Victoria’s stylin’ summer cyclists

by Raymond Parker on September 10, 2012

in Cycling, Photography

I dallied with autumn in the Yukon, just a couple of weeks ago. Now, in Canada’s Caribbean, the nights draw in and chill bare knees. Just yesterday, during our first rain in some time, I noticed the yellowing of the neighbourhood horse chestnuts.

Still, we’ve had some warm days, and many cyclists remain happy in shorts and dresses, enjoying the last balmy days before winter closes in.

I asked with an earlier edition of Urban Cyclists of Victoria, whether function or fashion were more important. One can’t fail to notice the variety of approches to urban cycling, from bikes to clothing, with the latter mix-and-match choices eclipsing bicycle marques by far. Certainly, from a photographic viewpoint, I enjoy the eclectic velo fashion statements on parade on  September streets.

Here’s to an “Indian summer.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add your spin! }

Paul Glassen September 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hello Raymond,
Having read some of those strange cycling fashion blogs and been amused at all the fuss over ‘what to wear’, I enjoyed your post today. I’d also like to say how much I have enjoyed discovering your blog recently and reviewing the earlier entries. I stumbled across your critical comments on Nanaimo’s E. & N. trail:
“I also don’t want to be told to “get on the bike path,” where I choose to avoid a crowded multi-use trail in favour of a perfectly good highway shoulder nearby. This is the case in Nanaimo, for instance, where a path (E&N Rail Trail), with dangerous bollards, road and rail crossings, parallels the Island Highway for 8km.”
Coincidentally, just this morning I rode from my north Nanaimo home downtown along the shoulder of the old highway, not on the dangerous trail. One of our city councillors was good enough to ask me for some written comments on the city’s transport plan and I wrote virtually the same criticisms as you. I described it as a good example of well-meaning but misguided cycling infrastructure.
PS-I turned 67 today, so have been riding a little longer than you (61 years since I got my first “two wheeler”) and greatly enjoy your, er, historical perspective on cycling over the last half century or so.


Raymond Parker September 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Hi Paul. I’m glad you’re enjoying VeloWeb … and happy birthday!

I still have a copy of Nanaimo’s $40,000 “Cycling Master Plan,” circa 1994, which the City apparently used as a blueprint to avoid developing cycling infrastructure. In other words, they seem to have done the opposite of its recommendations.

You may have also stumbled on the post where I describe my experiences with Nanaimo Engineering Department.

I understand there have been some changes in the interim. Most North American cities lag woefully behind Europe. Increasingly, progressive cities see cycling infrastructure as a bargain within transportation budgets. To us “senior cyclists,” though, it’s been a long wait.


Lee September 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

Hi Ray:
I must admit, I have exactly the opposite view on the E & N trail, which I ride several times a week. I would much rather ride on a dedicated trail, away from cars, which can really hurt you. The biggest drawbacks is not the bollards (Hint – do NOT look at them, look at the gaps BETWEEN them) but rather the raised islands at each road crossing that pitch you suddenly upwards 8 or 10 inches or so.

Having said that, I find that as a daily bike commuter the vast majority of motorists here are very considerate of cyclists. I have roughly one ‘incident’ a year, which I consider a pretty good average.

I have also been responsible for getting two traffic light sensors set up to be triggered by bicycles, both on my regular commuting route. All I did was direct a request to MoTI and the City, both were most accommodating. Unfortunately the follow through to add the painted cyclist markers is still lacking.



Raymond Parker September 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Lee, perception of danger guides our actions and I particularly appreciate how much cars can hurt.

My chief complaint with the E&N trail is how it actually brings riders in conflict with cars … and trains, with one of Nanaimo’s bike shop proprietors in a near-fatal collision with the latter.

At a number of those intersections, riders are spat out just above where cars turn right, with predictable results. A similar problem existed on the downtown sections of Victoria’s Galloping Goose, sending a daily parade of cyclists to the emergency room, until stop signs for cars were installed. This solution would be difficult (but not impossible) to implement on E&N crossings.

I support properly designed, dedicated bike infrastructure. It’s just that Nanaimo’s (like many other Canadian cities) is ill-planned.

It’s good that you continue to lobby for improvements.


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