Uliana is helping create a connected cycling network - and you can too
One of the most fun discussions to have with a fellow bike-lover is about favourite routes but we want to start a different debate - what’s your worst route?
You know, the one you avoid because the bike lane suddenly disappears? That route which would cut your commute time in half, if only you didn’t have to put your life on the line by cycling along a highway shoulder? The ride that you want to take your kids on but feel it is too dangerous for you, let alone a 10-year-old.
Sadly Metro Vancouver’s broken bike network is plagued by gaps that stop people from being able to cycle safely and directly to the destinations they want to visit. HUB Cycling’s local committees have identified over 400 gaps that are preventing people from cycling more often and we want to fix them.
In April we put the call out, asking people to Adopt-a-Gap and help us improve the routes that matter to them and Uliana from Pitt Meadows was quick to respond. Read her story and find out why she decided to support UnGapTheMap.
Location: Pitt Meadows
Adopted gap: Kingsway multi-use path to Mary Hill Bypass, Port Coquitlam
My story: “Just over a year ago my fiancé and I moved to BC and almost every day I commuted on the bike from Burnaby to the Vancouver downtown. Biking to work is one of the big things which I have wanted to do my entire life but in my home country it is almost impossible to bike at all and commuting by bike meant cycling on roads where drivers just do not see you. I love starting the day with a bike ride as you arrive at work full of energy. Visa versa, it is so refreshing to ride home and you not have to spend your time in gym after work. I also like exploring new areas by bike at the weekend, the ecological benefits of cycling and it saves me money - my fiancé and I made up the cost of our bikes by commuting for just 7-8 months.
In the winter we moved to Pitt Meadows and I hoped to bike to our nearest station, Port Coquitlam. There is a bike path almost all the way from the home to Kingsway but then the gap between Kingsway and the Mary Hill Bypass makes the ride almost impossible and dangerous as Kingsway is narrow, a busy road. On that route I feel like I’m playing a game with the cars and it’s my life that’s at stake. My choices are I either ride on the dangerous road or detour to a safer route but that adds 4.5km to my ride each way. I have to be on the West Coast Express by 6.24am and the train will not wait for me so if I want to cycle safely I have to get up very early.
My fiancé has stopped commuting by bike since we moved to Pitt Meadows. Everyone knows the sad statistics about cycling on dangerous routes and even on roads with shoulders there is still a big risk of being hit by a car compared to a separated route. If Kingsway had a bike path, we would both commute each way by bike - and we’d be able to get a lot more sleep. That’s why I adopted this gap, because I want to be able to keep doing something I love without fearing for my life.