Vancouver Visitors’ Guide

By Sarah Ripplinger

Cruise through Lotusland.

Your best bet for a great experience in Vancouver is to bike along the seawall and along the trails in Stanley Park and Pacific Spirit Park. The Central Valley Greenway is a fantastic day ride that runs some 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Science World to New Westminster. The beaches are particularly welcoming in the summer, and are beautiful places to contemplate the scenery year-round – check out Kitsilano, Third Beach and Spanish Banks. If you’re in Vancouver for the last Friday of the month, you may want to join in for a Critical Mass ride, which meets at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Georgia Street side), in downtown Vancouver, at 5:30 p.m. and departs at 6 p.m.


The West End Guest House (1362 Haro St.) Bikes are available for free at this bed and breakfast located in a quiet downtown neighborhood.

The Sylvia Hotel (1154 Gilford St.) A heritage building on Vancouver’s scenic English Bay, The Sylvia Hotel is close to bike trails along the seawall and offers secure indoor bike storage.


Car Free Vancouver Day (Commercial Dr., Main St., West End and Kitsilano) Car-free streets with entertainment and activities for the whole family.

Bike the Blossoms (city-wide) Take a self-guided tour through the city and check out the amazing cheery blossoms. Maps and prizes available for participants of this event, which usually takes place in late April.


Bandidas Taqueria (2781 Commercial Dr.) A staple hangout for hungry riders, Bandidas is run by a dynamic duo of fixie-riding women.

Go Fish Ocean Emporium (1505 W 1st Ave.) Nestled in the bustling False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf near Granville Island, Go Fish is the best place to get fish and chips – and fish tacos – after a morning riding the seawall around Stanley Park.

Streets (Rentals)

JV Bike (955 Expo Blvd.) Rent everything from electric bikes and tricycles to cruisers, tandems and child seats.

Spokes Bicycle Rentals (1798 W Georgia St.) Find a bike that’s right for just cruising, city touring and tackling trails.

Streets (Shops)

Whoa! Nellie (2539 Main St.) Lovely city bikes and mixties, as well as accessories and friendly staff.

Dream Cycle (1010 Commercial Dr.) Steel-framed bikes and repair services available on site.

Originally published in the March/ April 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on

Linus Bikes – City Style

Founders Chad Kushner and Adam McDermott. “It’s nice working out of the old Venice Bungalow, somehow it never really feels like work,” Adam said.

Fact: Adam McDermott named Linus Bikes after his nephew, Linus, who is now under the impression that all Linus bikes belong to him.

In sunny Venice Beach, CA, the cruiser bike scene is just about as gnarly as the surf scene. Two guys that are contributing to the strength of the cycling culture there – and increasingly elsewhere, as well – are Adam McDermott and Chad Kushner: founders of Linus Bikes, everyday commuters and sometimes surfers, too.

McDermott was born and finished high school in Cape Town, South Africa. That’s also where he met Kushner. Both studied film and later landed in Venice Beach working as camera assistants in the film and television industry. After about three years, and some trips overseas to bike-friendly centers in Europe and Asia, McDermott began to consider founding a brand of city bikes that reflected the cycling culture in Venice Beach.

“Bicycles are the core of the community here,” he told me over the phone from the Linus shop headquarters in Venice Beach. “It’s central to life here. Whenever you’re going out and meeting people, you’re doing it all by bike.”

McDermott’s overseas experiences afforded him the headspace to reflect on where Venice Beach’s urban cycling culture excelled and what it still lacked.

“For me, it was the actual hardware, it was the bike. I felt that it needed a transformation for bicycle culture to take root here.” Co-founding Linus, he said, was an extension of his belief that “a simple, elegant, affordable bike would be a better platform to help breed bike culture in the states.”

For example, “Los Angeles is a really stratified and alienated city,” he said. “The bicycle is the best way to create community.”

Three to four years and many 60-hour work weeks later, the time and effort McDermott and Kushner have invested in their business is finally paying off. Linus bikes are sold in most major cities in the United States.

“We’ve been very fortunate with how we’ve been received,” he said, owing much of his success to timing. “I think it’s been a cultural shift. Bicycles are a recessionary product and people are living differently, living a little smaller; and, I think bicycles play into that.”

Densified urban centers where people can get to most of their daily needs within a five- to 10-mile radius can help to bolster the widespread use of bikes for transportation, McDermott said, and he sees cities moving in that direction. Right now, he’s content to witness the growth of the culture and increasing prevalence of people riding bikes, even in car-centric urban sprawls, such as greater LA.

“I feel like I see bicycles everywhere now. Wherever there’s a bicycle lockup, I’m always seeing stacks of bikes all over Los Angeles.”

“Even people who drive are more aware of cyclists on the road and are sharing the road with them.”

Naturally a daily commuter himself, McDermott divides his time between riding his Dutchi cruiser bike – for shorter trips around town and when hitting the beach – and his Dover five-speed, which he uses for those greater-than-five-miles trips.

Aesthetically-speaking, McDermott is partial to the style and line of the rarer to be seen, but increasing in popularity mixte frame – the Dover is also a mixte.

