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Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

There’s a group of cyclists that gathers early every Friday morning (7-9 AM, rain or shine) in various spots in the Vancouver area to chat, talk bikes, and brew coffee. I’ve been following their Instagram account for a while, and I finally managed to make one of their meet ups.

I’m headed down the hill from UBC. Looks like a bit of wildfire haze to accompany a day where the high is going to be 33°C.

This week they picked a nice spot off False Creek: Habitat Island.

Stoves and coffee makers of various vintages very much in evidence.

Great to touch base with Morgan whom I met a couple of years ago in line for the ferry on my way to visit Sam Whittingham.

Morgan to the left, not Morgan to the right. Height difference greatly exaggerated by wide angle lens.

Morgan writes for the Radavist, and if you want to see some lovely pictures of drool worthy bikes, visit his instagram feed.

Lots of very interesting bikes. Here is a brand new Riese and Muller Packster cargo bike with a sturdy recycled plastic tub.

I like this vintage Stumpjumper citified with fenders and basket. Note the Blue Lug sticker.

That is a wide range cassette.

A nice variety of bags on this bike.

Nice to chat with such a friendly group while being able to check out all the bike geekery at the same time. If you are interested in joining in, their meet ups are announced on their instagram.

Postscript: I was told about a social bike ride that starts from Kissing Crows Cyclery every Sunday at 9 am. Regrettably, I didn’t follow their instagram feed so I didn’t get the notice that the ride was cancelled this weekend. Looks like a pretty interesting shop.

At any rate, it was a nice ride out there to and from UBC. Here is Nat Bailey Stadium.

A Sprinter Van and a Subaru van (Japanese import)

I am in my happy place biking back through Pacific Spirit Park.

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Richmond and Steveston

I spent this morning exploring parts of Richmond that I hadn’t seen before. I was inspired by this route from the Vancouver Bicycle Club but I modified it since I wanted to check out a gravel trail called the West Dyke Trail on the oceanfront. You can see from the altitude profile that Richmond is dead flat.

Crossing the Canada Line bridge, I see a whole lot of lumber being towed out to sea.

The route takes you to River St, and then onto the Middle Arm Waterfront Greenway.

The route map directs you on and off the trail along River St, but if you can tolerate smooth gravel, you can just continue on the trail all the way to the end.

Here I’m turning the corner south to join onto the West Dyke Trail.

About 5.5 km of gravel goodness, dead flat.

Houses to the left, wetlands to the right. You are riding on a dyke, just as advertised.

I was riding a Brompton, so pretty much any bike should do.

Trail ends at Garry Point Park, and then you can continue east into Steveston.

Pedestrians and cyclists can take advantage of low traffic roads that go by fishing facilities.

The waterfront district with lots of shops, etc that weren’t open this early in the morning.

The Britannia National Historic Site gives you a glimpse of what this centre for fishing and canning looked like in the past.

I saw a couple of these misting stations, which were a nice feature.

I had so much fun on the West Dyke Trail that I elected to ignore the original return route, and biked back the way I came.

Those white buildings under the plane are on the UBC campus which was my start/stop point.

This building along the Middle Arm Greenway is the speed skating oval built for the Olympics. There are beach volleyball courts now set up in front.

A nice ride with great scenery, nice trails, and dead flat in the Richmond portion.

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For a post RSVP ride, I was intrigued by a route that was posted in the archived section of the Vancouver Bicycle Club. I was particularly interested in exploring the area around the airport, labeled Iona Beach Regional Park.

2017 John Hathaway Birthday Ride

For the first part of the ride, I came down from UBC, and I wanted to check out the protected intersection at 1st and Quebec, which I visited last year when it was not quite fully installed. Here is a video of cars and cyclists going through the intersection. It is not ideal as there was not much traffic, it being 9 am on a Sunday.

At this point, I joined the official route, which basically took me south across town, more or less on the Heather bikeway.

These units on the back side of a condo complex that fronted on 49th looked like laneway housing.

Here is the bike and pedestrian approach to the Canada line bridge.

The bridge looks in remarkably good shape, very close in condition to the last time I went across in 2012.

I was amused that the posted route took me past the River Rock Casino, which is where I caught the bus to Seattle just a few days ago.

Peering through a fence at the site of what I presume to be the Richmond night market.

