Surfing for Cyclists
This summer was the perfect wave for cyclists of all stripes. No matter whether you were venturing out on your bike to do errands, spend time with family or loved ones, or commit to true velolove by commuting to work, this years weather has been absolutely glorious for cycling.
Crunch time is fast approaching, though, when we will all need to fortify ourselves against cooler temperatures, darkness and the natural tendency to be less mindful of our personal fitness level. But, take heart, there are ways to stay in the game until this insidious variety of excuses to be sedentary abates in the spring.
The most direct way is to equip yourself and your bike to handle winter conditions. Visit one of the many local outdoor living emporiums and buy a few lightweight clothing layers and perhaps a rain suit. Look for products that have reflective properties. They can be a lifesaver in the event your bikes lighting system fails. Drop in to one of the bike shops that supported the Island City, by Bike tour during Bike Month last June like Cap's Cycles and Steveston Cycles and get their help deciding on a proper set of lights.
Winter cycling can be very enjoyable, but it does require additional responsibility (and expense) to ensure that it is done safely and in a manner that is considerate of others with whom we share the road.
A somewhat less direct means of preparing for the next cycling season is surfing the web. Here are a few sites that can help you, and those you cycle with, make cycling safer and even more fun.
One site that can be fun to visit with children is Safe Kids Canada at www.safekidscanada.ca. Photos illustrate correct helmet positioning and parents can pick up guidelines for safe cycling. One interesting piece of advice is that research has shown that children under 10 should not ride on the road because they have not developed an understanding of what drivers expect.
Speaking of expectations, all cyclists and motorists should visit the Ministry of Transportations site at www.th.gov.bc.ca to read the sections of the Motor Vehicle Act that cover bicycles (Part 3, Sections 183 and 184). The Act also spells out that bicycles are vehicles, under the law, and that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers.
City web sites offer a wealth of information including cycling network maps, by-laws relevant to cycling, and cycling initiatives that can help you to make connections on longer rides. Check out www.richmond.ca, www.vancouver.ca or www.city.new-westminster.bc.ca for starters. TransLink's website www.translink.bc.ca has information on how to use bus bike racks and the locations of bike lockers.
If you have ever felt the urge to go for a bike ride while wearing a costume, possibly in the company of dinosaurs, who prefer riding bikes to burning fossil fuels, take a walk on the wild side and check out www.vancouvercm.blogspot.com.
Lastly, don't hesitate to let the City's Transportation department know your suggestions for improvements to Richmond's cycling network (Joan Caravan, 604-276-4035).