I’m sure you’ve heard of valet parking for cars, but do you know about the Bicycle Valet? It makes Vancouver cycling a snap. Imagine riding directly into a farmers’ market, to a festival or the fireworks downtown, then handing your bike off to a friendly valet to park in a secure enclosure while you enjoy the event. No heavy lock needed: it’s like a coat check for bikes. The friendly volunteers will give you a claim stub that you use to pick up your bike later. And it’s free!
Vancouver Cycling Solution
The Bicycle Valet is a program of Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST), sponsored by Vancity and Travelsmart. BEST borrowed the idea from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and since 2006 the program has been growing exponentially every year. The Bicycle Valet is the Lower Mainland’s only professional provider of bike parking for special events.
Over the past six years they’ve been making events greener by providing safe, secure, attended bike parking at the Celebration of Light, Summer Live, Car-Free Days, Vancouver’s Farmers Markets and more. Last year alone they parked over 22,000 bikes on 152 event days. Their one-day record was 1,792 bikes parked at Vancouver’s 135th birthday celebration, Summer Live, on July 9, 2011. The Vancouver cycling community is smitten.
Bicycle Valet Events
This year, you’ll find the Bicycle Valet at tons of events, including Trout Lake and Kitsilano Farmers’ Markets every week; Vancouver Whitecaps home games; The Celebration of Light (look for them at Davie and Beach); Granville Island and Canada Place for Canada Day; Bard on the Beach; and Voices in the Park September 15th, in Stanley Park . Check the Bicycle Valet calendar for even more events!
Improving Your Bicycle Valet Experience
- Bike Valet volunteers process bikes for parking as quickly as possible, but still, allow enough time and be patient.
- You can leave your helmet, panniers and any other gear with your bike, provided they’re firmly attached to the bike.
- Have your bike ready to go by the time you get to the front of the line—gear attached, anything you are taking with you, in hand.
- Don’t lose your claim ticket!
- Bike Valet will park tandem bikes, bikes with trailers, etc. They love Vancouver cycling families!
- When picking up your bike, please be patient and do not try to enter the compound.
- Don’t forget to enter the draw! You could win a prize just for writing your details down on your claim stub when you pick up your bike.
Images courtesy of The Bicycle Valet.
The Bicycle Valet
Lisa Corriveau is our East Side Contributor. When not writing, she can often be found at the park chasing her little boy, sewing clothing, cycling, reading just about anything, performing on stilts, eating chocolate or drinking craft beer. (Sometimes several of the above simultaneously.) Lisa lives car-free in East Van, with toddler, husband and a few bikes. You can also find her on her blog, The Sprog.