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Reality of Dogs on Bikes

Can I ever get my dog Phaedra to enjoy the bike as much as I do?

The answer to the question has to be yes, because I’ve seen it before. Photos of dogs, sitting pretty in a basket on the front handlebars, or zipping around in a little trailer latched to the back of the bike. They’re usually sitting quietly, enjoying the wind in their faces. But my best friend, Pheadra, will not go near my bike. She’s fine in the car, where Phaedra will to ride with the window all the way down, no matter how cold it is. But I don’t want to drive, I want to travel by bike.

Phaedra and the bike

The reason she does not like the bike is simple. It is because I haven’t found the right carrier for her. And believe me, its not easy. There is no shortage of different bike carriers and bags to scoot around your favourite pooch on the market. And I have already bought a few of them. So far I haven’t found the right fit for my dog to enjoy riding with me on my bike.

One of my poor choices began with the bike bag featured in the photo below, by a company called Pet Gear Inc. For starters, the weight distribution of my dog matched the package requirements, but as soon as she started squirming around, and my dog being the energetic Boston Terrier that she is, shifted that weight around. The bag kept moving, and sliding down the front and scraping against the fender. The feeling of the front wheel under the bag scared her and she whined the whole time. There was absolutely no enjoyment in that ride. The carrier itself was an expensive experiment, and unfortunately for my pocket book, an expensive piece of junk. The other problem with this bag is that to safely transport her around in it, the top has to be zipped up. She wants to pop her head out of the bag. There’s a little hook for her, but it was placed in an odd spot and she keeps trying to jump out.

Pet Carrier

Pet Carrier

The last lesson taught me two things, that I need a carrier that is open, so she can also enjoy the view. The second lesson, is that I need to try these different methods and products out before I buy them. Almost all bike shops will allow you to try their products first. However, if I buy her a simple basket attached to the handlebars, she needs to be latched in someway. I can’t install a latch in a basket until I purchase the basket. I want Phaedra to be transported on my bike as safely as possible. I’d like to take her to my softball games in the middle of the city. I also want to take her downtown. I’m close to downtown, but there are no off-road trails from my apartment, so I need to know that I can get there to my destination safely. I trust myself on a bike. I am a very cautious rider, and I obey the rules of the road, but I don’t trust a lot of drivers.

I have to say I’m curious of the Canadian product, the Buddy Rider. It is a bike accessory featured on my favourite Canadian television show Dragon’s Den. It is also a product I can return if I don’t like it. It looks like it could work, but again, I won’t feel comfortable purchasing it until I try it first. If anyone has any reviews about this product, please send them my way. Do I go by way of buying a bike basket, and look for a way to tie her in safely? Can that be done? Or, do I go for the more expensive option? Spring is coming…so I’ll have more insight to those questions soon.

For more photos of Phaedra: go to her Instagram page, @phaedra_the_boston_terrier

@phaedra_the_boston_terrier on Instagram

@phaedra_the_boston_terrier on Instagram

Bike East Van

Proud of My Neighborhood: East Van

Bike East Van
I moved back into East Vancouver after being away for four years. I’m so in love with this neighborhood. I have to share some photos I took while riding my bike around East Van, which won’t do the area justice, because I’m not much of a photographer. But, I’ll certainly try my best.
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Three Bike Friendly Events in July

There are no shortage of events taking place in July around Vancouver. I’m going to give a quick nod to three fun activities that you should write down on your calendar if you haven’t already.

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More Reasons To Ride Your Bike

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Riding doesn’t just look good. It makes you feel good. The weather in Vancouver is urging me to get out there after work.
I wish I could concentrate at today but I’m finding it hard when the sun and the light breeze beckons me outside. Continue reading

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Fall Bike To Work Week

The Hub, a group who organizes cycling events and encourages people to bike, have put together their fall Bike to Work Week program for October 28 to November 3rd. I’ve entered my company just the other night. The company I work for is a construction company. We install kitchens and appliances, and my co-workers and I are spread out among four different job sites around the city. Some of us bike to work everyday, some infrequently and some of the people I work with do not bike at all. There are people I work with that live far from work which makes it difficult to commute by bike. That being said, I put together a team through the Hub’s web site and hopefully a few newbies will get on their bikes and try it out.

If anyone else is interested in participating, signing up their co-workers or simply want to be a part of this great network of people, go to https://bikehub.ca. It’s going to be a good turn out, there are prizes to be won, free tune-ups and snacks along the way. Hope to see you out there!

