Tips & Resources

Learn more about the rules of the road and other tips which can make biking safer and easier.

Getting Started

  • Watch the I Bike Here videos to learn about how cycling is a quick and fun way to get around UBC campus.
  • If you need a bike, the Bike Kitchen, UBC’s non-profit bike shop run by the AMS Bike Co-op, can find a bike for you and take care of all of your maintenance needs for a very reasonable cost.
  • Helmets, bells and lights are mandatory in BC. Replace your helmet every few years (the materials can break down over time, or become damaged by long-term ‘wear and tear’ or a fall).
  • Take a look at a bike route map and select a route that looks like it’ll work for you.
  • Explore different routes to and from UBC. There are plenty of different ones to choose from and some will suit your needs better than others. From major roads to traffic-calmed residential streets and even a seaside path – you can take your pick and mix it up!
  • Ride part of the way to campus; you can start or finish your trip by bus. Put your bike on one of the racks attached to the front of the buses and grab a seat! This is handy if you get a flat during your ride.
  • Start slow and simple. Commit to cycling once or twice a week to give yourself time to get used to it.
  • Riding in traffic: Stay off the sidewalks and ride with the direction of the traffic. Use hand signals when turning or slowing down, and wear visible/reflective clothing. If you’d like to improve your skills and safety, try taking the HUB Commuter Cycling Skills course.
  • Winter – a.k.a. ‘wet season’ (Nov. to Mar.): Vancouver is a wet city, but if you are properly equipped, rain is bearable and can even be fun! If you plan on cycling in the rain, be sure to have a warm pair of gloves, a waterproof-breathable rain jacket and pants, fenders, and booties (covers for your shoes). Take an extra pair of clothes to change into and put the wet ones in a locker to dry. 
  • Even if it is raining, you can cycle year round in Vancouver, which has a mean annual temperature of 11 degrees Celsius (52 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Still unsure? Try riding in with a friend! If you don’t know any cyclists, contact the AMS Bike Co-op and pair up with an experienced bike buddy for your first trip or two. Call 604.822.2453 or shoot them an e-mail here.

Bike Fitting and Maintenance

  • A good bike costs less than $200 per year (after purchase price) to maintain and use on a daily basis – compare this to $7600 per year for a car in BC.
  • Make sure that you get a bike that’s sized correctly, has the right seat height and is the right kind of bike for what you’re doing. Good, appropriate equipment will be safer, better for your body and more fun to use!
  • The AMS Bike Co-Op can help you with repairs and maintenance, as well as free (for members) bicycle borrowing privileges! For more info on the AMS Bike Co-op and other on-campus resources, visit our on-campus cycling page.

Rules of the Road

  • Cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists.
  • Having a helmet, bell and lights is mandatory for cyclists in B.C. Not having one can bring a hefty fine, so be sure you’re properly equipped before heading out!
  • Take a cycling education class, offered by the HUB. If you’re nervous about riding in traffic, or feel you could use some pointers on safe cycling, this one-day course may be the perfect solution. The Commuter Cycling Skills Course takes you through the most common situations you’ll face when you ride your bike in traffic. It also provides you with tips to make cycle commuting a fun and regular part of your life. The course combines classroom and on-road training. You’ll learn to:
    • ride safely and confidently in traffic
    • check your bike for safety
    • adjust your bike to fit you
    • ride at night and in the rain
    • choose equipment and clothing
    • plan the best routes

Click here for more information.

Using Bike Boxes

If you bike to or from campus, you may have noticed an area of red pavement with a bicycle symbol on the south-east corner of Blanca and University Boulevard. This is a bike box, a safety measure designed to improve conditions for cyclists and motorists at this busy intersection. A bike box has no effect when the light is green, but can make turning left after a red more convenient and safe for cyclists.

If you want to turn north (left) onto Blanca from University Boulevard, maneuver yourself into the box when you have the right of way. Wait until the light at Blanca turns green, and proceed straight ahead.

For more information, check out the City of Vancouver’s information on cycling road signs and bike boxes here.

Keeping Your Bike Safe

Preventing Bike Theft

Combine some of the following tips to help keep your bike safe. To reduce theft:

  • Choose a good (U)lock. When it comes to bike locks, you get what you pay for! They may be cheaper, but flimsy wire and cable locks are easily cut. U-locks are the best bang for your buck. Big U-locks with lots of space are easy to break open, so choose smaller ones made of hardened steel. Use multiple locks if you can – cable locks can make good secondary locks, particularly when put through both wheels.

  • Pick a visible area to lock your bike in. Although bikes can be stolen in broad daylight with people around, thieves prefer to work in low profile areas.
  • Choose the object you’re locking to very carefully. Trees can be sawed through, poles can be lifted, and bikes can be lifted over poles if there’s enough room at the top between the lock and the sign at the top of the pole.
  • Lock your bike PROPERLY so that the lock runs through:
    • either the main triangle formed by seat-tube, top-tube, and down-tube, OR the rear triangle formed by the seat-tube, chain stays, and seat stays;
    • the rims of BOTH wheels; and
    • the object you’re locking your bike to. Position the keyhole of the lock downwards if possible, to make it harder to drill through.
    • Avoid locking only your wheel to the bike rack – especially with quick release wheels, as a thief can easily take your bike and leave the wheel behind.
  • Record serial numbers. A serial number is a key piece of identifying information for the police to use when attempting to recover a stolen bike. If your bike doesn’t have one, get one engraved for free at the RCMP detachment on Wesbrook across from the Thunderbird Field. The Security Office located beside the Bookstore offers free engraving services as well. Project 529 allows for easy bike registration. 
  • Take photos of your bike once in a while. Record components and specs for easy identification.
  • Keep your bike inside overnight. Bikes left on campus at night are easy targets for vandals and thieves.

