The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) has come along way when it comes to its relationship with cycling.

It has gone from opposing and fighting bike lanes to fully embracing them.

The DVBIA is now a platinum member of the cycling advocacy group, HUB Cycling, and says it is fully aligned with the group's goals. 

As part of its new partnership, the DVBIA made a $15,000 annual commitment to the cycling group to spend on initiatives like Bike to Work Week or Bike to Shop Days. 

"I can imagine how it's challenging and difficult for some people to understand how we came from that place to where we are now," said Charles Gauthier, president of the DVBIA. 

"It's part of an evolution and reflection of what we're hearing from our members," Gauthier said.

Competitive edge

Gauthier said many employers, especially those in the tech sector, are interested in office spaces that accommodate different types of transportation, such as cycling or car sharing. 

"They want those options available so it's easy for their employees to get to work by bike or transit or to be able to walk to work," Gauthier said.

"Parking of private vehicles is less of a top priority and building owners want to attract those employers," he said. 

"I think it provides us with a competitive edge."  

The cycling group is glad the business group has come around and hopes other BIAs do as well. 

"The fact is that we have to move a lot of people around the city and there simply isn't enough space to move everyone by car," said Laura Jane, director of corporate engagement and events with HUB Cycling.

Gauthier said there might be a few retailers that won't be pleased with the move to support cycling, but he said those businesses that rely on street parking will most likely move out and be replaced by other tenants.

That's what happened on Hornby Street when the bike lanes were built there, said Gauthier.

HUB Cycling has partnered with seven other BIAs for it's Bike to Shop Days event, which takes place July 21 - 23. More than 100 shops will be giving discounts to two-wheeled shoppers.