Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spend on cycling close to home

Latest HUB column in Maple Ridge News:

Published: December 13, 2012
We’ve been warned multiple times in recent months that Canadian household spending is causing us to be ever deeper in debt. But would that warning have any effect on this year’s spending by Canadian families? According to a Bank of Montreal survey, holiday shoppers are planning to spend on average $674 on gifts this year, up from $583 last year. And the average Canadian is expected to spend more than $85 on booze in December, also according to a Bank of Montreal report. Canada is among the wealthiest countries in the world, so it’s probably not a surprise.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian households spend on average about $11,000 on transportation.
About $10,000 of that is spent on private transportation: cars, vans and trucks, including their operating cost.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Letter of thanks to Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows from HUB

Honourable Mayors, Councilors and municipal staff:

On behalf of HUB, Your Cycling Connection (formerly Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition), we would like to extend thanks to the District of Maple Ridge and City of Pitt Meadows for a number of recent cycling & pedestrian infrastructure projects that are visibly and tangibly improving these modes of transportation in our communities.

It is the view of HUB, that a safe and contiguous network of cycling and pedestrian routes from east-to-west and north-to-south in our community would act to encourage people to consider transportation options other than the automobile for "some" of their local trips. With safety being paramount in the minds of current and considering cyclists, some form of separation (whether by space or physical barrier) from travelling vehicles is always preferred to the situation of a cyclist hugging the edge of a busy, fast-moving roadway. It is also recognized that where vehicular traffic can be slowed to 30km/hour or less using traffic-calming methods, cyclists can safely integrated with vehicles. 

In addition to existing cycling infrastructure, recently completed or currently under-construction in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows we see a number of projects which should serve to encourage people to safely venture out on their bikes for more trips of exercise and health, recreation, school, business and shopping. 

Among the recent projects in Maple Ridge:
• 240th Street, painted cycling lanes on both sides
• 232nd Street, painted cycling lanes on both sides
• 122nd Avenue/Mountainview Crescent, traffic-calmed roadway and broad Multi-User-Pathway (MUP) on both sides.
• Abernathy Way, separated MUP 
• 227th Street, broad multi-user sidewalks on both sides
• 117th Avenue/Thorne Avenue, signed shared roadway and traffic-calming
• Hammond to Pitt Meadows recreational trail  

Recent projects in Pitt Meadows:
• New Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan
• Kennedy Road MUP
• McLean Park access
• HUB also recognizes Pitt Meadows' significant pre-existing cycling network and investments and their leadership in this regard.

Thanks again for all your contributions to this essential piece of the local transportation puzzle and we look forward to continued work toward a safe, inter-connecting and well-used cycling and pedestrian network.

Rick Halas, Ivan Chow, Jackie Chow, Alex Pope, Peter Jongbloed, Barry Bellamy, Dave Rush
HUB, Your Cycling Connection

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Did you think the Dutch already have it all?

Well, think again. Forever searching for further possible improvements, the Dutch are considering installing heated bike paths. Every year during the winter months, thousands of cyclists are injured when they fall on slippery bike paths.

During the summer, asphalt collectors would be collecting heat which would be stored underground and used in the winter months to heat the bike paths. The cost of installing heated paths is estimated to be between 30,000 and 40,000 euros, which is the same cost as repaving a path.

Statistics show that between 5 and 10% of cyclist accidents are due to slippery paths, and the cost associated with these injuries is considerable. Money will be saved on hospital bills, no salt is required to prevent ice on the paths, more people will bike, and there will be less cars on the road.

Thanks, Maple Ridge, for new paths

HUB Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows' latest article in The News:

Published: November 09, 2012

Metro Vancouver is doing some major work in Maple Ridge, constructing new water mains from the pump station in the southeast corner of Meadow Gardens Golf Course, just north of Lougheed Highway by the mall. As well, a multi-use path will be built on the south side of 128th Avenue, from 210th to 224th streets. The district has just completed paving a multi-use path on the north side of 128th Avenue/Abernethy Way between 224th and 232nd streets. It looks awesome.

