Change Is Blowing in the Wind

Red Bike in Fall
Photo by Marc Bjorknas

Bicycle riding in the fall.

By Sarah Ripplinger

What groundbreaking changes can one summer bring! Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge bicycle lane trial entered into full swing in July – with much praise from the cycling and non-cycling community alike. In addition, Vancouver hosted several car-free days, now called Summer Spaces, and the Museum of Vancouver presented an art exhibit dedicated to exploring the city’s many biking subcultures. The city of North Vancouver is considering installing a bike escalator to help cyclists ascend Lonsdale Avenue – a harrowingly steep stretch of road – and the SFU Community Trust is considering installing a gondola to carry transit passengers to campus up Burnaby Mountain.

In this issue, we take a look at the appropriateness of cycling for today and tomorrow. Why are more people being drawn to the saddle and what changes and innovations are likely to be made to meet their needs in the future?

Apart from finding new ways to encourage people to ride, it’s interesting to contemplate the future of bike design. As we see in this issue, greener bikes could be the way of the future; plus, we learn about how environmental awareness, bicycle-riding theatre troupes and audiences are attracting crowds on Vancouver Island. Critical Mass was almost too popular for its own good in Vancouver this summer and, as contributor Zan Comerford reveals, CM in Victoria is using new techniques to attract attention to its rides. In keeping with this month’s theme, we take a broad-stroke approach with a feature article about the state of cycling in BC and we also hone in on what’s buzzing in the interior with a snapshot of Kelowna’s bike and biz scene. This and more coming at you at 16-42 kilometres flat.

Keep those spokes humming!

Sarah Ripplinger

BC Editor

Originally published in the Sept/ Oct 2009 issue of Momentum Magazine and on

Canada’s Cycling: Roots + Shoots

Sarah Ripplinger IconSarah Ripplinger portrait by Terry Sunderland

By Sarah Ripplinger

Happy Canada Day Momentumites! As we celebrate our country’s 142nd birthday, now is a good time to reflect on how far we’ve pedalled as a nation. For starters, Canada has been home to bikes since confederation, with many notable trailblazers leading the way to our modern, cycle-friendly cities.

A June 1895 account describes one “Lady Bicyclist” whose forward-thinking landed her in Newfoundland’s Daily News. She was cycling on a foggy day in St. John’s beside a young male companion when a reporter asked about the “propriety of the sport.” Her response: She believes in “woman suffrage and all the other privileges which the advanced woman says unjust laws deprive her of.” Her female contemporaries in Victoria might have agreed, as they cycled along the myriad of bike paths running across the city.

Today, women cyclists are as free to roam streets and pathways as their male counterparts. British Columbians have also extended our bike paths to stretch from one end of the province to the other. The Trans Canada Trail winds from Victoria, through the Cowichan Valley, over to the mainland (with the help of a floating conveyance of course), and all the way to the Alberta border. But, getting to where we are today hasn’t been a cakewalk. It has taken foresight, commitment, and cooperation both on the part of individuals and their broader communities.

In this issue of Momentum BC, we take a look at the inventive and innovative ways that British Columbians have adapted cycling to fit their unique needs. We hear from one Roberts Creek resident who has increased his profit margin by strapping a flour-mill to his front wheel. A Vancouver-based couple finds the answer to their commuting woes by souping-up an old bike. We also hear from Chris Johnson, who used his keen environmental sense and entrepreneurial spirit to spearhead a groundbreaking composting business. Likewise, an island-grown coffee shop owner takes on a business ethic with the planet in mind. We also learn how to capture candid moments from the back of a bike, get the scoop on cycle-centred political news in the province, hear from our legal expert, David Hay, on why it’s important to keep an eye on the speedometer, plus get the low-down on cycling events in your neck of the woods.

Slap on that sunscreen and keep those spokes spinning BC!

Sarah Ripplinger, BC Editor

Originally published in the July/ August 2009 issue of Momentum Magazine and on