As part of the green certification of his business

Greening up your commute

Local business helping sustainability in the region in more ways than one

While many people are fuming over congestion in the region, Steven Hurdle, manager of Goldstream Bicycles in Langford, is one area resident who doesn’t get too concerned by the traffic out in front of his shop.

He doesn’t own a car.

Considering the traffic snarls around the West Shore most mornings, it makes sense that the walls of Goldstream Bicycles are covered with a wide variety of commuter bikes. When the weather is decent, a lot of regular car commuters hop onto their bikes. The most current Statistics Canada data show municipalities in Victoria have the country’s highest rate of bicycle commuters.

Having more cyclists utilize the prime cycling routes in the area makes for a more sustainable region in the long run. Many people in Langford and Colwood commute to UVic, Camosun, downtown or to work on the West Shore, rain or shine, all year around.

Steven and his team have been instinctively running Goldstream Bikes with sustainability at the forefront and have been certified at the highest level of “green” by Vancouver Island Green Building Certification (VIGBC). They have taken steps to dramatically reduce the waste that ends up in the landfill, and they recycle and reuse almost everything that comes into the store.

VIGBC was able to help steer them towards composting, so they are now diverting almost all of their waste from the landfill.

“We have some pretty specific recycling needs,” Steven says. “In addition to paper and hard plastic and glass, we also recycle soft plastic, aluminum, steel and more.”

Recycling has been in the DNA of the business for a long time. Its founder, Grant Turner, still works there 25 years later. His father grew up in the depression and taught him to never waste anything.

But recycling is only part of the story. They started emailing receipts several years ago and they don’t require a printed receipt for returns or exchange.

“Ninety-nine per cent of customers prefer it,” Steven says. “They don’t have to worry about holding onto the piece of paper, and we can look up their sales history easily. We’ve saved tonnes of paper, toner and electricity. Searching your inbox for a receipt is much more convenient than searching for a physical copy – for the customer and us both. And someone looking at buying a bike? Now we can email you a detailed quote, rather than scribbling the bike’s name and price on the back of a business card.”

The bike ride from Langford to downtown Victoria is about 45 minutes. Commuting in a car from the West Shore during peak periods often takes more than that.

If you are ready to step up your game, you can get yourself onto a road bike or touring bike, as these are the most efficient for longer commutes.

Several of the staff at Goldstream Bicycles have extensive touring experience and they are more than happy to help steer you down the right track. People have been riding bikes for hundreds of years, but cycling in Greater Victoria also has a rich history, thanks to our temperate climate and active lifestyles.

Research suggests cyclists are happier with their commutes than those who bus or drive. Plus, it’s one less car stuck in traffic.

Craig Sorochan is program manager for Vancouver Island Green Business Certification. He can be reached at craig@vigbc.ca.

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