While many roads across southern B.C. were rendered impassable by a heavy snowfall Tuesday, an enterprising cyclist was out clearing paths and sidewalks with a homemade, bike-mounted snow plow.
Phil Marciniak lives in Saanich, a few kilometres north of Victoria, and for his job repairing appliances uses an electric cargo bike to get around.
But navigating snow-covered sidewalks can be difficult, so last year, he started experimenting with different front-mounted plows to help clear his path.
After a few prototypes, he arrived at his current strategy of attaching two shovels angled outward to plywood mounted onto his cargo hold.
“It works pretty well, I’m surprised,” he told CBC On the Island guest host Kathryn Marlow.
Watch | Philip Marciniak blasts through the snow:
Marciniak — who also has an electric bike business — cycled several kilometres during a heavy snowfall Monday, motivated by a desire to pick up Vietnamese food from a favourite restaurant.
At one point, he reached speeds of over 20 km/h as snow flew to either side of him.
He tried it out again Tuesday after more than 30 centimetres of snow hit his community, and again, it was a success.
Marciniak said he tried to stick to separated bike lanes and paths to avoid interfering with traffic.
“I don’t want to be anywhere near cars in the snow.”
Commuters urged to have patience
An unusually large amount of snow has hit Vancouver Island and B.C.’s South Coast, causing chaos for travellers of all sorts.
Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock said crews were out clearing streets through the night and urged residents to stay home where possible.
He also asked people to do their part in clearing sidewalks — though it’s not clear he had Marciniak’s bike-mounted solution in mind.
Marciniak said while he’s not sure the bike plow would be a viable replacement for specialized clearing equipment, he plans to continue using it to get around.
But he joked he might be persuaded to clear paths on request so long as the right meal was waiting at the end.
“I will plow for food, definitely.”