Welcome to the AMS Bike Co-op’s Blog!


Job Posting: We’re Hiring a Programs Assistant

May 24, 2017

The AMS Bike Co-op provides UBC students and the wider community with an accessible environment where they can learn about bicycle maintenance and cycling as a safe and sustainable means of transportation. We engage in education, outreach, and advocacy through our programs and our community bike shop, The Bike Kitchen.

The Bike Co-op is hiring a full time Programs Assistant for a temporary summer position via Canada Summer Jobs. This job is available to applicants who are under 30 years of age who are currently enrolled in an accredited university as a full time student and plan to return as full time students for the 2017 fall term.

We’re looking for a motivated Programs Assistant to help manage some of our key programs and services. The selected applicant will report to the Programs Manager who oversees daily operations at the Bike Co-op.

Responsibilities will include helping with tasks at the Bike Kitchen and the Bike Co-op, including but not limited to event and program planning, office tasks, shop organization and maintenance, and staffing events. This is a unique opportunity for a student to become familiar with both the office, outreach, and service components of our organization – we look forward to meeting you!

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assisting with program and project research and development.
  • Helping maintain our bike locker and bike cage rental programs.
  • Assisting coordinators and mechanics for programs such as Purple and Yellow Bike Share, Bici Libre, Pedalling Art, and the Kids’ Bike Library.
  • Staffing outreach events such as Cycling Resource Centers with other staff members and volunteers.
  • Assisting management at the Bike Kitchen with shop and organizational tasks as needed.


  • A strong understanding of and commitment to anti-oppressive values and practices.
  • Strong professional communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Some experience with community bike shops, either as a volunteer or staff member.
  • Meets criteria for position funding:
    • under 30 years of age
    • currently enrolled in an accredited university as a full time student and plans to return as full time students for the 2017 fall term.


  • Experience working for a non-profit organization.
  • Experience with hands-on instruction.
  • Knowledge of community bike shops.
  • Knowledge of a range of bike components and tools.

Job Specifications

  • Compensation: 13.00/hour (negotiable based on experience)
  • Hours: 32 hours/week
  • Position start date: on or before June 29th, 2017.
  • Duration: 9 weeks, to end before August 31st, 2017.

Please email your resume and cover letter to with the subject heading Application: Programs Assistant. We will be accepting applications until the position is filled, or until June 29th. The selected candidate will start work by June 29th, 2017 and the position will terminate on or before August 31st, 2017.

* UBC is located on unceded Musqueam territory. We encourage Indigenous people, as well as all people who are underrepresented in the cycling industry to apply for this position.


Kids Bike Library

The Kids Bike Library is:

A. A service offered by kids who deliver your library books by bike

B. A library that exclusively offers kids books about bicycles

C. None of the above

The correct answer would be C, none of the above, although both A and B sound amazing. The Kids Bike Library is a program run by the AMS Bike Co-op and Bike Kitchen to ensure kids are riding safe bikes that fit them and have the tires pumped up and the chains oiled. Kids can swap their bike for a better fitting one or simply borrow a bike for an extended period of time. There are no late fees or due dates, simply come back when the bike is too small and swap it for a larger size.  On Wednesdays at the Bike Kitchen (1896 East Mall at UBC) people can come by anytime between 10:00am and 6:00pm to swap a bike out and between 4:00pm and 6:00pm we offer free tuneups for kids bikes.

The main goal of the program is to give kids bikes that fit and are safe to promote active, sustainable transportation. All the bikes are donations that have been refurbished by volunteers. Kids bikes are often abandoned when the kids grow out of them and this program allows them to be used a second, third, fourth time for different kids instead of ending up in a landfill. No one wants to invest in a bike that will not fit their kid in a year and this program works to eliminate that problem by giving every kid the chance to use a bike that fits.

