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  1. #1
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Locking bikes in Vancouver, B.C.? (safety)

    Hi.

    My wife and I are thinking about taking our bikes over to Vancouver, B.C. to ride around town for a couple of days. (We live in Seattle.) We've been to Vancouver numerous times before but never with bikes. Our plan is to park our car somewhere relatively safe (like in a tower parking on Robson) and ride our bikes to different locations. It means we will be locking our bikes at or near our destinations.

    My questions are:

    (1) Are there a lot of bike racks in town?
    (2) Is it generally safe to leave relatively new bikes locked for 1-2 hours in one location?

    We don't plan on going to Chinatown. Also, we have U-locks with cables.

    Your feedback would be appreciated!
    Last edited by daihard; 09-13-13 at 09:47 AM.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  2. #2
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    I used to work in Vancouver for 2 years and rode my bike a lot there for recreational purposes. I wouldn't recommend parking in a garage tower since there are actually more homeless people there, especially around Robson/downtown. There are generally more street racks than Seattle, Vancouver's a much more bike-friendly city than Seattle. On the street racks it's generally safe I've never had an issue with anyone tampering with my u-lock. Of course I also never locked up my nice road bike just my cheaper hybrid. You can take the bikes on the Skytrain as well which is nice if you're going to different areas and don't want to leave your bikes behind. Make sure to ride from Richmond up to the seawall and through Stanley Park if you've never done it!

  3. #3
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yamsyamsyams View Post
    I used to work in Vancouver for 2 years and rode my bike a lot there for recreational purposes. I wouldn't recommend parking in a garage tower since there are actually more homeless people there, especially around Robson/downtown. There are generally more street racks than Seattle, Vancouver's a much more bike-friendly city than Seattle. On the street racks it's generally safe I've never had an issue with anyone tampering with my u-lock. Of course I also never locked up my nice road bike just my cheaper hybrid. You can take the bikes on the Skytrain as well which is nice if you're going to different areas and don't want to leave your bikes behind. Make sure to ride from Richmond up to the seawall and through Stanley Park if you've never done it!
    Thanks! Much appreciated. I'll make sure we map out our riding plans to include the Richmond-to-Stanley-Park route. Sounds like a great route.

    As for the car, where would you recommend that we park it? The Pacific Centre Mall parking, maybe? I guess we could also leave it at the hotel - now that I know we can take our bikes on the Skytrain, which goes all over town these days.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  4. #4
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    Yes I think any mall parking will be significantly better. I have 2 friends whose cars got broken into around Robson downtown area both of whom parked in garages...or if you find underground paid parking like pacific place here in seattle that would be great as well. In general as long as your car doesn't look like it has tons of gear and bags in it when looking in from outside you'll be fine though, except if there are large events going on, the break ins both happened during a game or concert (and with out of state plates).

  5. #5
    Senior Member timvan_78's Avatar
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    Leave no valuables visible in your car! I am cheap, so I would find free street parking (East 1st Ave at Scotia Street) and leave the car there for the day. It's close to Science World (a good visual reference) and close to the Pedal Depot Bike Co-op too. Also close to one of the public bike pumps: https://www.google.ca/maps?q=49.2733...m&z=19&iwloc=A


    Get the cycling maps here:
    http://www.translink.ca/en/Getting-A...ling-Maps.aspx

    Make sure you bike around the sea wall (Stanley park loop and also around False Creek/Science World/Granville Island/Vanier Park/Kits Beach). All the tourists do it because it's nice, lol.

    If you must lock your bike up in town for a few hours, do it in a very highly visible place with lots of foot traffic and lots of eyes around (right in front of a starbucks patio for example). Use the U and the cable. There are lots of racks. There are bike lockers at skytrain stations but they are long-term rentals only.

  6. #6
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are not looking for 'rides' in the city so much as using your bikes as a way of getting around. Sounds like a good plan. I'm car-less in Vancouver and it's not bad and less hilly than Seattle. I would park your car in whatever area is most convenient for you - perhaps your hotel?. Vancouver has the same demographic of druggies/criminals of opportunity as does Seattle but a U-lock/cable combo should be just fine. There are some segregated bike lanes but they are more suited to commuters - if you are traffic-savvy you should feel comfortable almost everywhere.

