Monday, December 7, 2009

December Meeting

Our next Meeting/Bike Ride is scheduled for Saturday Dec 12th. Meet at the Stick in the Mud Cafe at 10:00. We will then go for a ride (weather permitting) and meet at Farmers Daughter for a snack/lunch around noon, and discuss some of our plans, projects and throw around ideas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CRD Pedestrian & Cycling Survey

If you haven't done it yet, this might be a good time to submit the online survey for the CRD Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan
The survey is on the right side of the page, along with some other interesting links

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009


Check out Recyclistas. I stopped in on my way to Victoria while riding on the Goose. I hope to take one of their bike maintenance courses, and I think they or the Bike Lab Society might want to get involved with our Symposium.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here is another bike and hiking route mapping page that I think we should take a look at and evaluate. So far this one and Bikely seem to be the most appropriate for the things we are looking for. Ideally once we decide on the better site, we can promote it by putting routes on it and getting businesses and organizations linking to it on their websites. Post your ideas and feedback here, and if you know of any better sites.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chip Sealing of our roads

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is dealing with a very important issue on the treatment of our rural roads. Check out their website for more info. This will very much affect the ride-ability of many of our roads for cyclists, but the effects on motor vehicle traffic is also significant. It increases wear and tear on tires, increases noise levels on the road, and it decreases fuel economy due to higher rolling resistance. (That will also make it harder to cycle longer distances) Why are they wanting to do it? It is about 20% cheaper than the existing method. So the government will save money and the citizens will have to spend more! We need to talk to our MP's and MLA's on this one!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bikely; Web page for bike routes

Bikely is a web based route finding and creation service. I think we should all start putting good routes that we discover on there. The nice feature is that we can import the routes into Google Earth. I tried it out this morning and created a safe bike to school route that my daughter and her friends have been using. (our user name is JDFCC). You can sign up and start creating your own routes. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scientific American Articles

I have received an email about an article in Octobers' Scientific American about"how cycle paths have to be safe enough for the risk averse female of the species and organized around her usual destinations: "to the supermarket, the school, the day care center". The piece says the female cyclist is the "indicator species" for bike-friendly cities." Well ladies, I bet you never thought of yourself as an "indicator species" !
Here is that article online. Also I came across this short clip worth reading or listening to.
The bottom line is get out there on your bikes and start making yourself seen! Way to go Cyclopaths and all you other folks getting out there!
Thanks for that Heather and Brian!

Meeting with MOT on Highway 14

On Monday the 21st of Sept, I met with Wayne Jentsch, the project manager for the paving project on Hwy 14, Dave Edgar, a Transportation Planning Engineer with MOT, and Al Fontes, Director of Engineering for Sooke. We looked at various parts of the highway and discussed different possibilities. It looks very good for getting good shoulders frome Charters Road to around Woodlands drive, just past Sassenos. Also the dangerous little asphalt berms on the side of the road will be removed! The budget is limited of course but Wayne intends to help make it stretch out as far as possible to help make the highway safer. We discussed ways of making the crossing by Coopers Coves/The Fuse, safer and easier to cross. I also discussed the possibility of putting up guard rails on the Sooke River bridge, which along with the re-paving and widening of shoulders would essentially give us a connection from the Galloping Goose Trail to Sooke in a relatively short time. Sooke has, from my understanding set aside funding, along with the CRD to assess the options for a second river crossing as a pedestrian, cyclist and emergency route. This in my mind is still the best way to go in the long term and crucial for many reasons. The route using the existing bridge can give us a safer crossing for pedestrians and cyclists very soon (hopefully within a year) for very little cost, and allows tourists easier access to the town from the Goose! I have not discussed this yet with the Mayor and council, but I trust they will be receptive to the idea.

Walk and Bike for Life; Gil Penalosa Talk

Lee and I attended the talk by Gil Penalosa that was put on by BC Transit. A very inspiring and informative presentation. Check out the website for some really good resources. I had hoped some of our council members would have made it there, but unfortunately none were able to make it. If we are serious about making this town pedestrian, cyclist and tourist friendly, we need to pay more attention to this sort of information. We have an excellent team of planners and some really good plans in the OCP, but we need to make sure the commitment and desire is there to follow through. I know that some of our councillors are fully behind this goal, and I believe our Mayor is as well from what I have heard her saying recently. It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day operation and politics of running a town, but we all need to remember to take time to step back and look at building our vision of a community that we want to be part of. We need to take the time to find inspiration!
I hope to be able to speak to the council soon at one of the meetings to share some of what I have learned and some ideas to keep us on track.

