The wonderful green carpet bike lanes of Vancouver, BC.
Biking up around Don Mills and Eglinton this afternoon really made me wish we had better infrastructure in Toronto (the speed limit is 60km/hr on those streets people!). You know, even a few extra signs to clearly indicate that you are still on the correct ‘Bikeway Network Route‘ would help so much with the jagged routes that we are to use. If I even try a slightly different route than one that I’ve used before, I always end up getting lost and those little blue signs are nowhere to be seen!
I know I sound like a broken record, but if we could incorporate even a quarter of the bike infrastructure that Vancouver has, getting around Toronto on two-wheels would be so much easier!
The Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee has promised us separated bike lanes in the core of downtown. If this comes to fruition, we’ll finally join the other cities in Canada that have already implemented this.
When this was first proposed a few cyclists said that it was unnecessary and would restrict them from biking the way they want to … but do you know how relaxing and enjoyable riding in a bike lane that is free of door prizes and speeding cars driving close to you is? Not to mention the lack of jay walking pedestrians!
I absolutely love the bicycle crosswalk buttons to cross major streets. You don’t have to dismount to get to a button and most times the lights change within a few seconds after the button is pressed! If these were installed on along the bikeways in Toronto, I’ll bet we’d see an increase in ridership on these quiet streets – not to mention keeping cyclists off side-walks!
And then there are the round-abouts. These started appearing on Bikeways in Vancouver over a decade ago and make navigating these smaller intersections so much easier because you don’t have to come to a complete stop. Even for drivers, I find that they are safer because instead of coming to a full stop, you can inch up around the bend to see if there is any on-coming traffic.
With Toronto having the highest number of fatal bike collisions in Canada, upgrading and improving our cycling infrastructure isn’t just a feel good exercise it’s a necessity.
The Ford regime in City Hall are a steadfast bunch, happy to keep cyclists as second class citizens on the road … is there any hope in improving the bike infrastructure in Toronto in the next 3 years?
I’m still going to hang on to that tiny speck of hope.
The weather cooperated despite the forecast for isolated showers and we got to enjoy beautiful fall colours on our Vancouver Cupcake Ride this Saturday!
This ride truly showed me how bike friendly Vancouver is. The bike lane network is mostly off of busy, main arteries so you can enjoy peaceful rides without having to worry about biking close to fast moving cars. Many times, the streets were so quiet, we could ride and chat comfortably!
The best thing about these ‘local street bikeways‘ is that they extend for the entire length of the streets and don’t mysteriously end half way on a street that you are riding the way they do in Toronto. They are also very well marked so you always know that you are going the right way (something that the bike network streets in Toronto totally need to work on).
The ‘local street bikeways’ also have bike friendly crosswalk buttons that guide you across busy streets. The lights at these intersections seemed to change within seconds of us pressing the buttons.
Now I know why Toronto cyclists lament about being second-class citizens on the roads. The bike friendly infrastructure in Vancouver not only makes you feel catered to, but it makes you feel like you actually belong on the roads as a cyclist.
Our ride between the three cupcake shops took us up some really steep hills, through beautiful tunnels that were made of trees and on streets that were carpeted with golden leaves.
A big thank you to Jen, Jeff and Kris (and his co-pilot little Tobin) for leading the way between our cupcake stops – thanks to your knowledge of the Vancouver Bike network, we were able to ride along safe streets and arrived at each location without getting lost!
Thank you also to Natasha, Raymond, Neil, Lori and my sisters for joining me on this ride through Vancouver!
And finally a big shout out to Cindy, founder of The Vancouver Bicycle Meetup Group, who let me bypass the ride organizer training and post the Cupcake Ride to the group!
I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!
More photos from our ride here.
Despite the last minute organization of the ride, we got a few mentions on local blogs – so exciting!
• A write up on Miss604
• A mention on Lifestyler magazine
• A Japanese blog for ‘vacation rentals’: Vancouver Hideaway (where the author is very safety conscious and mentions riding with helmets a couple times in the post)
Last Sunday in Vancouver was gorgeous and my friend was kind enough to hook me up with a bike from his uncle’s rental shop (Bayshore Rentals).
I biked back to my childhood home in Richmond from the Northwest tip of downtown Vancouver. The route was about 20kms, which isn’t that long. It is a distance that I cover when riding around Toronto quite often and I thought my ride back would be pretty easy.
Boy, was I wrong. I completely forgot about the hills in Vancouver!
Many of the hills are as steep as Poplar Plains Boulevard in Toronto, while other hills have a milder incline but go on for a long, long time. The hard work climbing hills does pay off once you get to 41st Ave if you are going southbound, though. And on Cambie you can coast all the way down to Marine Drive while being cocooned by a wide bike lane.
The highlight of this bike ride was the new Canada Line pedestrian/bike bridge that was constructed at the same time as the Canada Line Skytrain bridge two years ago.
It was such a thrill to bike over the Fraser River! The view was so nice that I stopped and took a photos, including a few self-portraits. When a photographer saw me struggling with my point and shoot he offered to take a photo of me with Vancouver in the background!
I’ve had a few more adventures on my cherry-red hybrid that I’ll be posting about soon! I can’t get enough of all the bike friendly infrastructure that Vancouver offers to cyclists.
… and hopefully I can have even more if the weather manages to stay dry this Saturday for the Vancouver Cupcake Ride!
Ladies and gents, I’m organizing an impromptu Vancouver ride! Everyone on two wheels are welcome! … are e-bikes legal in BC? If so I’m going to be bike-ist and not allow those on this ride.
Start: Cupcakes by Heather and Lori
1168 Denman,Vancouver, BC
Date: Saturday, October 29
I’m not familiar with bike lanes and cupcake shops in Vancouver, so any suggestions are welcome. My only criteria being we try to bike on bike lanes and try to at least bike on one separated lane (b/c that’s such a novelty for me).
Let’s start at the original Cupcake store in Vancouver:
-> down Denman to Beach Ave
-> to False Creek area to Cambie
-> down Cambie to
Kreation Artisan Bakery
3357 Cambie Street
-> up Cambie to W. 10 to Woodland Dr
-> up Woodland Dr to East 1st
-> to Commercial Dr to
1706 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC(604) 568-6188
Here is Google Map’s suggested route – which is not as direct, but maybe works better?
Rain date: Sunday, October 30
You can RSVP on the Facebook event page too!
I must say, just looking at the bike map (opens a PDF) for Vancouver makes me so jealous! Also knowing that the roads here are smooth and pothole free makes me absolutely giddy.