Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
You can find bike themed routes at www.discoverbybike.ca, with printable maps for self-guided rides, as well as promotions from lots of downtown businesses. Promotions will be available all year, and more will be added over time.
If you don't have a bike rack, don't have a car or don't drive, Translink can get you and your bike there. All Translink busses have bike racks mounted on the front of the bus, with space for 2 bikes per bus. If you're nervous about trying this option, go to the Haney Bus Loop and ask a bus driver who has some time to spare if you can practice and if he can show you how to do it. Here's some more information on putting your bike on the bus. Once you get to Braid station, you can either complete the rest of your journey on your own power by following the Central Valley Greenway, or hop onto the Skytrain with your bike to reach Vancouver. Check out the restrictions for the Skytrain before you head out though.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
A quick summary:
Conservative Party – Nothing
Green Party - 1½ pages of policy
Liberal Party – Nothing
New Democratic Party – One item in their separate BC party policy.*
Click here for a list of cycling policies. *
*this has been updated on Monday, April 25.
However, none of these come close to the most meaningful aspect of cycling, a factor that cannot be quantified but has endless value to those fighting to improve their communities.
The most vital element for the future of our cities is that the bicycle is an instrument of experiential understanding.
Read full post...
We will be adding their replies to this posting as they come in.
Here's the first reply, from the Green Party candidate, Peter Tam:
"The Green party and I will absolutely support a National cycling strategy. Quoting from our Platform in Transportation Policy
“Support pedestrian, cycle and car-sharing infrastructure in towns and cities”
We support the national cycling strategy per verbatim.
The first thing I would do is to eliminate the HST from the purchase of the bicycle and any accessories relating to the operation and maintenance of the bicycle. At the local district level, I would push for bike lock ups around downtown and shopping area. I will be working with VACC to create events to build awareness and promote cycling locally."
Reply #3: Mandeep Bhuller, Liberal Party:
"Cycling is an important part of Canadian culture, both for recreation and for transportation. The passion and commitment to cycling by its proponents is an inspiring example of what Canadians can accomplish when we work together.
The Liberal Transportation and Infrastructure plan, mentioned in our Policy Platform, will focus on sound investments that will reduce pollution and ease congestion in our cities. While Cycling is not specifically mentioned in the plan, I can assure you that as a Member of Parliament I will work to ensure that cycling takes its rightful and integral place in our Transportation and Infrastructure program."If you would like to ask the candidates some questions, there will be an all-candidates debate on Wednesday, April 27, just a few days before the election. Time: 7 - 9 pm. Location: Whonnock Lake Centre, 27871 - 113th Ave. Candidates each will have 5 minutes for a speech, followed by question and answer.
For those who have time during the day, there's another one on Thursday, April 28, at 9:40 am. Location: Thomas Haney Secondary School, 23000 116 Ave.
Update May 1: At the all-candidates meeting on April 27, I had a chance to ask Randy Kamp for his input as to how he thinks he might be able to help cycling in our communities. He said that "I am not able to set policy", and "cycling is not the jurisdiction of the federal government". After the meeting I again asked him to submit his comments for our blog, but there has been no response so far, so I have not been able to find out from him whether or not he is willing to work on funding for cycling projects if he gets re-elected, as well as to set the wheels in motion to help develop a national cycling strategy in co-operation with the provincial governments, which are definitely things that the federal government would be able to commit to.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The conference in Seville concluded with the signing of the Seville Charter. This Charter comprises a 15-point list of advantages and benefits of cycling, and aspires to convince all Ministers of Transport that attend the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig in May of the fact that cycling simply makes sense. This year the representatives of 53 countries attending the ITF will focus on “Transport and Society”. In light of this theme, the “Charter of Seville” asks these Ministers of Transport to recognize and acknowledge the documented advantages and benefits of cycling as a daily alternative mode of transportation. One of the dignitaries that signed the Charter was Bob Paddon, our very own President of Translink. (Correction: Bob Paddon is TransLink Vice-President, Customer and Public Engagement. TransLink has a CEO, Ian Jarvis).
