Ohhh how the geek in me is in love with this picture!
Vancouver is definitely a bike friendly city. I love riding my bike everywhere! To school, work, errants, a nice long ride…. I love love love riding my bike. There are bike routes strategically placed throughout the city, some better than others, which make my commute safer, easier and more enjoyable. There are still some scary spots around, so I make sure to be ultra observant, because really, with so many distractions out there, we have to expect the unexpected. Thank you Vancouver for putting the resources into improving the cycling infrastructure…. you must be the best in Canada… right?
Turns out, Montreal hosts the friendliest pedal powered infrastructure, supporting 3,800+ km of trails and planning on expending. This according to 2011 stats from Canada.com.
Montreal is also home to Bixi, which aside from sceptisism regarding poor financial planning and bylaw issues, it all seems to be working out. Even Toronto is hosting Bixi, and Ottawa just announced 15 new stations celebrating its second Bixi year! Of course this is one example of bike share business, but its a modal we can work from.
To help all those peeps that have absolutely no idea how to safely ride a bike in traffic, Toronto has a Safe Cycling program for newbies! Beautiful.
What is it, that seems to be keeping Vancouver lagging behind? It is all about the brain factor. Having had my fair share of over the handle spills, swimming in ditches, and close calls with motorists… brain protection, super important! My next helmet is definitely being ordered from nutcase - LOVE!!! Helmet laws have been the dagger for cities who have introduced bike share; it is vital to the success of bike share Vancouver that we find a solution to helmet availability and the health implications around sharing a head bucket.
The latest news in Vancouver cycling, is the proposal for bike lanes on Commercial Drive, Point Grey and some other sections in the city, which will eat up the remaining $25 million investment the city put into expanding infrastructure in 2010. Cyclist’s will be happy to know there is another $10 million budgeted for the next 2 years. Of course not everyone is happy about it. Unfortunately a few ruin the reputation for us all…. yes all you not so nice, angry cyclists and motorists out there.
Can’t we all just get along?
Unfortunately, it seems not, and some of us need some introspection on why we are so angry and feel we need to take it out on other people… that goes for EVERYONE. Seriously people, positivity in your life will take you to wonderful places! What if that person who just cut you off, wasn’t paying attention because they just found out their sibling died. Some understanding? Yes! It is frustrating when so many people seem tunneled in their own world failing to acknowledge those around them. However, a little compassion can go a long way. The last time that you were not paying attention, and someone caught you by surprise because your thoughts were consumed in a breakup, work etc. Wasn’t the fear of almost being run over, or hurting another person enough to stir you to the bones? Do you remember that? Do you think someone else might feel the same way? Quite probably, but we forget this when we are the reaction of an unforeseen action. Ahhhh Newton <3
Do you wave to those drivers who don’t cut you off… but could have? No!? What about positive reinforcement?
Lots of issues out there, and I am more concerned about how we can make it better, not the angry rants… unless they are followed up with a positive idea to help that issue. What ideas do you have? Or what experiences have you lived through and solutions you could contribute to better road play?
I know I look like a dork…. but they can see me comin!
What do we have to gain from riding our bike on a daily basis?
1. Physical Health! We all know (or we should know) that we should be getting 30 – 60 minutes of cardio vascular activity every day. Are you? If you commit to riding your bike, there is your daily exercise! Just like that, and you didn’t take anymore time out of your day than you would have to drive… actually, you probably saved time.
2. Mental Health! For those of you who already ride, you know. For those who don’t, you are missing the endorphins released through exercise (and other factors such as pain, spicy foods and orgasms!) that are know to reduce stress… bringing me to #3
3. Cut down on your travel time! Instead of causing stress waiting in traffic, cursing the bikers shooting by beating you to the final destination every time. Just ask Mike Carrier, the Vancouver realtor who works exclusively out of his bike panniers. Awesome!
4. Reducing our carbon footprint! So important, I cannot stress this enough. We really need to think about our carbon footprint a little more than we already are… where ever you are, just a little. Even one day a week, choose to ride your bike, and that my friend, is a whole world of difference at the end of a year, a decade, a lifetime. Who knows! You may love it, embrace it, and ride more, loose that extra weight, decrease your heart disease risk, and smile more thanks to all those endorphins.
~I highly recommend reading Catherine Porter’s experience with Bixi in Toronto.
For you Vancouverites out there interested in the possibilities of bike share here, this article posted summer 2011 take an in depth look into the issues surrounding its success.
A shout out to HUB Vancouver, an awesome resource and connector for both casual and hard-core cyclists who want to join the push to make biking the preferred means of transportation by 2030, or just want to know whats happening in the biking grape vine.
Humm… longer than I anticipated! Thanks for sticking with me, and ride on!