Super 8 time machine: Bike ride through 1974 Vancouver

Ride through Vancouver in 1974 thanks to the enduring magic of Super 8 film. How many VW Beetles can you spot?

... And we're rolling

There was a time, not too long ago, when we had access to image-capture equipment but no access to worldwide broadcast. This was an era before Instagramming your food. This was the era of celluloid. Let's take a ride through that era... by bicycle.

Photographer Hans Sipma didn't wait for the GoPro camera to be invented: he used a Super 8 camera and a single roll of film to record a ride through 1974 Vancouver.

Sipma concedes that the doesn't remember the exact date of the bike ride, but he only lived in the house which served as the start/end point of the ride until the spring of 1975.

I'm reminded of "C'était un Rendezvous", that 1975 film of Claude Lelouch driving his Mercedes at awesomely illegal speeds through early-morning Paris. (It wasn't a Ferrari, though Lelouch used a Ferrari 275GTB's engine noise for his film's soundtrack.)

Hans Sipma re-rode the same route two years ago, and intercut his film footage with still images from the Vancouver in which we're currently living. The film has also been slowed down a bit so it's easier to take in. You can see that version at the top of this article; the original is below.

Sipma's newer video gives us a running VW Beetle count; the lack of SUVs is refreshing.

Some of the fashion has either persisted or recently come back into style. No yoga pants in sight, though, which some may also find refreshing.

You can see some construction going on as well: I bet you'll recognize some of the sites that are now condo buildings.

Epic bike route

Starting in East Van, Hans rode north over the Second Narrows Bridge (itself a sketchy proposition at the time), then west into North Van. He took the Lions Gate Bridge into Stanley Park, following the seawall to the Burrard Street Bridge. He then cruised past Granville Island round about the time it was getting transformed into the Granville Island of today.

He then carried on along the seawall and through the False Creek Flats back to East Van. The original footage now lives in the Vancouver Archives.

Here's a map of the route:


View Larger Map

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