The library operates based on height (and bike size) rather than age. There are no bikes with wheels bigger than 20 inches and the chart above gives an estimation of the ages of children based on the size of bike. People are encouraged to bring a bike to swap, but bikes will also be given out by donation. There are a limited number of bikes available at any given time, however there is a waitlist that kids can get on and as soon as a bike that fits is available the family will be contacted.

The Kids Bike Library is completely free once you are a member of the AMS Bike Co-op. Co-op Memberships are 15$ for students and 20$ for UBC staff, faculty & community members. Alternatively, memberships are offered in exchange for 6 hours of volunteering at the Bike Kitchen either at P&Y Night on Tuesdays from 6:00pm to 9:00pm or at Volunteer Day on Wednesdays from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

KBL relies on bike donations and volunteers, if you are interested in either please contact Aida at


Bike donations are our lifeblood

One of the main things that draws people into The Bike Kitchen is the appeal buying a refurbished used bike. They’re looking for something cheap, but more trustworthy than a Craigslist ad. All the bikes sold at The Bike Kitchen come with a one-month warranty and have been repaired and built up by trained mechanics, usually with a smattering of new and used parts to both keep the cost accessible while ensuring the bike is safe, functional, and great to ride.

But where do all these bikes and parts come from?
The answer is donations from a variety of sources in the community, such as property managers and strata groups clearing out their storage spaces, and the UBC Building Operations, who collect bikes that have been abandoned on campus. Sometimes we get donations from really cool individuals who don’t need their bike anymore and want to give it a good home.

At the AMS Bike Co-op Bike Kitchen, sustainability is a huge part of our mandate.
When a bike is donated to us, we assess it, and quickly discern whether it’s worth fixing up and reselling, if it’s best suited to one of our various programs, or if it’s best to save a few parts from it (like maybe the saddle or the wheels), and recycle the rest as best we can.

When a bike gets stripped, we put a lot of effort into separating the different materials (rubber, metal, plastic,etc.) and recycling them appropriately.
Our metal recycling, composed largely of frames, rims, hubs, and chains) is picked up every two weeks or so, and our rubber recycling (mostly tubes and tires) is driven out by a staff member to a depot on Annacis Island.

Donations of used bikes and parts are the lifeblood of shops like the Bike Kitchen.
They help us keep our costs down, and get more people on bikes while minimizing our impact on the environment. The Bike Kitchen offers free pick-up if you have four bikes or more to donate. Lots of bikes? No problem! We can handle it! Either call the Bike Kitchen at 604-827-7333, or send an email to



Job Posting: We’re Hiring a Bike Mechanic

May 9, 2017

The Bike Kitchen is a non-profit, full-service, community bike shop located on the University of British Columbia campus. The Bike Kitchen works to support cycling in the UBC and Vancouver, BC areas. During business hours, we offer bike repair services as well as repair space, tools and instruction to UBC students, bike co-op members, and other community members. In the evenings, we offer a range of educational programming on mechanics skills and riding skills.

The Bike Kitchen is hiring a full time mechanic for a temporary summer position via Canada Summer Jobs. This job is available to applicants who are under 30 years of age who are currently enrolled in an accredited university as a full time student and plan to return as full time students for the 2017 fall term.

The selected applicant will report to the head mechanic who oversees daily service operations at the Bike Kitchen.

Responsibilities will include assembling and refurbishing used bicycles, completing walk-in bicycle repairs, and supporting staff with mechanical and organizational tasks. The selected applicant will also be responsible for working with the programs manager to deliver outreach to our membership through our educational programming.  

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Accurately and thoroughly assessing bicycles for repairs.
  • Completing service orders in a timely manner with a high level of accuracy.
  • Using Lightspeed P.O.S. to complete sales, work-orders, and inventory. (Training provided)
  • Assist in daily shop maintenance: sweeping, tidying, merchandising, and recycling.