CRD Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan

I attended 2 days of workshops to kick off the CRD Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan. It was an information session with the consultants and a brainstorming session. It is very similar to the process Sooke used for the OCP. One of the big questions is what role the CRD should play in dealing with the different municipalities in the district. It was also determined that regionally significant cycling and walking routes need to be identified. There will have to be further discussions to determine the scope of their role, but in my opinion, (and several other peoples) a good role would be for CRD to act as a central coordinationg agency for information and contacts. They can also help out with funding for different projects and to set some basic standards to create some consistency and continuity between areas.
There is a feedback form that I would encourage everyone to fill out. It is another chance for your voice to be heard. Here it is; CRD Walking and Cycling Feedback Form
There will be more info up on their website soon

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CRD Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan

The CRD has a Citizens Advisory Council for the Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan, of which I will be a participant. The first session starts next week. I will keep you posted on what is happening. In the meantime you can check it our here.

Symposium plans for next spring

Last week we had our first meeting for planning a bicycling symposium in Sooke for next year. It was well attended and we are working on ideas.
The plan right now is for it to be a Cycling and Sustainable Transportation Symposium/Fair
We hope to have various speakers on cycling issues, possibilities and attractions. As well there will be vendors showcasing electric bicycles, hybrids, comfort bikes, recumbent and semi-recumbent, trikes, and folding bikes. This is to help people to see the possibilities that are out there for using cycles as recreation and transportation alternatives. We might also have some electric scooters, Low Speed Electric Vehicles and electric cars.
We also hope to have participation from local governments, BC Transit, RCMP and other interested and related organizations.
We are looking for feedback and ideas as well as people willing to help out with the planning and implementation.
I think this is very exciting. We have a great opportunity here to help bring more members of the public into a different mindset on transportation. I hope that we will draw people from the local area as well as from Victoria, Southern Vancouver Island and possibly from farther afield.
Contact us with your ideas and if you would like to help.

Rhodonite Bike Lanes

We have suffered a small set back in that there was a large number of residents from Rhodonite that spoke at the council meeting in opposition of the bike lanes. (See my comments on original post) The residents did not want to lose their ability to park on the road and felt that the road was not used much by cyclists. (Mmm..I wonder why?)
It is disappointing since the lanes would have been in by now, however, in the long run we might be better off with a multi-use path. It looks like this might be the next stage. It is more expensive and residents will lose some of their driveways and lawns, but it will allow for some on street parking.
We will be keeping on top of this issue.
See the letter to the editor in the Sooke News Mirror, from one of our members, Mark Ziegler.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A vision we can borrow from Copenhagen

Here is an article Don Brown sent me. Check it out here.
This gives us an idea of what it could be like when cyclists start getting out there!
Thanks Don!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rhodonite Bike lanes

August 24th Council Meeting. This might be a good time for our members to show up at the Sooke Municipal hall to show a strong voice in support of cycle lanes. If these lanes get squashed, it could set a precedence that we don't want to see.
This is a letter from Neil Poirier;

Hi everyone,
I realize it is summer and people are not thinking about school issues however, an issue has come to my attention and I would like to have people giving it some thought. The District of Sooke is in the process of creating and adding sidewalks, walking trails and bike lanes in and around the town core. A bike lane has been proposed for Rhodonite, which has recently had it's speed limit reduced from 50 to 40 kmh, from Church to Otter Point rd. and is getting opposition from some of the residence on the road. The issue for them is that the bike lane will remove parking from the street, the issue for us is that the bike lane will add another safe option for our kids riding to and from school. I believe the issue will be brought to councils attention at a meeting on Aug 24th and would like to muster some support at the meeting. So if you can make it to the meeting and/or know someone who is interested in traffic safety and kids in Sooke let me know. I'll be out of town next week camping but will contact some of you the following week looking for support.
Hope you are all having a great summer.
Neil Poirier

E & N Rail

I have copied a letter from Dave Beer of the Nanaimo Cycling Coalition regarding the rail trail concept. It's worth a read and also please go to this Ministry of Transportation site and voice your opinion on the Feedback link