Thank you, Maple Ridge council.


Alex Pope has been documenting the progress on the construction of the path along Abernathy. You can see his photo series here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bikes are for everyone... not just cyclists

A few times a year I have the opportunity to bike in Vancouver. Thanks to the many improvements in recent years that have made getting around on a bike safer and more fun, Vancouver is really on the forefront of the growing popularity in Metro Vancouver of the bicycle as a way to get around. But when I'm pedaling around downtown Vancouver, with one "cyclist" after the other passing me in a hurry on his way to or from work, I kind of feel like a different species sometimes, being on an upright bike and taking my time to enjoy my ride. Granted, when I bike in Vancouver I'm not on my way to work. But when I lived in the Netherlands and biked to work, I also had an upright bike and didn't go particularly fast. Not fast enough to break into a sweat, unless I was late for work. It was just unheard of in the Netherlands - at least in those days - to take a shower once you got to work. I suspect not much has changed in that respect.

In the Netherlands, I never felt like I was a "cyclist" - I just happened to use my bike to go wherever I needed to go. Here in Canada, I'm a cyclist. Don't ask me why.

Actually, here's a great article from the Post Carbon Institute's Energy Bulletin that explains quite well why you don't have to be a "cyclist" to ride a bike.

Cycling boom in Berlin. Why?

Everwhere where politicians and planners start to take cycling seriously and listen to the concerns of cyclists relating to safety, and consequently start building separated infrastructure, the numbers of cyclists increase dramatically. What's more, you'll start seeing a different mix of cyclists: more seniors, more kids, more women. This is what's been happening in Berlin, where hundreds of miles of separated bike paths and lanes have been added to the cycling network in recent years, according to this article from BBC News Magazine. People feel perfectly safe on their bikes, and most don't wear helmets.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two recently added "Streetfilms" on Vancouver cycling

• Perfect match: Metro Vancouver melds Bikes and Transit

• Vancouver's Velo Vision: Safe Biking For All Ages
From "no way, I will not cycle... to it's like being a kid again (on a bike)"

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cargobikes on the rise

I haven't seen any in our neck of the woods yet, but in many parts of the world cargo bikes, which come in all shapes and sizes, are becoming more popular. Just like regular bikes, they're a great way to save money on transportation and enable you to carry more groceries, people, or whatever else you need to transport, and get your exercise at the same time. And it's fun! I tried a Bullitt cargo bike last year. It has a bucket in the front, and it has two wheels. It took a bit of getting used to, but you get the hang of it pretty quick. Not sure how wobbly it might be when it's got a full load though. Anyway, here's a good article from Next American City about cargo bikes and their rising popularity.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post "Sandy" New York City biking and walking rule in the city

Mass transit is a way of life here in New York City. The subway is the artery that allows the city to survive at its famous pace. But with significant water damage from Superstorm Sandy, the New York City subway is still not running. Buses are back, but with limited routes.
With people getting back to normal following the one-day hurricane holiday on Tuesday, that meant today was a work day. And without the subway; that meant many New Yorkers used their feet to get there. While streets were jam packed with cars, taxis and buses — most of them going nowhere fast — the bike paths and sidewalks were inundated with flowing human traffic.
I rolled over to the Queensboro Bridge to see how it played out. It was fascinating to see so much human powered commuting in action. It was so jaw-dropping, it became an event in and of itself. Even locals stopped to take photos of the scene.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

3 foot passing law

More and more states in the U.S. are passing laws that require drivers to leave 3 feet of space between their cars and cyclists when they pass them. Recently the State of California also passed a similar law, but it was subsequently vetoed by Governor Brown, despite huge support from cyclists, because this particular law required cars to slow down to 15 mph if they couldn't give cyclists enough space when passing, and he felt this might cause rear-end collisions.

