Archive for November, 2015

Bike Trains: Join our commuter parties

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

The word is in: cycling on University Blvd on dark, rainy nights, with the B-line roaring by is terrifying. In order to make bike commuting more enjoyable, we’ve decided to do it together!

On Thursdays while classes are in session, we’ll meet at the Bike Kitchen at 5 pm with wheels rolling by 5:05 and ride 8th/10th ave eastward. The ride leaders will be going as far as Main.

Let us know you’ll be coming on facebook, or just show up!

Bike Trains twitter



Introducing: Project 529 Garage Bike Registration

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

shield_applicationBike theft. Every cyclist’s nightmare and yet an all too common one, particularly here on UBC campus. While there’s no substitute for a quality lock and proper locking technique, the Vancouver Police have been exploring new options to prevent bike theft and, just as importantly, ensure recovered bikes are returned to their rightful owners.

Enter 529 Garage, a smartphone app which acts as a community-based bike registration and recovery service. Users register their bike on the app and a tamper-proof sticker is installed to the top of the seat tube, which contains a code corresponding to the register.

When a bike is stolen, users can report it on the app and other users in the area will immediately be notified to keep a look-out for the bike. The app will also post to social media and can automatically generate a poster for your missing bike, printable from your phone. Often stolen bikes, even if they are found, are never returned to their original owners due to the inability to verify ownership. Having your bike registered with a picture, serial number, and detailed information can vastly improve your chances of having the bike returned if it is recovered.

The Bike Kitchen and Co-op has teamed up with the Vancouver Police to become a registration station for the app. Simply pop by the Bike Kitchen during our open hours to purchase the tamper-proof 529 Garage registration sticker, and we will help you install it and guide you through registering your bike (or bikes!) The cost is $13 or $30 for 4.



On The Road: Cycling in Vancouver as a Montrealer

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

by Ali Byers

The first time I rode a bicycle in Vancouver was along the waterfront at Dunbar and Pt. Grey Road. It made for a pretty amazing first impression. I imagined all my future rides would be equally picturesque and efficient. As it turns out, I had spoken too soon and would come to realize that Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure is far from perfect. More time exploring helped me better understand how cycling works in Vancouver and being from Montreal, I couldn’t help but compare the two. Both are known in North America for their cycling culture and regularly find themselves in top 10 lists for cycling in North America. I was born, raised, and learned how to ride a bike in Montreal. Perhaps this makes me biased or perhaps it means I am well versed in both and benefits and issues with cycling in Montreal. I only just moved to Vancouver in September of this year, but already I’ve noticed a few key differences.

Let’s start with Montreal. One of the best things about cycling infrastructure is the fact that it is in your face. The de Maisonneuve bike path runs the length of the city on one of the busiest streets, going over Mount Royal, and heading over the Jacques Cartier Bridge. The path allows university students, business people, and everyone in-between to commute through the busiest part of the city. This is something I looked desperately for when I first moved to Vancouver. I wanted my separated bike lane on a busy central street. The network of separated lanes in the downtown core is great but it doesn’t help anyone getting to and from downtown. Outside Vancouver’s downtown core there are many ‘cycle-friendly’ streets. These residential streets are made so cyclists can avoid stop signs and cycle fairly consistently; cars are encouraged to avoid these narrow cyclist filled streets. Although a good idea on paper, I think it is extremely important to encourage the sharing of the road, not sharing the roads. Let me explain. Having cyclists on one street and cars on another is only going to create more tension between the two. I think we can all agree that there is already enough tension to begin with. Getting cyclists and drivers to truly cooperate means having both on the same road where they can learn to coexist. Perhaps this sounds idealistic, maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. I won’t lie and try to tell you that in Montreal drivers and cyclists always coexist peacefully because they don’t. They do however know how to live on the same roads.

de maisoneuve

Photo Credit: Montreal Gazette

In Vancouver, as in most cities, you have to search for cycling-friendly streets. You have to find your place as a cyclist. There is something undeniably peaceful about riding the quiet side streets as opposed to the busy ones. This being said, I think it’s important for the option to be there because realistically most destinations are on the major commercial streets. The bulk of this issue boils down to city planning. Vancouver is a city of very narrow side streets and wide boulevards with 2-way traffic. Montreal’s streets are more uniform in size and the majority are 1-way traffic. This contributes largely to cycling infrastructure for strictly spatial reasons and is bound to create a difference in the cycling networks of each city.

