On each of the past two weekends, our family has biked to community events: The Car Free Festival on Main Street and the MEC BikeFest down in the Olympic Village. And at each of these events, parking our family of bicycles (including the one pulling the Trail-A-Bike) has been easy and worry-free. The reason for this has been the presence of the Bicycle Valet.
The Bicycle Valet is a an initiative of the Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) society, with sponsorship from TravelSmart aka Translink, MEC, BCAA, and Vancity Credit Union. They set up free secure parking corrals at events around the city, staffed by helpful volunteers. Much like a coat-check, you trade your bicycle for a claim ticket. They park your bicycle for you, keep it safe during the event, and give it back to you when you’re ready. Panniers, bags, helmets, and anything else you have attached to your bike can be left on. No charge, but there is a tip jar.
The Bicycle Valet really gained exposure during the 2010 Winter Olympics. They had bicycle parking set up for a number of events — in fact, my wife and I biked to BC Place and parked using the Bicycle Valet for the Opening Ceremonies. It was, by far, the most convenient and stress-free way of getting to the event.
The Bicycle Valet is a great idea, well implemented. It encourages people to bike to events, reduces traffic and reduces the clutter of having bikes scattered around by having a neatly organized corral.
This summer, you will find the Bicycle Valet at many city events and festivals. For Kits in particular, they set up at the Kitsilano Farmers Market at the Kitsilano Community Centre every weekend, and will also be setting up at a few “Bike to Bard” events at Bard on the Beach. Around the city, you’ll find them at the Trout Lake Farmers Market, Whitecaps games, the Celebration of Light fireworks nights, and other events and festivals. They’ve been busy in Kits this past weekend, doing both the Kits Farmers Market and Greek Day. Check their full schedule here: Thebicyclevalet.ca/calendar/