Quick Release Levers on Wheels and Seat Tubes

Quick release levers can make removing a wheel or adjusting your saddle height easy, without the need for tools. Unfortunately, this also makes it easy for others to remove your wheels or seat! Quick releases can be replaced by nutted axles or bolts, which require tools to remove. This may be the best option if you don’t often need to remove your wheels or adjust your seat; otherwise, lock your wheels and take your saddle and seat post with you when you lock up your bike.

Secure Storage and Bicycle Lockers

Please see our page on Bicycle Lockers and Shared Bike Cages for UBC specific information.

Bicycle lockers can be found at numerous locations throughout the city. Along the skytrain route, lockers are available for rent on a monthly basis at Main Street Station, VCC-Clark, Renfrew Station, and Rupert Station. For more information, call C-Meddia at 604.924.1076 or click here. Lockers are also available for rent downtown at 688 Cambie and 150 Water Street. For more information on these lockers, call 604.682.6744.

Tips for Cycling & Clothing

The four most common reasons people cite for not cycling to work/school are weather, safety, theft, and clothing. Clothing! We’ve put together some suggestions to overcome this not-so-little barrier and to arrive looking your best.

  • Wrap shoes in a plastic bag, separate from your clothes. Leave a pair at work or school if you can.
  • Avoid clothes that wrinkle easily and need a lot of ironing (rayon and linen are particularly bad). Some cottons won’t wrinkle – experiment with what you already have.
  • Save light clothes that pack well for your cycle-commute days.
  • Keep combs, hair gels, clips etc. at work or school in a locker or desk drawer.
  • Showers aren’t always necessary, depending on the length and hilliness of your commute. Take a towel to dry yourself off, or find a shower in your building if that would make you feel more comfortable.
  • For Shower Locations, contact your department or facility manager. Lockers are available across campus and some offices have lockers and/or closet space for riding and extra work clothes.
  • Invest in covers for your panniers/backpack for rainy days, or wrap clothing in plastic bags. You can also keep a change of clothes on campus to avoid carrying things in the rain.

Key Cycling Resources

The AMS Bike Co-op


(Photo from Bike Kitchen)

The Bike Co-op is a student-run organization dedicated to making UBC a better place for cyclists and their bikes. You can become a member for 6 hours of volunteer work, or $15 for students/ $20 for faculty, staff, and community members. The Co-op runs programs from Bici Libre (connecting migrant workers with bikes) to a monthly LGBTQ2I+ Night. 

Bike Co-op membership also allows you to receive a 10% discount off new parts at the Bike Kitchen (the Co-op’s retail shop), as well as shop time and mechanical help. The Co-op also provides free one-hour Bike Care Clinics (Wednesdays) and a comprehensive bike repair course (Saturdays) for $20.00.

Rm 36, UBC Life Building. Office hours are by appointment between 11:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.

The Bike Kitchen

The Bike Kitchen is located in the UBC Life Building. This fully-equipped bike repair and retail shop is a non-profit project of the AMS Bike Co-op and was established to help the UBC community keep their bikes maintained for a reasonable rate.

The Kitchen has a wide range of new and used parts, as well as new and used bikes for sale. For just $7.50/hr, all campus cyclists can use the Bike Kitchen tools and facilities to repair their own bikes. For $15/hr cyclists can receive instructions from a bike mechanic on how to do the repairs themselves. You can also do the standard bike shop drop-off for your other repair needs.

Stop by the Kitchen anytime you think your bike might be in need of a little tender loving care. Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week. Hours change seasonally.

Call 604.827.7333 or visit their website.

Off-Campus Resources

  • HUB New Cyclist Handbook outline rules of the road, safety tips, helmet and bicycle fitting, and resources to find out more about safe and enjoyable cycling. Printed and available online, the handbook is in five languages: Punjabi, Korean, Tagalog, simplified Chinese, simplified English.
  • HUB is a volunteer-run non-profit society, whose members work to improve conditions for cycling in the Lower Mainland. If you want to get involved, they're always looking for volunteers.
  • British Columbia Cycling Coalition is non-profit society that represents the interests of cyclists provincially, and that seeks to secure their recognition in policy and programs affecting transportational cycling.
  • George Massey Tunnel Bicycle Shuttle Information about the free shuttle service for bicycles and their riders through the George Massey Tunnel (convenient if you’re cycling to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal).
  • Our Community Bikes / PEDAL is a non-profit bicycle recycling depot, a full repair shop, and an educational workshop available to people who wish to repair their own bikes or learn how to do so.
  • Ministry of Transportation – Cycling Policy in British Columbia