This Charter is important for Canada to pay attention to. Many countries are finally realizing the huge potential of cycling and are dramatically increasing their funding for cycling infrastructure and education. The U.S., while lagging somewhat behind Canada in cycling participation, is definitely stepping up to the plate. Between 1988 and 1990, annual funding for cycling and walking in the U.S. was about $5 million per year. Between 1992 and 1998 this rose to an annual $150 million. From 1999 to 2005 funding increased to about $360 million per year. Between 2006 and 2009, almost $1 billion per year has been spent federally on cycling and walking in the U.S.*
In contrast to the U.S., there is no regular federal funding for cycling infrastructure in Canada, so financing depends almost entirely on provincial and municipal funding.*
With the federal election coming up, it's a good idea to ask the candidates what they are planning to do to make sure that the federal government does its share to assist municipalities in their quest to become more sustainable and to provide true multi-modal transportation systems that serve people of all ages and abilities. With the price of gas expected to continue to rise, cycling will undoubtedly become a lot more popular and can provide a low cost way of getting around to a broad range of people, including those do not now own a car, those who can't afford to and those who cannot or do not drive.
In hilly east Maple Ridge as well as in Silver Valley, the electric bicycle will be a very viable solution, being a much more energy-efficient means of transportation than the private car. Safety is paramount for many people though whether riding a regular or electric bicycle, and investing in safe infrastructure is essential if we want to be able to "ride the wave"!
*Data from "Bicycling Renaissance in North America? An Up-Date and Re-Appraisal of Cycling Trends and Policies" Transportation Research A, Vol. 45, 2011, by John Pucher, Ralph Buehler, and Mark Seinen
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The MR/PM Cyclist would like to take this opportunity to recognize the owners of the "Liquidation World Mall" (living somewhere in Florida - name to come), for their efforts and achievements in urban, environmental improvement. The lone pine tree in the centre of the vast parking lot, has surely set the standard for civic beautification projects. Not only that, but the knowledge and sensitivity it demonstrates to the mitigation of the "urban heat island effect", makes the owners doubly deserving of recognition. Keep up the good work folks, and we'll keep the rent cheques going south and toward the upkeep of your lush, private gardens!
This is a very exciting prospect for horsemen and off-road cyclists as the new bridge will permit safe, tranquil and scenic transit essentially from the new Silver Ridge subdivision westward along 136th Avenue, then connecting up with the extensive dyke network in Pitt Meadows. Cyclists and horsemen could transit all the way to the Pitt River Bridge entirely off road. This is providing a much-needed alternate, recreational, east-west route to the now overcrowded and speed-prone 132nd. Avenue and the death-trap which is 128th Avenue (with no paved shoulder at all).
MR/PM Cyclist will keep an eye to the progress and post the opening here as soon as known.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Electric car parking
Will become the norm under the new rules. Source: Daily Mail
The European Union is not thinking small. On March 28 the European Commission, an executive branch of the EU, announced a set of proposals that would dramatically reshape the continent's transportation patterns by 2050. Among the goals:
• Use of automobiles powered by gasoline or diesel fuel would be cut in half by 2030 in urban areas, and would be phased out altogether in cities by 2050.
• Thirty percent of the road freight traveling more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) would shift to other modes — basically rail or water — by 2030. By the middle of the century, more than 50 percent of the road traffic traveling that 186 miles or more would shift to the alternative modes, aided by the development of "efficient and green freight corridors."
• The current high-speed rail network would triple in length by 2030, and "a dense railway network" would operate in all of the EU's member states. By 2050, a high-speed rail network for Europe would be completed, and the majority of medium-distance passengers would travel by rail.
• Except for long hauls (of which there would be many), there would be far fewer passengers traveling in Europe by air. And the use of "low-carbon sustainable fuels in aviation" would rise to 40 percent by 2050. By that time, the plan also envisions that all "core network airports" would be connected to the rail network — preferably to high-speed rail.