All this being said, Montreal had a bit of a head start on cycling infrastructure and has been living off the hype generated by a few separated bike lanes for a long time. If it wants to keep its status as one of the best cycling cities in North America it is going to have to change a few things. Vancouver’s been making great progress in recent years, but more momentum is needed to create a strong cycling culture in one of the country’s rainiest cities. Both cities have their strengths and their weaknesses. The best thing a person can do is figure out how to deal with them and keep cycling. At the end of the day, whether it be in Montreal or Vancouver or anywhere else in the world, the most important thing is to have cyclists on the road carving out space for themselves.



Fall General Meeting Recap

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

As you all know, hopefully because you were there, our Fall General Meeting took place on Tuesday, November 10th. There were good times and pizza as per usual, but more importantly there was an election. Five new board members were elected bringing the total number of people who sit on our board of directors to 11! We’re happy to welcome Faosto, Eva, Emilie, Jaione, Khiran to the board! We’re all excited to see change that comes with new members.

Speaking of important members of the AMS Bike Co-op, we were elated to give our former Programs Manager Christine Park the title of Honorary Member of the Bike Co-op. You can find her name sharpied in up on our oh-so-official driftwood plaque in the Bike Kitchen.

We were sad to see one of our longest standing members, Jean-Francois, resign from his position as Director of Secrets, or secretary. JF has been an active member of the Co-op since 2008 and is an Honorary Member. This election also saw the resignations of board members Laith Furatian and Ciarán Galts. Although they’ve all given up their official titles, we hope they will stay involved, and expect to see their friendly faces around the Kitchen and Co-op!

Presentations were given by our programmes director Aida Mas, communications coordinator Kristina Knappett, president Will Bailey, treasurer Eva Jordison, and the manager of the Bike Kitchen Emily Hein before we hoped on our bicycles to the Presidential Palace for the after-party. Who said general meetings can’t be fun too!?

Our next General Meeting will take place in March. Be sure to attend to find out what we’ve been up to, join the board, and hang out at the awesome after-party! In the mean time, note that Co-op members are welcome to attend our board meetings which take place every three weeks. Email programs(at) if you would like to attend!





The Biking World: Snack Time

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

In this new blog series, our Volunteer Coordinator, Gretta, will demystify some of the quirks and cornerstones of cycling culture. This week’s feature focuses on the delicious and sometimes odd “fitness food” designed to keep you peddling.


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You might have read that title and thought to yourself, “Snack time? Who does this Gretta person think she is?! Snacks are snacks yo, this is fluff and I don’t need to be condescended to, I will continue eating my Special K protein+fiber bars if it’s the last thing I do goddammit!” That’s what you’re thinking isn’t it? Well I think the lady doth protest too much and I think you actually are curious about the various goos, jellies, waffles, and bars we cyclists inhale during rides. Direct your gaze below and study up before you saddle up.



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Okay so maybe this one isn’t a surprise, protein bars are popular bike food, and they’re popular for a reason. They’re relatively cheap, usually pack a massive protein punch, easy to pack and eat while biking, and (most importantly perhaps) they’re pretty tasty. There is an army of brands churning out veritable masses of different flavors, all competing for our attention so the variety is a plus as well. Some of my favorites are the Power Bar mint chocolate chip Builder’s Bar, Stinger Chocolate Cherry Almond Bars, and Tiger’s Milk bars. All three have a lot of protein and are delicious, the Stinger bars dangerously so.