Feedback - E&N Corridor Study

I believe that the founding members of the Island Corridor Foundation have done a terrific job securing the E&N railroad right of way for public use. Prior to their involvement the probability was that it would be broken into smaller parcels for commercial development, something we don’t need nearly as much. We must seize the opportunity to redevelop the E&N right -of - way to maximize the benefit for the citizens of B.C. It may be a long costly process, but it will be well worth it in the end.
I would like to see the easement contain a multi - use path to be used by walkers, cyclists, roller bladers (non - motorized transport in general). I think that there are possibilities for using the existing railway system in ways so they can be commercially viable, so I am not suggesting a rail to trail conversion. Instead, I would like to see a rail with trail conversion, similar to the E&N Trail in Nanaimo. Pedestrians and cyclists share the right of way along the railway easement and where this is not possible the trail moves to adjacent roads. I believe that the railway easement is 33 meters in many places, so there should be plenty of room for both. My understanding is that there is currently a plan in the CRD to do just this in the most southerly part of the E&N Railway easement. (Times - Colonist story July 7, 2009)
British Columbia currently has three rails to trails corridors. They are the very successful and well used Galloping Goose Trail on the Island and two on the mainland, the Kettle Valley Railway Trail and the Great Northern Trail (Nelson to Salmo.) While these are significant, it should be pointed out that the much smaller province of Nova Scotia has made eighteen rail to trail conversions. The only trail with rail conversion in the province is the E&N in Nanaimo. It is a worthy goal to continue this trail for the full length of the E&N easement.
Can you imagine a safe, scenic recreational trail from Victoria to Courtenay - Comox and also across the Island to Port Alberni. This would be a giant boost to eco-tourism and would provide more jobs in many communities. The E&N Greenway (or whatever you choose to call it) could become a world class destination for hikers and cycle tourists as well as providing a wonderful recreational trail for B.C. families. We hear a lot about healthy lifestyles and this is one way that governments can support citizens developing a healthy lifestyle.
The provincial government spent millions off dollars to rebuild the trestles in the Myra Canyon on the Kettle Valley Railroad trail after they were destroyed by the wildfires in 2003. Vancouver Island deserves their support as well. This is also an initiative that should get support from the federal and municipal Governments. The provincial government can assure this happens by setting it as one of their priorities and encouraging the other levels to participate.
I would also like to see that the trains that use the existing railway have the capacity to carry bicycles. This is common in Europe, where cyclists use the train to travel to destinations and then use a bicycle while there. I could see myself travelling to Victoria by train and then using their trail system and roadways to explore the city. This would be a beautiful trip and would be one less car travelling over the Malahat ! Such trips could also be made to Duncan, Nanaimo, Courtenay - Comox, or Port Alberni. All it would require is greater frequency, a more sensible schedule and the capacity to carry bicycles.
Although these views are mine I have heard similar feelings expressed by other members of the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition and members of the Parksville chapter of the Cross Canada Cycle Touring Society. I look forward to seeing positive steps being taken to make a recreational corridor / greenway a part of the existing E&N railroad.
Dave Beer

Rumble Strips

Here is a copy of an email received from one of our members, Don Brown, regarding rumble strips on the highway. It's something I haven't encountered myself, but it's worth being aware and keeping in mind when we advocate for cycle routes.
"I would just like to share with you a couple of near death experiences I had the other day riding down the Malahat to Victoria.
While coasting at a speed of 40+ km/hr down the Malahat I found the shoulder I was riding on was becoming narrow. It was made worse by the rumble strips along the shoulder. As I rounded a corner I came upon some debris on the shoulder. Normally I would have dodged the material by either moving momentarily onto the road after checking my rear view mirror or dodging it on a wider shoulder. On the narrow shoulder I had no where to go. The rumble strips I have found to be very dangerous for me to ride on with my recumbent bike and the alternative was the ditch which would have resulted in serious injury. I had no choice but to hit the debris and try to stay upright. I barely managed to keep my balance and avoid serious injury or worse. This happened to me twice in one ride - the debris included rocks and loose gravel and the other was pieces of tire and broken glass.
As the Ministry continues to add rumble strips, know that it adds a risk for bicycle riders and at the very least, it would be adviseable to have wider shoulders where the rumble strips are used."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cycle Safe for Youth

2 weeks ago Constable Jordan Hamlyn picked up the donated items for the program. You might have seen the article in the Sooke mirror. The intent is for the RCMP to stop youth who are seen cycling around the area and give them little gifts for practising safe cycling. Simple things like wearing a helmet, signalling or making eye contact with drivers will get them gifts like a free ice cream, video rental, or bike inspection, and for those caught cycling at night witout lights we have some flashing lights. Hopefully I will hear from Jordan soon as to how the program is going.

An interesting Blog by Corey Burger

Check out the blog from Corey Burger in Oak Bay!
This is the first post of the Juan De Fuca Cycling Coalition. Hopefully this will work well as a venue for disseminating and sharing information. I am new to blogging so it might take me a while to get it rolling smoothly. Stand by for updates and links.