Resource Library

Welcome to the Bike Skills Online Cycling Resource Library, where you will find the very best cycling related content curated into one simple space. Below are tips, tricks, videos, images, graphics, links, and everything in between for all kinds of cycling needs! 

All-weather and Nighttime Riding

In Victoria, half of the year is wet and dark, but this does not mean you have to stop riding your bike. For both riding in the rain and riding at night, the most important thing to remember is to BE VISIBLE. Lights and reflective gear will keep you and all other road users safe in these conditions. If you’re prepared right, riding in wet weather and at night can actually be fun!

Riding in the rain or snow:

  • Fenders, rain jackets, and rain pants will help to keep you dry and clean in any weather condition
  • Our fingers are often the first body parts to go numb in the cold. Waterproof gloves don’t have to be expensive and you’ll be thankful you have them
  • Not all bike lights are waterproof, but most are at least water resistant. When buying waterproof lights look for something that has a balance between brightness and water-resistance. These can range from $45 to $200, therefore, remember to always take your lights with you if you’re leaving your bike unattended. Blackburn, Cat Eye, Knog, Lezyne, Light & Motion, PDW, Planet Bike, Sigma, and Nite Rider all make good waterproof bike lights. 
  • Adjust your braking habits to give yourself twice as long to come to a stop more than you normally would. Disc brakes tend to be the most reliable brakes in wet weather, but all brakes will stop you. No matter what brakes you have, however, riding slower in wet weather is always a good call.
  • In snow, surfaces are extra slippery, therefore, if you decrease your tire pressure, you actually increase the traction of the tire by covering more surface area.

Looking for a great printable resource? Here is a guide developed by our Executive Director, Adam Krupper, all about riding in the winter.

Riding at night:

  • We cannot stress enough how important it is to be able to see and be seen! After dark, all cyclists are required by law to have a front white headlight visible for a minimum of 150 m, a rear red light which should be visible for a minimum of of 100 m and a rear red reflector visible for 100 m when illuminated by a car headlight. Lights combined with hi-vis gear will help you be seen by cars and pedestrians while riding at night. 
  • In Victoria, there is a by-law fine of up to $109 for riding without lights at night.
  • The law requires you to use lights from a half hour before dusk until a half hour after dawn. However, many people choose to have their lights on at all times to increase their visibility on the road.
  • Point your lights slightly down so that they illuminate the road in front of and behind you. If your lights are aimed up they make it hard for other people to see.

Basic Bike Maintenance Tips

Being able to fix your own bike can be both empowering and can save you money. Below are some easy fixes you can do at home, though we at the Bike to Work Society do recommend that you get your bike fully-serviced by bike shop professionals, thus supporting local bike shops. Stay tuned as well for upcoming webinars on bike maintenance!

Bike Skills instructor, Todd Kalyiuk, hosted our first Beginner Bike Maintenance Webinar:

For more advanced maintenance, Todd recommends learning maintenance tips from videos rather than a book. Youtube channels like Parktool, GMB-MTB, Global Cycling Network and RJ the Bike Guy are all great resources.

Do you learn better from reading? Try these Parktool repair help articles. Search any mechanic related issues in their vast archive: https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help.

Tips for brakes adjustments.

Beginner:

  • To inflate your tires, look for the recommended maximum pressure, which is almost always embossed on the sidewall of the tire. A standing or ‘floor’ pump has a pressure gauge to indicate how full your tires are, while a hand pump usually doesn’t have a gauge and is harder to pump up at higher pressures. Filling your tire with too much air can risk popping the tube, while under-inflating your tire increases the risk of damaging your tube or rim when going over bumps.

There are two types of valves on tubes: Schrader and Presta.

  • Schrader Valve:
  • Presta Valve:

Schraders are found on mountain bikes and cruisers, while prestas are mostly found on road bikes and hybrids.

  • Keeping your chain clean and lubed will help your gears shift and make your rider smoother. Check out this video on cleaning and lubricating your chain: Specialized How-to: Lubricate a Chain

Intermediate:

  • You may need to replace brake pads if your brakes have lost their stopping power. Take a look at the rubber on the pads – if you can’t see any indents, teeth, or grooves at all in the pads, it means the top layer of rubber has worn away and you need to replace them. Check out this video on how to replace rim pads yourself.

