Vancouver city council approves $250K for 2 massive bike rides this summer

Vancouver city council approves $250K for 2 massive bike rides this summer

Vancouver city council voted unanimously and with very little debate on Wednesday to sponsor two mass bike riding events this summer at a cost of $250,000. 

Councillors from all parties said they supported the idea of community gatherings and said the idea could help combat the city's "no fun" reputation.

Staff had recommended the city sponsor the cycling events, Our City Ride and Bike the Night, which organizers say are expected to attract about 20,000 riders.

The city says it would cover most of the traffic, route planning, engineering, policing and other event-related costs, according to a report from Jerry Dobrovolny, the general manager of engineering services.

Prior to the vote, NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball questioned whether it would be disruptive for those who need to commute during event times.

Dobrovolny responded by acknowledging the events would shut down streets to traffic for a short time, but unlike previous unsanctioned cycling events like Critical Mass, organizers would give commuters advance warning and offer alternative routes.

M1 Sports Management, best known for the annual Gastown Grand Prix, is organizing the Our City Ride — a 15-kilometre pedal through downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and into the West End. 

Cycling advocates, HUB, hope to expand a neon light-filled evening ride called Bike the Night 2017, following its popularity last September.

The route takes riders from David Lam Park, over the Burrard Bridge and back to its starting location.

A similar but unsanctioned overnight bike rave last April led to criticism of garbage being left behind and allegations that a resident's parked car along the route had been hit by one cyclist.