British Columbia

Vancouver man says he cycled every city street over 3 years — then had his bike stolen

It took a cycling enthusiast three years to bike every street in Vancouver — and then his bike got stolen two days later after he finished.

Arlin ffrench traced his rides using an app called Strava and got creative with some of his routes

The moment that Arlin ffrench says he finished his three-year project of cycling through every street in Vancouver. (Submitted by Arlin ffrench)

It took a cycling enthusiast three years to bike every street in Vancouver — and then his bike got stolen two days later after he finished.

Arlin ffrench, and that isn't a typo in his name, says he decided to bike the entirety of the city almost on a whim. 

The 39-year-old used to ride around the city as a bike courier, but he now has a desk job so he was looking for a way to get more exercise. He started by finding more windy routes to his work, and then it snowballed from there. 

"I like cycling and I've always been interested in maps, so it just made sense," he said. "I've lived in the city since 2002 but I really got to learn the city this way."

Watch a three-year timelapse of ffrench's cycling routes 

This is a three-year timelapse of the routes Arlin ffrench cycled in the city 0:48

Given the many cyclists in the city, ffrench says his cycling barely got any attention, except when he went around a cul-de-sac. 

"Somehow there was always an older man in these cul-de-sacs doing yard work or something like that, and they'd give me an odd look."

Ffrench traced his routes using an app called Strava and got creative with some of the routes, including a 35-km penis-shaped cycling route, to amuse his 10-year-old self, he said. 

But jokes aside, he says it's given him a deeper appreciation for the city and its hidden gems. 

ffrench biking in Pacific Spirit Park. (Submitted by Arlin ffrench)

"I like how the city transitions from old to new, the way streets are named in certain neighbourhoods after trees or wars," he said. 

"All around Shaughnessy area, it's just really nice to bike there on the curvy streets with the massive, fancy houses and big trees," he said. 

Ffrench biked rain or shine, and believes he averaged about 30 km/hr and almost 6,500 km over the three years.

His favourite locations to ride? 

  • UBC to Spanish Banks.
  • Nelson from Burrard Street to Cambie Bridge when you hit all the lights.
  • E 29th to Grandview down Nootka and Renfrew

And the most dangerous in his view? 12th between Kingsway and Fraser.

Snowy, cold weather didn't stop ffrench from biking. (Submitted by Arlin ffrench)

It was all going well and he avoided any of the cycling woes or scraps with drivers. But just as he wrapped his last ride on Sept. 11, his bike was stolen two days later outside his work.

Originally, he planned to create a short video and share it on Reddit but with his bike stolen, he shared a timelapse map instead

He now has a new bike and is contemplating what to do next. 

"I made a hard stop on the boundaries of Vancouver, so maybe something else next?"

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