  • A strong understanding of and commitment to anti-oppressive values and practices.
  • 1-3 years experience as a bike mechanic in a professional setting – we will prioritize more experienced candidates.
  • Experienced restoration technician; has experience refurbishing bicycles of varying quality, style, and eras.
  • Strong professional communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Available on weekends and some evenings.
  • Meets criteria for position funding:
    • under 30 years of age
    • currently enrolled in an accredited university as a full time student and plans to return as full time students for the 2017 fall term.


  • Experience with hands-on instruction.
  • Knowledge of community bike shops.
  • Knowledge of a broad range of bike components and tools.
  • Available Tuesday evenings until 9:00 pm for special programming

Job Specifications

  • Compensation: 16.41/hour
  • Hours: 30 hours/week
  • Duration: 12 weeks, to end before August 31st, 2017.

Please email your resume and cover letter to with the subject heading Application: Bicycle Mechanic. We will be accepting applications until the position is filled, or until June 8th, whichever is sooner. The selected candidate will start work by June 8th, 2017 and the position will terminate on or before August 31st, 2017.

* UBC is located on unceded Musqueam territory. We encourage Indigenous people, as well as all people who are underrepresented in the cycling industry to apply for this position.


P&Y Scavenger Hunt

The P&Ys on campus are carrying loot! Every day during this week there will be P&Y bikes carrying a prize under the seat. This hunt is open to EVERYONE who wanders through UBC Campus. You don’t need to be a P&Y Bike Share member to play.

Keep your eyes out for the signature purple and yellow bicycles and you could win some great stuff, including gift cards from our sponsors: Loafe Cafe, Koerner’s PubEarnest Ice Cream, and Jamjar. Follow the #pnyprize hashtag on twitter and the Facebook event to get clues!

If you find a prize certificate bring it to the AMS Bike Coop office (rm. 4305 in the Nest) to claim what you’ve won. Please come in to claim your prize before Thursday April 6, 2017.

What in the world is a P&Y? P&Y bikes make up the campus bike share fleet. P&Y bikes are available for Bike Co-op members to ride whenever they want within campus boundaries. P&Y bikes are painted purple and yellow and locked with padlocks that are all keyed alike.

Earn a membership by by donating 6 hours of volunteer time to our P&Y Volunteer Night held @ The Bike Kitchen from 6:15pm – 9:oopm every Tuesday. To get a key to the P&Y bike share, members must then volunteer another 6 hours at P&Y Night. That’s 12 hours of volunteering total to get access to the UBC campus bike share fleet. There are awesome perks to volunteering. Volunteers learn about bike mechanics, and eat free pizza! No experience is necessary to volunteer, it’s a great chance to work on a bike for the very first time.


Sunny’s Colourful World

by Cynthia Williams

“I’m Sunny. I’m a weird creature from another planet sent here to destroy you.”

Thirty-three-year-old Sunny Nestler is wearing acid wash jeans with elastic around the ankle, black plastic rimmed glasses and a jean hat. Their* long hair threads through the back of the hat where a blue scrunchy holds their ponytail together. Farther down their ponytail is another scrunchy, but this one is yellow.

Sunny Nestler

Sunny Nestler

Sunny is an artist, bike mechanic, an adjunct Emily Carr University professor, and the new programs manager of the AMS Bike Co-op at UBC. They also like to make tiny neon-coloured donuts out of children’s oven-bake clay, topped with colourful clay icing, hand made sprinkles and glitter.

Donuts. Hundreds of donuts. Sunny keeps hundred of these glittery neon donuts in tupperware containers in their living room, which doubles as their art studio.

“I’ve been making them for years,” says Sunny.

The best donuts, as identified by Sunny, make it to art shows around the city. Some of these tiny donuts are on display right now in Cartem’s Donuterie downtown location. Sunny says they created habitats for the donuts — clusters of colourful paint, beads, sequins, and other adornments — to showcase the pieces at Cartems.

Months ago, I saw these donuts perched on top of tiny shelves at a show at Redgate Arts Society. I didn’t know who Sunny was then. I didn’t know that within a few months that they would be my boss and I’d be sitting in their living room/art studio learning about how they meticulously made each donut, repeating the process over and over again.

