Today was the last 6 am morning for me this week and it was a cold one. The celebration station at the Royal Jubilee Hospital was shadowed by one of the buildings, which made standing around a little chilly. The good weather today certainly helped get people out, especially after yesterday. Seeing the near steady stream of riders come by wasn’t a huge surprise because the Vancouver Island Health Authority, that runs RJH, has over 600 cyclists registered, almost 10% of the total registrations.
Leona Gibbs came out again this morning, which was a great boon. She has done an amazing amount of work these past two mornings, getting up early and talking with dozens of people about Safer Cycling Oak Bay and Oak Bay Bicycle Master Plan. Between us we collected about another 20 maps of people’s bike routes, bringing the total to nearly 80.
I also had a great conversation with Ian Graeme of the Bowker Creek Initiative about a Bowker Creek Greenway (there is a map of the Richmond/Oak Bay Rec Centre section) crossing all three municipalities. A trail like this would be a great path for cyclists and walkers to travel north-west/south-east and would allow easier linkage in with the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails, a connection which is currently very difficult.
This afternoon is the last celebration station I will attending, at the UVic fountain again, which runs from 3:30 to 5:30pm. I also plan on attending the final BBQ at the north end of the Selkirk Trestle tomorrow, which starts at 3pm.
This morning’s celebration station on the front lawn was a busy time for me and my fellow Safer Cycling OB volunteers, Jane and Leona. We managed to get nearly everybody that came by to tell us where they bicycled by highlighting those roads on a map. Adding the 37 collected today, we have almost 60 responses already. Entering in all these data and then making sense of it is going to be a big job.
I was surprised and disappointed that the only member of council that came by today was Tara Ney, who dropped in and chatted with us for a good half an hour. She reiterated her support for what we are doing, which is always heartening, given the scale of the project. Roy Thomassen, the Director of Planning, also made a quick appearance. He clarified that there is a slight change of plans with the covered bike shelter and it is being moved to right against the building.
On this, the second day of Bike to Work Week 2009, I dragged myself out of bed at a very early hour of 6 am to attend the morning celebration station at UVic’s main fountain. As UVic is the single largest destination for bicyclists in the CRD, this has been a well attended station in the past and it was certainly no different today. The good weather this morning undoubtedly helped, although most of the people today looked like long-time commuter bikers.
Beyond just having fun early in the morning, I was also there to find out where people are biking in Oak Bay. So armed with a clipboard, lots of maps and highlighters, I managed convince almost 20 people to colour on the lines. After the week is done, I get the unenviable task of collating all that data and posting a map of popular biking routes.
To celebrate the first day of this years Bike to Work Week, I made the trek up to the most northerly celebration station in south Sidney. Today’s big story ended up being the weather, with a little bit of rain, sun and just about everything in between. We were right along the water near the Anacortes ferry terminal. This meant there was a very stiff breeze from the south, so much so that at several points the half dozen of us all had to hold down the tent to literally keep it from blowing away.
I ended up staying just over an hour and in that time we saw about a half dozen bicyclists. Amongst that group was a recumbent, who along with his partner, were on their way to Tijuana and a tandem heading south. I am not certain if it was the distance or the cold weather but every cyclist we had come was seriously equipped. Hopefully we get some better weather over the next few days to get those occasional riders out.
See you all tomorrow at the UVic fountain between 6:45 am and 8:45am.
Today marks the first day of the annual Bike to Work Week. This years is two weeks early, to coincide with events across North America. The kick off this morning at the south end of the Selkirk Trestle. That was only the first of a whole host of celebration stations across the city over the next week.
Safer Cycling Oak Bay plans to be at a few of them promoting the bike master plan and asking people what routes they commute by in Oak Bay:
Why is free data important? It allows different views of the map, such as the cycle-specific version embedded above, which shows bike routes, parking and lanes. Sadly Geobase lacks any of this bike-specific data butyou can help.