“I’ve always liked the mixte because it’s the most beautiful frame; I really like the line of a mixte,” he said. “I like how it rides and having the slanted top tube and the extra stand-over clearance. A lot of it is esthetics: The twin top tube that has a diagonal line that goes from the top of the bike to the end of the bike.”

It will come as no surprise that Linus offers four mixte options as part of its 2012 lineup: the Dover 1 and 5 and the Mixte 3 and 8, along with some non-mixties: Dutchi, Roadster Classic, Roadster Sport and Gaston.

Seeing people riding Linuses while he’s in the bike lane is one of the perks of the job.

“It’s really exciting to make something and see it become part of the landscape and become part of people’s lives.” After all, that’s what this whole Linus Bikes business is about, McDermott said. “We want bikes to become part of everyday life.”

Linus’s accessories line supports that lifestyle by proving bicycle add-ons that are functional and that also look good. Their line of bags is expanding, and the company now offers a smooth-edged silver headlamp that can be mounted on a bike’s handlebars, stem or forks.

You can find Linus bikes in stores across the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company is also looking to expand to Russia, Japan, Brazil and possibly Korea, the United Kingdom and Argentina, this year.

Originally published in the March/ April 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on

Velo-city Global in Vancouver 2012

By Richard Campbell, Sarah Ripplinger

Lots of white “I (bike) CPH” T-shirts worn by the 1,000+ conference delegates who attended Velo-City 2010 from more than 60 countries. Many local participants joined in the last day’s bike parade as well.

Velo-city Global, the world’s premier international cycling policy and planning conference is coming to Vancouver in June 2012. This marks the first time the European Cyclists’ Federation’s conference will be held in North America since Montreal in 1992 and the first time that Velo-city Global will be in North America. This conference series has been instrumental in moving cycling forward in cities around the world.

City staff show Velo-City 2010 delegates about a new cargo bike secure parking pilot project during an “infrastructure ride” in Copenhagen.

“I most certainly recommend attendance at Velo-city 2012 for anyone working to grow ridership, improve and implement cycling infrastructure, advocate for the rights of cyclists, etc.,” said Yvonne Bambrick, urban cycling consultant and current coordinator for Kensington Market BIA and Forest Hill Village BIA.

“Beyond those who already ‘get it’, this conference is tremendously important and worthwhile for planners, engineers, city staff and decision-makers from all levels of government who want to better understand the global cycling movement and the valuable role they can play in the successful transformation of cities.”

By enabling government officials and industry professionals to share success stories and best practices on the implementation of ambitious cycling policies, Velo-city conferences are critical to the development of the high quality cycling facilities needed to dramatically increase the number of people cycling. With interest in cycling growing exponentially around the world, Velo-city has the potential to be a transformational event.

Renowned urban planner Jan Gehl (Gehl Architects) giving his keynote in the main conference hall at Velo-City 2010 in Copenhagen.

Clarence Eckerson, who attended Velo-city 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, said attending the last Velo-city Global was well worth the flight overseas: “The location was equal parts warm, fun and professional, and the presenters were diverse and entertaining. It felt like a celebration of all that is bicycling and was very uplifting.”

“Vancouver is a terrific city that has added itself to the growing list of world cities who have implemented protected bike facilities,” added the creator of and BikeTV. “It’ll be a great place to mind meld biking strategies and see actual on-street practices in effect.”

Conference themes focus on the elements needed to encourage people of all ages to choose cycling for transportation, recreation and tourism. They include cycling-transit integration, bike sharing, safety, networks, enabling cycling through technology, marketing and education.

Many North America cities are making significant efforts to improve cycling by implementing European-style separated cycling facilities. Vancouver has embarked on expansion of its cycling network based on European success and is a showcase for a wide range of facilities.

Vancouver is well-positioned to attract 1,000 to 1,500 participants, including decision-makers from all levels of government, such as politicians, engineers and planners. Other participants will include sustainable transportation industry leaders, advocates, academics and researchers.

The opening and closing speaker at the conference will be Gil Penalosa, executive director of NPO 8-80 Cities and former commissioner for parks, sports and recreation in Bogota, Columbia. Other presenters include Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and Alain Ayotte, president of the Public Bike System Company (BIXI).

Velo-city Global presents a great chance to showcase cycling expertise. Participants will build partnerships with experts from Europe and around the world, further enhancing the ability to design high quality bicycle paths and bicycle facilities integrated with road and transit projects.

Originally published in the March/ April 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on

Bike-specific Merrell Heels

Reviewed by Sarah Ripplinger

Merrell Bike-Specific Heels.

Merrell has some of the most comfortable shoes on the market. Every pair I’ve worn in the past has hugged my feet when worn and lasted for a long time. Needless to say, I was pleased to hear that they have come out with a bike-specific heel, the Evera MJ, that you can actually wear all day long on and off the bike. This low heel, with a rubber sole and leather upper, is designed to fit the contours of your pedals and stretch with the natural movement of your feet as you propel yourself forward.

Originally published in the March/ April 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on