Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

The pie ride is a weekly informal ride put on by the Vancouver Bicycle Club. From their website:

Wednesday Night Pie Rides

The ride: We zip around the edges of Vancouver. Starting from Canada Place we climb to Prospect Point in Stanley Park, then along Beach to Science World, across to Kits, and out to UBC and back home along the bike routes of Kits. A fast, but friendly ride with several stops to collect everyone.

Meet: EVERY Wednesday at 4:30 PM at Canada Place (west side). (Ride depends on the weather.)

Distance: About 20 to 50 km, depending on how far you ride.

Pace: Multi-paced – please wait at pre-determined spots for others.

I went down to the start point at Canada Place, not knowing quite what to expect.  After accosting several people who were not part of the club, I finally meet up with these fine people.


I was told that my Brompton was the first six wheeled bike to appear on the pie ride.

Lots of car traffic on Georgia approaching the Lion’s Gate Bridge.


Entering Stanley Park, I see a Haul a Day in the wild.


Circling the perimeter of the park, I was pleasantly surprised with the lack of car traffic at this time of day. I was told that ramps to the Bridge are closed and so cars don’t take this route at this time of day.


First regroup was at Prospect Point.


After circling the park, we ride out along Beach Blvd, and along Pacific Ave, eventually going onto the multiuse path to Science World.


The second official regroup point is just after Science World.


At this point, several other riders who live in the east end peeled off, and it was down to Henry and I to head towards UBC along the Seaside route.


I was told that the last regroup point is at the top of the hill leading up from Spanish Bank, right by the Chan Centre.

The ride tonight was relatively fast paced, but with regroup points, and also various people peeling off to head home. Overall it was very enjoyable, and also nice to meet a few local cyclists.




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The bike lanes across the Burrard St. bridge are some of the most important pieces of bike infrastructure in Vancouver. First posted about them in 2010 when they were still in the pilot stage. They were made permanent, and then in 2015, there was a series of further upgrades approved.

I’ve posted about the bridge a lot in the past. Here are a series of before and after pictures showing some of the changes implemented over the years.

Back in 2010, here is the entrance to the northbound bike lanes, which for many years were on the former sidewalk, with pedestrian traffic diverted to the west side of the bridge.

This is the state of the northbound lane in 2014, on the former sidewalk.

This is what is looks like in 2018. Note that one lane of car traffic is now given over to bikes (just like the southbound direction) and the sidewalk has been restored to pedestrians. Also note the steel railings that are an antisuicide feature. They did a nice job of picking a design that merges with the original features of the bridge.DSC02869

Back in 2010, the north end of the bridge ended with a right turn lane for cars, and as a result, bike traffic was discouraged from continuing straight on Burrard.

This is what it looks like now. The right turn lane is gone, and there is good separation between bike and pedestrian right of ways.


The short section of bike lane of Pacific leading to Hornby is now off the roadway.


Here are a couple more pictures of the intersection at Pacific and Hornby.


The Hornby bike lanes on the far side run north/south and are bidirectional.


Taking a look back at the north end of the bridge, but this time approaching it from downtown, a lot has also changed. Here is a picture from 2011.

There is a right turn lane for cars coming from Pacific that isolates a triangular island with a short section of separated bike lane marked in red.

Here it is in 2014. Green road markings are an improvement, but the intersection is basically the same.

Here it is in 2018.

DSC02875The right turn lane is gone, and there is more protection for both pedestrians and cyclists, with good separation between them as well.

Here is a close up of the far side of the intersection.


For cyclists, you can go straight on, or make a right turn onto a bidirectional bike lane on Pacific.

In Toronto, after years of pleading, probably the most we would get would be the type of road marking shown in the 2014 picture.

At the south side of the bridge, there is the bike counter.


Because of the multiplexed display and my short shutter speed, you can’t see all of the digits, but I was the 2224th southbound cyclist today, and there have been 65,4521 cyclists so far this year.

It would be great to get a couple of these in downtown Toronto just to show everyone that there there can be a substantial amount of bike traffic when you build the correct kind of bike infrastructure.

Update: Kevin Rupasinghe points to this slide deck from a presentation to NACTO that provides diagrams of all of the changes done to the bridge since 2015. He also notes that:

“Also, wherever the opportunity exists, I think it’s important to push for bridges and underpass to have similar concrete barrier separation. Changes in elevation coupled with a lack of human-scaled features on a long straight encourages motorists to speed up a ton. A strip of paint is no way to be protected while crossing a bridge with your family. Strachan has been the most recent conversation on this topic with Layton & Cycling Staff, but I think the principle should be universal.

