Pedal into Gastown in the coming days, and you may find a little surprise waiting for you on your saddle when returning to your bike. The Gastown BIA are busy encouraging more people to travel there on two wheels, and – as a small token of their appreciation – are distributing waterproof seat covers to bicycles locked up in and around the area, imprinted with a cheeky tagline: “Get your a** to Gastown.”
This fun campaign is thanks to the efforts of Pamela Saunders, the Gastown BIA Marketing and Communications Manager, who wanted to create a fun way to not only bring more people to the area, but to say “thank you!” for arriving by bicycle instead of car.
“There’s no doubt that Gastown is best explored by foot, and one of the best ways to get here to do that is on a bicycle,” Saunders acknowledged.
While some bravely choose to drive to the area, the headache of finding and paying for parking can act as a significant deterrent. As a result, Saunders plans to canvass bikes not just in Gastown, but also in neighbourhoods that are a reasonable cycling distance away, including Downtown, Yaletown, Mount Pleasant, Strathcona, and Commercial Drive. The ultimate goal is that they will provide a not-too-subtle reminder that there is plenty to see and do in the area – and not just for tourists.
If you take a stroll through Gastown, it becomes clear just how fast it’s changing. Gone are the rows of gimmicky souvenirs. Nowadays you can find new restaurants catering to a variety of tastes, and bespoke boutiques offering locally made clothing and goodies. And while there are still shops catering to a regular stream of tourists, Vancouverites are increasingly finding reasons to get into Gastown more regularly.
The saddle covers are part of a larger marketing campaign called #GetIntoGastown, which includes new street banners featuring photos capturing the character of Gastown. Shot by local photographer Nelson Mouellic, and lined along Carrall and Cordova Streets, they highlight the iconic cobblestone, well-recognizable patios, and – of course – a bicycle, all with the vintage feeling that only Gastown can offer.
“We wanted to use locations and images business owners could instantly identify, and create conversation topics for them and their customers,” Saunders explained.
As the historical birthplace of Vancouver, Gastown will always hold a special place in the hearts of the people that live here. That’s why it’s nice to see the BIA showing their appreciation in a meaningful way. Saunders and her organizational partners will spend the next week canvasses local areas with the covers, taking a break between Christmas and New Year’s, before resuming the campaign in the January.
Now that winter has placed its chilly, wet grip on the city for the next few months, it is truly a wonderful thing to have a dry saddle as we pedal through these shorter days, and dream of the beautiful summer sunshine to come!