In this room there is an easel, a drawing desk, and a large art table with a milk crate filled with bike parts on top. There’s a large wooden briefcase splayed open, filled with coloured pencils. Neon splashed art hangs on the walls. Colour emerges from every corner: an assortment of coloured thread, neon paints, rainbow beads, a purple slinky on the window sill. My eyes don’t know what to focus on.

Hiding in the box of inedible donuts on the floor are more sordid things. Sunny tells me that as they repeated the shapes over and over again, the donuts slowly started mutating into other things: glow worm creatures and sea anemones. Each of the habitats at Cartems houses one of the three types of forms.

Much of Sunny’s art involves this process of repetition.  They are currently working on a book, which they plan to self publish.

“I’ve always used bookmaking as a way to work through ideas that are harder to encapsulate in a single drawing. Drawing is my main medium. I always come back to it,” says Sunny.

They describe their book as a narrative sequence of drawings that mimics the DNA replication process. As they show me pages from the book, I begin to understand what they mean. They draw shapes over again, but with slight variations. In the end, something new is created.

“You replicate the forms over and over again, and mutations occur. And then some of the mutations get discarded and some of them turn into relevant forms,” says Sunny.

Their work in the bike industry supplements their work as an artist and adjunct Emily Carr professor. They initially got into cycling in their hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. As we are chatting, sitting on the floor perusing their art collection, Sunny tells me that they got into cycling simply because they needed a way to get around. While briefly living in Denver, Colorado, they met the people who were running the Derailleur Bike Collective.

“That was the first time I learned about community bike shops. I just thought the concept was really cool, that they were trying to teach people how to maintain their own transportation,” says Sunny.

Community bike shops exist all over the world and they are based on a simple premise. They work to empower folks to fix their own bikes and have autonomy over their own transportation. Sunny took the opportunity to learn bike mechanic skills and built their first road bike. By the time they finished building their first bike, they decided that they wanted to move back to Arizona and open their own bike collective.

“Even though the bicycle isn’t accessible to everyone, the concept that people should be able to have control over their own transportation is a very universal concept. So it’s really easy for all different kinds of people to get involved. So because of that you suddenly have this diversity of people involved in an interest group,” says Sunny.

They opened up “Bike Saviours” in their backyard. Every Sunday they put out a sign and slowly, more and more folks from the neighbourhood starting coming by and learning how to work on bikes.

Sunny e-mailed me some photos of the backyard collective. The work benches, bike stands, and stacks of bike parts are interspersed with palm trees. The yard of the single-story house is fenced in with concrete cinder blocks. One of the pictures shows the logo screen printed onto a purple patch, a bike chain formed into the shape of a heart with “Bike Saviours” printed in neon green on top.

“We kept the shop running out of my backyard for two more years and then finally I evicted the shop from my backyard,” Sunny laughs.

They scrounged up enough donations to move Bike Saviours into a warehouse nearby. Because the new location was more visible, the shop took off. One of their programs was a women’s night, which they started to empower women to learn how to fix their own bikes.

“There were zero bike mechanics in the Phoenix greater metro area that were women, or were not cis men. It was a 100% homogenous industry. So having a night for women was extremely meaningful in that atmosphere… It was just like, this industry is dominated by one demographic and so anything outside of that is an extremely visible act of resistance,” says Sunny.

After Bike Saviours became a stable organization, Sunny stepped down from their position as executive director.

“It went very quickly from being my thing to being it’s own entity,” says Sunny.

Bike Saviours still exists today and is now a collectively run organization. It is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year.

In 2011, Sunny moved to Vancouver to do the graduate program at Emily Carr University.  After they were finally able to get a work permit, they waltzed into Our Community Bikes (OCB) and asked for a job. OCB is a nonprofit community bike shop that’s been a staple of the Vancouver cycling world.