One of the most common cycling issues is getting a flat tire and therefore, you’ll want to know how to fix flats. Below are some tips on how to avoid getting flat tires. Check out this video for a step-by-step guide on how to change a flat tire.

  • Avoiding flats: Keep a keen eye out for surface hazards and ride around them, or if you can’t avoid them, unweight the saddle as you pass over them. The area close to the curb (and often the bike lane) is where all of the glass shards, sharp rocks, and other junk wind up. If you ride too close to the curb, you greatly increase the risk of tire punctures.  Give yourself space and take the lane if need be. 
  • Ride at your tire’s recommended inflation pressure 
  • Be gentle with your valve while inflating/handling.  Your valve is where metal and rubber meet each other.  If the valve gets twisted and pulled in the valve hole, the metal will slice into the rubber, causing a flat that will require a new tube.

Bike Accessories

One of the reasons we love cycling is that it is accessible and cost effective. You don’t need expensive cycling gear to have fun on a bike. However, there is some important gear to consider to ensure your bike is safe and secure.

  • Locking: Never use only a cable lock. Get a good U-lock or metal folding lock to secure your bike.
  • Required Accessories:
    • A steady front white light
    • A flashing red rear light
    • A bell
    • A helmet
  • Fenders: a pair of fenders are a great investment, as they keep you dry and clean. They are especially important if you want to avoid having to change clothes on your morning commute.
  • Bicycle storage: check out storage solutions to keep your bicycle secure.
  • Bike racks, panniers, and trailers: here is a handy guide for carrying everything from a small bike pump to a full set of camping gear.

Buying a Bike

There’s a lot to consider when buying a new bike but these tips can help you feel confident to make the best choice.

Types of Bikes; which one is right for you?

  • Mountain—trail riding, gravel, commuting, touring, good control (weight over handlebars), knobby tires make for more grip + more rolling resistance = slower
  • Road—racing, riding on asphalt, “aggressive” positioning , efficient (little rolling resistance = fast), not good for gravel/trail riding
  • Cruiser—good for riding on flat surfaces, relaxed positioning, step-through makes for easy mounting, good for riders with injuries, mobility challenges, older riders, or people who want to easily put their foot down
  • Hybrid/City—commuting, touring, relaxed positioning, efficient and versatile
  • Folding— relatively thief proof, space-saving at home and elsewhere, and good for urban multi-modal travel, commuting
  • BMX — tricks and maneuvers in skate parks, fun to ride, lightweight, light servicing needs, but not sized for adults nor do they allow fenders or racks
  • Buying used bikes: When buying your first bike, it is recommended that you visit a local bike shop rather than buying online so that you can get personalized service on what is right for you. If you are buying a used bike online here are some handy tips.

COVID-19 and the Bike

How can we stay active and cycle and still follow physical distancing measures? First and foremost, keep updated and adhere to Public Health orders and measures (BC CDC , Island Health ,  Govt Canada).

1. Limit exposure by taking fewer and shorter trips

  • Try to cycle locally rather than across municipalities

2. Ensure your bike is in good working order; avoiding injuries on your bike can save you an unnecessary trip to the hospital on an already pressurized healthcare system

  •  While local bike stores are open, how they conduct business has changed and wait times for bike repairs and services are probably higher than usual
  • If your bike is unsafe to ride and the required repair is beyond your mechanical know-how, avoid riding until a bike shop can service it for you
  • See our Basic Bike Maintenance Page

3. Separate through space

  • Cycle alone
  • Many roads are empty, while pathways are busier than ever –opt for quieter roads and avoid popular or busy paths/trails
  • Use voice or bell to alert others of your presence, especially when passing
  • Maximize distance from other cyclists/pedestrians.  Allow greater space when passing, following, and when stopped – always important to be alert and scan for obstacles or other hazards when cycling, now we need to watch for others and keep our distance 

4. Separate through time

  • Try to schedule ride your bike for days and times that are less busy 

5. Practice good hygiene when cycling

  •  Sanitize your bike – before and after use – using an approved sanitizer or disinfectant to wipe down all surfaces:
  • Handlebars, grips, & bell
  • Gear shifters &  brake levers
  • Tubes/frame
  • Saddle
  • Panniers/bags
  • Helmet
  • Lock & key
  • When locking your bike maintain 2m/6’ from other bikes, bus stops, benches, other sidewalk or street fixtures
  • Beg buttons – activate push buttons with your elbow, not hand or finger

6. Practice safe cycling – reduce risk of a fall or collision

Remember to be an “MVP of Cycling”.

