Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vancouver to Richmond - by bike no less!

Back on Friday, Aug.17th, I decided to go for a bike ride and boy did I ride; from start to finish I logged 31.7 km. (19.7 miles) 

Vancouver has made a concerted effort to put bikes on the map (the highly coveted Bike Vancouver map) as an alternate form of transportation to which end we now have a truly magnificent and highly functional biking infrastructure. (until you get in your car...then it’s a different ballpark)

Although it rains a lot here we do have a few moments of stellar weather and Friday, the 17th, was a beauty. 

You can bike most of the year if you don’t mind drizzle which accompanies the overcast skies which make up three-quarters of our weather. All in all, perfect biking weather!!

What you will see when cycling around Vancouver, if you’re not in racing mode with your head tucked between your handlebars and knees, is quite simply worth the energy output.

I left my house around 10:30 am with two water bottles, a protein shake and my sun block all nicely housed in one of my panniers, along with two face clothes (one dry, one wet) and my trusty Bike Vancouver map (small and compact).

Off I went not quite sure what was on the agenda, and so, there I was at the crossroad of 37th and Ontario...with a quick glance left, then right, I turned left and headed south to the border. (okay, not quite that ambitious but the thought of fleeing the scene always crosses my mind)

Here...I want to give a shout out to a helpful cyclist who was kind and gracious in giving up some time to answer a few questions and help me adjust my bike seat for maximum pedalling efficiency. (thanks, Len!)

Here's my route:                   (click on any picture to enlarge)

Red is my route to Iona Beach, in Richmond. 
Green is my return ride - note the green dashes, that’s when I was on the SkyTrain. 
Brown “X’s” are spots where I took these photos.

After riding downhill, for what should have been an easy twenty-six blocks, I found I had missed my turn off (at 63rd) and was in no man’s land (aka an industrial area) scratching my helmeted head in disbelieve...I did, after all, have a map. (note to self: must occasionally look at map)

So, after a wee bit of backtracking, pretending it’s what I had intended to do, (didn’t want me and myself thinking I had goofed) I was back on the “right” track. 

Fast forward to a lovely ride over the North Arm Fraser River and voila there I was in Richmond - WOW! Too cool.  
These two pictures are looking west, taken midway across the SkyTrain bridge. Check out all that industrial land waiting to be occupied. 

If you look to the left of centre, in this pic, you will see the tower at Vancouver International Airport...that's close to where I was heading.

Looking back at the SkyTrain Bridge; to the right is the track for the train and the bike/walk path is set below, when a train goes by it is rather interesting having it right above you - let's just hope it doesn't fall off its tracks! In between those support pillars (in the middle) is where I stopped to take the pics above.

Once off the bridge I headed over another bridge - this one is called Sea Island Bridge. I stopped and took this picture, once passed the trees I veered right.

Looking back to Sea Island Bridge there are those trees I passed. I did a little round about and was facing east for a few minutes. This area is just to the south of the flight path of incoming planes. It was a rush watching them overhead; very close!

I then just kept pedalling...and pedalling...and pedalling… 

I kept to the right of the airport (the north side) and chuckled at the barbed wire fence on my left and wide open fields, with a few horses, thrown haphazardly around, to my right. I caught one enjoying lunch.

This picture (or three stitched) was taken just before I rounded my final bend. You see those trees, in the distance, well, that's where Iona Beach is, and that is where my adventure ended. it final destination - Iona Beach

My return trip required a little “cheating” as I knew the uphill ride would be brutal given the blazing sun and its intense heat. (how convenient to have weather to blame) 

So I hopped the SkyTrain (circled in green) and enjoyed a little reprieve from the heat and my bike seat. I got off at the King Edward Station (aka 25th Ave - also circled in green) and continued the last leg of my epic cycling adventure after a quick stop at 19th to purchase some protein powder.

I had fun on Friday’s outing and while I did take the next day off I was right back at it trying out new routes to my office. (I’m a fan of the easy routes but can't seem to get away from all the hills)

As a week and a bit has now passed I have piled on more miles as I try a variety of bike routes in and around this lovely city...suffice it to say, it’s not a bad way to stay in shape and seems to have some purpose by getting me from A to B in the process. (beats a stationary bike at the gym any day)

Do you cycle? Has your city been pushing a biking initiative? If so, what do you think about it?

