Bike to Work Week – Tips to Stay Motivated and Safe!

by Ben Lipovski

It’s Bike to Work Week at UBC! Whether you are a student, faculty, or a staff member, it’s time to break out that bike. It’s no secret that biking in Vancouver can be difficult and dangerous. From steep hills to narrow streets, Vancouver is packed full of potential hazards. Here are some tips to stay safe and motivated during Bike to Work Week!


Route Tips

Metro Vancouver has an extensive network of bike routes which can be overwhelming to new cyclists. The best way to plan your route is using the cycling maps from TransLink.


When biking through Vancouver towards UBC, do not bike on main roads such as 4th avenue and Broadway. Instead, follow bike specific routes. Some great options include:

  • Instead of 4th Avenue: Point Grey Road
  • Instead of Broadway: Broadway bypass on 8th Avenue


The Five Roads Into UBC

North Marine Drive

North Marine Drive is a beautiful route passing through Jericho Beach, the Spanish Banks, and Locarno beach. However, exercise extreme caution! The road is very narrow making sharing the road with cars dangerous. Additionally, many experienced cyclists exercise on this route. North Marine Drive is the most difficult route into campus.

Chancellor Boulevard 

Chancellor Boulevard is our most recommended route into campus. Next to the busy road is a side walk running between Blanca Street and Acadia Road. Instead of following 4th ave, make sure to follow 8th ave towards campus. There, you will find the sidewalk onto Chancellor Boulevard.

University Boulevard

University Boulevard is the busiest route to campus. A decent bike lane follows the road between Blanca street and Wesbrook Mall. However, exercise caution! The most UBC car/bike collisions occur on this route due to cars veering into bike lanes. Additionally, busses often need to stop along the road resulting in blockage of bike lanes.

16th Avenue

16th Avenue is an alright option to get to campus. The road is wide and only one bus line follows it making blockages infrequent. Although there is a bike lane between Blanca Street and Wesbrook Mall, there is no dedicated lane before Blanca.

South Marine Drive

South Marine Drive is by far the longest route to campus starting all the way from Camosum street. Rather than sporting intense climbs, this route gradually slopes up making it very difficult. Make sure to leave room for passing as many experienced cyclists use this route!


Safety Tips

1. Wear a Helmet

Firstly, without a doubt, wearing a helmet is the number one safety tip while on the road. Although it won't 100% guarantee your safety, studies have shown it will reduce the risk of serious head injury in a fall or collision. Watch this video from the Global Cycling Network on how to correctly fit a bike helmet!

2. Know the Rules of the Road

It's important to note that even though you aren't driving a car, the rules still apply to cyclists. Here are a couple important rules:

  • Do not ride on the sidewalk. Stick to the bike lanes.
  • Do not lane split or overtake on the right side of the road.
  • Communicate to other road users. Use these hand signals liberally:

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3. Have a Contact

Make sure you have an emergency contact! Let your contact know when you leave, finish, and how long you expect to ride for. Make sure your contact is a trusted individual like a close family member or coworker.

4. Be Seen

When riding at dusk or night, wear high visibility clothing. Additionally, make sure to have bike lights: white for the front, red for the back!

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5. Bring Water

The hills around UBC are tough. Always make sure you have water with you to stay hydrated!


Motivation Tips

Without question, biking to UBC is hard! Campus sits 80m above sea level--that's quite a climb! Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.

1. Find a Power Song

A power song is your go to jam to pump you up! When you are struggling on a climb, turn on your power song to push you to the finish line. Here are some the best go to songs:

  • Titanium by David Guetta & Sia
  • Just like Fire by P!nk
  • Wake me Up by Avicii
  • Tongue Tide by Grouplove

2. Maintain a Pace

It's important not to burn yourself out! You don't need any fancy devices to pace yourself, just follow this tip. You should always be able to maintain a conversation while biking. In other words, you should never be heavily breathing! If you ever need to take a break, no worries! This is YOUR ride to work.

3. Bike with a Buddy

There is nothing more motivating than biking with a group of like-minded people. Not only does it allow time to socialize, it promotes attendance. Would you be late to cycle with your friend or coworker?!


Bike to Work Week runs between September 28th and October 4th. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to get healthy and reduce your carbon footprint, you will also have chances to win prizes! Simply sign up online and log any bike trip! So, what are you waiting for? Register here on the HUB Cycling website and start riding to defend UBC as the regional champion!


Looking for another way to get active and stay connected to the UBC Community? The Intramurals team are holding a virtual Run, Roll, Walk series! This FREE program  lets you complete weekly challenges over the course of 10 weeks to be entered in the weekly draw to WIN some fun prizes. For more information, click here.