  • M stands for maneuverability. Position yourself on the road to allow yourself wiggle room. Evade harm, avoid potential hazards. 
  • V for visibility. And See and be seen. Use a front white and rear red light. Turn them on! Most important piece of safety equipment to prevent crashes and injuries (besides helmets, which help post-crash).
  • P for predictability. Follow the Rules of the Road.  Indicate what you are going to do and follow through. Use Hand signals.
  • C for communication. Use a bell, your voice, and hand signals to communicate with other road users.

Senior Bike Instructor and Education Manager, Lana Taves, hosted our first webinar, “COVID-19 and the Bike.” Find the video, as well as the resources Lana recommends, below:

If you liked the drawing of a house, view more maps of life under lockdown. They are creative, thoughtful, and beautiful.

Wanting to learn how to best plan your route? Try these two resources: bikemap Victoria & mapmyride Victoria

Look to our Road Laws and Traffic Skills page for more info.

Comfort and Bike Fitting

Comfort during and after your ride often comes down to your position on your bike. Proper bike fit means you have a position on the bike that lets you ride as long as you want, as hard as you want, and stay comfortable the entire time. A good fit can also help prevent overuse injuries that result from an improper position. The correct position will vary from person to person, depending on factors like age, style of riding, and physical attributes like flexibility. Below are some tips on how to stay comfortable on and off your bike.

Check out our webinar with Evan Thomas from Dockside Physio “From All Angles: Tips for Cycling Efficiently and Comfortably.

Bike fitting:

The first step to ensuring a comfortable ride is making sure your bike is the right size for your body. Refer to our Buying a Bicycle Tab which has the sizing chart for proper size of bike compared to the height of a person.

Saddle (seat) height While the immediate effect is the negative impact on pedaling efficiency, riding with the wrong saddle height over a prolonged period can lead to injuries. Knee pain in the front of the knee could be an indicator that your seat height is too low, while pain in the back of the knee could indicate that the seat is too high.

There are a few methods to determine how to adjust your seat. Heel on the pedal, and an inseam height measurement, aka the Lemond Method. CFB Esquimalt made this useful video for their 2020 Bike to Work Week on how to set your saddle height using the heel on pedal and inseam height methods.

Adjusting reach to handlebars. Your elbows should be slightly bent, not locked. And the lean of your torso should be supported by your core in a comfortable position. You shouldn’t have to slide forward or back on the seat.

Depending on your personal desire for your bike ride, you may want a shorter or longer reach to your handlebars. Traditionally, a sport cyclist will go for a longer reach, while a commuter or recreational cyclist will want a shorter reach for a more relaxed position. Bikefit.com is an excellent resource for more advanced bike fitting tips. Here is a blog post on adjusting the reach to your handlebars.

Bike fitting for Commuters

Though there is no specific literature or fitting recommendations for commuter bikes, Evan Thomas of Dockside Physio has made a list of notes to watch out for to improve the comfort and performance even on a commuter cycle.

  • On a commuter bike, one rides more upright, and therefore, most of the rider’s weight is on their sit bones. According to Evan, this is actually where you want the pressure, even if it feels uncomfortable at first
  • Knee angles should still be in the 30-40° range, as it’s more mechanically efficient to be in this range for pedal pushing
  • Elbow angles should be in the 10-15° bend range. A slight bend will allow you to absorb bumps in the road. Riding with locked elbows causes more vibration up the arms through the neck and shoulders
  • Handlebars will be flat (like a mountain bike) so your hands will be placed wider. If you are experiencing shoulder or neck pain/tension, try moving the handlebar grips inwards (towards the centre of the bike) to position your hands under your shoulders.

Below is the “Quick Fix Chart” provided by Evan Thomas of Dockside Physio. Sometimes, all you need to do to improve your cycling performance and comfort on your bike is a small adjustment!

Stretches and exercises

It is essential to listen to your body when it comes to stretching; if something doesn’t feel good, stop what you’re doing. The following resources are great guidelines to help you identify what needs to be stretched after cycling, but they are not hard and fast rules what-so-ever!

Evan Thomas demonstrated some great exercises for cyclists at all skill levels. Below are copies of his slides with helpful hints to get you ready to get back on your bike!

