General News

Create Cycling Art

Strava dinosaurDid you know you can create art just by riding your bike? Check out this story about a dinosaur that took 70 kms to draw:

Strava is a cool app that lets you use your GPS to keep track of your rides online, and compare times with other riders. It is also used for the Cycling Safety Map (see the Resources section).

Here’s a challenge to our viewers:  Plan a route, ride it and post on Strava then send us the link, and we’ll feature it here on Cycle Cowichan.

General News

Welcome to Autumn – back to work



Our long, hot summer has ended with a rather rainy (but welcome) September. Fall is here, and time to bring the website up to date following a summer of riding, gardening and vacationing.

There have been some changes at Cycle Cowichan. Alex Haddad, long-time Chair, and one of our founding members, has resigned. He was instrumental in making Bike to Work Week the success it has been in the Cowichan Valley. Cycling here owes a huge debt to Alex, and his daughter Nicole, for all the hard work they put in to promoting it. Cycle Cowichan would like to express its gratitude to Alex, and wish him well in his new-found freedom 🙂

Our new Chair is Don Stewart, an avid bike commuter, and passionate cycling advocate. Look for him to put his stamp on the organization.

We intend to use our new website to promote safe cycling in the Cowichan Valley. We will attempt to keep our viewers informed on a variety of topics, from advocacy with local and regional governments, to cycling routes, events, and of course Bike to Work Week. We are novices at website upkeep, so please bear with us as we embark on a learning curve. Our apologies to those who have contacted us and had no reply. We appreciate your interest, and will get back to you soon.

With BTWW over, we will focus on other projects. The first one is the Active Transportation Plan, a joint project of Duncan, North Cowichan and Cowichan Tribes. We will critique the Plan from a cycling perspective, and monitor it as it unfolds. For a brief description of the Plan see:  To see the completed Plan:  If you would like to get involved and help with this we’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy your rides in the crisp Fall air.


Cycling Safety Map

Did you have a near miss during your morning cycling commute, or your favorite recreational ride?

Now you can map it on and your incident will be part of a new University of Victoria project aimed at improving cycling safety.

BikeMaps screenshotIn October 2014 UVic geography professor Dr. Trisalyn Nelson and a team of researchers launched a web-map to find hot spots of safe and risky cycling. They are collecting data to conduct geographical information system (GIS) and statistical analysis. Cyclists can record bike crashes, near misses, hazards and thefts in the region.

Hazards refer to potholes, narrow intersections or other road dangers while near-misses and collisions include those with another bike or pedestrian.

“With only 30 to 40 per cent of cycling accident data captured by traditional sources, represents an important effort to fill data and information gaps”, says Nelson. “I love cycling and I commute by bike daily. But, especially as a mom, I am always looking for ways our family can ride as safely as possible.”

“If we want to get people on the road, we need to make cycling safer. And unfortunately, we have to turn the lens onto risk in order to get the data that we need to make cycling safer,” Nelson said.

ICBC and police data do not reflect bike accidents if there is no vehicle insurance claim or police response. If a cyclist broke an arm on a problematic curb, there wouldn’t be a record. Near-miss data is important because it’s not recorded elsewhere.

“The ability to capture near-miss incidents is exciting, as it will provide an early warning system for trouble spots and enable municipalities to proactively address potential safety concerns,” said Jennifer Black, manager of the CRD’s Active Transportation Program.

Local governments want to know where to invest on cycling infrastructure, repairs, road improvements or changing traffic patterns. The bike mapping will help them do that.

Most cyclists ride wherever they’re going without incident, but a tool that tracks where the dangers lie has real potential for getting those concerns addressed as patterns or common issues keep turning up.

An additional feature of BikeMaps is the incorporation of ridership data from Strava. Cyclists with GPS devices can download their rides to Strava and see them added to the map, which then shows the popularity of various routes, including mountain biking.