Monday, April 11, 2011
On this bike trip we had some minor obstacles to overcome, but somehow if things don't go quite as smoothly as expected, that makes it more of an adventure and even more memorable. Even before we left, Lucy, one of the participants, found she had a flat tire. Rick, one of the co-chairs of our VACC Committee who was there to see us off, helped her quickly fix it, so that we could be on our way. We started off mostly on quiet neighbourhood streets in eastern direction, crossed Kanaka Creek at the Rainbow Bridge, and followed an off-road gravel path along the Albion Flats, continued behind Planet Ice, and via the parking lot at the Albion Sports Fields we reached 240th. We crossed Lougheed Highway to visit a small company, Rainforest Design, that's located just south of the railroad crossing. The owner of the company, Steve Schleicher, was attracting a fair bit of attention as one of the participants of our ride. That was because he wasn't riding just an ordinary bicycle, he was riding his bright yellow velomobile, which is basically a tricycle with a fiberglass encasing built around it. Steve's company designs and manufactures these sleek-looking, aerodynamic, nifty, human-powered vehicles, as well as high-end kayaks. Steve kindly gave us a very interesting tour of his workshop and explained in short the process he uses to make his velomobiles and kayaks.
After the tour it was just a short distance to Kanaka Creek Coffee, our next destination. This is a neat neighbourhood coffee shop, where they may just serve the best coffee in town. After coming in from the cold it sure tasted heavenly to me. The yummy pastries and the cozy atmosphere also contributed to the fact that none of us was in a hurry to get up and get going again. But with our tummies filled and our hands and hearts warmed, and ready for the rest of our adventure, we finally mounted our iron steeds again to discover what else was ahead of us.
We rode through some newer neighbourhoods that made some of us realize that Maple Ridge has been expanding farther and faster than we thought. We started heading back, taking a different route with several unexpected gravel-path short-cuts, where we encountered some more obstacles. At some point a big log on our path had to be moved, and at another Steve needed some help manoeuvering his velomobile to get around some staggered gates to get onto a short steep path going down to a small bridge crossing Horseshoe Creek. He managed to follow us everywhere we went. Sometimes I already have a bit of a problem on my regular bike, with my mirror sticking out of my handlebar, and my big paniers that I purchased a few years ago in Holland, which serve me really well to carry my groceries, but sometimes make it more difficult to navigate between gates or poles that are supposed to keep motorized vehicles out.
We continued in northern direction along Creekside, through the Cottonwood area, crossed Dewdney Trunk Road, and then got onto the signed "123 Route" in eastern direction. This route leads all the way to 203 St., north of Dewdney Trunk Road. We didn't go that far though. After about 20 kilometers of pedaling we were ready for lunch, and so we stopped where we had started, at Big Feast Bistro on 227th Street, where Chef Mike Mulcahy was ready for us. One problem with his menu is that there are so many interesting and delicious dishes that it's difficult to make a choice. So far I've thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes I've tried though, so it's not a big problem. Just close your eyes and pick one!
Some of the feedback received after this ride: "Today's cycle in MR was super"..... "Had a GREAT time! Looking forward to the next one already."
Anyone who would like to join any future Discovery Bike Rides is welcome. We're catering to the average cyclist, and try to ride mostly on quieter neighbourhood streets and off-road paths. There is no cost involved, and you don't need to be a member of the VACC. We will be planning our next ride in May in Pitt Meadows. In June we will be organizing a ride exploring part of the Central Valley Greenway, which connects all the way from New Westminster to Downtown Vancouver. For those who would like to be on the e-mail list of our local chapter of the VACC - so that you can be kept informed of any planned rides and other events or issues of possible interest to Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows cyclists - please contact Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Discovery Bike Rides will be announced in the community events calendar of both The Times and The News as well.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
But while others complained about snarled traffic and depleted parking, Costless CEO Calvin Johnson decided to look for an opportunity and, eventually, he found one.