Lastly, I believe Bloor is expected to get one of those counters near U of T in the fall. There were permanent counters installed at Madison this year, so perhaps that is where the display will be put.”

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I’m in Vancouver doing some last minute tuning up of the Brompton, with less than a week to go before STP. This is analogous to my post about the Tikit from two years ago.

This was also the first time I’ve suitcased the Brompton.

Unpacking it was a breeze.


I ended up removing the saddle, which made packing a lot easier. Unpacking: I put on the pedals and saddle, and readjusted the handlebar and bar end positions (which I had to alter to reduce the total width of the folded bike). Much less work compared to either my tikit or PBW.


I’ve figured out a position for my Garmin mount that still allows the bike to be folded.



The water bottle holder is from Randi Jo fabrications, works great, and does not affect the fold. I tried the Monkii cage, but it does not allow the bottle to be removed and reinserted on the fly.

I also took a brief ride out to JV bike to get an extra tube for my Brompton. They are the Brompton dealer for Vancouver, and they also specialize in other folders such as Dahon. I got there by riding across the Cambie bridge for the first time.


Here is the nice bike offramp.


You have to see it in person to understand what is going on, but it actually loops around in order for bikes to get around an offramp for cars.

Here is the entrance to JV Bike which is right by the north end of the Cambie bridge.


An extensive stock of Dahons.




including this special edition.


The other thing that caught my eye was this updated version of the Opus Rambler, a 24″ bike that both my daughters loved. This version has a large front basket that is probably more useful than the rear rack on the old version.


Heading back across the bridge, I realized that I was probably on the wrong side of the bridge headed south, as indicated by the wrong way sign.


This morning I went out for my last long ride before STP, about 80 km. Since it was relatively cool, I wore my wool jersey (from Portland), but sadly I will probably not be wearing it on STP as the forecast is for temps above 30°C.


Crossing the Burrard bridge, I see that both directions have a bike lane on the roadway now, whereas previous bikes headed into downtown were on the sidewalk, and pedestrians had to use the walk on the west side only.


At Pacific street I see that they’ve removed the right turn lane for cars to reduce bike/car conflict.  Also the short stretch on Pacific before Hornby was now a separated bike lane.


At Hornby, there is what looks like 1/4 of a fully protected intersection. The design is appropriate for the fact that the Hornby bike lane is bidirectional.


This is how Vancouver routes a bike lane around a condo construction site.


During my ride, I saw many packs of riders that looked like racing teams or racing clubs. The only group ride that I saw that looked like I would want to join was this one, with a goodly mix of different people and types of bikes. Very little Lycra in evidence as well.


From my Strava stats, it looks like I’m just as fast on the Brompton than the Tikit two years ago, so it looks like the clipless pedals and the faster tires help. However, it may have been a bad move to not bring one of my old saddles along. We can see this coming weekend.



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The Arbutus Greenway is a new transit corridor that has been enabled by the City of Vancouver buying lands associated with an old CP rail line. Although detailed planning is to extend over several years, with lots of public consultation, the city put in a paved 9 km multi-use trail as a preliminary “demonstration”.


The trail runs from about 5th and Fir all the way south to almost the north end of the Arthur Liang bridge to Richmond. My understanding is that it went in fairly recently.

Here is the north end of the trail.


This is the first time I’ve seen one of the bike share stations. The rates seem to be similar to Toronto’s.


One quirk of this local system is that there is a helmet law, and so each bike has a helmet attached to it.


The overall configuration of the trail is pedestrians on one side, and a bi direction bike path on the other.


It might have been just the fact that it was Canada Day weekend, but there were tons of people on the trail. What was particularly striking was the large number of families with kids.


I found it amusing that there was this billboard along the trail.


After a relatively short east-west section, the path turns south.


Some of the road crossings are not finished. This is the non crossing at Broadway, where people were walking their bikes along the sidewalk to the intersection nearby.


Smaller intersections have the cross traffic controlled by stop signs. You can also see concrete curbs that slow traffic on the path.


This railway crossing sign was cute, but it looked like a recent addition.


There were also a few bits of public art along the trail. Here are a few sections of rail beside this bench.


The placement of the concrete curbs was a bit inconsistent. Here, the curbs are blocking the bike portion of the trail.