Recently, their bike life and and their art life collided at an event called Pedalling Art: Vancouver’s 1st Annual Bike Art Auction.  Sunny helped coordinate the event. They began the collaboration as an employee of OBC and by the time the event took place on November 12th, they were the new programs manager of the AMS Bike Co-op.

At the event, over 40 pieces of locally made bike-themed art pieces were sold to raise funds for Pedals for the People, an OCB program and Bici Libre, a AMS Bike Co-op program. Pedals for the People provides free bikes, locks, helmets and bike repairs to folks in the Downtown Eastside. Bici Libre provides the same services to seasonal agricultural workers who are part of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. The TFWP is widely criticized for taking advantage of migrant workers from South America, and not ensuring that workers are afforded the same rights that protect Canadian citizens from abuses on the job.

Sunny tells me that aside from this event, their bike life and their art life are separate. However, I’m skeptical because they also told me the following: Sunny used to commute to work at a cafe in Phoenix on a triple tall bike. Imagine three bike frames stacked on top of each other and welded together. Now imagine trying to ride that bike. Sunny had to climb up onto the bike before doing the mile-long commute. They stashed the bike outside the cafe while they worked. All day long people would come into the cafe and ask about it. It seems to me that their art bleeds into other aspects of their life — their work, their morning commute, and even their wedding.

Their wedding ceremony and reception was part performance art, part interactive art installation, during which their marriage was actually officiated. They spent over a year hand-beading a traditional wedding dress with rainbow beads and sequins.

Sunny and their partner Spencer stood under the dress (draped under a tree like a tent) during the forest ceremony. For the wedding reception, they built a huppa out of the dress. Huppa (or chuppa) is Hebrew for canopy and it is traditionally what a Jewish couple will stand beneath while they are getting married. They created the huppa out of the dress by building an armature inside the dress out of tent poles.

“The reception was the second part of the performance and it was a year later… We tried to recreate certain aspects of being in the forest. That’s why the dress was pitched like a tent,” says Sunny.

The huppa and cake were at the centre of a hedge maze that wedding guests had to navigate through.  The last two walls of the maze were created out of Sunny and their partner Spencer’s Canadian sponsorship applications, all 200 pages printed out and sewn together to create 8 by 10 walls.

“You could read the whole application and then you turn around and you’re in this weird little room with a giant sparkly dress and all this cake underneath. My best friend was sitting on a little stump serving cake to people.”

The cake (unlike Sunny’s donuts) was a stark white, edible and did not morph into glow worms or sea creatures.



Everything You Need To Know About The Move

The Bike Kitchen is moving. We’re still here for all your bike-related needs, but instead of going down some stairs in the Old SUB and into a concrete bunker-type space you’ll be going up a few stairs into an ATCO trailer next to Brock Hall. We aren’t moving very far distance-wise, but if you’ve been in the Kitchen and know how many bikey things we have you’ll understand that this is a big move. We’ll need the help of our community in a variety of ways to make this move a successful one. 


Here’s the nitty gritty (because you know we’re all about the grit).

When is this going down?

The move will take place from September 21-25 and as we’ll be in the new space for approximately 18 months.

I love the Kitchen! how can I help?

Firstly, we love you too! Secondly, you can help us with the actual move. The bulk of the heavy lifting will take place September 24 and 25 between 10AM and 6PM and you are welcome to come (bring your friends). You’ll be rewarded with snacks, high fives, and our everlasting appreciation. 

I can’t help with moving for a very valid reason, what else can I do?

You can help by visiting us in our new space and utilizing our services!  You can also tell your friends so that everyone knows we’ve moved.

I love the bunker! Why are you moving?

We’re moving because the Old SUB is being renovated and there’s no space for us in the Nest. We’ll be moving back into the old Pit space once the renovations are complete. Expect a similar post in 18 months about The Move 2.0.

Ok I get it you’re moving, but where exactly is the ~new space~ I’ve heard so much about?  

Officially, our new address is 1896 East Mall. This means we are kitty corner to our old space. We are in front of IKB and we are on the south-east side of Brock Hall.


