Vancouver is little bit like Melbourne. In fact Vancouver promotes itself as one of the most liveable cities in the world. Just like Melbourne.
Trevor Miles put this piece together to assist other cyclists and by means of a thank you to Vancouver for the experience.
Vancouver and Melbourne are laid out pretty much on a grid pattern, generally on a North-South East-West Grid.
The streets in Vancouver follow a numbering system eg: 1121 10th East Ave is house number 21 on the 11th block of 10th Ave and it is East of a key North South St. Anyway it took me a while to understand, but the cabbie who explained it to me was very confident when he gave me the drum.
But if you are a cyclist, you enter any city with trepidation. Even a city like Vancouver that promotes itself as cycling friendly! However, after a slightly scary start, I was pleasantly surprised.
Obstacle Number 1
The three cycling musketeers started at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and made good time as we headed towards the city. John who knows Vancouver well was supremely confident. Al who plans everything carefully had checked the maps. And Trev, well he was along for the adventure but carried his customary backpack of equal parts of optimism and fear.
They had to get to a key point to be picked up by a bus and a bicycle trailer which runs at quarter past the hour. It is the only safe way under the Fraser River via the George Massey Tunnel.
They made the bus with 5 minutes to spare and attached was a very nifty trailer.
This Youtube video shows how narrow the tunnel really is, and why it would be suicide (and illegal) to ride through it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-vyjwr8N_k&feature=related
The tunnel was built 52 years ago and was formally opened by a young Queen Elizabeth! The planners obviously did not think bikes would be a key form of transport at that time.
The map from the website (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topics/driver_info/route-info/massey/massey.htm) is clear about how to get picked up but perhaps we did not check it well enough.
After catching the bus (we nearly missed the stop except for Al’s eagle eyes) and then getting further directions from the Richmond Visitor Centre, we got roughly on the right path and got closer to the city.
Good Bike Signs
The closer we got to the city the better the signs. However, we had to share the pathway with some pedestrians on one bridge.
Once we were close to the city we noticed signs like this…..
The Vancouver Cycle Website is great with lots of detail. http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/
This link will show you an image of the key Vancouver Cycling map.
In short the dark green streets have clearly marked opportunities for cycling. If it is a main street then it will have a clearly marked bike lane. Many of the “bike” streets are ordinary suburban streets, like 10th Ave above, but have special provisions for bikes. Eg: On many of these bike streets you are able to cross a main street by stopping the main street traffic by activating a stop light, which then gives the cyclist priority to cross.
Similarly, every few blocks cars must turn off the bike street but the bike can continue.
However in some places where there were lots of people, bike riders had to walk their bikes eg: in Whistler near the downhill Mtb course.
Thank you to the City of Vancouver.
Cycling in Vancouver was a great experience for me and obviously lots of Vancouverites.
After a couple of days I started to feel very comfortable about cycling in this big city.
So whoever did the planning for this – a big Thank You and please showcase what you have done across the world.