, here's another, more detailed map, provided by VACC Surrey.

Friday, July 1, 2011

North Alouette Greenway Bridge

 The opening of the two new bridges, one over the North Alouette and the other over the slough adjacent to 216th Street (at about 136 Avenue) allow riders from the Silver Ridge area to traverse the north of Maple Ridge, off-road, westbound to Neaves Road, and beyond. For recreational riders this is a very good development, allowing them to avoid the the sometimes busy 132nd Avenue and the always busy 128th Avenue, from 216th St. to 210 St. 
I had done this route alone, in my commute to Port Coquitlam, and as well with my daughter for fun and while it does cut off a substantial amount of distance on a westbound commute for me, the quality of the roadbed is alternately very rough gravel or very soft gravel and bark mulch, making for very slow travel. In the end, my ultimate commute time was much the same as the usual 132/128/Old Dewdney, but perhaps with a little more effort on my part to travel this new route. As a recreational route, though, to access the dykes of Pitt Meadows and North Maple Ridge, it is very scenic and pleasurable.
216 Avenue Slough bridge
North Alouette Bridge north of the Equestrian Centre

While some horsemen will use the new bridge, it may well be easier and
safer for them to ford the river at their usual crossing nearby.