Hospitalist Dr. Rod Tukker cycles to work three to four times a week.
“I store my bike in the centre and also use the great shower and locker facilities,” he said. “I once had a bike stolen from right in front of the hospital, which deterred me from biking for a while. But, with the centre, I feel that my bike is a lot more secure. And, everything is really convenient.”
Neurologist Dr. Silke Cresswell agrees. She works mainly at UBC Hospital but visits VGH regularly.
“I bike to work most days and recently bought an e-bike that makes commuting between UBCH and VGH much easier,” she said. “The fact that there’s a safe space to store my bike is really important. And, I can even recharge it while I’m in my meetings.”
Both Drs. Cresswell and Tukker find using the cycling centre to be cost effective. They note that they are saving on parking as well as the cost of gas.
“The biggest benefit for me is it’s a great way to get to and from work… I feel healthier and calmer,” added Dr. Tukker, who commutes about six kilometres each way. “I arrive at work with a clearer head and more energy. At the end of the day, it gives me time to separate my work from my home life. It’s both physically and mentally cleansing.”
“In addition to feeling physically refreshed, cycling also makes me more creative; ideas come up when least expected,” said Dr. Cresswell, who also enjoys connecting with nature by using bike trails. “Life is so busy and our days are packed, so adding going to the gym is difficult. I like to make exercise part of what I’m doing anyway. As physicians we need to advocate healthy living to our patients and we can do that more convincingly when we’re doing it ourselves.”
Arthur Orsini is VCH’s Healthy Transportation Lead and part of his job is to manage the VGH Cycling Centre.
“VCH created the centre to address the need for more safe, secure bike facilities at the hospital,” he explained. “Our goal is to be more than a bike garage; we want to be a community hub. We offer bike repair workshops and spring tune ups. And we have yoga mats so riders can warm up and stretch before their commutes.”
Still need convincing that cycling is a good option?
“When you factor in that you’re getting your exercise in while commuting, cycling to work can be a time saver,” said Arthur. “There’s also a sense of community here. People ask questions, they interact, and they learn from each other about their bikes. We’ve had members who’ve passed up moderate and linear promotions because they don’t want to leave and I also hear about a lot of envious spouses who wish their workplaces had such a facility.”