Biking in Vancouver
June 1, 2010
Marcer, who’s been cruising for four years, recently upgraded her Schwinn to a new Batavus model. The Dutch company builds bikes specifically for city riding, which is exactly what she was looking for. “I don’t want to have to wear all the gear—it doesn’t suit my lifestyle. For me it’s a fun activity on the way to work. I don’t want to turn it into work.” Her bike is the same model that was loaned to Dutch employees working at Heineken House during the Olympics. “When I went into the shop it was the last one left—it just looked like it was made for me.”
Gear Batavus BuB XC 538 cruiser ($750, Damesfietskopen.nl) Unlike traditionally heavy Dutch bikes, this Batavus has a lighter frame—easier on city dwellers. The BuB, also available in the award-winning paperclip design, comes with custom fenders and is built to accommodate almost any accessory. Favourite route Along the seawall or down to Granville Island from her South Granville home. “Tenth Avenue is great for commuting because it’s bike-friendly and lined with nice trees.”
Super-commuter Marc Stoiber learned to ride on a CCM bike when he was five. No matter where he’s lived since—Toronto, Calgary, Germany—he’s been riding. While he bikes about 300 days a year, it’s not as much about the gear or a look as a lifestyle. “People always think I bike as part of the green image. I don’t like driving, or paying for gas or $20 parking downtown, or gridlock. On a bike you always feel green, you’re always having fun.” Even though he’s been hit three times—never in Vancouver, and never causing injury—he won’t stop. “I can eat and drink more and I don’t get fat, plus I have way more fun than car drivers.”
Gear Brodie bike ($900, Brodiebikes.com). All-weather bike panniers, Mountain Equipment Co-op ($200, Mec.ca) Recent purchase A speedometer—“Once you start to measure, you start to get competitive” Favourite route For fitness, twice a week up MacDonald, along Marine Drive, down to UBC, and around Jericho.
I get new people onto bikes; I get people onto new bikes.” A sweet gig for the former pro racer, who starting racing 15 years ago. His first serious bike? “A carbon-fibre Mongoose. It cost $400 and my parents made me pay for half—$200 is a lot for an 11-year-old.” Crichton used to train 25 to 35 hours a week, and would go for 200-kilometre rides every Saturday and Sunday. “When you spend that much time on a bike, fit is key. It has to be comfortable, but it has to be fast and light, too. That’s why I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $7,000 on a bike. I have trouble spending $100 on myself.”
Gear His custom Giant bike weighs 15 pounds (30 is typical) and is extremely durable thanks to its one-piece carbon-fibre frame. The saddle is custom—“I’m lucky enough to have a seat that’s been essentially moulded to my ass”—as are the Rocket 7 cast-moulded shoes. Favourite route Start at Sumas, by the border, and wind up to Mount Baker and back along country roads.
Visit the Whistler bike park on a summer weekend and you’ll notice that almost half the riders are female. That’s new, and it’s thanks in no small part to downhill champ, coach, and three-time national team member Katrina Strand. “There are so many more opportunities now for women, between camps, coaching, and women’s riding nights,” she says. “Plus the terrain along the Sea-to-Sky corridor, from the North Shore mountains, to Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton, is so varied—there’s a track for every skill level.”
Gear Oakley is king of eyewear and Strand loves her Crowbars goggles (up to $210, Oakley.ca). Her helmet ($450) and apparel are from Troy Lee Designs (Troyleedesigns.ca). “Everything has to fit right, so it’s flexible, comfortable, and acts as a barrier so if you fall it doesn’t shred to pieces. And in this climate, water-resistance and breathability are key.” The ride Strand’s bike is totally custom; the parts add up to about $5,000 of serious downhill muscle. VM