Posts Tagged ‘suburban communities’

There are some more challenging work sites to reach by bike:  construction sites, industrial sites and farms.  These areas are often in more isolated areas, not well served by public transit and may lack safe, bike friendly routes.   Such

Golden Ears Bridge construction. Langley, BC 2008. Photo by J. Chong

Golden Ears Bridge construction. Langley, BC 2008. On the way to work site. Photo by J. Chong

work sites are located out in the suburbs, in industrial parks or  in a busy city district where there is little provision for construction site workers to store a bike nearby all day safely.

Then on top of these challenges, one is even lucky that a construction site or a farm offers a continuously clean room to change clothing. After all, it is a construction site where users may track dirt directly into the washroom. More often at the site, it’s just a port-a-loo. Hardly an ideal spot for clothes changing.

Patchwork of Cycling, Rapid Transit, Bus and Walking
For several years I worked at a large, busy construction site for the creation of  the Golden Ears Bridge and its highway approaches.  I had a lengthy, convoluted round trip which was an 1. 5 hr. commute  one-way, between Vancouver and Langley. My commute  was a crazy patchwork of part-cycling, Skytrain, bus and then walking for 15 minutes through construction traffic and activity to and from the site office. Cycling all the way would have been even more time-consuming  in order to avoid highway stretches where cycling was illegal. By bike, it would have meant a 102 kms. round trip ride.

I stored my bike at Metrotown in a bike locker and saved the relaxing ride  homeward –after getting off the Skytrain. The day was long enough but the bike ride was my glorious fitness saviour and destressor.  It was the only way to build in regular fitness within my daily work and travel schedule.  I was seriously committed, maybe abit insane.

Glimmers of Cycling Interest at Construction Site
Bike to Work Week  at the construction site for a cyclist, was  a bizarre dream —  amongst temporary trailer buildings, dust, caterpillar earth-moving machines, trucks, concrete pourers, dangerous piles of materials and potholes.

At minimum, there were 120 employees at our head office site where I worked, who drove.   During the first year, there were no bikes parked at the office. Nevertheless, I emailed to the entire organization, including 5 other work sites, to announce Bike to Work Week was on and I had copies of bike maps. 

Migrant farm workers' bikes. Dresden, ON 2009. Photo by J.Chong

Migrant farm workers' bikes near tomato processing plant. Dresden, ON 2009. Bikes were loaned to workers from the Carribbean and Mexico. They were seen often cycling around town after work. Photo by J.Chong

Up to 10 employees picked up a map and most were ex-patriate staff, hired directly from Germany, Great Britain and U.S.  They were interested in maps for weekend cycling. Several German employees did tell me of growing up using bikes often or simply there was more cycling back home since Germany has an  established network of bike paths.

During the second year, the number of parked bikes  and employees riding to work, increased from zero to 10 frequent cyclists.  However there was nothing to lock up the bikes, so the bikes were kept by the office trailers under the office windows.

Near the end of the construction project, several employees even banded together as a corporate team for an annual MS 75 km. fundraising bike ride among the local wineries.

Postscript:  The Golden Ears Bridge was completed in mid-June 2009. Now there are separated bike lanes on the bridge and also  bike lanes on several highway approaches.  Since then, we have biked the 102  km. round trip  several times on weekends where there are always a few cyclists using the new cycling facilities.  Local muncipalities are now expanding cycling routes into their core  areas.

J.Chong was Document Control Manager during the design-build stage for the $800 million Golden Ears Bridge and its highway approaches. During peak construction, there were over 600 employees and contract labourers.


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