I passed a Maserati on my way to work today. And it felt really good. But speeding by cars as they stop and start their way through downtown gridlock is just one of the reasons I love biking to work.

A recent hip replacement took me out of the saddle for almost 6 months, but after many mornings glancing longingly at my trusty two-wheeled steed before jumping in the car or heading for the bus stop, I’m finally back on my bike and feeling a whole lot better about my morning commute. I could list one hundred reasons why I love riding to work, but here are my top 5:

  1. Mental health. It’s no secret that exercise and fresh air make you feel good, and research is showing that physical exercise can help prevent and treat depression.
  2. Sense of accomplishment. With all of the demands that come with a fast-paced, super-connected world, sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re getting anything done. My apartment is a mess, I had popcorn for dinner again, and I have 32 unread emails, but hey – I got 60 minutes of low-impact exercise today.
  3. Saving money. I save an estimated $80 a month by riding my bike to work, or $960 a year. That’s a lot of avocado toast.
  4. Faster than driving. While it will depend on where you live, biking is often faster than driving or taking public transit, especially at rush hour. My 8km commute clocks in at 30 minutes by bike, 40 minutes by car or 60 minutes by bus.
  5. It’s good for the planet. Riding to work cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, reduces noise pollution, and takes up less space than a car.

When Jessica Schultz (left), Manager of Howe Sound Research and Conservation, isn’t working on the water, she enjoys walking to work at the Aquarium. “Walking through Stanley Park every morning is one of my favourite parts of my day!”

I’m fortunate to be able to take advantage of this fast, cheap, fun, low-carbon mode of transportation, but riding to work isn’t an option for everyone. It’s a good thing there are a variety of eco-friendly transportation options for getting to the Vancouver Aquarium, whether it’s for work or to visit.

The #19 bus brings passengers into beautiful Stanley Park with drop-off and pick-up just a two-minute walk from the Aquarium. If you happen to be taking the bus and arriving early or late in the day, you’ll likely be sitting with the many Aquarium staff members who rely on the bus to get to and from work every day. If you’re downtown, look for #19 bus stops along Pender Street. Or, you might be close enough to enjoy a stroll along the seawall to Stanley Park. Walking time from Waterfront Station or Canada Place is about 45 minutes.

Derek J, Manager of Interpretive Programs is one of the many Aquarium staff members who take the bus to work. “In Vancouver, it’s so easy to get around using public transportation. I love my commute – it’s a bit of time to chill out, review last minute projects, or take in a novel or some music.”

If you’re arriving by electric vehicle, take advantage of two charging stations located across the street from the Aquarium entrance. If like me, you decide to ride your bike to the park, there are 101 bicycle parking spots available at the Aquarium. No bike? No problem. Vancouver’s bike share program, Mobi, recently added 5 bike share stations in Stanley Park, including two at the Aquarium. A one-day bike share membership gives users unlimited 30-minute rides and will cost you $9.75. And since biking around the Stanley Park Seawall is such a popular activity, there are plenty of traditional bike rental options available too.

If you aren’t used to biking, walking or taking transit, summer is a great time to challenge yourself to change your commuting habits. If I can do it, you can do it. So get out of your car, and experience the schadenfreude of zooming past a vehicle built for speed with nothing but two wheels and your own pedal power.

Aquablog post by Megan Rector, Vancouver Aquarium development officer, grants.

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