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Bike to Work Week 2013 commuter chronicles

Michelle Candido of TravelSmart

Michelle Candido of TravelSmart

We asked our friend with TravelSmart to write about her experience working at a celebration station during Bike to Work Week 2013. We hope that you caught the cycling bug last week and make every week a bike to work week!

Hi my name is Michelle Candido and I am this year’s designated TravelSmart Bike to Work Week representative. My mission was to get commuters to take the TravelSmart pledge to reduce car trips at least once a week.

To celebrate Bike to Work Week, I gave cyclistas bike swag such as a bike seat covers, bike lights and handy leg reflectors. Here I am at the Lion’s Gate Bridge commuter station where a whopping 345 cyclists rode on by on their way to work.  Not sure if you can tell, but I’m cycling for two because I’m five-and-a-half months pregnant.

On Tuesday at the North Vancouver Civic Plaza, more cyclists braved the rain and stopped in to greet us at the Bike to Work Week tent.

I was immediately impressed with Laurel Johnston’s mossy green Surely Cross Check commuter bike – a sweet ride that can handle city commutes and longer distance excursions. Laurel was heading home from her 20 km round trip cycle commute from the Vancouver Aquarium where she works.

Laurel Johnston has some great cycling tips!

Laurel Johnston has some great cycling tips!


Laurel’s cycling tips for newbies:


  • 1. It’s all about the gear.  If you have the right gear such as panniers, rain jackets and gloves – you’re set.
  • 2. Learn to enjoy getting lost.  Laurel only moved to Vancouver in 2010 and she claims that her bike enabled her to discover neighborhood gems you won’t see by car.
  • 3. Bring snacks on longer journeys. Fueling your commute with snack treats is way more fun than gas.



Mike Lee rides a lot.

Mike Lee rides a lot.

On Wednesday morning at the unsavory hour of 6:30 a.m. I met up with enthusiastic cyclists enjoying the sunny weather conditions. Mike Lee rolled on up to my TravelSmart booth and gave me a TravelSmart high five.

Mike, who was clocking in a 34 k.m. round trip commute from Lynn Valley to Downtown, told me that this year he decided to take the TravelSmart pledge and reduce his car trip by one bike trip per week.

According to Mike, he’s already logged over 20 trips! He mentioned that not only is the commute a great way to get exercise, but one day of cycling saves him at least $20 between parking, gas and insurance! Mike plans on cycling more often during the summer months because it’s even more enjoyable.

At 13 years of age, Carson wins the prize for the youngest cyclist I met during the week. Carson told me that after losing his bus pass last month, he decided to start biking to school from the West End over the Lion’s Gate bridge to his West Vancouver Secondary school. Carson’s been enjoying the ride so much he’s decided to keep on biking next fall too. Carson enjoys the exercise he gets from cycling and finds that his morning commute really wakes him up – a bonus for teachers too!

Lisa Chin stops in at a celebration station.

Lisa Chin stops in at a celebration station.

Thursday at the 22nd New Westminster Bike to Work Week commuter station, I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Chin, an Australian native, who typically bikes a 20 k.m. round trip commute to work. She stopped in, as many others cyclists did, to say hello, grab snacks and maps and to share her commute on the Bike Hub map.

Lisa was keen to register to the TravelSmart website, the one-stop online shop for biking resources such as maps, trip planners and event updates.

She received a TravelSmart reflective velcro strap for signing up to the site and for pretty much being an awesome bold cycling commuter during such blustery and wet weather conditions.

Antonia Winkelman, a seasoned cyclist

Antonia Winkelman is a seasoned cyclist.

Lisa told me that she is very appreciative that here in Metro Vancouver buses are equipped with bus bike racks across the board.

Lisa feels that she can depend on transit whether she chooses to go on longer cycling trips or shorter ones when the weather is a wee bit too cold for her Australian warm blood.

On Thursday we set up shop in Coquitlam across from City Hall. Antonia Winkelman cycled on up to us with a curious glimmer in her eye. She wasn’t familiar with Bike to Work Week so we gave her the low down as well as snacks and a TravelSmart bike light.

Antonia had just cycled from the Children’s Festival at Granville Island and was on route back to her home in Coquitlam – quite an impressively huge commute. It was clear that Antonia was a seasoned cyclist. When Antonia isn’t cycling to work, she enjoys leisure cycling through the neighboring Bunson Lake, Sassamet Lake and Belcarra in Coquitlam.

Hub member, Dave Rush, a Maple Ridge resident told me last year he cycled over 12,000 k.m. Dave’s commute often takes him from Maple Ridge to Vancouver and back.

Dave Rush cycled over 12,000 KM last year!

Dave Rush cycled over 12,000 k.m. last year!

His bamboo custom built bike was quite the showstopper. Dave built the lightweight and waterproof bamboo frame from scratch himself.

On closer inspection, you could see that the handlebars were made of cork – and nothing other than the sophistication of champagne corks.

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