Guest post by Emily Beam
Biking can easily be your main form of transportation in Vancouver all year round. But it’s easy to get intimidated by all the spandex-clad road bikers and too cool for school bike couriers. This is how I bike around the city without compromising style or having to worry about end-of-trip facilities.
1. Get the right bike and set it up to carry all your stuff. I have a hybrid step-thru from trek with fenders and a back rack. I got a kick-ass, multi-purpose pannier by Detour that transforms into a should bag or backpack and a folding basket just in case I do a really big shopping trip. You’ll also need a helmet and lights (safety first).
2. To bike in this city year-round, you need solid rain gear. There is no way to bike in the rain and look stylish. So I opt for rain gear that goes on top of my clothes. This way, when I get to my final destination, I can shed the layer and look like I just stepped out of my house. Must haves: rain jacket with armpit vents, rain pants, shoe covers, and waterproof gloves (which are oddly hard to find).
3. Get to know your city. Vancouver does a lot for cyclists – maps can be found here. I’m lucky to live in a central neighbourhood and I never had to travel very far. Whenever possible, I take a separated bike lane or dedicated bike street. And don’t forget there are lots of hills. After years of honing my skills, I’ve mastered the advanced hill avoidance techniques. You’ll learn the hard way which routes are Vancouver’s hilliest.
4. Take your time and enjoy the ride!
To #2, I would add fenders (mudguards). So often, the ground is wet with puddles, but there’s just a light sprinkle or it’s stopped raining completely.
Good tips. Another factor is that the local forecast is general. They might say “rain” but it will only happen up the mountain in North Van and not down in the delta. You get to interpret it after awhile.
Also if you have rain stuff it isn’t a problem anyway.
And I always tell people, if it isn’t working for you, whatever it is, then don’t do it. What’s important is that we have choices (unlike the past) and can now choose what makes sense at any given time.