Find What Feels Good yoga is a free online space to stretch. Check out Yoga for Cyclists for a great 20 minute session! 
What are the essential stretches for cyclists? Here’s a download-able pdf to get you stretching properly!

Cycling Infrastructure in the CRD

Municipalities in Greater Victoria are growing their network of designated cycling routes to facilitate biking to neighbourhoods and destinations across the CRD. The cycling network includes many types of infrastructure, such as protected bicycle lanes, shared roadway routes, and multi-use pathways. For more information on new infrastructure click here for Victoria, here for Saanich.

Levels of Separation for Bikes on Roads in the CRD

Separated On-Street:

  • Protected Bike Lanes are separated from roads and sidewalks by parked cars, bollards, or a physical barrier. The City of Victoria has protected cycle tracks to connect the downtown network, the first was built on Pandora Avenue in 2017.
  • Buffered bicycle lanes provide additional shy distance between the bicycle lanes and the travel lane to provide a more comfortable riding environment.

Bicycle Lanes/Shoulders:

  • Bicycle lanes are separated from motor vehicle lanes and indicated with a bicycle stencil and a diamond, and are marked with dedicated signs.
  • Shoulder bikeways accommodate cycling on streets without a curb and gutter, where a fog line is used to delineate a shoulder.

Shared Roadways:

  • Marked wide curb lanes provide direct routes along the outer lane of a roadway. Signs remind cyclists and drivers to ‘share the road.’
  • Neighbourhood bikeways are routes on local urban streets indicated by signs and stencils.
  • Traffic calming treatments improve the cycling environment.
  • Shared lanes provide key connections between more formal bikeways and key destinations. They are designated by “Bike Route” signs.

Other Infrastructure:

  • Bicycle Traffic Signals to help protect cyclists in the bike lanes across intersections. In Victoria, these lights discourage right lane turns for vehicles while bikes have a green light.  
  • Button controlled intersections allow safe crossing for bikes and pedestrians where light sensors aren’t triggered by feet or small wheels. Some beg buttons even have extended arms for cyclist convenience!
  • Green conflict zone markings on pavement: These are areas where pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists need to be aware of one another
  • Bike Boxes are designated areas at the heads of traffic lanes in intersections that provide bicyclists with a safe and visible way to get ahead of queuing traffic during the red signal phase. Here is a video on how to use a bike box while turning into an intersection. 
  • Cross Bikes/ Elephant’s Feet indicate that it is safe for cyclists to cycle through an intersection, rather than dismount and walking through an intersection with solid lines instead of dotted
  • Traffic Light Sensors in pavement are triggered when cyclists line their bikes on the lines indicated with the markings.

Community Bike Maps:

PIC = Primary Inter-Community Bicycle Network

E-Bikes

People turn to e-bikes because they want to go further or faster than their level of fitness makes them comfortable, or they want to haul loads that are difficult on a conventional bike. Not to mention, E-Bikes are excellent tools for efficiency in getting up hills and fighting the wind.

The Bike to Work Society offers E-Bike Workplace Workshops, but until those are offered again, Todd Kalyniuk and Heidi Ullrich from Oak Bay Bikes have teamed up to discuss all things e-bike in our E-Bike Revolution Webinar:

An e-bike is a combination of a conventional bicycle with a battery and a motor. The maximum speed in Canada for e-bikes is 32km/hour (limit is built into the motor of the bike—it will not accelerate beyond 32km/hour on a flat surface; however, going down a hill, the bike will act like any other vehicle and pick-up speed during descent).

There are two types of e- bikes; throttle and pedal-assist. Throttle controlled e-bikes mirror motorcycle operation in that a simple twist of the wrist, or press of a button, activates acceleration—you do not need to pedal with a throttle operated e-bike.

Pedal assisted e-bikes were designed to make riding an e-bike mimic the natural motion you feel when riding a bicycle. As you pedal your bike and increase in speed, a sensor is activated, which in turn generates power from the motor. The power is activated only when you pedal. So you do need to pedal with pedal assist e-bikes—the motor only amplifies your power.

The same rules of the road for regular cyclists apply to users of e-bikes. This includes wearing a helmet AND the rider must be at least 16 y/o. In the CRD, E-bikes are even permitted on multi-use trails where conventional bikes are allowed.

Oak Bay Bikes also has a great FAQ page all about e-bikes!

