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Vancouver gets in gear!

The habit of commuting by bike is on the rise here in Gossamer Threads’ home city of Vancouver. The mayor, Gregor Roberts, has done some pretty amazing things in 2010 around the city for the safety and comfort of bike riders (including the mayor himself). The biggest of these has been the installation of two segregated bike routes on two of the main arteries that pour into the central nervous system that is Downtown Vancouver. With all of this new accessibility, cycling is much more popular in Vancouver than ever before and there are a lot of folks at GT jumping on the bandwagon!

Vancouver’s infrastructure was largely planned in the mid 20th century, when gas prices were low, cars were huge and biking was something you did on the weekends with the kids. This meant squeezing in bike routes took some tricky work by city engineers.

One of Vancouver’s new bike lanes!

The two-way bike lanes are separated from vehicle traffic by meridian-style planter boxes and more-than-adequate bike parking. This separation makes the lanes mostly impassable by vehicles, though the odd careless scooter or electric bike gets through, and at least one GTer claims to have seen a Lamborghini painfully wedged into the lane.

“…Yeah, but you should see the other guy!”

Along the routes are the first bicycle-specific traffic lights on this side of Canada, fluorescent green “bike boxes” marking the bike routes in the intersections and many more fancy features making them as safe as can be, and accessible to the most hyper-cautious cyclist.

Full speed ahead!

Existing bike routes around Metro-Vancouver have been improved with button-activated traffic lights at major or dangerous crossings and even weight-triggered light sensors at some other crossings. Barricades to block non-bicycle traffic from entering many of the bike ways have calmed many previously scary routes, as well as speed bumps, traffic circles and resident-only access rules to further reduce hazardous traffic. There are rented bike lockers at most train stations and some business, and added bike lock-ups all over the city. Most, if not all city buses have bike racks on the front and sky trains have designated areas for bikes. Previously car-only services such as BCAA are now offering emergency bike assistance for mechanical problems.

Parking’s always a pain, no matter your ride.

All of these new developments have only encouraged GT’s committed bicycling commuters, who are always keen to mount up and ride!

GT’s small-footprint parking lot.