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I can’t really give you a proper run-down of the goos out there, they kind of weird me out and I’ve steered clear of them. However they are, according to my dad, delicious, very portable, and great sugar/calorie boosters for longer rides. Some of the most popular brands are Stinger, Cliff Shot, and the aptly named Gu. Brands are also starting to churn out savory goos that concern yet fascinate me. I might break my self-imposed goo fast just to find out what salted yam and margherita pizza taste like in goo form.



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I’m not sure what the technical term for these is, basically they are delicious gum drops filled with electrolytes. They really take the edge off if you’re feeling mildly light headed or just want a burst of sugar-fueled energy mid-ride. My favorites are Clif’s Lemon-Lime Bloks and Stinger’s Cherry Blossom gels.

Sport Beans


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These are great! Imagine the Jelly Bellies of your long since withered youth crossed with a Gatorade. These are Sport Beans (link: Sport Beans are really just jelly beans on steroids, filled with extra electrolytes and great-for-your-body vitamins! God bless whoever made them.



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Apparently American racers fell in love with European ‘stroopwafels’ while racing abroad and so a few different companies began making their own. They are waffle cookies with caramel, honey, chocolate, strawberry, etc. filling and they are mind blowingly good. They’ve of course also got extra vitamins to enhance work out performance. Just look for sales because they can be pricey.

This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list of on-the-bike-appropriate foods, but it’s a small look into some of the culinary wonders the biking world has created (along with some other sports maybe). I’ve known people to bring everything from cheese and crackers to cake biking so as long as you’re taking care of your body and making sure you replace the nutrients you’re losing during exercise you can’t really go wrong.

Happy Riding (and eating)!



Bubble Tea Bike Crawl

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

bubble tea ride
On Saturday, November 14 we’ll be sampling some of Vancouver’s favourite bubble tea joints.

At 11 am we’ll meet at Chatime at Granville and Broadway. We’ll cycle and sample 5 diffferent bubble tea cafes, over 16 km.

Check out the route here:
The end of the ride is near Richmond-Brighouse, so folks can head back home on the Canada Line if they choose!

RSVP on Facebook.



Bike!Bike! Guadalajara: a gathering of community bike projects

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

In early October, six representatives from the AMS Bike Co-op headed to Guadalajara, Mexico for Bike!Bike! 2015: an annual international gathering organized by, for, and about community bicycle projects.

BikeBikeIf you’re struggling to imagine exactly what Bike!Bike! might be, and who it might be for, trust me: you’re not alone. The vagueness of the term “community bicycle project” makes it challenging to comprehend, but it also affords the conceptual breadth necessary to capture the incredible diversity of community-based work and bicycle advocacy being undertaken across North America. One way to define community bicycle projects might be as not-for-profit organizations that seek to make bicycling accessible to a diverse range of people. A community bicycle project might offer mechanical repair and instruction, commuter safety workshops, advocacy for transportation reform, or bicycle art and activism. It might be a non-profit, a charity, a social enterprise, or it might be undefined. It might be organized as a collective, a cooperative, or hierarchically. It might be operated by paid staff or volunteers or both. A more concise way of capturing what a community bicycle shop is might be to say that they are where bike dorks get together to help other people to become bike dorks too. In turn, Bike!Bike! is where these bike dorks go to dork out with more than 100 other bike dorks from more than 50 community bicycle projects across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

The first Bike!Bike! was held in New Orleans in 2004, with the intention of bringing representatives from community bike shops across North America together to learn with, from, and through one another’s experiences. Ten years later, Bike!Bike! continues to be structured around this experiential sharing, where representatives share their experiences, discuss challenges, connect, and collaborate in workshop settings. This year’s workshops included topics such as the BICAS Art Auction in Tucson AZ, ghost bikes in Guadalajara, and in-school programming in Winnipeg. Other workshops provided opportunities to discuss demographic changes in the communities we serve, conflict resolution, and safer spaces policies. The AMS Bike Co-op facilitated two workshops – one on social enterprise, and one on transportation advocacy at UBC – and acted as Spanish-English translators, facilitators, and mediators for many other workshops.  The complete list of workshops can be seen here. These workshops are integral to how attendees share information with one another, but perhaps more importantly, they are also where we experience inspiration, connection, and validation that carries us through the challenges we face in our projects, such as funding limitations or conflict.  The cultivation of togetherness between projects and across borders that occurs at Bike!Bike! is as important as the workshops themselves.  Bike!Bike! is where bike dorks go to have feelings with other bike dorks.