Also, do you wear a helmet when biking? (I do)



  1. Good for you!!! I am very impressed and think you are awesome. :) I love the pics and maybe one day soon I can bike around your town too.

    1. I make it sound more impressive than it is...remember, it was all downhill hence the "cheating" on the return trip. (okay, it was really, really hot too)

      You can come and bike in my town anytime you like - I'll even be your guide! :)

  2. Well done Jenny! It's hilly here in Nanaimo but there are so many bike trails here and on the rest of the Island that I'm sure if you wanted to find a hill-less one or two it would be worth packing up your bike for the ferry ride! Thanks again for a wonderful day last week. xo Carole

    1. I can't believe I'm so lazy at posting these days, Carole, better late than never I guess!

      I had such an amazing day with you on Monday - what a treat. I hope the rest of your stay, with your daughter, was awesome and full of fun. Hugs, Jenny

  3. always wear a helmet but my bike riding days are over. I used to love road cycling.

    1. Why are your riding days over? Can't be because you're too old...that was my excuse for about five minutes until my riding buddy kicked my butt right onto my bike.

  4. That's an incredible distance to travel Jenny and you should feel very proud of yourself because cycling is a great form of exercise and to do so much is just awesome. The photos make it look like quite the pleasant journey too, I like how Vancouver are trying to encourage more biking too, they really are a great little state, I loved my time there.

    1. Hey Matthew, when were you in Vancouver? It must have been way before we were blogging pals because I'd have set time aside to give you a "behind-the-scenes" tour of this fair city.

      Next time, okay?! :) you cycle over in your neck of the woods?

  5. You have the most wonderful adventures.
    My bike is in the shed negelected I am afraid to say. I am always promising I will get back to riding it. Maybe when the weather is better, still cold and horrible here.
    Helmets are compulsary here too.

    1. Hi Trish, yes, I do have wonderful adventures (boast, boast) ;) but not without a little expenditure of energy!
      Wouldn't it be nice to have one of those rickshaw that would be a real wonderful adventure. (the rickshaw would need a cooler for the wine) - and yes, you would be invited!

      Now, haul that bike out of the shed and get it ready for the glorious weather that's just around the corner! Biking is such fun and I'm all about the fun!!! (said with wine in hand) :)

  6. Good stuff! Bet you were tired when you finished. Biking over that bridge would be cool.

    1. Oh, I was really tired even though I "cheated" my way out of doing the hill on the return trip. I had never gone that far on a bike ride before and truth be told I was might impressed with myself because normally I'm good for the five miles to my office and this was epic!

      The SkyTrain bridge was "cool" the second bridge, Sea Island, was a bit scary as I had to drive on the road with traffic (even with a designated lane it's freaky) but I was brave enough to stop in the middle and take some photos! (some nerve, eh!)

  7. What a great ride! Beautiful pics, too. :)

    Oh, and in my family we don't admit to missing turns or getting lost--we call them "unscheduled adventures."

    I don't ride my bike nearly as much as I used to, but I always wear a helmet when I do.

    1. I'm grinning because I'm the queen of "unschedule adventures". I confess I don't always take the time to stop and look at my map thinking I already have it figured out...then voila and unscheduled adventure appears! :)

      Glad you wear a helmet - here they are mandatory, but there is a movement on to try and repeal it, which I think is stupid. We'll see how it goes.

  8. Jenny-Lou,
    It looks like you are out enjoying yourself again.
    That looks like an amazing area to live in.

    I remember cycling around Portland when I was home and how nice it was. A wonderful way to get around. I'd get killed if I tried that here. Too many rednecks in pickup trucks with no regard for cyclists. Foo.

    1. Hi Rev...when am I not enjoying myself, hmmm...oh yeah, when I'm doing double duty as the evil mother and wicked daughter - the high price of being related to Hellboy.

      Well, I've decided to turn over a new leaf (aka midlife crisis) and just do my own thing - hence the high risk adventure to the ends of the earth (okay, a bit dramatic) and back.

      You're so right about the area I live in being amazing - it never ceases to surprise me!

      Although I am sure I was out in the Iona Beach area at some point in the last decade I just can't remember it. And now, I will make it a destination spot - it is so peaceful and tranquil - which lord knows I could use given my familial bliss!

