Sign up for Vancouver’s Bike To Work Week

(c) Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition

Earlier this month, Vancouver approved $25 million in spending on new bike paths.  Over the coming years, a total of 55 kilometers of new bike lanes will be added to the city’s 460-kilometer network.  Planners hope that by 2020, 10 percent of all trips in the city will be made by bicycle (A good outline of bike plans and routes is available on the City of Vancouver website).

For those interested in making an impact right now, there’s no better way to start than the city’s annual Bike to Work Week.   Held from May 31 to June 6 and organized by the nonprofit Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, Bike to Work Week encourages residents to leave their cars at home and commute using only pedal power. It’s part of a range of events planned in June as part of Bike Month, including a unique two-wheeled treasure hunt on Jericho Beach.

Anyone interested in taking part in Bike to Work week can sign up on the website (There’s also a parallel program for students looking to bike to school).  After logging in, a handy tool enables you to plot your commute on a map and calculate kilometers biked, calories burned and greenhouse gas reductions.

The ultimate goal of Bike to Work Week, which is in its fourth year, is to build a new culture of commuter biking in Vancouver.  To that end, organizers are offering special cycling workshops to interested employers and also plan to set up “commuter stations” along strategic bike routes.   There, you’ll be able to get your bike tuned up for free and also grab a drink and snack to power you through the remainder of the ride.

Right now, Vancouver is getting greener but still lacking sorely behind its Pacific Northwest neighbors in terms of bike use.  Currently, only 3.7 percent of trips (or about 60,000 trips a day) are made by bicycle.  The recent addition of bike lanes on the Burrard Street Bridge and Georgia Viaduct has helped, but the primary obstacle is the absence of dedicated bike paths on major thoroughfares.  Planners are hoping that an improved network of bike paths will encourage prospective bikers to make the switch.  A list of safe and scenic rides is available on the Tourism Vancouver website.

Remy Scalza

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