Now crossing a short bridge from Richmond to Sea Island, which is where the airport is. Given traffic, I elected to take the sidewalk across.

On the other side of the bridge there is signage indicating various destinations. At this point I decided to head towards Iona Beach Park, which sounded like the most interesting choice.

Heading towards the park past the outlet mall, I noticed a cyclist pulled over picking berries.

A little further on I saw this group of cyclists. One of them told me that they were going to do an informal time trial.

The road is smooth and dead level with limited traffic on the weekend. I was surprised by the number of cyclists out and about, with a strong bias towards racer types.

Past the post office terminal, the road narrows, and the pavement was rougher, although still perfectly fine. All the way at the end of the road you reach Iona Beach Regional Park.

From this point, there are two long spits that extend into the ocean. The north branch looked natural, but the arrow straight south one allowed bikes. So here I go, out 4 km to the southwest. Bikes were allowed on the gravel road to one side of the raised pedestrian walkway.

At Lands’ End, Vancouver version.

Looking back, you can see the city and the airport in the distance.

I should mention that the whole time I was out by the airport, there was a significant breeze coming from offshore. This meant tailwinds all the way back. BTW the Brompton with the narrow tires did just fine on the gravel.

I admit that when I got back to the airport, I was not excited about crossing the bridge to Granville Ave, as it didn’t look bike friendly. I elected to take the Canada line back to Oakridge, before biking back to UBC. On the way back, I stopped at a viewpoint to take another look at the two splits. The one further away was the one that I biked. I found out later that this spit is used to dump treated sewage some distance from the shore, hence the shape of the raised walkway.

Here’s what my ride looked like on Strava.

A nice way to cap off a biking weekend in Vancouver.

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Good friend and riding partner Steve and I decided this summer that rather than doing STP for the third time, that we would do the other north/south ride run by Cascade Bike Club: Ride from Seattle to Vancouver plus Party (RSVP).

We were are leaving the house before dawn. Since it is one month later than STP, it was quite a bit darker than last year.

Here’s a crappy picture at the start. Not as elaborate set up as for STP since there are only 2500 riders on this one.

Heading north on the Burke-Gilman trail.

Dawn breaks over Lake Washington.

Approaching the first of three major climbs for Friday, the one that starts in Woodinville.

About a third of the way up the hill: DISASTER. The rear tire on the Brompton seemed OK the previous day, but riding to Steve’s from G&O, I noticed some out of roundness in the rear tire. This was also apparent riding to the start line, but I couldn’t see anything in the dark. However, it was clear now that the rear tire had worn clean through. Forget all the good things that I’ve said in the past about Greenspeed Scorchers.

Tried to boot the tire with a combination of some tire patches on the inside of the casing, plus a $5 bill.

At least Wilfrid Laurier got me the rest of the way up the hill, but then the tire was flat again. There was a bike shop at the corner, and Neil from Eastside Ski& Sport was very kind to let us camp out there for a while until we decided what to do, but of course he didn’t have a ETRO 349 tire.

We sent Peg to pick up a tire from a shop that will go unnamed. The person at the shop swore up and down that he was sending us a 349 tire, but when it arrived it was a 305, and we were back to square one. In the end, we drove back to Seattle, and I went out to G&O Family Cyclery again where they would have the tire for sure. They had plenty of take offs from owners of older model Bromptons who had swapped them for Schwalbe Marathons. Davey kindly let me use the kid zone to repair my bike.

I swapped out both Scorchers for good measure. To be fair, I got about 4000 km out of them, including STP on both a tikit and the Brompton.

Steve’s wife Peg sacrificed the rest of her day off to drive us up to Mt. Vernon where we could rejoin the ride. Ironically, there was a sudden rain squall while we were driving (that wasn’t in the forecast) and it ended just as we were dropped off. Thanks Peg!

Just out of Mt. Vernon, we pass by the I-5 bridge over the Skagit river that fell down some years ago.

A long flat ride towards some hills that we will eventually skirt to the west before getting to Bellingham.

Just past the turn for Chuckanut Rd, this bakery is highly recommended.

Approaching the hills now.

No really serious climbs on this part of the route: just a series of rollers.

Us getting in the way of some pretty, but hazy, scenery.

Another picture.

Hey, we’re in Bellingham.

