Bike to Work Week: Promoting a Cycling Culture in Vancouver

This article was written by Preethi Bokka, an Active Transportation Assistant volunteer at Embark. Preethi is in her third year and currently majoring in International Studies.

Bike to Work Week is a community celebration to promote the environmental, health and personal benefits of cycling to places like work and school. This event thrives due to the support it receives from many Vancouverites that share an enthusiasm for a healthier lifestyle and a healthier planet.  

Emma Atkinson is an SFU student as well as a cycling enthusiast who bikes to school every day. As she explains the challenges that accompany biking up the mountain, “It can be pretty intimidating.” However, she added that biking to work and school is something one could get habituated to. Although she found that it could be very painful for the first week or two, it only gets better thereafter. Since Vancouver is a city that is blessed by the ‘Rain Gods’ most of the year, this impedes many who might otherwise consider biking as a mode of transport. Another SFU student, Kaitlyn Tsang commented similarly, “Sunny days are probably the best days to bike.” It is undeniable that there are disadvantages of depending on a bike to get you to places, with one other student describing how his bike was recently stolen. Along with impediments such as unpredictable weather, reckless drivers, and time restrictions, biking can be the last resort as a mode of transportation.


Emma Atkinson is a Biological Science Major studying at SFU 

However, amidst the disadvantages, Vancouver has a full-fledged support system on its roads for bike enthusiasts that many of us are yet to take advantage of. Many international students studying here have expressed their appreciation of the biking community and the admissibility of the infrastructure for bikers. The existence of an elaborate transportation system that advocates for cleaner modes of transportation is valued by many students - something that has not yet been implemented in their own countries. We are lucky to live in a place like Vancouver where we can experience the hustle bustle of everyday life while having the opportunity to find peace in the nature that surrounds us as we bike throughout the city. As one SFU student mentioned, “Biking helps you get fresh air!”

The significant pros of biking can only be realized if one commits to the activity—or if one even tries it out. This week, SFU will be partaking in Bike to Work Week by hosting celebration stations  on the 25th October at the Vancouver campus and on 27th of October at the Burnaby campus. This is an event that hopes to bring together many from the SFU community to join bike together regardless of the weather. This city is one of the most bike-friendly regions of North America and we should take advantage of this!




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