Inclusive Cycling

We are taught from a young age to see ability as a binary; able vs disabled. Due to this type of thinking, differently abled folks are invisibilized, especially in the world of sports. The truth is, many people with disabilities rely on cycles as their mobility tool, because in many cases, cycling is easier than walking. Not to mention, cycling is a fun activity that can be empowering and improve emotional well being. Inclusion in recreational activities has the power to change community perceptions of (dis)ability, as it refocuses attention on achievements and ability. 

Check out our webinar on Accessibility in Recreation, Activity, and Cycling where we talk to Dr. Kay Inckle about her research on disability and sports, and showcase local people and organizations working to aid folks with disabilities in activity and the arts:

  • What is AAA? AAA stands for All Ages and Abilities and is a criteria that prioritizes safety, comfortability, and equity in cycling infrastructure. The goal of Victoria’s cycling network is to ensure people of all ages and abilities feel comfortable riding their bike. The plan for the cycling network includes protected cycle tracks, routes along busy roads that are separated from cars with a curb, parking, or some other barrier.

For more info on AAA, check out the Urban Bikeway Design Guide for using AAA facilities.

Why Inclusion Matters

  • Active living is more than simply living actively. Active Living contributes to our social, mental, and emotional well-being. It also involves cooperation and caring, peace, and harmony. Lifetime Networks Victoria now offers a unique Adaptive Equipment Loan Program, which can be lent out to folks ranging from individuals, parents, and caregivers to educational assistants and recreational and physical therapists. 
  • Cycling Without Age is a movement started in 2012 in Copenhagen. The organization is designed to help the elders who are limited by their movement abilities, get back on their bicycles. Now hosted in chapters all over the world, Cycling without Age offers free rides on a “trishaw” to elders from their nursing homes with registered “pilots”. 

Balance bikes not only do away with training wheels, but pedals as well. Children start off sitting on the seat and walking, then progress to pushing their feet off from the ground and balancing. Soon they’re coasting around turns and speeding along pathways. Kids as young as two can ride them and many graduate to a big bike by the age of three. Balance bikes are also available in larger sizes, and are great for youths with cognitive disabilities and lower muscle tone. Sans Pedals is Victoria’s supplier of Balance Bikes.

Intro to Fitness Apps

Strava reigns supreme in the world of cycling apps, and we also like our friends at Love to Ride in the UK’s app.

  • A handy guide to the best cycling apps for those looking to up their cycling experience.

Riding with Kids

Getting your little ones around doesn’t need to involve an SUV! There are many resources out there for parents who want to get their kids cycling. Before you ride with your kids, make sure you’ve brushed up on your bike handling skills, best practices for cycling in traffic and multi-use trail etiquette!

For more information check out our webinar “Family Cycling: Riding with Kids” below.

Carrying Kids?

For brands and other tips, essentialbaby.com has some great recommendations.

Bike trailers

A trailer offers some protection from the weather for your kids, but doesn’t allow any communication between you and them. The width of the trailer makes navigating some paths and obstacles tricky.

Kids seats (front and rear)

Centre-mounted front infant seats keep your child between your arms, where they have a good view of where you’re going; it makes chatting with your toddler easy, too. The rear-mounted seat is the more popular choice. These usually have a higher max weight limit, so you can use it for longer as your child grows.

A trailer bike (or tagalong) 

This is half a bike that hitches onto the adult’s bike, with its own handlebars, and is suitable for kids of around five or older. Your child can pedal along with you, making them feel like they’re contributing to the effort.

For families looking into buying cargo bikes we recommend two styles: 

Box bikes

For kid-carrying purposes, they usually have a (wooden) box attached to the flat front deck which has a bench seat and, possibly, some basic clips as harnesses. This style of cargo bike is driven by linkage steering, which means that the front tire is connected to the steering tube by way of a link, or long metal bar. So, instead of your handlebars directly controlling which way your front tire moves, the response to your handlebar movement in a bakfiets is amplified by this link.

Long-tails are what they sound like: the rear end of the bike is longer than normal which means that you can haul more stuff on the deck and/or beside the deck. In short, they ride how people expect a bike to ride; they “feel like a bike” is what most people will say after riding one.

More options for cargo bikes can be found here: https://rascalrides.com/cargo-bikes-kids/, also check out our E-Bike tab!

Great list of family cycling books here.
Need more support? The Victoria Family Cycling Facebook Group is a great resource for interpersonal advice for families who cycle. From buying gear, to route suggestions, to cycling meet-ups, the group is an excellent resource!

