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A student cycling beneath trees on campus at UBC
September 12, 2023
3 mins read

Cycling through the beauty of campus

It’s another beautiful afternoon at UBC. Picture this: an azure sky spun with fluffy clouds, tree-lined streets bursting with life, and the energizing chipper of birdsong echoing across campus. The sun’s warm embrace paired with the gentle mid-afternoon breeze makes today a perfect day for a bike ride.

And go for a bike ride, I did! Join me on my little bike tour of campus to see the beauty of UBC —and be inspired to take your own bike tour of campus, too!

Getting prepared

HOPR bikes on UBC campus

Before embarking, I made sure to have a filling snack, fill up my trusty water bottle, and pack a tote bag with my daily essentials (hat, sunscreen, wallet, bus pass). If journaling during stops is your thing, it can be fun to bring along a notebook as well. I took a few minutes to freshen up on bike safety and etiquette, and check out UBC’s cycling maps and info on car-free zones since it had been a while since I last biked in a place as buzzing as campus.

I opened HOPR, UBC’s on-campus bikeshare service app, and found a bike near me. Luckily, there were lots of bikes a short walk from the UBC Bus Loop and that’s where my cycling adventure began. 

Note: All images taken while safely stopped and dismounted!

FYI: UBC students have access to $15 monthly HOPR passes—includes 60 minutes of cycling per day! Sign up using your UBC email to qualify.

Stop 1: MacInnes Field (aka the turf beside the AMS Nest)

MacInnes Field

An easy first stop since it was right beside where I picked up my bike! This field is a great spot to sunbathe, share a bite with friends, or speed-walk across when running behind for class.

Stop 2: Musqueam Post / UBC Bookstore Plaza

Musqueam Post

I naturally meandered my way over to the plaza outside of the UBC Bookstore, where I took a moment to admire the beauty of, and reflect on the cultural significance of, the Musqueam Post. I found the way the sun’s rays highlighted the Post to be particularly striking.

Stop 3: Agricultural Road

Agricultural Road

One of my go-to pathways across campus as a student with classes based out of West Mall! You can find this path by cycling along East Mall and turning left right before the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKB). I’ve always found this pathway really gorgeous, and I think today was the most beautiful I’ve seen it (but perhaps I’m biased due to summer being my favourite season!).

Stops 4 and 5: UBC Clock Tower / Rose Garden

UBC Clock Tower
People overlooking the UBC Rose Garden

Finding myself on Main Mall, I decided to take a right and head down towards the iconic UBC Rose Garden. On the way, I took a brief stop to snap a photo of the UBC Clock Tower. Lots of beauty all around!

Stop 6: Martha Piper Plaza (aka the UBC Fountain)

Martha Piper Plaza

Going straight down Main Mall, I took a quick break at Martha Piper Plaza where families and tourists were eating ice cream (jealous!) and taking photos. It was definitely picturesque in the glow of the early summer evening.

Wrapping up and putting my wheels away

What a fun and sustainable way to spend a lovely evening! I headed back towards the UBC Bookstore, letting gravity do its thing (there’s a comfortable decline between Martha Piper Plaza and the Bookstore) and looped around to where I started. I really enjoyed riding gently through UBC’s pedestrian priority zone, as I didn’t have to worry about vehicle traffic and could just ride at a relaxed pace.

The HOPR app showed me all the possible parking ‘ponds’ I could leave the bike for the next rider to use. I decided to keep things simple and return the bike where I first grabbed it by the UBC Bus Loop, since I’d be catching a bus home from there anyway. Yay for ease of use!

It might not be on your radar to bike around campus, but I can attest to the beauty and enjoyment of the whole experience. As a master’s student, my time at UBC is short and sweet and with only a year left on campus, I feel like I’ve seen and experienced it in a new light. I welcome and encourage you to do the same. Happy biking!

PSST! A little tidbit of information: I’ve heard that Mobi Bikeshare will be coming to campus soon…meaning more opportunities to bike around campus and expand my (and your) cycling adventures outwards! In the meantime, check out this video to learn more about transportation options to, from, and on campus.