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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 10 | Aug. 1 , 2002

Two-wheeled Trekking

CanCart really brings home the bacon.

By Brian Lin

Grocery-carrying cyclists and pedestrians in Vancouver now have a new way to lug their weekly supplies while doing the environment -- and themselves -- a big favour.

Developed by BikeCartAge, a non-profit organization promoting carbohydrate-powered transportation, CanCarts (as in "I can cart") have been popular among UBC students, faculty and staff who carry anything from books to garden tools.

In the past year, Transport Canada and the B.C. government have been funding the bike cart project at UBC, which saw the establishment of six loaner depots around campus and 85 carts made available free of charge.

Now the UBC TREK Program Centre is reaching out into the surrounding neighbourhoods with their pilot Community CanCart Loaner Project. The vision is to establish and popularize the user-friendly and virtually indestructible carts through 10 depots in neighbourhood stores, libraries and community centres. CanCarts are now available at City Hall, the Safeway store on 10th at Sasamat and Aby's Variety Store at 4th and Alma.

"All you have to do is fill out a form, show your ID - very much like when you rent a videotape - and it's yours for a few days," says Steve Balyi, marketing and communication manager of the UBC Trek Program Centre. Long-term loans are also available.

For cyclists, the carts attach easily to any bike tool-free and even help stabilize the bikes. For pedestrians, the carts are designed to fit through supermarket check-out aisles and on transit buses.

"We know cyclists love them, now we want to make sure pedestrians fall in love with them, too," says Balyi, who co-founded BikeCartAge in 1997 and came to UBC after consulting with the UBC Trek program on the use of bike carts for several years.

In addition to the convenience factor, Balyi wants to appeal to users' commitment to the environment and their own health.

"Eighty per cent of the green house (GHG) emission is caused by transportation in the urban area," says Balyi. The average household generates 13 trips a day, and the average non-commuting trip is under six kilometres. These trips produce more than three tons of GHG emissions per year.

CanCarts can help you stay fit, too.

"We're a society that's big on convenience and labour saving devices," says Balyi. "The carts make it easier for people to run those short daily errands on foot or by bike. It's a great way to get chores done and stay fit at the same time."

For more information and to borrow a cart, call 604-822-CART.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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