For the third year in a row, SFU took part in Bike to Work Week, convincing dedicated cyclists to trek up Burnaby Mountain, as well as the more inviting option of biking to Vancouver campus.
With folks attending the Vancouver campus on June 1 and Burnaby on June 2, the event seemed to have over 100 participants, according to the map of where cyclists were coming from.
The event was a joint project between the SFU Sustainability Office and Embark (formerly Sustainable SFU), putting together a “celebration station” for those taking the greener option to get to SFU.
That celebration station offered riders free Starbucks coffee, Timbits, some freebies from Bike Maps, and an entry into a raffle for a $50-Mountain Equipment Co-op gift card.
Amy Farahbakhsh, the program manager for Embark, acknowledged that there are some challenges to biking up Burnaby Mountain, but believes that if people learn about the rewards and the community that do it, they might find the challenge more appealing.
“I think by showing that there is a community that does it and it’s actually quite fun and doesn’t have to be a terrible, scary experience,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you cycle every day and all the way. There’s nothing wrong with cycling partway or taking the bus, or even taking the bus up and just cycling down.”
She did acknowledge that there were some problems that they are trying to tackle up here on the mountain to make it more user-friendly.
“There was a survey that we put out last year that found that bike storage is an issue on campus. People don’t feel comfortable leaving their bikes on racks, and there aren’t enough racks, so that’s something we’re looking to address.”
She also hopes to see a bigger social aspect come along for cyclists, in the form of a network or support system for those who are interested in cycling, but are intimidated by it. She acknowledged that having a buddy who can bike up with you can make it a lot more appealing.
Keeping her expectations realistic, Farahbakhsh would like to see 5 percent of the SFU community bike to work. Still, she was happy with everyone who came out for this year’s big event.
She said even though they were expecting a good turnout at the Vancouver campus, there had been a steady stream of attendees at Burnaby.
“In the fall, it was pouring rain and even still we got five cyclists, so we’re happy with the turnout today.”