Vancouver mamas know that reducing your carbon footprint matters. Whether it’s cloth diapering, consignment shopping, recycling or gardening, there are lots of ways to go green with little ones. With more and more bike paths popping up all over the city, and a public bike share program set to launch this summer, Vancouver cycling has never been easier. Hitting the streets on two wheels is a great way to save the earth and get some exercise, too. Not sure where to start? We’re here to help!
Vancouver Cycling Shops
There are cycling shops in pretty much every Metro Vancouver neighbourhood, and they all have something to offer. A few receive consistently good reviews, though. Here are some local bike shops that you might want to check out.
- Bicycle Sports Pacific | bspbikes.com
- Bikes for All | www.bikesforall.ca
- Denman Bike Shop | www.denmanbikeshop.com
- Different Bikes | www.differentbikes.ca
- MEC | www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary/Services/Stores/Vancouver.jsp
- Obsession: Bikes | obsessionbikes.com
- Our Community Bikes | www.pedalpower.org/ocb-bike-shop.html
- West Point Cycles | www.westpointcycles.com
Vancouver Cycling Routes
Once you have your bike, the next question is where are you going to ride it? The City of Vancouver has information on protected bike paths, Vancouver cycling route maps, where to park your bike and more. Check that out online at vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/cycling-routes-maps-and-trip-planner.aspx. Google Maps is an easy-to-use tool that can give you cycling directions and travel times. It’s not perfect, but it’s free and you can access it anytime at maps.google.ca. Translink also has Metro Vancouver cycling route information online at www.translink.ca/en/Getting-Around/Cycling/Cycling-Maps.aspx.
Bikes for Little Riders
If you have a baby or young toddler, you will start with a child seat or bike trailer attached to your bike. As they get older, though, your little one can start cycling under their own steam. Run bikes (also called balance bikes) are a great place to start. Toddlers and preschoolers power these two-wheeled, pedal-less bikes with their feet. They can move surprisingly quickly, and as they ride they learn how to balance on two wheels. Then, when they’re ready to transition to a “big kid bike” they don’t need training wheels. Balance bikes are made of metal or wood, and are available at children’s stores and bike shops around the city.
If your little one needs some help learning to ride, there are other options as well. Pedalheads offers half-day and full-day bike camps around the city during the summer months where your kids can learn to ride. May community centres also run learn-to-ride classes aimed at preschoolers – check out the one nearest you to see what’s on offer.
No matter how you approach Vancouver cycling, the real trick is just to get started. Once you’re on two wheels you’ll learn what works for you and your family. You’ll get to know local cycling routes, and meet other cyclists who can fill you in. And you’ll save money on gas, too. Happy riding!