Out of The Basement: What’s next for the Bike Kitchen

bike kitchen 2016

Each morning, I ride down into a concrete loading bay, up the cargo ramp, past blue paper recycling bins and into the seldom-seen hallways in the depths of the old SUB. Dismounting, I peel off my gloves to hit the small numbers on the lock box on a door covered with STAFF DOOR ONLY signs. Fish the key out of the box, open the door, walk in, lean my bike up against a dusty black leather couch and then stand still for a moment, taking sweaty deep breaths in the darkness. I walk to a front door that’s covered in rusty hubs, cranks, chains and other forsaken bike parts, and open up the Bike Kitchen. It’s a place I’ve been lucky enough to spend a good chunk of the last seven years of my life, and by the end of this summer, it won’t look anything like it does today.

For the uninitiated, The Bike Kitchen is UBC’s full-service, not-for-profit bike shop. Essentially it’s the biggest project of the AMS Bike Co-op, a non-profit association and student club dedicated to bicycle education and advocacy, led by a board of directors composed of UBC students, managed by a handful of staff. The Bike Kitchen is the service center where the Bike Co-op’s programs are run, and have been for the last 13 years. Courses are taught, volunteers build bikes, and a campus fleet of bikes (the Purple and Yellows, or P&Y’s)  for member use has been faithfully maintained. As a bike shop, the Kitchen offers repairs, sales, rentals, as well as tools to use and instruction for the public (for a fee).

These days, if you were to come to the Bike Kitchen, dear reader,  you first walk down a  flight of concrete stairs. After yanking open the metal-adorned front door, inside you are greeted with rows of bikes suspended from hooks and cables behind a red sign saying BIKES FOR SALE, and a large yellow poster board advertising programs, shop rates, and other goodies. You’ve never been here before, and there’s so much to look at everywhere, even before you turn to the left and see the actual work space. Bikes are propped up and clamped in stands. Color-coded tool sets line the walls. A mix of people are working, making messes, chatting, grabbing tools, focusing, torquing, cleaning and wiping.

If you were to wander further in, passed the crowded gridwall displays of new tools, accessories and disposable parts, the what-the-fuck vibe intensifies. You might spy a lifesize cut-out pasted-together image of David Bowie on the wall behind a row of bikes. Chalk on the far wall reminds you not to drink the water, (which can be seen leaking through the concrete on rainy days). You look around a corner and glimpse a bunch of yellow milk crates and red bins filled with all manner of used parts, crudely labeled, with hand-made cardboard signs everywhere. There’s a sink and wash station, with some soap warning you it contains nuts.


Turning back towards the door, you quickly glance at the glass display case, as that must be where some fancier stuff is kept (you’d be right, in a sense). Before snagging a free bike map on your way out, you get momentarily distracted by a mini-TV playing obviously dated videos of people mountain biking. All this, amidst the clamour of tools landing on benches, laughter, grunting, metal scraping and clanging against metal, all with some excellent music in background.

The sense of accumulated history is readily apparent, the shop space has changed a lot over the years and, believe it or not, the current incarnation of the Bike Kitchen is probably the most organized it’s ever been. The physical space itself used to be much more chaotic. Random projects, overstock, recycling, tools were stashed into any and all nooks and corners usually with only a passing attempt at organization. Now, all parts, donations, tools, and projects have their assigned places. Though the little treasures that hang around (like the gummy bear on the ceiling, the subject of an unsettled bet between former staff members), offer a capricious reminder of the space’s past, and add to the eccentric charm the Bike Kitchen has.