We had a discussion about the concept of 3 foot (of course in Canada this would be 1 meter) passing laws at one of our last Committee meetings. Some of us agreed that such a law would help cyclists to feel safer. Many seasoned cyclists have some harrowing stories to tell about being clipped or almost hit by cars that were getting too close, and some didn't live to tell their stories. At least a law like this would hopefully make drivers more aware of the fact that they are legally required to keep a certain distance.

There are several problems with a law like this however.

First of all, it's pretty much impossible to enforce. Nobody's going to be able to measure the distance between a car and a cyclist after the fact, unless there's a clear video recording or photograph taken at the right moment, and from the right angle.

Also, this is in my opinion a law that may work for 'experienced' cyclists only, not for 'cyclists of all ages and abilities'. Now that more cycling advocates realize that they need to advocate for the needs of all cyclists - not just the strong and fearless - there are still quite a few who think this is a law that makes sense. An adult, 'experienced' cyclist, may feel totally comfortable with a car passing at 3 feet distance at 60 km/h when he's cruising along himself at 30 km/h, but the same may not be the case for an elderly woman for example, who bikes at a much slower speed and thus a higher speed differential, and may not have the same sense of balance anymore, or a young child, who may not always bike in a very straight line.

Another important issue that I have with this law, is that it does not take into account the kind and size of vehicle, nor its speed. It can be pretty scary to have a large truck pass by, especially with a trailer behind, at 3 feet distance, and especially if that truck is going 100 km/h, or even 50 km/h.

There does seem to be strong support among cyclists for some type of passing law, and in the absence of a better option, something is better than nothing I suppose.

It's obvious that the better option that we should be aiming for is of course separated infrastructure on busier and higher speed roads.

Montreal: about velorution, gardening and community

Bixi bikes and gardening are helping to create "community" in Montreal, according to this article in the Energy Bulletin of the Post Carbon Institute.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pedal power

I would love to have one of these bikes in my kitchen to make myself a smoothie and grind my coffee! It certainly makes you more aware of the energy you use on a daily basis and just take for granted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bike to Work Week Oct. 29 - Nov. 2

Sign up for Bike to Work Week now! HUB has bikes and bike accessories to give away for those who sign up and log their commutes during Bike to Work Week. Drop by one of HUB's Celebration Stations for a chat, a drink and a snack!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photos Cranberry Festival ride

Last Saturday we went on our ride to the Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley. We were so incredibly fortunate with the weather, it was a gorgeous sunny day and it was amazingly warm for this time of year. We had 9 people in our group. Here are some pictures:

On the Golden Ears Bridge - by Geoff Hancock
Along Allard Cr. on the Langley side
Some people are smart to wear their helmets as pedestrians, since peds run more risk of injury in traffic than cyclists! It's also easier to spot them in a crowd - by Geoff Hancock.
We stopped on the way back at the Roadkill Cafe ("You kill it, we grill it"!). We had an ice cream instead. - by Geoff Hancock
The roads as well as the sidewalks in Fort Langley were full of people

Never seen before, most likely theft-proof bike lock

Riding the Galloping Goose, Lochside

Our latest column in the Maple Ridge News:

Published: October 11, 2012 8:00 PM

It’s not often that I bike purely for the enjoyment of it, but last week I went on a long-awaited and short cycling trip on Vancouver Island with my husband.

I had heard much about the famous Galloping Goose Trail between Victoria and Sooke, and its somewhat less famous cousin, the Lochside Trail between Schwartz Bay and Victoria.


