Tag Archives: Cycling

A Plea for Secure Bicycle Parking

We recently said goodbye to Kevin’s bicycle. It was stolen from our building’s “secure” parking garage. We really miss the red bicycle. With it, we travelled all around the city and also visited places like Point Roberts, Galiano Island and Salt Spring Island.

Cycling

Photo credit: Matt Reimer

I’m fortunate to still have my bicycle because it was being repaired at a local bike shop at the time of the theft. Someone tried to steal my rear wheel a few days earlier while my bicycle was parked at work. I’ve never been so grateful for an act of vandalism.

Everyone knows bicycle theft is a big problem in Vancouver. Now that we’ve been hit by it, we’re puzzled by the messages around bike theft. HUB has this educational video about correct bicycle parking to prevent theft, but it focuses on parking your bike at a destination:

We haven’t found many resources on bicycle theft that examine the problem of theft while your bicycle is parked at home. We couldn’t even file a stolen bicycle police report because theft from a secure parking garage is considered a break and enter and not just a stolen bicycle. The number of stolen bicycles in this city must be much higher than the official statistics report.

Here is our situation, which I suspect will sound familiar to many of you:

We rent a condo unit where the bicycle storage room is small and full. When we moved into the building, we were informed that the only option for bicycle parking outside of our unit would be to rig up something in our unit’s two (!) motor vehicle parking spots in the parking garage. Off we went to Home Depot to buy the heaviest chain we could find. We tied this to the concrete pillar between our two parking spots and locked our bicycles with U-Locks to the chain. This worked well for a couple of years, but then someone came along with tools to cut the chain and removed Kevin’s bicycle. My bicycle now lives in our front hallway where it competes for space with a stroller; we have no room for a second bicycle. The strata that manages our complex doesn’t allow bicycles in elevators so I have to be sneaky when I transport my bicycle between our unit and the ground level. Proper bicycle racks and storage systems are not allowed in most parking stalls in the building’s underground parking. There are no immediate plans to expand the bicycle storage room and we learned from the strata that bicycles have even been stolen from that space.

So where can Vancouverites, particularly renters, safely lock their bicycles at or near their homes overnight?

TransLink provides some bike lockers and secure bike parking, but all of these facilities are intended for daytime use. TransLink lockers can be used overnight, but they are very limited and the cost of $10 a month adds up to quite a bit for a long-term rental. In addition to a bike share, perhaps Vancouver needs to look at developing hubs for secure around-the-clock bicycle parking throughout the city.

The Cycling in Cities project found the risk of bike theft to be a deterrent of cycling, so this need for secure all-hours bicycle parking seems pressing if the City wants to increase the cycling mode share.

Do you have any ideas to share? We’re listening.

Along a Long Road, by Frank Viva

Frank Viva’s Along a Long Road is a stylish children’s book about a long and (mostly) fast bicycle ride.

Along a Long Road cover

The cyclist travels along a sleek embossed yellow road that goes up and down, around a small town and through a city. He travels on a bridge, through a tunnel, around many corners, past shops and the library, and receives friendly waves as he goes along the long road. There’s one small road bump, but nothing deters the cyclist from his free and bold ride.

Along a Long Road

Frank Viva, an illustrator, designer, Toronto bicycle commuter and cover artist for The New Yorker, created Along a Long Road as a single, continuous 35-foot-long artwork, which has been shown in galleries. The use of only five colours for the illustrations is striking, and ensures that the cyclist and yellow road pop out on every page.

Along a Long Road was selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2011, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration.

Main Street Bike Bars

Today, I noticed this beautiful little bike bar at the Waves Coffee House at Main & 10th:

Waves Coffee House Bike Bar

Waves Coffee House Bike Bar

The Waves bike bar is the first one I’m aware of on Main Street, but it won’t be long until there is another bike bar at Main & 21st, thanks to the successful funding of The French Quarter Parklet Kickstarter project by Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France.

French Quarter Parklet Bike Bar

What pleasant and community-oriented additions to the Main Street area!

Recommended Reading for February 28

Here are some interesting reads from today:

The City of Vancouver and UBC released a KPMG study, The UBC-Broadway Corridor – Unlocking the Economic Potential

I haven’t had an opportunity to read the full study yet, but Geoff Meggs offers this succinct summary: Broadway Corridor subway would equal Canada Line the day it opened, generate jobs, reduce congestion. You can also read this Vancouver Sun article: Vancouver, UBC make case for Broadway subway, saying area could become “innovation hub”

Don’t let the headline get you down. Meghan Winters, Health Sciences Professor at SFU, states in the article: “On the whole, consistently studies show the health benefits of walking and cycling far outweigh the health risks of injury. So on the whole, from an individual and public health perspective, cycling and walking should be promoted and encouraged.” The abstract for the study referred to in the article is available on the publisher’s website. If you have a library card, you should be able to access the full text of the article very soon from the Canadian Business and Current Affairs database.

I’m not a fan of fare zones so I was pleased to learn from this blog post that true distance-based pricing will be explored as an option when TransLink conducts a comprehensive fare policy review in the next few years. Also, the picture of the 1958 fare zones is fascinating!

Cycle Chic or Don’t: It’s Your Choice

I have a confession that I’m afraid to share: I often wear cycling gear when I commute to work and I own a boring hybrid bike that won’t win any beauty contests. For those of you who just gasped, rest assured that other times you’ll usually find me riding my bike in a skirt. All the same, I’m feeling very uncool these days because I sometimes like “gear” and don’t have one of the cute bikes advertised in Momentum Magazine. Apparently, my failings are discouraging the growth of bike riding in Metro Vancouver.

A Cycle Chic movement is trying to take hold in Vancouver and I have reservations about it. In the simplest terms, Cycle Chic, founded in Copenhagen, is “the art of riding bicycles in regular, preferably fashionable, clothes… [it] aims to take back the bike culture by showing how the bicycle once again can be an integral, respectable and feasible transport form, free of sports clothes and gear, and how it can play a vital role in increasing the life quality in cities.” While I strongly support the goals of Cycle Chic, I have a problem with the movement’s shallow emphasis on fashion and style.

The only thing you need to ride a bike is access to a bike. Any bike. We should wear what we want and stop judging other people who are riding bikes. If we want more people to ride bikes in Vancouver, we need to permit individuality. Be comfortable and practical, wear gear if you want to, don a helmet if that’s your choice, ride only in underwear or put on your fanciest suit. Just be yourself on your bike and let others do the same.

Vancouver is not Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Bike riding is increasing in our city and we’re going to develop a bike culture our own way. It will recognize the uniqueness of our history, geography and climate, and it’s going to be remarkable.