Things were not always as stable as they are today. For years the work of a few extremely passionate and dedicated individuals kept the Bike Kitchen and Co-op from collapsing. Emergency meetings were called and very heat-of-the-moment decisions were made about just to make sure programs like Purple and Yellow would keep going. Our membership hovered at around 50 for years. Now we have over 300. Entire events or initiatives used to hinge on board members scrounging up donations or putting in their own time (various group rides, PNY Bike Polo, etc.). Many unpaid hours were spent chasing grants, and trying to gain recognition and campus presence. The Kitchen in particular, has survived bankruptcy, endless bureaucracy, and management overhauls (the shop used to be collectively managed). Our first manager worked about $5000 worth of unpaid hours in a single year sorting out finances, making additions to the space, working on a business plan and networking to bring the Kitchen out of bankruptcy and into the black. All this from a concrete basement with no windows and no internal heating.

Both the Kitchen and the Co-op are now grown up enough to have multiple staff members who oversee and administer a myriad of programs, a separate office space, and somehow manage to mostly keep up with the demands of a massive and incredibly diverse campus community (still no internal heat though). Impressed? Yeah, I thought so.

Okay, shameless plugs and heavy exposition aside, you’re probably wondering, dear reader, why you should care? Well, as anyone who has ever stepped foot on campus knows, UBC is perpetually under construction. The big shiny new student union building was recently finished, and UBC has decided that the old SUB will be renovated and re-purposed instead of being torn down. Accordingly, the Bike Kitchen will be relocated from our hated/beloved concrete bunker, while the renos take place. At some point in the future, we will move into a new space in the old SUB.

It is truly the end of an era. We will never again be in a space that’s quite like the one we’re in now. Soon, we will pack up all the tools, donations, inventory, appliances, and other necessary swag and clear out of our bunker, leaving the chalk on the walls and the dripping ceiling for good. As always though, our mission is to educate, empower and advocate for folks to take charge of their own mobility using bikes.

This, dear reader, is why you should care that the Bike Kitchen is moving. During the incoming upheaval, we’ll need continuing support from everyone who has any connection to the Kitchen to see this move through to the other side. We’re not going away, just getting some minor (okay, fairly major) surgery done. Even if you’ve never heard of the Bike Kitchen before reading this, I encourage you to keep a look out for us. When we settle, I implore you to stop in. Fix your bike or get us to do it, or better yet, get us to teach you. Ask questions, come to a volunteer night, sign up for a mechanics course or a workshop. Who knows who you’ll meet or what you might learn.

And really, learning is what the ride is all about.

By Jordan Mackinnon


Gabriola Camping Trip Recap

photo 9

On Canada Day weekend the AMS Bike Co-op and the Bike Kitchen staff, board members and allstar volunteers embarked on an epic bike camping trip to Gabriola Island. Loaded down with gear and brimming with excitement, we set off from Vancouver early on the misty Friday morning. One group biked to Horseshoe Bay along the winding and hilly Marine Drive route. Another group missioned the gradual escalation of the Highway.  We slayed the terrain and suffered no casualties.

Reconvening at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry terminal, we set off on the ferry to Nanaimo where we loaded up with groceries for the weekend. From Nanaimo we took another ferry to the beautiful Gabriola Island. However, our journey did not end at Gabriola ferry terminal.

Once on Gabriola, we had another 15km to bike across the winding Island roads to our campsite (thank-you Daniel for towing the food trailer!). It was well worth the ride. Our campsite at Silva Bay was a beautiful place to call home for the weekend. After a long day of pumping our gams over 45kms, we did our best to stay awake and bond over dinner and beverages.

On Saturday we ventured around the Island by foot, wheels and sea vessels. Some folks cycled from beach to beach. Others rented kayaks and watched whales. A couple of us even chased snakes through the sand and seaweed. We saw eagles, deer, bats, jellyfish, starfish, clams, chipmunks and alpacas too. We explored lunar-like sandstone formations and the petroglyphs. Such merriment, such fun was had by all—volunteers, staff and board.

On Sunday we packed up our gear and set out on our journey home. Giddy from fatigue, we laughed our way back to Vancouver, beads of sweat mixed with sunscreen cascading across our brows. For many of the participants, it was their first time biking with heavy gear and their first bike camping trip. It was Jen’s first time camping, period. Everyone kicked so much ass. It was inspiring to witness.

