Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 2nd, 2013 at 12:29 pm
Welcome to the latest installment of People on Bikes.
This morning I rolled over to North Vancouver Avenue to take a closer look at who's riding. My location was just north of Shaver and a few blocks south of the Going Street neighborhood greenway. The bikeway on this section of Vancouver is pretty nice; even though from an engineering standpoint it's decidedly low-tech. The bike lane here is just a standard white stripe. No green paint. No protection of any kind. However, because PBOT made it extra-wide — at some spots it's a comfortable 6 1/2 feet — it feels much nicer than other bike lanes in town. The Vancouver bike lane is also very popular (the most popular according to a 2007 PBOT survey) and feels relatively comfortable because it's downhill and the speed differential between people on bikes and people in cars is minimal.
The crowd I saw out there this morning (scroll down to see them!) looked relaxed and stress-free as they basked in the warm, early-morning sunshine. Another observation was how young the average rider was. Almost everyone that came in front of my lens (about 100 people or so in 20 minutes give or take) was between 25 and 40ish. It also occurred to me that the racial demographic of the adjacent neighborhoods wasn't reflected in the people riding. That's noteworthy because Vancouver (and its sister street Williams Ave) runs through an area with many African-American residents. (The auto traffic, on the other hand, was much more representative of the local racial demographic.)
But the biggest takeaway from my observations this morning were all the people wearing headphones. I don't recall ever noticing such a preponderance of audio equipment being used while riding. (For what it's worth, I sometimes wear earbuds, but only on the non-traffic side so I can hear everything going on around me. I also don't blast music and I only listen to talking news shows and podcasts that usually get drowned out if there's any traffic around.)
So without further ado...
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