A bicycle ride through Vancouver in 1974

Stop frame Super 8 flick uses old Vancouver radio air checks as soundtrack

I don’t know how BLAH City comes up with these videos – but this is an amazing find: a 1974 bike ride around Vancouver by Hans Sipma.

Shot with a Braun Nizo Super 8 camera mounted on a bicycle. The camera had an intervalometer so it automatically shot a frame of film every so many seconds. This is one continuous film, miraculously the film ran out just as I arrived back home.

Home appears to be in Grandview, the start and stop, with a loop around Burrard Inlet, bridge to bridge through Stanley Park and over to the south shore of False Creek. While some aspects of Vancouver don’t appear to have changed all that much (though it would be great to get a comparable video done today), there are some highlights.

Cyclists who don’t remember Lions Gate before it was rebuilt will be shocked to see the sidewalk we rode on back then, as well as the lack of a separated lane on Burrard. There’s also a quick shot of the old Englesea Lodge on English Bay before it burned, and a detour up to the Burrard Bridge given that the seawall went no further.

Most significantly, you’ll see the South Shore of False Creek under construction, with the seawall completed but not much else. Also some shots of the great industrial buildings where the Olympic Village is now. And a general absence of trees. The city looks relatively barren compared to the lushness that has filled in the streets in the last 38 years.

But that’s though my eyes. Anything else you notice, please add to Comments.

– post by Gord Price

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  • Gord, as someone who pedaled this route a few times and as an old radio nut I LOVE this video by Hans. I did almost the exact same rides in the early 1980s, definitely with no helmet, no toe straps, hunched over on a ten-speed with no water bottle and skinny tires. We’d stop for bottles of cola and junk food to keep us going. I remember when we actually rode on one of those piers in Vancouver’s harbour we were chased off by a guy driving a forklift!

    I think the gas was only slightly more expensive then.

    Traveling by bike over the Second Narrows and Lion’s Gate bridges was a rite of passage for me and my cycling buddies. We didn’t think much about sharing the roads with trucks.

  • Steven Forth
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