Road Laws and Traffic Skills

Four questions to ask yourself while cycling with traffic: Is it legal? Is it safe? Am I visible? Can I anticipate?

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as the driver of a vehicle. Please find below some basic rules of the road for cyclists. For more info take a look at the BC BikeSense Manual’s chapter on Traffic Skills.In BC, cyclist road laws are written in the Motor Vehicle Act. Lana Taves, Senior Bike Skills Instructor and Education Manager at Bike to Work, hosted a webinar called the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) & You, giving great tips and helpful explanations of traffic laws in British Columbia. You can access it on our Webinar Workshops page, or on our youtube channel.

Legally, a cyclist may not

  1. Ride on the sidewalk
  2. Ride through a crosswalk without the presence of “elephant’s feet” (see Cycling Infrastructure in the CRD for more info)
  3. Ride side-by-side with another cyclist
  4. Double a partner 
  5. Ride on roads where cyclists are forbidden
  6. Ride without at least one hand on their handlebars
  • Ride Defensively: Just as we are taught defensive driving, it can be useful to think of cycling the same way. Anticipating hazards, riding predictably, staying visible, and being prepared for the mistakes of other road users, are important ways of ensuring your safety on the road.
  • Riding Predictably: Riding in a straight line makes you predictable to other road users. Avoid weaving in between parked cars and always shoulder check when changing lanes or lane position.
  • Riding on sidewalks: Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in BC, except in New Westminster and Maple Ridge. Not only is it almost always illegal, but cyclists face much higher risk of collision when riding on the sidewalk as they can be hit crossing driveways and intersections.
  • Cyclist’s superpower: At any moment you feel like you can’t complete a maneuver safely or comfortably, use your cycling superpower and transform into a pedestrian. Though riding on the sidewalk is not legal, you can signal, stop, and walk your bike when you feel unsafe.
  • Riding with Headphones: Headphones are generally not recommended while cycling as they can obstruct your hearing. However, you can have a headphone in one ear while riding. Most important is that you do not use your phone while cycling

Traffic Skills 101 CAN-BIKE // Traffic Skills 101

Safety and Security

There’s nothing worse than having a bike stolen. Here are some tips for preventing theft, recovering your bike if it is stolen, and other resources for bike safety. 

  • Reporting Collisions and Near Misses: BikeMaps.org is a helpful tool for cycling safety as it allows cyclists to report thefts, collisions, and near misses to help map trouble spots.
  • When you buy your bike, record the purchase and serial number. Take photos of your bike including photos of the serial number (usually stamped on the bottom of the bottom bracket).
  • Registering your bike: You can register your bike online with Project 529 and in person with your local police department such as VicPD. Registering your bike and reporting it if it is stolen greatly increase your chances of having your bike recovered and returned to you.
  • Theft Prevention: Never use only a cable lock, instead use a sturdy U-lock or metal folding lock. Lock both your frame and one  wheel to a proper bike rack. Avoid leaving your bike locked up outside overnight. Click here for more details on preventing bike theft.
  • In Victoria, many cyclists use the Stolen Bike Avengers Facebook group to help look for their bikes. It can be very helpful. If your bike is located, call the police to recover it. The police strongly advise people to not try to recover stolen bikes on their own.

Tips for Building Confidence

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of automobiles. Knowing your rights as a cyclist can help you build confidence to ride on busier roads and with vehicle traffic.

  • Lane positioning: Keep to the right, yet do not hug the curb too closely. You should position yourself approximately one metre from the curb, both to reduce the risk of hitting the curb or debris, and also to place yourself within motorists’ field of vision. Staying one metre from the curb is especially important when passing parked cars to reduce the risk of dooring. 
  • The Motor Vehicle Act requires that traffic moving at less than normal speed of traffic keep as close to the right as practicable.
  • Taking the lane: While cyclists are usually required to ride on the right hand side of the lane, there are certain situations where taking the lane can be safer. If there is no shoulder or bike lane and the curb lane is narrow, cyclists may choose to take the whole lane by riding in the centre of it. This can be safer than riding near the curb, which may encourage motorists to squeeze by when there isn’t sufficient room. You should also consider taking the lane when you are travelling at the same speed as other traffic. Be prepared for the occasional frustrated driver who is not familiar with the safe and legal operation of a bicycle, but your safety is the priority! Your health is more important than a few seconds of someone else’s temporary inconvenience.
  • Know the road and plan your route: Newer cyclists, seniors, and families with children might prefer cycling on All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Infrastructure. This includes local street bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and multi use pathways. See the CRD’s cycling map to view local cycling networks. 
  • Google Maps can also be useful for route planning when the “bicycling” filter is turned on to show cycling infrastructure. For more tips on building confidence, find the Road Laws and Traffic Skills page and  review the BC BikeSense section on Traffic Skills here.