Here are some pictures that we took along the trail:

Some French tourists we met along Dallas Road

Lochside Trail

Galloping Goose Trail

view over Sooke Basin

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Metro Vancouver wants bulging gas tax fund to aid cycling

By Jeff Nagel - Surrey North Delta Leader

More than $280 million in federal gas tax that is supposed to flow to TransLink is sitting unused and Metro Vancouver politicians now want some of it to go to building bike lanes.
Since 2005, Ottawa has handed back to TransLink at least half of the 10 cents a litre of gas tax it collects within the Metro region and the money has helped finance hundreds of new and replacement buses and SkyTrain cars.
But TransLink is only allowed to spend the resulting fund on certain types of projects – mainly vehicles – and with its capital spending constrained, the transferred federal gas tax money is stacking up faster than it can be spent.
An extra $122 million will flow in this year, lifting the total to more than $400 million.
"We want to be able to spend that money reducing our carbon footprints with cycling infrastructure around the region," Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said.
But the federal government two years ago removed bike-related projects as an allowed use of the gas tax transfers.
Metro's regional planning committee voted Friday to urge area cities to lobby Ottawa to reinstate that use.
"It's more consistent with the green agenda for the gas tax dollars," Corrigan said.
TransLink strategic planning and public affairs vice-president Bob Paddon said it was unfortunate the federal government disallowed cycling spending.
But he rejected suggestions the gas tax money will go to waste, noting it is carried over each year and TransLink has more eligible spending in the works.
This year TransLink is applying to use $123 million from the fund to replace hundreds of older buses, community shuttles and HandyDarts over the next three years.
The federal gas tax transfer is separate from the 17 cents a litre in tax that TransLink directly levies on each litre of fuel sold in Metro Vancouver.
TransLink's currently proposed three-year base plan would pare back the amount of money going to cycling upgrades around the region.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Biking to School

Pretty good showing of cyclists Friday, October 5 at Yennadon Elementary School. Just a regular school day, but the Fall weather has been spectacular for biking! Way to go kids... and parents!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets

ONE spectacular Sunday in Paris last month, I decided to skip museums and shopping to partake of something even more captivating for an environment reporter: Vélib, arguably the most successful bike-sharing program in the world. In their short lives, Europe’s bike-sharing systems have delivered myriad benefits, notably reducing traffic and its carbon emissions. A number of American cities — including New York, where a bike-sharing program is to open next year — want to replicate that success.

So I bought a day pass online for about $2, entered my login information at one of the hundreds of docking stations that are scattered every few blocks around the city and selected one of Vélib’s nearly 20,000 stodgy gray bikes, with their basic gears, upright handlebars and practical baskets.
Then I did something extraordinary, something I’ve not done in a quarter-century of regular bike riding in the United States: I rode off without a helmet.

New York Times story

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ride to Cranberry Festival Fort Langley, Oct. 6

Haven't bought your cranberries yet for Thanksgiving? Well, why don't you join us for possibly our last Discovery Bike Ride of the year, to the Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley, on Sat. Oct. 6. This is the second year we're doing this ride.
We'll meet up at Memorial Peace Park at 10:00 am. For those who live closer to the Golden Ears Bridge, we'll have two pick-up points:

  • at 10:20 at Ridge Meadows College on Thorne Ave.
  • at 10:40 at the roundabout to the bridge on the Pitt Meadows side, at the end of the Airport Parkway

The festival lasts from 10 am to 4 pm. 
Note that our rides are "unguided". This means that you're welcome to meet us at the suggested times and to ride along with us, but you do so at your own risk. We choose quiet routes where possible. If you need some guidance on the way back, feel free to tag along with any of us (make sure you make arrangements before we split up at the festival). I'll try to remember to bring along some new free Translink bike maps for those who don't have one yet.
In case we cancel the ride due to rain, it'll be posted on our blog on Friday Oct. 5 by 8 pm. 
Hope to see you on Oct. 6!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Culture, or community by design?

Here's a good article on the Energy Bulletin of the Post Carbon Institute about what creates community in the city of Montreal. The Bixi bikes and the cycling network are part of it!