Thank you to everyone who came and made the trip as awesome as it was! #bikepile2016

Want to do the trip yourself? Here are the details!

Gabriola Island

Total distance: 25.1 km + 4.2km = 29.3km + biking to the campsite of your choice


1) Bike to Horseshoe Bay. 25.1 km, 519m elevation gain (hilly!). You can also bus this part, just be sure to arrive early as buses only have space for 2 bicycles. The highway is also an option for more gradual hills.

2) Two hour ferry to Nanaimo’s Departure Bay.

3) Short ride through Nanaimo to Gabriola Island ferry. 4.2km, flat

4) 20-25 minute ferry to Gabriola harbour.

5) Bike to your campsite!

Camping Options:

  1. Descanso Bay Regional Park. 1.5 km bike ride from the ferry, a bit uphill.
  2. Pages Resort and Marina. 14.7 km bike ride from the ferry, 122m elevation gain (hilly).

To Bring With You: Camping gear + long bike ride supplies

About the Ride: Gabriola Island is one of the Southern Gulf Island. It’s big enough to have paved roads, but still small enough to get around easily. The loop of the island is do-able in a morning, with many interesting stops along the way: alpaca farms, a small village area with groceries and cute shops, beaches, petroglyphs, among others! The Descanso Bay Regional Park campsite is right off the ferry is an excellent choice, as you can drop your gear off before adventuring around the island with a lighter load. For a more secluded camping adventure, consider biking to the other side of the island to camp.

Notes: The ferry schedule changes a few times a year. Be sure to check times in advance.


Deep Cove Ride Recap

On Sunday June 26th, Bike Co-op and Kitchen members and friends joined for a ride out to Deep Cove! We had 13 people of all skill levels come out, including those who have done more than 200km in a day and some who had not yet ridden their bicycles off of UBC campus. With only a couple stops to pump bike tires, we all made it to Deep Cove in good time.

Weather: Gorgeous, sunny, warm.

Food: Donuts at Honey’s Donuts were as delicious as remembered. Some folks went across the street for crepes, while one rider bought a giant cinnamon bun that required the help of 4 other people to eat.

Activities: A few of us tried to rent kayaks but had not booked in advance (oops!). Given the gorgeous weekend day, of course there were none available until 5 hours later and we didn’t want to wait around. Instead, we lounged on the grass, on the beach, and went swimming before heading back to the city.

Thanks to everyone who came! Can’t wait for our next ride.

Riders assemble!

Riders assemble!

Riders pause all orderly on Dollarton Hwy.

Riders pause on Dollarton Hwy in quite an organized fashion.

Ah, what a view.

Ah, what a view. Overlooking the beach below.

Pure sugar with sugar on top.

Pure sugar with sugar on top.

Want to do this ride yourself? Here are the details:

  • Total distance: 17.5km one way (approx 1 hour 15 minutes)
  • Elevation change: Some hills – 157 m up, 167 m down
  • Route: Ontario to Union/Adanac to Cassiar (designated bike routes with good road quality), across a bridge to the north shore (bikes separated from cars with a barrier), then along Dollarton Hwy (two lane road with some but low traffic, good road quality). Honey’s Donuts is open daily 6am-5pm except for some holidays.
  • Map:
  • To bring with you: Water, lunch and/or mulla, sunscreen, kayak and/or hike-able clothes, bus fare if you might want to bus back to Vancouver.
  • About the Ride: Riding has an extra level of enjoyment when you know there’s going to be delicious donuts on the other end! This ride goes from Olympic Village in Vancouver to Deep Cove on the north shore. Upon arrival, there is the option of enjoying one of Honey’s Donuts, biking up Mount Seymour, hiking, or kayaking, paddleboarding or surfski-ing in Deep Cove and the Indian Arm, a branch of the Burrard Inlet. Kayaks can be rented March-October; prices are $39 for 2 hours for a single, or $50 for 2 hours for a double. Reservations recommended.