      I can feel your pain regarding rednecks and their disregard for cyclists - I'd be staying off the road if that was the case here...and trust me, some areas around here are a bit dicey too.
      When I found myself cycling in the industrial park, while I was on this adventure, there were way too many big trucks on the narrow roads hence my desire to backtrack and get on the right path!

      PS - I like the new handle you've given me! (hehehe - Jenny-Lou!) *silly grin*

    2. I'm just happy to see you back out and about and smiling again, Jenny-Lou. (grin)

  9. Vancouver to Richmond!!?? Great Googli Moogli, that's a haul.
    Oh, you don't mean Richmond, Virginia?
    Oh, alright then.

    1. Yup, Vancouver, Washington to Richmond, Virginia...I did say that didn't I?! mistake for not being clear! (hahaha) (that would be a mere 2871 miles)

      No, Al, I'm ambitious but not my route was Vancouver, BC to Richmond, BC...a hop skip and a jump from my house. :)

  10. well done Jenny and thank you for the great pictures and sharing your trip.

    1. Thanks, Becca - I'm always happy to share my adventures and pictures. I know how much I enjoy doing the same; I enjoy living vicariously through our peoples photos and stories too! :)

  11. Hi Jenny .. what a great trip - would love to be able to cycle like that .. but suspect need six months' of training ... great photos and I love your header photo ...

    Cheers Hilary

    1. I'm glad you like the header - it's a favourite place for walking. I was just there, at a lovely waterfront restaurant, and couldn't resist taking a few shots.

      As to the cycling...remember I cheated and did not to the uphill portion on the return, I used the SkyTrain. So I think you would have no problem with the portion I did actually cycle! :)

  12. I enjoy to read that cycling is promoted in your city! I'm a traffic planner and enthusiastic cyclist. What are the major activities the city administration implements or is planning to implement? Bike lanes? Bike freeways? Promotion? Storage possibilities?

    The city of Cologne, where I live, is part of a network of bike-friendly cities in Germany. Thus in the recent 20 years a lot of measures have been adopted to make everyday cycling easier. A lot of bike lanes have been created and in general bikes have become a subject of traffic planning again. For example, there are a lot of one way streets that have been opened for cycling in the opposite direction. Still there is much left to do but as biking has become rather cool and due to the rapidly increasing gasoline price I'm hopeful : )

    1. Our current city mayor is also a cycling enthusiast and hence over the last three years Vancouver has undergone many changes to accommodate his "green" initiative for more bikes and less cars on the road.

      The planners, for the most part, have done quite a good job. Due to the vast distances people must travel, to work downtown, cycling is not always the best option (and we must factor in the weather - we have a lot of rain).

      Currently we have many good bike friendly streets that have speed restrictions (30 km max) and also cycling lanes on major roadways. Our freeways are also undergoing a transformation but this will still take many years.

      We have a helmet law, which is being challenged. Some cyclists feel helmets are not necessary and would like to ride without one, like over in Copenhagen. Unfortunately most of these people don't realize there is a great difference between our two cities - namely we have more cars than cyclists and car drivers are very determined to keep the road to themselves.

      So, as you can see, we are in the early stages but I am confident, as time goes on, we will continue to head in the direction of less cars, more bikes.

      I was in Cologne, back in 2009, just loved it! It was just after the underground tunnel collapsed -very sad. Was this an area that you worked on/with?

      Well, that's almost a small novel I've now I will say, "Thank you, Martin" for dropping by and sharing your cycling comments.

  13. What you are writing about Vancouver is really promising.

    Probably in Vancouver helmets are welcome as a rain shelter ;-) But our climate is also humid as you may have experienced : ) Helmets for cyclists are likewise controversial here but there's no obligation to wear one.

    I have never had anything to do with tunnel construction. But it happened at a spot I usually passed every day. Everyone was shocked by the disaster, and two people died.

    Soem years before the tunnel collapsed there had almost been another disaster with the same underground works: a steeple inclined dramatically and it had to be supported. I made a satirical drawing about this (if you're interested: )

    This evolved into another novel ...

    Thank you for your lovely comments too : )

  14. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you.

    Cold Storage Vancouver


Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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