A Newfound Love for Biking

Seven years ago, I bought a bicycle – with the intention of riding it that summer. I loved biking around the neighborhood and parks when I was a little kid, so I thought I would do some casual biking as soon as the weather got warmer. As it turned out, that summer came and went, and year after year, my new red bicycle sat in my garage, unused.

Last week, I chanced upon several social media posts about a local event called Bike To Work Week (BTWW). I was reminded of my still-brand-new bicycle sitting in my garage, and felt motivated to finally take it out for a spin. What better way to start riding my bike, than by participating in a fun community event celebrating bike commuting?

I spent 2 hours cleaning moth cocoons, dust, and spiderwebs off my bike’s wheels before wheeling it to a BTWW celebration station. Bikers who stopped by were offered free coffee, snacks, and simple bike mechanic services. I was really thankful for the helpful mechanic from Brodie Bikes – he checked my brakes and tire pressure, greased my chains, adjusted my seat height, and tightened a few loose screws on my bike. In less than 15 minutes, I was on my way!

The feelings I felt on that first bike ride (after years of not riding a bike) were simply exhilarating! I was sweaty but refreshed, tired yet energized. Exercise releases endorphins, so my mood was lifted all day while at work!

It rained most of last week, so I only wound up biking to work on two days. I logged a total of 33.51km (in 6 bike trips) on Bike Hub‘s BTWW site. I got lost a couple times while biking, since I relied on Google Maps’ cycling directions (which are still in Beta). I didn’t mind this though, because getting lost while biking allowed me to see parts of the city I never would have seen, zooming by in a car or on the bus!

One thing that was a concern for me when it came to commuting by bike was road safety. I did feel quite scared on roads with heavy traffic and no dedicated bike lanes, so there were a few times when I simply got off and walked my bike on the pavement instead. That said, I am thankful that there are so many dedicated bike lanes in downtown Vancouver! Having these lanes really help beginner bike commuters (like me last week!) feel safer when biking in traffic.

Following the recommendations of local police officers I chatted with during BTWW, I registered my bike with Project 529, a community-based bike registration and recovery service. I highly recommend all bike owners to do the same if you have not already done so, especially if you live in a city with high occurrences of bike theft!

As a first time participant of BTWW, I had some questions about the event, and biking in general. Bike Hub was really supportive on Twitter, so when they reached out to ask if I would like to be interviewed for a local community radio show discussing BTWW, I agreed without hesitation! I had a great time chatting with host Mike Bodnar about my BTWW experience on BikeLikeMe Radio, part of the “Make A Better World” show on Vancouver Co-Op Radio CFRO 100.5FM.

After BTWW was over, I did not stop biking. In fact, I was inspired to bike even more! I even started shopping for more bike gear (bike lock, bottle/cup holder, strap-on pouch bags, cycling jersey sets, and bike tools) to enrich my everyday biking experience.

I also searched for other local bike events and found an upcoming one that supports a great cause – mental health. So come June 25th, I’ll be biking 10km in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association! If you feel so inclined, please support my fundraising for this cause here: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=3835453&langPref=en-CA#&panel1-1 Thank you!

I feel glad to embrace my newfound love for biking. I hope my experience inspires you to hop on your bike and get active biking around town too! Drop me a comment down below to share your biking experiences, tips, or any thoughts you have about biking – I would love to hear them! Happy biking!

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18 thoughts on “A Newfound Love for Biking

  1. Great stuff! The road safety part is a concern for me which is why I haven’t gotten into cycling in the city, but it’s great to read that you have been bitten by the bug! Sounds great, I might look into it for the summer. It’s inspiring!

    Another great tip to stop thieves nicking your bike is to paint it an ugly colour, they won’t be able to sell it on!

    • Thanks Elliot! πŸ™‚ Looking forward to hearing your biking story too when you give it a try in the summer!

      You should look up bike maps that mark out bike lanes & the best biking routes in your city! Sometimes there are official maps released by the city and/or unofficial ones put together by biking enthusiasts! Here’s one I recently found from the City of Vancouver’s site: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/map-cycling-vancouver.pdf It can take a bit of pre-trip route planning beforehand, but I find that it makes me feel safer taking a longer route that includes more bike lanes vs. one that may be faster but doesn’t include as many!

      With regards to painting the bike an ugly colour, it’s a smart idea! But I don’t know if I wanna do that.. It’ll probably turn even myself off my own bike, haha! πŸ˜›

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story Danielle! Just wanted to share another great resource for people feeling nervous about bike safety or riding in the city – this summer HUB Cycling is running cycling courses for $10 and $20 in Vancouver.

      Elliot – this might be a great fit for you to give you the safety skills and a little confidence boost to start riding this summer. You can check out our upcoming courses on our site here: https://bikehub.ca/bike-education/ride-the-road

      • Hi Alyshia, thanks for sharing that info! I’ll look into those courses since I’m still a bit nervous about biking on roads with heavy traffic!
        Unfortunately, my friend Elliot won’t be able to benefit from any of them as he lives in London, UK! πŸ˜›

    • Thanks Susan! It’s definitely an all-win situation, especially with the lovely weather we are having right now! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re enjoying your summer too!

  2. Wow, what a great and inspiring post D! I have two of my bikes sitting outside on my patio and I have been thinking of whether to donate or use them. But yes, road safety has been one of my concerns especially that I live in a highly urbanized area with a lot, lot of reckless drivers. I do rent bikes whenever I am at the beach though and it makes me want to go soon. Thank you for this great reminder and tips. Have fun D!

    • Thanks Prem! πŸ™‚

      I hear you – reckless drivers are the bane of all cyclists’ existence! Personally, I always choose to do the safer thing (get off & walk my bike on the pavement) when in doubt!

      Biking on the beach sounds super fun! Would love to see some photos from your beach biking, Prem. Enjoy the summer on your bike! πŸ˜€

  3. I haven’t biked at all since I was the supervisor for the parkade security team at Metrotown, So I’m a little rusty again compared to then. Really really miss it though! Maybe one of these days I’ll buy one of my own ^.^

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