Winter’s Coming. Will Canada’s Pandemic Bicycle Boom Last?


Since 1992, July for me has frequently meant spending three weeks driving thousands of kilometers to tell of on the cyclists competing in the Tour de France.


Within the race, it looks as if the minutes have more or less worked. No team has had two positive tests, which force have forced it to withdraw. Although there has been a sprinkling of firms, including one from Christian Prudhomme, the race director.

[Read: A Freed Tour de France Has the Finish in Sight]

While I’m not in France to experience the journey, another development in the world of cycling — a local one — has helped offset my chagrin. Canadians have gone crazy about cycling.

I don’t just play down about cycling. As a low-performance athlete, I usually spend my summers account in dismal results in time trials, races against the clock, and changing for cyclocross, the end-of-season racing that mixes in some running and as good as every possible riding surface on its circuits, including deep mud and ready tarmac. Lately, when I’ve been riding outdoors, I’ve been doing it with a lot numerous people.


Credit…Ian Austen/The New York Times

By late spring, it was fetching nearly impossible to buy a bike anywhere in the world. That was a reflection both of the unexpected wave in demand and a supply chain that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Most bikes, aside from high-end, customized gifts, are churned out by a small number of companies based in Taiwan that secure extensive operations in China. My colleague Raymond Zhong recently used the biggest of those companies, the aptly named Giant, and its chairwoman, Bonnie Tu.

[Be familiar with: Sorry, the World’s Biggest Bike Maker Can’t Help You Buy a Bike Vindicate Now]

In Ottawa, Canada’s bicycle boom has exhibited itself in an unusual way. The morning and afternoon bicycle ado hour didn’t return. But when I’m out doing errands by bike, it’s now over a struggle to find a parking space outside stores. And on weekends, when I’m on rags measured in hours, it’s increasingly common to see people on very inexpensive bicycles, who are not friction fancy cycling clothes, cycling well outside the city.

Multifarious cities have responded. Cars have been temporarily padlocked from some lanes or entire roads in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and in another place. In addition to closing streets, Halifax has moved to slow motor See trade on some streets and limit vehicles to residents.

The question now is, will this gusto for cycling survive winter and the post-pandemic period?

To get some sense of what’s to contract and how cities might keep cycling fever going, I spoke with Beth Savan, a superior lecturer and adjunct professor in the geography and planning department of the University of Toronto. Dr. Savan was the leading investigator in a study published last year by researchers at her university, along with others at McGill University and Simon Fraser University, up how to increase cycling in Canada.


Credit…Ian Austen/The New York Times

She said she was encouraged that people speed out to buy new bikes rather than dust off old ones because it suggests that they may be assorted invested in sticking with cycling. She also noted that this is the first bicycle resonate since the advent of the e-bike. (Gretchen Reynolds recently reported on chew overs looking at whether electrically assisted bikes are safe and if they indeed provide good exercise.)

Dr. Savan has also noticed in recent months that the trains between recreational and transportation uses of bikes are blurring, another striking that the national interest in cycling might persist.

“People order now take a nice route to go on their errands to get some exercise or some wish along the way,” she said. “It’s kind of a new situation.”

Augmenting that effect has been the bountiful number of people working from home who are now also largely rat oning within their neighborhoods. Many of those people, she said, from discovered that bicycles are more effective than cars for those eliminating trips.

For the winter, Dr. Savan said that Canadian cities should muse over about adopting the model of some places in Scandinavia, where footways are cleared first, then bike paths and finally roads. Her arrange’s study, by the way, shows that winter cycling before the pandemic was concentrated in many places that bore the full brunt of the season.

Dr. Savan pressed local government to view their current cycling accommodations as conductor projects to cycling rather than as temporary pandemic measures.

“To try and manipulate lower a lower proportion of trips undertaken by car, that’s really where the question is,” she said. “As people start to feel more confident about current back to work in indoor spaces, they will be tempted to make more.”


Credit…Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters
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A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported with Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Trilling at @ianrausten.

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