At this intersection, the bikes and pedestrians are explicitly directed to an adjacent crosswalk at the intersection.


Old power line poles remain along the pathway.


A rainbow of painted rocks.


Existing pedestrian trails that cross the corridor are clearly marked.


Here just south of Kerrisdale, there is more space at this intersection so that foot and bike traffic are separated for the crossing.


On this section of the trail, there were a lot of community gardens. This one had a shed and several scarecrows.


There was only one remaining crossing that looked like it was still being built.


Here is the south end of the trail.  You can see the old rails continuing further. I had a nice chat with the fellow in the yellow shirt. He said that the right of way will eventually also include a street car line, and that there is still much planning to be done before the plan is finalized. In the meantime, Vancouverites can enjoy this great path.


Coming back north, I note the marked turn off to connect to the Canada Line bridge that has a bike path on it.


I do realize that the West Toronto Railpath is a more complicated project, but it seems like it is going to take forever to complete, in comparison to what Vancouver has managed to do in less than a year.


Update: posted to the HUB cycling FB page:

“Arbutus Greenway Temporary Path Construction June Update We’re building a temporary path that everyone can enjoy while the future Arbutus Greenway is being planned and designed. In June we finished paint line markings and stencils to help visitors share the greenway. We also added project signage, so that visitors know how to get involved. Next month we are making finishing touches to the intersection at West 41st Avenue, adding safety improvements at local intersections along the greenway, and adding signage to either end of the temporary path to help visitors get to the Seawall/Granville Island and the Canada Line Bridge.”




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Today was the late Tooker Gomberg’s birthday. Appropriately enough, it was also the day that the Bloor bike lane pilot was officially opened. I posted some pictures over on the Bells on Bloor website, so I won’t repost them here.

However, I will note that this picture (by Martin Reis) showed up in the CBC news coverage of the opening.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.00.57 PM

The other piece of good news was the official announcement that the West Toronto Railpath will be extended south past Queen and Dufferin which could be a game changer for the west end.

Finally, just a link to an article showing that not all aspects of bike infrastructure in Vancouver are ideal.


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With the growing popularity of cargobikes, I expected that there would be several cargobike dealers to visit while here in Vancouver. I had visited one dealer several years ago when I checked out an early Yuba Mundo, but they had gone under after about a year. A cursory Google search turned up several other dealers that were also out of business. There was one dealer selling Bullitts that I didn’t want to contact as it looked like they were selling by special order out of their home. A little more digging yielded a few options.

One was the Bike Doctor, on Broadway across from the MEC mothership. I’ve visited them before when I was looking for raincapes.


Here you can see a Wike box bike and a Yuba Boda Boda out front.


Inside, you can see that they also carry the Babboe box bike.


They also have a good selection of family biking things.


In my brief visits with them, I’ve found them friendly, and their service and parts department was very helpful.

Another interesting shop was the Tandem Bike Cafe, at 16th and Heather. It is a coffee shop that also does bike repair. When I rode by, I had to stop since there was both a CETMA and a Metrofiets bike out front. I had not seen either in the flesh before. I was told that they could special order either of them.


Here you see the flanges that allow the CETMA frame to be broken down for shipping.


Some very clean TIG welding on the Metrofiets, and it also looks like the rear dropout is splittable for the installation of a belt drive.

Last but not least, a local contact pointed me towards Grin Technologies, so I went down there to check them out today.

On my way, I meet this fellow doing a technical check on one of the new bikes for the bikeshare system on the Hornby bike lane.


I asked about the helmet law, and he showed me a cable integrated into the handlebar that could be used to secure a helmet, but since he was from the bike vendor, he didn’t know about the details of any helmet sharing system.

The Google map directions to Grin were a bit unclear as their postal address is on Powell St, but their actual access is off a parking lot accessed from E Cordova St.


Once inside, an overwhelming number of things to look at.


A wide selection of unicycles.


Their main business is selling kits and components for e-bike conversions. They do, however, sell this one type of ready to ride electrically assisted cargobike, the eZee Expedir.


More interesting to me was the row of bikes behind the two Expedirs.

Firstly, an e-assist Brompton.


Beside it was an Xtracycle Edgerunner in the process of being built up, and then a Yuba Mundo with a complete middrive that was somewhat reminiscent of the Stokemonkey.


