The Dizzy Cycles 2010 Vancouver Road Closure Bike Commute Challenge ran from February 8 – March 12. Entrants were asked to tell true stories of commuting and biking during the winter Olympics. The winner received a shiny new bike and the runners up some wads of cash.
Here are the winning stories:
My New Riding Partner
I love riding: mountain epics, road, and commuting to work.
The freedom, mind clearing, and health benefits are well documented. I love riding in the promising days of spring, the long warm days of summer, and the cool crisp days of fall. I never loved the wet dark days of winter, until this year.
I hurt my back last summer after BCBR and, while in the best riding shape of my life, I watched my buddies go riding. They made sure not to tell me about it; but I could tell through the glint in their eye and their proclivity for falling asleep before 9:30pm the rides were great. I was bummed.
When I healed, the carefree days of summer were gone, replaced by late fall days. No longer cool and crisp, they were short, dark, and wet. My buddies traded their bikes for skis. I didn’t care; I rode alone. I rode for all the rides I missed during the summer. I would not miss a day.
I would ride around athlete’s village, Riley Park, and the Richmond Oval before or after work as part of my commute. My commutes became longer; I was fascinated by the evolving city. I was happy to ride in the rain, watching the transition of the Olympic village and venues, switching from trades to athletes just in time for the games. The Olympics became my riding partner. I learned wet winter riding is great with the right riding partner and a good jacket.
The Pink Sail
It appears as though the Olympic spirit brought out the creative side of all cycling commuters. On my way to work in late February, I was cycling down 10th Ave and noticed a curious shape on a bicycle in front of me. It looked a bit like a pink blob. I tried a little harder to catch up, and when I did, I realised that the pink blob was in fact a smallish sized girl, with a large exercise ball attached to her back with a pink sheet.
Thinking to myself, “what a genius way of getting to whatever exercise class one needs a ball for?” I continued to watch her as she crossed Kingsway. Just as she came through the intersection a gust of wind caught her and her ball, turning the sheet into a bit of a sail. Unfortunately the wind was not going her way and the sheet filled up, taking with it, her exercise ball. Also unfortunate for her was that it was still attached to her back and as she cycled through the gust of wind the ball came full circle slamming into the her, catapulting her off of her bike onto the side of the road. I watched, waiting for the light to turn, as she got up, somewhat shocked, and cycled away.
I’ve lived in China, I’ve seen the things people can bike with, but this poor girl, so wrongly attacked by her exercise ball, taught me that some things just cannot be taken on the commute.
A Bike’s Perspective
I could tell I had a new rider because he wheeled me into a space I’d never seen before, with a hard floor, this big black panel, a giant humming white box, oh and he’s given me lights! I am in much better spirits because my new rider lets me live with him! My last rider left me alone in this tiny scary black room for most of my life. Although I must admit, my new rider is much heavier, but don’t tell him that! Anyway, I have noticed a lot more people outside because my new rider takes me out more. All these people seem to be shouting the word ‘Canada!’
I don’t mind getting wet you know! Well, my new rider has taken me around this path a couple of times on our way back home, which I don’t think he’s appreciated as much before I started living with him. According to my odometer, it’s almost 10 kilometers long, winding in one big circle. We blow past other riders, but then slow down on the other side because we are facing this massive pool of water with beautiful orange and pink and purple colours at the edge of it. He can’t drive me that far, but I’m happy driving near home, especially with fewer people, I can go faster!