  7. #7
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVanHiker View Post
    It sounds like you are not looking for 'rides' in the city so much as using your bikes as a way of getting around. Sounds like a good plan. I'm car-less in Vancouver and it's not bad and less hilly than Seattle. I would park your car in whatever area is most convenient for you - perhaps your hotel?. Vancouver has the same demographic of druggies/criminals of opportunity as does Seattle but a U-lock/cable combo should be just fine. There are some segregated bike lanes but they are more suited to commuters - if you are traffic-savvy you should feel comfortable almost everywhere.
    Thanks! Our idea is to park our car in one location (yes, perhaps at the hotel) and ride around town, including DT and Richmond. Looks like there's a very nice bike route that connects Richmond all the way up to Stanley Park, so we're definitely going to explore that as well as enjoying riding in Stanley Park itself. As for the areas to avoid in general, I have Chinatown and Gastown in mind. Anywhere else?
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  8. #8
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    Fellow Vancouverites feel free to jump in here, but I'm not really feeling the linkage between Richmond and Stanley Park. That's a huge distance. Richmond is a worthwhile destination although flat as a pancake. I would personally take the bikes on the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station, and follow the waterfront west then south and down to the picturesque former fishing village of Steveston for lunch using River Road and then a dedicated dike path. Use Google maps bicycle routes to return to one of the Canada Line stations in Richmond, or throw the bikes on a bus rack from Steveston back to Bridgeport Station. (Ladner is another nice area for biking - check out translink.ca for trip planning).

    Stanley Park seawall is a bit of a zoo - typical MUP. The mandatory direction is counter-clockwise and if you look at a cycling map (e.g. Google) you can continue with a nice ride around False Creek ending up at the Granville Island Market.

    For a little exercise, come to my neighborhood. Bike over the Lions Gate Bridge or take a 246 bus along Georgia Street to Capilano Road in North Vancouver get off at the Chevron Station, and take Highway 1 out to Horseshoe Bay - a one-mile incline, then mostly downhill all the way - stunning views. Lots of restaurants in Horseshoe Bay then any 250-series bus from the ferry terminal straight back to downtown Vancouver. (Yes it's a highway, but safe shoulders, watch for the directional signage for bikes. Don't even consider taking the lower waterfront road - nasty and unsafe with no shoulders and blind curves).

    I wouldn't necessarily avoid Chinatown (it's a good one, second only to SFO) and Gastown, but these are crowded, touristy areas although not unsafe.
    Last edited by NVanHiker; 09-15-13 at 11:43 PM. Reason: English spelling of 'dike' using 'y' censored.

  9. #9
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    There are various bike routes from Richmond to Stanley Park, but the easiest to follow is probably Ontario St, a signed bike route (rather than an actual path). Ontario will take you from near the Skytrain Bicycle Bridge (near the Cambie/Marine Dr station) to Science World. To get on it, take the Skytrain Bridge, which is just past the north end of Garden City, just east of River Rock Casino. At the north end of the bridge, you will exit onto Kent. Take a right at Kent, ride about four or five blocks until you see bike route signs for Ontario St. Take a left, and just follow it. You'll go up a pretty stiff climb, all the way to the top of the ridge at 49th Ave, then it descends to False Creek. At about 1st Ave., you enter a congested area (the Olympic Village) with lots of peds walking everywhere. You ride past Science World on the path, and this will take you to the bike path around False Creek. It separates into separate paths for bikes and peds, so watch for the signs to make sure you're on the correct side. You can work your way to Stanley Park along this route, but when you get into the park, you'll be going in the wrong direction for the seawall bike path. I usually just ride around the roadway (one-way counterclockwise) with the bike racers; it's a lot safer than tangling with the peds, but if you're there on a weekend, everything is crowded.

    You can also go up Cambie St., close to where the Skytrain Bridge exits. It's an easier climb with mostly a nice bike lane, but then it gets sketchy after 41st (Oakridge Mall), and then 25th (King Edward), just after you've gone past Queen Elizabeth Park. If you continue to fight the traffic, the street will take you over the Cambie St. Bridge into downtown, but it dumps you onto busy Smythe (not recommended), unless you take the sidewalk over the bridge, and then you get dumped next to BC Place Stadium. I never take sidewalks unless I'm legislated to, so you're on your own here.

    If you ride into downtown, there are two major two-way bike paths. One runs along Hornby St. off the Burrard Bridge. The other runs along Dunsmuir St. off the Georgia Viaduct, but it ends at Burrard St (although there's still a lane that heads west beyond that).

    Luis

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