However, Ben told me that their system was built in house and was considerably more refined. For one thing, this set up drives the chain, and a special crankset allows the rider to freewheel, whereas the Stokemonkey drives the crankset directly, requiring the rider to always be pedalling. There is also a clever arrangement that senses pedalling effort so that the controller can provide a proportional amount of assist.


One of their visions is to have this system made as universal as possible so that it can be installed on a wide variety of longtail cargobikes.

Here is the staff parking; quite the interesting collection of bikes.


Of course I immediately focused on the Haul a Day in the same orange colour as my own.


It had a hub motor drive installed, but they were planning to install a middrive. The owner told me that hers was a prototype HaD, and so it didn’t have a diagonal frame brace that later models had, like mine. Compare the above picture to mine:


Next to it was a longtail based on the Xtracycle Leap extension.


I was told that one of the hazards of working there was that when you showed up with a new bike, there was the possibility that it would be turned over to prototype a new configuration of electric drive. There were a few non-assisted bikes in the rack. I was amused to hear them referred to as “acoustic bikes”.

In the back was a vintage Xtracycle FreeRadical with an original Stokemonkey drive.

I could have easily spent another hour looking at all the things on display, but regrettably I had to move on. Thanks to Ben for showing me around.

I applaud their efforts in promoting electric assist with made in Canada solutions. After a week of biking around Vancouver, I can see the need for e-assist to make cargobikes more generally appealing.

A little further on, I had to stop by Bomber Brewing, since I had ridden by it three times during a previous training ride.


I tasted a couple of beers, but left with just a six pack of their Park Life Passion Fruit Ale that I had just yesterday at a restaurant. It tasted like a Radler, but I was told that it only had 7% of Passion Fruit Puree that was fermented with the rest of the beef. A nice, light summertime drink. Regrettably, they were out of their Bike Route Best Bitter, named for the fact that they were situated at the intersection of two bike routes.


That’ll wrap up my reporting from Vancouver this year. We’ll see what shape I’m in when I reach Portland.

Update: here is an article from ModaCity about the cargobike scene in Vancouver. It is optimistic, but it also mentions the lack of dealerships. Note the picture of the Bullitt cargobike with a beer keg from Bomber Brewing.

Update #2: Spokesmama has a much more extensive list of cargobike dealers in Vancouver.

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I’ve been doing a bit of training this week in Vancouver, during the final lead up to STP, and as usual I’ve seen many interesting things. Here are just a few of them:

I like this Sharpie edit of this bike button. I’ve seen it more than one place around town.


At UBC you can practice putting bikes on bus racks.


One of my first rides was back and forth to the north shore. Here is the multiuse path approaching the Lion’s Gate bridge.


My first time across the Lion’s Gate bridge. It gave me the heebie jeebies, whereas both the Burrard and the 2nd Narrows bridges did not. I think it is because it is easy to see through the fence to the side while riding.


I wimped out and did not climb any further up than just past HWY 1, along Skilift Rd.


I can see the UBC campus, where my ride started.


Going back south across the Burrard St. bridge, you can see that due to construction, lanes have been blocked off. Note that there is more road width devoted to just pedestrians and southbound cyclists than the single lane for car traffic in this direction. Safe to say that this would never happen in TO.


Another ride took my around town and then back to Granville Market. Here I am working my way around False Creek.


Sign vandalism.


Preparation for the bike share system in Vancouver.


I have never heard of a Fiori kidback tandem. From this website, it seems very reasonably priced.


I can’t identify this nice bike, but from the seatstay, it looks like a DeKerf?

IMG_3490 IMG_3491

A Karate Monkey based e-bike.


Note that with the extensive bike route network here, it is easy to plot out a reasonably flat 38 km loop that is totally on signed, marked bike routes. Only a portion is on segregated bike lanes, but most of the route is on lightly travelled roads that have been traffic calmed.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.16.45 AM

Here, I’m being rewarded with a stroopwafel after my first lap.


I like this decoration at the intersection of the Ridgeway bikeway and Main St.


Here at the end of my last longish training ride, which was three laps of the 38 km loop.


Here are the things that I’m been riding with in my seat bag.IMG_3454


  • A) spare tube
  • B) zip ties and tools including allen wrenches, presta adapter, multitool, patch kit, tire levers, scissors/plier tool, and 3Wrencho.
  • C) a regular seat bag to carry all the tools.
  • D) a light cable lock
  • E) Brooks seat cover*
  • F) rain cape*
  • G) vest

*if I carry these, it won’t rain, will it?

All this fits with room to spare. Less than four days to go….


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