Since last fall he and his colleagues have been working on the EcoYIKE, a solar-electric hybrid pedicab the company hopes will help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. Because the motor is electric the city permits the vehicles to be used on the bike lanes, enabling delivery drivers to move quickly through the traffic-clogged downtown core.
"Being environmentally friendly, we are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon emissions," Johnson said. "Here we have a super highway for bicycles right downtown."
Monday, April 4, 2011
We are hoping that with these Discovery Bike Rides we can help you discover neighbourhoods that you haven't visited, and routes that you may not have considered before, as well as to highlight local businesses that are doing their share to create a better community for us all. Cycling is a great, healthy and fun way to get around in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, whether it's for shopping, to go to school or work, visit friends, to pedal over to a local farm to get your organic, free range eggs, or whatever.
For each Discovery Ride we'll have some interesting and/or tasteful stops planned. We're sure that there are lots of local farms and other businesses, restaurants, coffee shops and perhaps some picnic sites that many of us don't know about yet. We have some ideas, but we also hope that you have some suggestions! We would like to pick destinations in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and we can be flexible with our start and finish points. Preferably we should finish at some type of eatery, coffee shop or ice cream parlour, because the "après-vélo" is part of the fun!
Our first Discovery Ride will be on Saturday, April 9 at 10:00 am. We'll be leaving from BIG FEAST BISTRO, 11920 227th street in Maple Ridge. Some of you who participated with our bike ride last year introducing part of the "123 Route" may have tried some of the finger licking delicacies by Chef Mike. I've got my favourites, but then, so far everything I've tried at Big Feast is my favourite, so I'll keep trying new items on the menu. Check out Big Feast's website: http://www.bigfeast.ca/. Big Feast is a very community-, and environmentally friendly business. Mike tries to buy his ingredients locally whenever he can and is big on re-using and recycling. These initiatives are certainly worthy of our support!
But, let's not forget about what's actually the most important part of the event: the ride itself. You can find the approximate route at the following link: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/30759128/. This route will be close to 20 kms. With some hills. We'll be taking it easy, so don't worry if you have to get off your bike and walk up a hill if you're not in the greatest shape or if you're just a little tired. It's supposed to be enjoyable, and we're not in a rush!
This ride's first stop will be at RAINFOREST DESIGN, at #5 - 9903 - 240th Street (close to the old Albion Ferry), a very interesting local company that designs and manufactures kayaks and velomobiles. You may have seen, in a flash, a yellow velomobile somewhere on our local roads, without knowing that that's what it is. That would have been the company's owner, Steve, who uses his velomobile to get to and from work, for fun, to stay in shape, and to stay dry. Check out Steve's websites: http://velomobiles.ca/ and http://www.nimbuskayaks.com/
From Rainforest Design it's only a short ride to KANAKA CREEK COFFEE, a nice neighbourhood coffee shop, owned and operated by long-time Maple Ridge residents, that's worth a visit. They offer quite a nice variety of coffee, tea and other drinks, including healthy fruit smoothies if that's what you're looking for. Their website: http://www.kanakacreekcoffee.com/. Note that on Wednesdays between 4 and 8 pm there's live music!
We should be back at Big Feast Bistro around lunch time. It's up to you if you want to stay for lunch or head home.
Please note that we will need to ask all participants to sign a waiver at the start of the ride. Please arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to allow us to get the waivers signed. Kids under 18 are welcome to participate, however they will need to be accompanied by an adult, who will be responsible for their safety. Please ensure that any participating children are physically able to complete the ride. On our rides we will try to avoid busier roads as much as we can, however sometimes we may have to ride on a short stretch of a somewhat busier road to connect to quieter streets.
These Discovery Rides are free for participants. However, we will happily accept donations, which will help us to promote cycling in various ways in our communities.
Finally, just a reminder: cyclists are by law required to ride single file on roads, and also to wear helmets.
Please send an e-mail to Jackie at email@example.com if you're planning to participate. Also, please let us know if you have any suggestions as to destinations for our Discovery Rides.
Hope to see you on Saturday!