Farmers’ markets are great destinations to kickstart cycling for both newbies and regular cyclists. Cycling is irresistible when the air is warmer. Since we live in balmy Vancouver, we cycle year-round.
But so far, our farmers’ markets are only around like most places in Canada –during growing and harvest seasons. But this may change. Read on.
This year there will be more new farmers’ markets at more new locations to meet the public’s clamouring demand. Tara MacDonald, Executive-Director for Vancouver’s Farmers’ Markets,
indicated there have been up to 12,000 people per week for all markets. Last year a market was established at Thornton Park, wedged in between the rail-bus station and the Skytrain Main Station. Now there is a waiting list of farmers and vendors for this location.
With this wave of sustained enthusiasm, one wonders if there will be matching bike valet parking lots for all city farmers’ markets. Last year at the Main Station farmers’ market, there was no bike valet parking. It definitely was difficult to find a place to lock up several bikes. If you were shopping solo, you had to walk your bike amongst the tight crowds.
With discussions now under way with the City of Vancouver, there is
a plan to have 4 different year-round farmers’ markets. Let’s hope there will be bike valet parking too. It would relieve problems of car parking and traffic congestion. Already this past weekend at Trout Lake farmer’s market, many enthusiastic cyclists were wheeling up with their children and leaving with panniers and baskets full of goodies.
Hungry after viewing Trout Lake farmers’ wares and our hilly bike ride, we cycled over to the ever popular gourmet pastry and sandwich café, Thomas Haas Patisserie. Usually we have to hunt down for adequate bike rack parking. By the time we get there, the bike racks are nearly jammed full.
Thankfully it was warm enough we could sit outside at the front of the restaurant for lunch while we kept a watchful eye on our bikes as we dug into our warm panini sandwiches and elegant cakes.
In the City of Vancouver, there are many restaurants and cafes near bike routes. Some restaurants do have a few nearby bike racks while other places do not have anything to lock up a bike. When cycling for transportation grows, the demand for this basic and necessary cycling facility grows also. Among regular cyclists, it is a glaring omission where often cyclists just give up,
take their bikes and money elsewhere.
In fact, in one international women’s cycling forum where I hang out, there was popular support for creating a blog where members could rate restaurants not only for their food , but also if the restaurant catered to meet needs of cyclists.
Rather than complain about loss of customers whenever there is a bike lane, storefront restauranteurs and business owners should redirect their tactics to provide street facilities to attract a much broader range of customers who use non-car transport. After all, such customers will not have the convenience of rushing off in a car.
As casual foodies and cyclists, we appreciate Haas, a master pastry chef who himself is a cyclist. One can buy cycling jerseys emblazoned with his chocolate-coloured business brand. Several years ago, Haas generously provided a brief tour of his bakery kitchen for Jack’s son, a budding young chef. Haas’ gourmet desserts fall in the fine German baking tradition, so loved by Becker. No wonder, after all they come from the same part of southern Germany where fine food is the plate of the day.
Haas has thought of cyclists as potential customers. We just think that to meet growing public appetite for cycling and his delectable desserts and sandwiches, he might want to consider how to ensure even more cyclists can drop by with their bikes safely tucked away.
City of Vancouver, BC. Engineering Services. Bike Rack. Link provides phone number and bike rack application form for businesses.
Shore, Randy. Farmer’s Markets: A Bond Between People and the Market. In Vancouver Sun, May 21, 2010.