Montreal: City of Bikes
by Sven Eberlein
Last year I visited Montreal to attend the Ecocity World Summit, a biannual gathering of visionaries from around the globe committed to creating cities where people live in mutually enriching relationship with each other and with the Earth. Looking at cities as living breathing organisms, with all their residents — human and non-human — forming an intricate web of interdependence, the very idea of an ecocity is rooted in a sharing principle, where citizens understand not only the physical value of making the most of our natural resources, but the cultural, spiritual, ecological, and ultimately, economic value inherent in building networks and communities.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

GETI Fest 2012 photos

GETI Fest 2012 was a lot of fun. According to estimates by the Haney Farmers Market, the number of visitors must have been close to 3000. Every year it gets bigger and better!

The purpose of GETI Fest is to raise awareness of the need to transition to a less fossil-fuel dependent economy, and cycling is one of the many ways for people to help themselves and their communities to do this. HUB is one of the many Action Groups of GETI, and as such we were involved in this 2nd annual GETI Fest.

At this year's GETI Fest, as a cycling advocacy group our HUB Committee was quite excited to join the Lougheed Area Girl Guides in celebrating the Day of the Girl. Women only comprise 25% of the cycling population in North America, and HUB would like to see more cycling infrastructure that will entice more women to start cycling for transportation. Women generally are more risk-averse than men, and feel more comfortable on separated facilities, away from car traffic.

We did another Cycle Recycle (free used bike give-away). 10 Bikes - some donated and some rescued from a sad fate of ending up as scrap metal at the Recycle Depot - got new owners. Some of the bikes that are dropped off at the Depot still have quite a bit of useful life left in them, and it makes one more aware of how wasteful our society has become. Dave and Barry taught some basic bike repair skills before the winners took home their bikes.

We also had a bike decorating station, and did a bike rodeo. I was quite happy about the numbers of bikes we saw. I didn't count them, but I think we probably had about 15 kids with their bicycles decorating their bikes and/or doing the rodeo. Next year we'll have even more!

We had an absolute hoot with the (non-fossil-fuel powered) People-in-Motion parade. A large group of kids on their bikes were at the head of the parade, following the District's electric truck. The kids were clearly in control, commandeering the driver of the truck, Director of Operations Russ Carmichael, to go "FASTER!! FASTER!!". He kindly obliged and sped up a little bit, but afterwards I heard that the poor Raging Grannies at the tail end of the parade were rather out of breath trying to keep up. Sorry, Grannies!

Here are some of the photos that we took:

practicing cycling skills, with the help of Girl Guide volunteers and some useful props
Slow Race
Lots of bikes in the People-in-Motion Parade!
HUB gave away 10 bicycles at our Cycle Recycle
HUB Bicycle Valet
MP Marc Dalton and Mayor Ernie Daykin performed the draw for the Cycle Recycle 

Click here for more photos.

Monday, September 17, 2012

GETI Fest 2012

We hope you'll join us for the 2nd annual GETI Fest, in Memorial Peace Park, on Sat. Sept. 22 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.).

For those of you who don't know about GETI, it's an organization through which all individuals and groups in the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows (Golden Ears) area can work together in a co-ordinated fashion to create a resilient, vibrant, supportive and caring community. This is achieved through local Action Groups that help us meet our needs for food, energy, shelter, sustainable livelihoods and much more, while reducing our carbon footprint and our dependence on fossil fuels. Our local HUB Chapter is one of the many Action Groups of GETI.
Apart from the celebration at GETI Fest of GETI's achievements so far, our HUB Committee is especially excited this year to join the Lougheed Area Girl Guides in celebrating the Day of the Girl at GETI Fest. In order to overcome the many challenges that our world faces today, it’s important to recognize the important role girls and women can play in changing our world for the better. 

If you think cycling has nothing to do with women's emancipation, think again. In the late 19th and early 20th century, cycling has done a lot to give women more freedom and make them more independent. Here's a quote from women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906):"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” 

Presently, only about 25% of cyclists in North America are female. The "cycling infrastructure" that has been built here since mid last century or so has consisted of at the most some white lines and bike symbols on our roads, and it obviously hasn't appealed very much to most women, who generally are not looking for the adrenaline rush that you feel when competing with cars for space on the road. Most women prefer a more peaceful experience, away from car traffic. In countries where cycling is perceived to be safer, such as in the Netherlands, the number of women who bike is much higher. In the Netherlands about 55% of cyclists are women. Many of them own a car, but choose to use their bikes, because it's an enjoyable, convenient, fun and healthy way to get around.

