Tag Archives: bike

Car-Free Weekend – Saturna Island

Dinner on the Docks
Car-free travelling is care-free travelling, especially on the long-weekend when ferry reservations are in short supply and border line-ups are hours long. Our latest car-free adventure was to Saturna Island, one of BC’s Gulf Islands.

Saturna Island is one of the more difficult islands to reach by ferry, requiring at least one transfer at Mayne or Swartz Bay. Saturna seems more relaxed, friendlier, and quieter then the other gulf islands I’ve visited (maybe because it is more inaccessible). This is island life at its best. The locals are friendly, we were able to book last minute accommodation, the roads don’t have a lot of traffic, and we had no problems hitch-hiking around the island.

We stayed at the Breezy Bay Bed and Breakfast, located in a charming old farmhouse with an interesting history. It was originally built in 1892, then it was turned into a commune, was a free school for several years, and now it’s a bed and breakfast. I highly recommend the Breezy Bay Bed and Breakfast – it’s a great old building with some interesting spaces, the farm has frisky cows, and unlike some b&b’s I didn’t feel like I was intruding on someone. Matt and Meg, who are currently running the joint, made us feel welcome and cooked up some wicked breakfast, including gluten-free and veggie options.

On Sunday, we biked down to the other side of the island and hiked around Narvaez Bay. We ran into deer, wild turkeys, feral goats, and lots of sea creatures in the tidal pools. Emily got a flat tire, which we were able to pump up enough to get her home, but it wouldn’t hold enough air on Monday. So we ended up hitch-hiking around the island. Two of the friends we were travelling with didn’t bring their bikes and had no trouble getting rides, so we decided to hitch hike to and from Winter Cove. Saturna doesn’t have an informal car taxi system, like Mayne Island, but most locals will stop to pick up passengers. The General Store has couches in front where people wait to get rides. On our way back from Winter Cove, we were picked up by one of the owners of Breezy Bay, and he told us some interesting stories on the ride. I still prefer cycling, but hitch-hiking is a great way to meet the locals.

Saturna Island is home to a winery (which we didn’t visit, but we did try the pinot gris in the pub and bought a bottle at the General Store to bring home) and Go Nuts Burgers, which we were disappointed the pub sold out of, but you can buy them in Vancouver. There isn’t a lot of restaurant options, other then the pub and a cafe in the General Store. The one attraction we missed visiting (due to bike problems) was East Point, where whales can often we seen of of the coast. We’ll have to save that for the next trip.

The only downside to a car-free, bike trip to the gulf islands is getting to/from the ferry terminal with your bike. It’s a long ride from Vancouver to Tsawwassen and you have to shuttle through the Massey Tunnel, so I don’t recommend biking there. You can take your bikes on the bus, which is what we always do, but it’s a stressful journey because each bus only takes 2 bikes and there are lots of cyclists vying for those spaces. On the way home we had 8 bikes rush off our ferry to jockey for bus spots. Luckily, we were all able to get on the next 4 buses that left within 30 minutes, but I wish Translink would offer a more reliable option for cyclists trying to get to/from the ferry terminals.

Travelling By BikeSaturna Island Gas StationSaturna Island By BikeBreezy Bay FarmBreezy Bay Bed and BreakfastTwin Beds
MegBreezy Bay Living RoomBreezy Bay LibraryBreezy Bay Dining RoomBreezy Bay BreakfastPoke the Cow
Practice PokeWild TurkeysCarry a Big StickField BathtubGulf Islands National ParkDown By the Bay
Wild GoatsSea AnemoneKayakersSpottedSaturna WaterfallMe and the Waterfall Emily and the Waterfall Fern Gully Saturna Pub Dinner on the Docks Breezy Bay Glide Relaxing in Winter Cove Travelling By Bike Bikes on the Ferry Bike Lineup

Saturna Island 2011, a set on Flickr.

Bike to Work Week at Pulse Energy

Biker Breakfast Bait

While most of the country is preparing for snow, Vancouver is celebrating the rainy season with Bike to Work Week, which started on Monday. As the self-appointed captain of the Bike to Work Week team at Pulse Energy, I’m trying to ensure we defend our title for most commutes that we won in the summer. My job is made easy by the group of dedicated cyclists who work at Pulse and the improved cycling infrastructure, which is key to getting new cyclists to bike downtown – luckily our office is located along on the Dunsmuir separated bike lane.

On Monday, I offered breakfast for anyone who cycled in or who promised to bike in at least one day this week. I baked up some apple strudel, spinach and feta pie, and gluten-free pumpkin muffins. Considering that every morsel was eaten, we should have no problem getting lots of bums on bike seats this week. So far, the results look good – we’re close to the top in 2 categories.

Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby T-Shirts

Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby T-Shirt

The t-shirt we’ve all been waiting for. Someone has finally created it.

Fairware will be selling organic t-shirts with “Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby” printed on the front at the Vision Vancouver Pub Night on October 20th @ The Charles. Full details here.

I’ve never been to a Vision Vancouver event, but I might show up just to get a t-shirt.

Cycling Revolution Around the World

Work Commute
Cycling is enjoying a renaissance around the world, with more cities investing in cycling infrastructure, and more people using bikes as a means of transportation. It’s not too surprising considering that oil prices continue to rise, and bicycles are the most energy efficient means of transportation we have ever invented.

Copenhagen and Amsterdam
Copenhagen and Amsterdam have been at the forefront of cycling culture for decades. In both cities everyone bikes and bikes are used for every imaginable type of trip. These are the cities to look at for inspiring ideas that can make cycling safer and more accessible. Ideas like the Green wave, that times stoplights along bike routes to the speed of a casual cyclist – 15-20km/h.

Paris
In many ways, Paris kicked off the cycling revolution with its Velib bike-share program. Copenhagen and Amsterdam have always been the darling cities of cycling, but Paris showed how a city without a strong bike commuting culture (cycling was a sport – think Tour de France – not a means of commuting), can grow to embrace bike commuting. Before Velib was introduced in Paris, less 1% of trips were by bike. After Velib, that quickly doubled and continues to grow. The introduction of Velib was also accompanied by replacing many car lanes with dedicated bus lanes and bike lanes.

Montreal
Montreal has similar numbers of cyclists and bike infrastructure compared to Vancouver, but there is one huge difference between the two (and it’s not Montreal’s harsh winters). Montreal has created the world’s best bike-sharing program BIXI, which is now being licensed for use around the world.

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