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)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Half of the polar ice cap is missing: Arctic sea ice hits a new record low

Published: 8:53 PM GMT on September 06, 2012
Extraordinary melting of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has shattered the all-time low sea ice extent record set in September 2007, and sea ice continues to decline far below what has ever been observed. The new sea ice record was set on August 26, a full three weeks before the usual end of the melting season, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Every major scientific institution that tracks Arctic sea ice agrees that new records for low ice area, extent, and volume have been set. These organizations include the University of Washington Polar Science Center (a new record for low ice volume), the Nansen Environmental & Remote Sensing Center in Norway, and the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today. A comprehensive collection of sea ice graphs shows the full story. Satellite records of sea ice extent date back to 1979, though a 2011 study by Kinnard et al. shows that the Arctic hasn't seen a melt like this for at least 1,450 years (see a more detailed article on this over at The latest September 5, 2012 extent of 3.5 million square kilometers is approximately a 50% reduction in the area of Arctic covered by sea ice, compared to the average from 1979 - 2000. The ice continues to melt, and has not reached the low for this year yet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maple Ridge Transportation Plan/give your input Sept 8!

If you haven't filled out the District's on-line survey yet, there will be another opportunity to give your input for Maple Ridge's Transportation Plan Update and talk to transportation planners, at the Haney Farmer's Market at Memorial Peace Park, on Sat. Sept. 8, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Discover Hammond bike ride Sat. Sept. 15

Keep your agenda open for our upcoming, really cool Discover Hammond bike ride, on Sept. 15, starting at 10:00 a.m. at the blue fountains at Memorial Peace Park, with several pick-up points along the way.

This ride will be led by Ian McLeod, who has an interest in "land use, transportation and civic culture in British Columbia's Lower Mainland" and writes about these issues on his blog, and who, together with Claus Andrup, recently published the booklet Aesthetic Maple Ridge.

With the help of the Hammond Neighbourhood Group and the Maple Ridge Museum, Ian's been digging up some interesting history of Hammond, and he would like to share it with you, and show you some of the well-preserved and also some of the not so well-preserved remnants of Hammond's past.

You will be able to join the ride at the following locations/approximate times:

10:00 - Memorial Peace Park (@ blue fountains)
10:20 - Ridge Meadows College on Thorne Ave.
10:45 - coffee break and chat at Stomping Grounds Coffee House at Osprey Village, Pitt Meadows
11:30 - meeting place for Hammond Neighbours: where Katzie reservation road and Wharf Street meet (by Golden Ears Bridge)

After a tour of Hammond of probably about an hour or so, the ride will end in Hammond. Those who wish can ride back to downtown Maple Ridge with us. The distance of the ride from Memorial Peace Park to Hammond is approx. 13 km.

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 fully at your own risk. We choose quiet routes where possible. Those who are not comfortable riding on River Road by Ridge Meadows Hospital can ride on the sidewalk.

In case we cancel the ride due to rain, it'll be posted on the blog on Friday Sept. 14 by 8 pm.

Hope to see you on Sept. 15th!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Transportation Plan Key to Cut Carbon

Our latest article in the Maple Ridge News, published August 17, 2012:

Transportation Plan Key to Cut Carbon

Maple Ridge Cycle has moved. For about two months now the shop been just around the corner from the old location on Lougheed, at 11771 Fraser St. It's not that easy to spot, but usually there's a red bike in front, and there's a smallish Maple Ridge Cycle sign above the window. Owner Troy has developed a reputation of having a great community bike shop and he's confident that old and new customers will find him, but I thought I'd just let you know.
Something that I think should be of great interest, is that the scorecard for Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Maple Ridge, provided by the BC Ministry of Environment, was recently published on the SEE-IT online report on the district's website. The results are not surprising, but should nevertheless be alarming to residents as well as to council.