Tips for Commuter Cyclists

At the Bike to Work Society, we want to see you, well, bike to work! That doesn’t have to be a scary feat, in fact, studies show that those who use active transportation for their commute, are happier, and therefore, mentally and physically healthier than those who drive or take public transit. Here are some tips to help you begin your commute to school, work, or running errands on a bike.

  1. Before you get on the road, you’ll want to plan your route. Victoria has a fantastic cycling network and infrastructure put in place, all of which you can read about on our Cycling Infrastructure in Victoria and the CRD page. Try taking routes where you can avoid traffic or in quiet neighbourhoods where traffic is slower and safer.
  2. For those commutes where you can’t avoid traffic, make sure you know your rights as a cyclist as well as some basic traffic skills. Check out this helpful clip for some great tips: CAN-BIKE // Traffic Skills 101
  3. To avoid a sweaty back from a backpack, or the cumbersomeness (and danger) of having bags swinging from your handlebars, equip your bike with a rack so you can put on a pannier or a basket. Racks are easy to install yourself and can go on the front or the rear of your bike. Costs usually range from $30 to $200, with specific models for disk brake bikes, or to fit with very wide tires.
  4. Choosing your pannier is all about personal preference. Maybe you’re looking for something waterproof? Maybe you’d just like something small and fashionable? Check out this site to get an idea of the type of pannier you’re looking for.
  5. Fenders are necessary in Victoria because of our rainy winters. Avoid getting your clothes muddy and the investment in fenders will save you time and space in your bag because you won’t have to bring a spare change of clothes. You can also get detachable fenders for dry days! Fenders can cost between $25 and $80 for a pair. 
  6. Choosing a bike lock and knowing safe ways to store your bike. See our Safety and Security page for more info.

Tips for New Cyclists

Cycling is fun, healthy, and low impact exercise. We aim to make it accessible to folks of all ages and abilities. Find below some tips for newer or returning cyclists. You may also want to sign up for one of our Bike Skills Courses in order to learn skills and build your confidence.

Safe Cycling Basics

First principle of safe cycling: Cyclists have the SAME rights and responsibilities as a driver of a motorized vehicle. Next is to be a defensive and courteous cyclist. Your safety is your first responsibility but also, be kind, yield and communicate.

Plan your route in advance—where you ride has a huge impact on your safety and enjoyment, and the best cycling route may not be the same as the one you drive. Consider trying a new route on a Sunday to experience it without busy weekday traffic.


Returning Cyclists:Five videos to watch if you’re getting back on the bike

  1. Before you start riding, anyone can do an Air, Brakes, and Chain (ABC) Quick Check: How to do an ABC Quick Check on your bicycle – YouTube
  2. Always wear an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards and occasionally check for signs of wear. Wearing a helmet is the law in B.C. and you could be fined for not wearing one. Check out this video on Helmet Fit: How To Fit & Adjust A Cycle Helmet – YouTube
  3. You’ll want to develop some key bike handling skills, like stopping, turning, shifting gears, and shoulder checks. Here is a great video to get you started: CAN-BIKE // Bike Handling Skills 101 
  4. Communication
    • A bell is useful as a warning to other road users and pedestrians; can cut through the cacophony of urban noises
    • Using your voice: New cyclists may be more comfortable riding on multi-use trails or protected bike lanes, where cyclists should ring their bell or call out (ie ‘passing on your left’) when passing others.
    • Hand Signals: The proper sequence for signalling is; first shoulder check, then hand signal, and then, with both hands on the handlebars, shoulder check again before making the turn or stop. Remember to hold your hand signals for 3-5 seconds!
  5. Try out car-free bike routes around the CRD

More resources: Printable bookmarks for Helmet Fit and ABC Bike Check

Not finding what you’re looking for? Email justine@biketowork.ca to suggest more items for our Resource Centre.