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At a Bike to Work Week station, cycling maps, free tune-ups, and a host of reasons to commute on two wheels

No more excuses. It's time to bike.

Talia Fanning, development coordinator Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, bikes to the opera. She is pictured here in a photograph by Linda Solomon with Vanessa Pratt, marketing specialist for Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods is a sponsor of Bike to Work Week.

"We're trying to let people know you can ride a bike in your normal clothes.  You don't have to change your wardrobe.  You don't have to wear florescent yellow," said Talia Fanning, as she stood outside the VanCity Fairview branch beneath a Bike to Work Week pavilion erected to reward commuter cyclists and encourage new ones. 

A mere block from City Hall on a route taken by cyclists Mayor Gregor Robertson and most of the Vancouver city councillors, Fanning talked about the ways the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC) development coordinator biked to The Marriage of Figaro last summer with her boyfriend, both of them dressed for the opera.  And she referred to John Fleuvog, the chic shoemaker, who she said, is equally committed to biking, despite weather, in fashionable attire. "We have 54 stations in Vancouver this week, which is a new record for us.  Six to eight a day.  We do them in mornings to catch the morning commutes, afternoons to catch the afternoon cyclist."

Volunteers handed out palm sized City of Vancouver bike route maps, as valuable in this city as the subway map might be in Manhattan. 

And a mechanic from one of the forty some bike shops the VACC partners with, gave a free bike tune up to a commuter who pulled over to take advantage of the service.  Each station sponsors a mechanic.  "We're working with well over forty bike shops.  There's going to be a station at tenth and Ontario tomorrow afternoon. Mighty Riders will be there."  A hundred seventy stopped at a station on Main Street yesterday.

Whole Foods Market believes in supporting the community and chose to support the VACC because of shared core values, Vanessa Kraft, marketing specialist for Whole Foods Market said.  "It's to do with the benefits of good food and exercise and our core values. A lot of things Whole Foods believes in, health in the community and among our team members through healthy eating and exercise, are represented here."  She bikes from Renfrew and Hastings to work at the Whole Foods Cambie Street location.

"A lot of our members are interested in the whole picture of sustainability.  It fits with what we want to do which is promote sustainability and healthy living," Kraft added.

"Bike to work week is about giving people an extra motivational push if they want to try cycling," Fanning said. She looked out at the street where, despite a light drizzle, a stream of cyclists streamed by, apparently on their way to work.  "A lot of people tell us they should and we want to support them, give them prizes, show them that thousands of people are oding it, too and it's not that hard."




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