More separated and safer infrastructure in our neck of the woods will give today's Girl Guides and women of all ages the ability to make that choice as well.

HUB's share in the activities at GETI Fest:

 9:30 - 10:30 Cycle Recycle (free bike give-away) #1*
10:00 -  3:00 Artisan Fair / Action Groups / free bike parking / food
10:00 - 11:30 Bike decorating
11:00 - 12:00 Parade
12:30 -  1:30 Cycle Recycle #2*
12:00 -  2:00 Bike rodeo (we have only a few bikes available for those kids who don't have their own bike with them)

*Cycle Recycle #1: tickets to be entered by 10:00. Draw between 10:00 and 10:30;
Cycle Recycle #2: tickets to be entered by 1:00. Draw between 1:00 and 1:30

Events like GETI Fest can only happen with the help of many volunteers. If you would like to help out, please send me an e-mail (
Looking forward to seeing you at GETI Fest!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Photos Discover Historic Hammond ride

Thanks to Ian McLeod of for guiding our ride today and sharing interesting facts about Hammond, and thanks to Leanne Koehn and James Rowley for the hospitality, the muffins and ice tea, and thank heavens we had a gorgeous sunny day! Here is Ian's blog post about the ride.

Ian gave us a bit of a history lesson today. It's hard to imagine now that the area just west of Memorial Peace Park once used to be pastures and orchards. The land owned by Japanese was seized from them during the 2nd World War. They were sent to the Kootenays, and few of them returned. They were never compensated. The building where the CEED Centre is now located used to be a Japanese school.

Start of the ride at the Blue Fountains at Memorial Peace Park
In Pitt Meadows, we rode the off-road multi-use path between Hammond and the Airport Parkway, and Ian, who was involved in the Golden Ears Bridge construction as public relations manager, told us that for this $1 billion project, this stretch of multi-use path was actually the most contentious of all the issues that they had to deal with. Residents whose houses this path backed onto were upset, claiming that cyclists would climb their fences and steal things out of their backyards. I know they've been complaining about flooding issues after the path was built, supposedly caused by the path, but I hope that they now see the benefits to the community as well and that most cyclists aren't such bad people after all.

While enjoying some delicious coffee at Stomping Grounds Coffee in Osprey Village in Pitt Meadows, Ian told us about the unusual government model of Barnston Island. Its 100 inhabitants are represented by a Director on the Metro Board and pay property taxes to the region, not to their own municipality. It's a great place to go for a bike ride. There's a free ferry from Surrey, from the bottom of 176 Street, and there's very little traffic on the road that goes around the island.

Great bike racks at Stomping Grounds Coffee were well used

Nice latte and great company at Stomping Grounds in Osprey Village!
We passed through the Katzie reserve. For cyclists the dirt road full of potholes is a convenient, but bumpy connection between Hammond and Osprey. The Katzie presently have only about 500 band members, and this is one of 5 reserves in the area that they own.

Wharf Street still has some industry, but it's obviously struggling. The Hammond Cedar Mill, once the biggest  employer in Maple Ridge, has downsized considerably.  There is no public access to the Fraser River in Hammond, and Hammond Neighbours would love to see some of the properties that are up for sale right along the waterfront to be turned into a park.

Riding through Hammond, we stopped at some of the older homes, like the original home of one of the Hammond brothers, who owned much of the land in the area and negotiated with the CPR to have a train station built in Hammond in 1883. Rail or boat was the only access to Hammond in the very early days. It would have been a very different kind of community back then. People would have walked or biked down to the store to buy what they needed. Most people of course worked locally at the Mill, or at the supporting local businesses.