Bike!Bike! is organized by a small collective of volunteers who coordinate not only workshops, but also social events, loaner bikes, rides, housing, and meals for more than 100 attendees over the course of four days on a very limited budget. This year, the stellar crew in Guadalajara arranged for Aida – our powerhouse of a programming coordinator – and I to borrow a tandem to accommodate Aida’s broken foot. They also coordinated an incredible dance party with a brass band playing renditions of Top 40 hits, and an enormous and outrageously fast critical mass bike ride. Beyond being a gathering for bike dorks, Bike!Bike! is also an astounding example of commitment, resilience, and cooperation in community organizing.

Each year, on the final day of Bike!Bike!, attendees vote on which city will host the conference the subsequent year. Many American and some Canadian cities have hosted Bike!Bike! (shout out to Emily, our manager at the Bike Kitchen, who was a core organizer of Bike!Bike! Vancouver in 2012). This year, Bike!Bike! was hosted in a Mexican city for the first (but hopefully not the last) time, signalling an exciting and expansive moment in the history of grassroots transnational bicycle advocacy in North America. Next year, it appears we are heading to Detroit, the Motor City, to join our friends and colleagues for Bike!Bike! 2016. Between now and then, though, we have a lot of work to do to incorporate what we learned in Guadalajara.



Cranksgiving 2015 Recap

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

We had a blast last Thursday at UBC’s first ever Cranksgiving alleycat bike race. 25 riders and 9 volunteers braved the rain and raised over 100 food items and $113 for the AMS Food Bank. Participants included seasoned roadies and first time racers, riding everything from PnY’s, to fixed gears to carbon fibre.

IMG_20151029_161910IMG_20151029_162141cranksgiving group photocranksgiving group photo 2
 As a first time racer, I was both excited and terrified. I knew that alleycats are traditionally won based on reckless (brave?) traffic-law bending and that my silly habit of stopping at red lights would prove a disadvantage. In the hopes of giving myself a leg-up I donned the spandex, and clip-less shoes and broke out my fender-less, shiny white carbon fibre road bike. While my peers were riding coaster-brake PnY’s and fixed gears, I went full roadie.

Between the pouring rain and my skinny treadless tires I was pushed, or skidded rather, out of my comfort zone but nonetheless had an absolute blast. Although it was a little disheartening passing Will riding a PnY on his way up the 8th Ave hill, while I was still on the way down, it was impossible to take yourself too seriously whilst running with your bike down the wreck beach stairs, dashing around Safeway in search of tuna and taking selfie-stick assisted selfies with random strangers at the corner of 4th and Alma. Finishing drenched and covered in mud, I think I speak for most when I say we can’t wait for next time!


Massive props to the following prize winners:

1st  – Jacques Martiquet (gift basket from granville island brewing)

2nd – Blair Van Andel (red truck shirt, 2 glasses, $20 gift certificate to UBC bookstore)

3rd – Peter Locke (red truck shirt, lanyard & bottle opener, $10 gift certificate to UBC bookstore)

1st on fixed – Wolfgang Coleman (growler from red truck brewing, red truck shirt, $10 gift certificate to UBC bookstore)

1st on P&Y – Will Bailey (beer & $10 gift certificate to UBC bookstore)

DFL – Jenny Auxier ($25 gift certificate to great dane)

Thanks to everyone that came out to support the event and thank you to our sponsors, CITR 101.9FM, Red Truck Beer, UBC Bookstore, Granville Island Brewing and Great Dane Coffee!

citr_logo_final red-truck2-300x300ubc bookstore granville island brewerygreat dane