More Bike Lanes on the Horizon for Downtown Vancouver

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Vancouver is city divided and many are voicing their opinions about whether or not it is important that Vancouver gets noticed as being a bike friendly city. The debate about city planning, where to add new bike lanes and how much to spend on them is an issue that is front and centre in the Greater Vancouver area. Certainly Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson pushes Vancouver to become a bike friendly city, and for those who read my blog, but don’t know much about him, he is pro cycling, advocates programs encouraging people to ride their bikes, and leads by example by biking to work.

There are more proposed bikes lanes on the horizon for Vancouverites and, as usual, there are many people for and against the upcoming proposals. Vancouver city councillors have decided to add bike lanes on Point Grey Road, between Alma and Macdonald. Other streets nearby by are going to be turned into one-way streets to calm down bustling city traffic. The city of Vancouver has also just passed a 2.2 million dollar plan to build a major bike path in the Kitsilano area.

There’s skepticism because of the people who will again have to adjust their driving patterns so they do not to have to sit in congested traffic that will likely ensue if alternate routes are not available to them. Cars that sit in traffic idle and produce carbon monoxide, which is not helpful to the environment. I also understand that not everyone wants to bike year round in Vancouver. The winters can be cold, wet and miserable. Of course, I’m pro transit and pro cycling, however, I believe the city still needs to work on getting more busses on the road, and needs to look at other ways to entice drivers to use transit here. Translink, our bus service in Vancouver continually raises the price of taking transit, thus making it unaffordable for a lot of people. I believe that it will also take a lot more time for the city to warm up to the idea of cycling being a way of life for people. My point of view, however, is that with Vancouver’s growing population and the increase of condo living in the inner city, will mean that no matter how many more parking stalls or roads people want to add, it’s never going to be enough to sustain all the people moving into the city. We need to be open to encouraging transportation by bike and making sure that the city provides people with more busses at a price that all Vancouverites can afford.

I’d like to know what you think about adding more bike lanes. Anyone have any ideas on how to appease a greater scope of people? Please let me know and also feel free to read more about Vancouver and people’s thoughts on adding new bike lanes.

Read more about bike lanes, approved and proposed, in the Greater Vancouver area

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Bike Ride to Granville Island

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Rainy Days and Sundays

IMG_20130915_132055The rain has been coming down on Vancouver—signaling that the summer is at an end. With the end of summer, my husband and I can finally go to Granville Island, one of the touristy areas of the city. The tourists are still flocking, but in smaller numbers than at the height of summer.

The main reason we went to Granville Island is to check out the market for groceries and also the shops to buy a few art supplies. We hop on our bikes, despite the clouds, and hope to get there without getting completely soaked. We travel on an on-road cycling route along 45 Avenue from Burnaby until we turn left on Cambie, and later to Yukon Street which takes us to the Olympic Village. From there we turned right on the off-road path along False Creek toward the Island. Despite the weather, it’s warm, like many Vancouverites, we are not ready to be couped up in our homes just yet, and not just because of a few raindrops. Many people take advantage of the weekend by walking or biking along the False Creek Pathways.

facebook_2012150739For those people who aren’t familiar, Granville Island, is a vibrant little part of the city, with a market full of fresh food, boutique shops, a park, theatres, comedy clubs, art galleries, pubs and restaurants. The island houses the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, it also draws people to it’s many community events, like various shows for the Jazz Festival, The Writer’s Festival, and the Vancouver Fringe Festival, to name a few.

Before we pick up our groceries, we head to the art supplies shop and a few of the boutiques for a little shopping. It’s a good place to pick up little gifts for people. There’s always unique and crafty items you won’t find anywhere else. Usually I have a few kids to buy for at Christmas time, plus my aunts and something for my dad. We later have a little rest and grab a chai tea and sit down and watch some of the buskers perform outside.

That morning, before we left, we made sure we brought both our backpacks and our saddle bags so that we could stuff as much fresh veggies and other food items into them from the Public Market. There never seems to be enough room in our saddle bags for groceries. We like to cook at home and usually tend to buy a lot of food. The market also has a lot of meat and fish, and though we don’t buy a lot of meat, we definitely buy fish, especially salmon. facebook_536847523For some reason I didn’t take any photos of the food. I did take a lot of photos of the flower shops though, I guess my mind was on flowers, their displays caught my attention, so I shouldn’t be so surprised that I zeroed in on them with my camera.

Granville Island is a really beautiful and colourful part of the city to be explored and re-explored. Though I do not consider the Island a true reflection of the city, because it is a touristy space; however, it is a space where the art community thrives in various forms, and where small and independent shops, craftspeople, designers and artists can flourish.