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Bike to Work Week 2012: behind the scenes at a (rainy!) commuter station with Kristin

Bike to Work Week 2012: behind the scenes at a (rainy!) commuter station with Kristin

TransLink staffer Kristin Lillyman at the Robson Bike to Work Week commuter station in front of Whole Foods!

It’s Bike to Work Week this week! And we’ve asked intrepid TransLink staffer and HUB blogger Kristin Lillyman to share her experiences of the week through the Buzzer blog. Here she is!

HUB’s Bike to Work Week (BTWW) is here!There are commuter stations located throughout the region to celebrate biking to work. By participating, you not only show your support for cycling infrastructure improvements and investment, but you can enter to win awesome prizes, enjoy free coffee, or get a bike tune up.

This morning from 6:30am – 8:30am, I was volunteering at the Robson Street Whole Foods Market BTWW commuter station with Lindsay O’Donnell from Whole Foods and Jonathan Duncan from Norco. We were busy chatting with cyclists and providing fuel for the road, including yummy freshly baked muffins! Jonathan was at the station as the bike mechanic, helping commuters by providing free maintenance, tune ups, and advice.

This morning was a wet one and we had roughly 25 cyclists come through, compared with about 65+ during the Spring BTWW. Robson Street isn’t particularly popular with cyclists, and many of the cyclists came out of their way to visit us. Rain or shine, the commuter stations always have a positive vibe and everyone is excited to stop by and chat. The commuters I met this morning were biking from all over the region –from the North Shore, Port Moody, Burnaby, and East Vancouver. They were all pretty happy when they saw friendly faces and a dry place to stop and refuel.

    Road-ready tips: Kristin and her fellow bike commuters share some quick helpful hints for biking to work!

  • From Jonathan: Lube your chain to keep your bike running smoothly. Jonathan recommends wiping off the excess lubricant when you lube up your chain – otherwise the chain gets sticky and collects even more gunk.
  • Plan your route to include the commuter stations to get free snacks, coffee, bike tune ups, and more!
  • All you really need is a bike, a helmet and bell (it’s the law), lights and a good attitude.
  • Fenders will help prevent you and your bicycle from getting filthy and wet from the puddles on the road.
  • ‘Rain resistant’ may not be enough this time of year, consider investing in ‘water-proof’ instead.
  • Check out a bike map to plan your route, or ask a colleague/friend to show you a good route.
  • Combine transit with cycling. You can take your bike almost everywhere on the system and the entire bus system is equipped with racks! Operators and fellow riders are very nice about it and I have honestly never had a negative encounter due to traveling with my bike.
  • Sign up online to track your commutes and for a chance to win prizes!

How Kristin started cycling…

My cycling story goes back a few years ago, before I became a ‘bike enthusiast’ and volunteer for HUB. I purchased a bike to ride recreationally, enticed by the seawall and ocean views. I quickly rediscovered my love for life on two wheels and started going beyond the seawall, using my bike to go from one place to another. It had opened up neighbourhoods to me, it was freedom, and I was exploring places I had never been before and having fun while doing it. When I started to work in Burnaby, the 17 kilometer commute each way just seemed too far. I didn’t have the fancy gear that I thought was necessary for commuting by bike.

Colleagues here at TransLink helped me learn the route along the BC Parkway and showed me how to combine transit with biking. Now I often combine modes on the way in, so I don’t have to shower and change at work. I found changing at work was an inconvenience and added an extra step, and I liked biking because it was uncomplicated. I now usually dress for my destination, even though I am lucky enough to have shower facilities at TransLink. I now look forward to my journey to and from work and bike to work regularly because it is easy and fun, it is as simple as that.

I started to realize that my passion for biking had encouraged some of my friends and colleagues to start riding their bikes. A little guidance went a long way and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with more people and encourage others to ride, and what better way than through HUB. I have volunteered at the BTWW commuter stations, on the street team and have started writing a cycling blog for HUB on Vancouver is Awesome. It has been a great way to connect with new people, learn from other cyclists, and share stories from the road. I have really enjoyed participating in BTWW because it supports cycling, the people are friendly and there is a real sense of community.

It looks like this fall’s BTWW will be wet, but don’t let a little rain discourage you. This week can be a great opportunity to try cycling in the rain – it can actually be quite refreshing. I promise biking to work is less complicated than you think and you might just have fun.

Happy cycling everyone!

Thanks so much Kristin! Look for another dispatch from Kristin later this week!