Lifestyle

Cycling coalition now HUB

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, or VACC, is now called HUB. It may take us a bit of getting used to, but I like it: HUB: Your Cycling Connection.

It is hoped that this new name better reflects what we’re all about: HUB is a central organization for programming, advocacy and engagement across Metro Vancouver. We organized our first Discovery Bike Ride two weeks ago along the Central Valley Greenway from Hume Park (at Braid Station) to the Year of the Bike Party in Vancouver to celebrate the official launch of our new name and look. As a bonus we got to enjoy the cherry blossoms along the way.

We hope that lots of people will join us on our Discovery Bike Rides this year. Don’t worry: we’re not the fast and furious types. Our rides are intended for the majority of people who like to sit upright on their bikes so that they can enjoy their surroundings. We take our time, and we like to stop to chat, eat and drink, and check out interesting places. Some rides will be in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, others may be elsewhere in the Metro Vancouver area. The next one is still to be announced.

We had an awesome time with our Cycle Recycle at Earth Day in Maple Ridge. In the weeks before Earth Day we gathered 16 children’s and adults’ bikes – mostly through Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot – that were in good enough shape to give away. We did two draws and gave the bikes to 16 thrilled new owners.

Thanks to Maple Ridge Cycle, the bikes were given a tune-up, and some parts were replaced. Unfortunately, many people had to go home cycle-less, but hopefully we can do this again next year.

One regret: I didn’t have time to enjoy everything else that was going on at the event. That’ll be my goal for next year.

Nice to see Phil Melnychuk’s annual cycling column in last week’s paper (Maple Ridge needs to fill gap) about the Experience the Fraser project – a trail system along both sides of the Fraser from Richmond to Hope. It’s definitely up there on our HUB committee’s wish list, especially in the area east of the town core, as well as south of Dewdney. Cycling – whether recreational or utilitarian – is problematic, and having a trail all along the Fraser will be just awesome.

Ideally, cycling should be something that everyone can do safely from their home without having to put the bike on the car first and drive to the other end of town. Especially for those who don’t drive.

There’s probably not much left to do for Pitt Meadows. The dike trails there and newly added Osprey Village are already attracting many tourists and locals. After the announcement a few weeks ago about new funding by the province of $1 million for the entire project,  we’re still waiting to hear from the District of Maple Ridge about its plans for Experience the Fraser. It won’t be easy. There are industries located right along the river, and previous councils and planners just haven’t had the foresight to secure the required land for recreational purposes. Nevertheless, like Phil pointed out, the longer we wait, the more difficult it becomes.

Anyone is welcome to drop by one of our meetings to find out what HUB is all about (every second Thursday of the month at Maple Ridge library, 6:45 – 8:45 p.m., Greenside Room). For those who are interested in getting actively involved, our HUB Committee always welcomes new regular members with an interest in helping to improve cycling, helping out at events or organizing rides. Computer/organizational/public speaking or other useful skills would be great assets, but not necessary.

•If you’re interested HUB’s Discover rides, send your e-mail address to: jchow23708@yahoo.ca.

Jackie Chow is a member of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chapter of HUB: Your Cycling Connection.

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