From John Luton’s Bike Walk News in the Capital Regional District, this extraordinary bike-route map from 1897 Victoria:

Victoria bike map 1897

How long has Victoria been the Cycling Capital of Canada?  Well, officially only since 1997 or so.  That’s when we made our declaration.  Locals, it seems, have long been discovering the Capital on two wheels. 

A University of Victoria bike map discovery is now online and presents some appealing routes to explore.  The online map dates from 1897 and illustrates a Victoria vastly different from the modern city of today, but many of the routes and features live on.

I’ve never seen an equivalent for Vancouver.  Not surprising, I suppose, since the city had only been incorporated in 1886.  But there was an active bicycle community, best captured in a famous photo taken at Prospect Point in 1895.

Cyclists Prospect point

What’s often forgotten is how essential cyclists were in literally paving the way for Motordom, particularly when they lobbied for better roads.  Bike mechanics adapted their skills to service the first automobiles.   And their cycling customers, looking for easier transportation, followed them into automobility.

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