Most of the older homes were built for mill workers. They're generally small homes and these days there's not much buyers' interest in them. Some have been remarkably well-kept though, and it's encouraging to see that there's a strong desire among the Hammond Neighbours to revive some community spirit and to fix up the whole area. It'll be interesting to see what's going to happen in the next few years in this area. It's got so much potential.

Tolmie Park in Hammond, named after a former BC premier

I thought the signs were kind of cute (it's a bit hard to read: "Hippies use side door" and "Beware: pickpockets and loose women"). This is an old telecommunications building beside the old Bank of Montreal

The old bank building, the first in Maple Ridge. 

Ice tea and muffins in Leanne and James' garden!

Leanne's home, built by her grandfather, and in the process of being restored and renovated. This is where Leanne's parents were Maple Ridge's recycling pioneers!

Another one of the older homes that makes this neighbourhood in Hammond so appealing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MR/PM support for Velo Village resolution

Good news! The Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Bicycle Advisory Committee recommends Council to support a resolution from the Velo Village Conference on rural cycling (Salt Spring Island, 21-23 June, 2012) to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for provincial funding for cycling infrastructure.

See announcement in Council this Week.

The text of the Velo Village resolution can be found here (page 13)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Car bike rack as repair stand

The wife says I really must spread the word about this glorious innovation - the use of the auto bike rack as a repair stand....

Vive la révolution - from The Economist magazine

Transport in cities

Vive la révolution

A cycling renaissance is taking place in America

MORE and more Americans are taking to the road on two wheels. Between 1977 and 2009 the total number of annual bike trips more than tripled, while the bike’s share of all trips rose from 0.6% to 1%. Commuting cyclists have also increased in number, with twice as many biking to work in 2009 as in 2000.
Cities are increasingly vying to be bike friendly. Among them, Chicago wants to become the most cycle-friendly large city in the country—and has said it will build over 30 miles of protected cycle lanes this year. At the moment it ranks fifth, according to Bicycling magazine. Ahead of it are Washington, DC, Boulder, Colorado, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon. And cycling is growing fast in all these cities, as it is in New York and San Francisco.
The growth comes thanks to cycle-friendly policymaking and increases in government spending. In Portland, which brought in a comprehensive programme, cycling levels have increased sixfold since the early 1990s. In Chicago the motivation is to improve the quality of life, and thus encourage both businesses and families to move there.
In a forthcoming book, “City Cycling”, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler argue that the bike boom needs to be expanded to a broader cross-section of people. Almost all the growth in cycling in America has come from men aged 25-64. Rates of cycling have actually fallen slightly among women and sharply among children, most probably because of nervousness about safety. But in fact cycling is getting safer all the time. According to a paper* by Messrs Pucher and Buehler with Mark Seinen, fatalities per 10m bike trips fell by 65% between 1977 and 2009, from 5.1 to 1.8. In their book, the authors claim that the health benefits of cycling far exceed the safety risks.
Chicago is also planning one of the largest bike-sharing programmes in the country, with 3,000 steeds. Bike-sharing increases the number of trips by bicycle in a city and improves the cycle culture. Growth in cycling is also spurred by weekend closures of streets to motor vehicles and mass cycling events. All these look likely to become more common in America.
As 48% of trips in American cities are shorter than three miles, there is big potential for further growth. Yet while the future looks bright, America will struggle to catch up with northern Europe, where the proportion of local trips done by bike can be as high as 30%.
One reason for this is that car ownership remains far cheaper in America. Another is the absence of restrictions on car use, which would greatly improve cycle safety. Europeans are far keener on traffic-calming measures, car-free zones, fewer parking spaces and road “diets”—where cars are allocated a narrower piece of road. America may be flirting with the bicycle, but it has by no means ended its long love affair with the car.
*“Bicycling renaissance in North America? An update and reappraisal of cycling trends and policies”, by John Pucher, Ralph Buehler and Mark Seinen. Transportation Research Part A 45 (2011)