A Month of Bikes

September has been a busy time in the Canadian bike world. Expocycle, Canada’s own cycling trade show got underway Sept. 10, with the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada’s annual general meeting. Topping the agenda, BTAC’s plans to promote ‘urban’ cycling. The organization has recognized the fast-growing segment of the marketplace and plans to lobby government with the hopes that more infrastructure and consideration of the role of bikes as a means of transportation will be part and parcel of efforts to improve health, fitness, and quality of life across the country.

Norco was one of the manufacturers showing off bikes
designed for urban transportation at Expocycle.
photo: Chris Keam

One week later, Canadian achievements were in the spotlight at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain Nevada. Sam Whittingham continued his dominance of the sport by setting a new self-propelled world record (82.8 mph/133.3 kph) with the latest recumbent racer from the fertile mind of Georgi Georgiev (the Varna Tempest). Also setting a record with a Georgiev bike (Varna Diablo) was Barbara Buatois. She’s now the fastest woman on the planet, recording a 75.5 mph (121.437 kph) run during the same Friday evening set of speed runs that saw Sam break his own 2008 record. Team Varna is now the first team to hold both the Men’s and Women’s top speed and one hour records. The one hour records were set earlier in the year, at the Ford Human Powered Vehicle Challenge in July.

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The Varna Tempest and Diablo momentarily at rest.
photo: Dave Larrington


Also setting a new world record was Canadian Paralympian Greg Westlake. Greg piloted his hand-powered Avos Arrow down the newly-repaved course and shot through the speed trap at 43.495 mph/69.9 kph. Those were just three of the notable achievements this year. For a full rundown of personal bests check out this overview of the event written by Mike Mowett and posted on Sam’s blog.


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Greg Westlake inside the Avos Arrow (with top removed) prepares for a speed run.
photo: Dave Larrington

Monday, Sept.21, the City of Vancouver approved the first BMX/MTB skills park in the city at a Park Board meeting. The facility will be located on an unused piece of land adjacent to the H.R. Macmillan Planetarium. Through the hard work of a dedicated group of BMX and MTB cyclists, led by Chris Young and Rob Venables, with the ample support of Park Board Commissioner Sarah Blyth and Mark Vulliamy (Park Board Manager of Research and Planning) the idea for the park began with public consultation (3MB PDF download) in Jan. 2009. With the approval of the Board now confirmed, the park will enter the design phase. It’s hoped it will be ready during the spring/summer of 2010.

The red square in the forested area is the proposed location for the dirt jump park.
The Planetarium and Museum of Vancouver are to the left.
photo: kitsilano.ca

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