One last hill before town had a series of signs talking up pink lemonade.

These lovely ladies have been serving at the top of “lemonade hill” for the past 22 years!

They also had a cowbell for first time RSVP riders. Of course no ride is complete without more cowbell.

Drat, once we reach town, there is still more climbing to do.

This fellow was not part of our ride but had left Redmond on his way to Vancouver, and then the islands.

One last turn before the luggage drop at the Days Inn.

After a shower and a change of clothes, some well earned beer at the Boundary Bay Brewery.

Leaving our accommodations bright and early the next morning.

Luggage drop off.

Very gradual climb out of town along Northwest Avenue.

Steve cruising along

Can you tell I’m riding a Brompton?

Approaching the Lynden rest stop.

Plenty of snacks were provided.

However, given the Dutch theme of the town, I was disappointed by the lack of Stroopwafels, and I had to make do with a cookie.

Heading north for the border along aptly named Double Ditch Rd.

We guessed that the line of trees that we were looking at for a while would be the border, and sure enough, we turn left just short of it.

Yes that is the border, and the road to the right is in BC. We were told by CBP that there were sensors and cameras for security.

Lining up to cross the border.

This is one of the more interesting ways that I’ve crossed into Canada. They set this up especially for RSVP.

Steve was admitted into Canada without having to answer too many questions.

We continue west along on the border, but this time in Canada.

We started seeing a lot of cyclists going the other way on Zero Avenue. It turns out that they were on the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer. Unfortunately we saw two riders in a pack go down, but by the time we got close, it seemed that everyone was on their feet and OK.

Heading north now on Otter Rd. These people look serious.

The one big climb for the second day up to the Langley area. I will say that in the middle the grade went up to 13% which was no fun on with my standard 6 Spd Brompton gearing.

Who says recumbents can’t climb?

North Otter Elementary rest stop.

I had a nice conversation with the owner of this bike. 650B, Ti, S&S couplers, etc. His partner had a lot of questions about my Brompton.

A bit of a break in Maple Ridge.

Preparing to cross the Fraser River on the Golden Ears Bridge.

We use a spiral ramp to ascend to the level of the bridge.

Approaching the bridge span proper, we hear our names being called out, and it’s Joel and friend Josh from Minneapolis. Joel had done STP at the same time as us in the past.

I actually found this crossing to be a little unnerving given the fact that the span was very high, and the bikeway rather narrow and right at the edge.

Waiting to cross HWY 7, just at the Pitt River crossing.

This bridge was not as high or long, and the bikeway was wider.

It’s pretty much city riding after the second bridge, but it helps when you are in a huge pack of riders.

Rest stop at Port Moody.

Now we have to skirt Burnaby Mountain before reaching Vancouver. We see a road that looks like it heads straight up the mountain, but we turn right before it.

Now a little over five miles on the Barnett Highway, but at least there is a very wide shoulder.

Who knew that there was a velodrome tucked away on this side of the mountain?

Hopefully this is the last climb. It was a long one, and the shoulder was a little narrow during the climb.

There was no sensor at this left turn, so we were waiting to cross with pedestrians, which was not ideal.

We take the Frances/Union bike route into town, which joins the Adanac bike lane. Although there is this Vancouver sign at theHWY 1 crossing to fool the tourists, we know that the city limit was actually a few blocks back.

The finish line.

A less fancy set up than at the end of STP, but there was a bike corral, and a finish gate that you didn’t ride through, but you could line up to take your instagram photo. We didn’t bother.

Here is the real momento. Note that it says “Vancouver BC”, since if you rode to Vancouver Washington, you’d be going the wrong direction.

Overall, I’d say that the scenery on this ride was better than STP, although there was more climbing to do. I imagine that the border crossing makes this ride less popular than STP.

I got lots of positive comments on the Brompton, and a few on my Palo Alto wool jersey as well. The weather was pretty much ideal.

Why 61%? Well with the disaster the first day, we ended up with only about 61% of the nominal total ride distance. Still, given that I was a little undertrained for the event, it was perfect. Thanks to Steve; always a pleasure to be riding with you. Once again huge thanks to Peg who saved the day by driving out to Woodinville after I sent her to get the wrong tire, and for making it possible for us to rejoin the ride at Mt. Vernon.

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In a couple of days, I’ll be flying out to the left coast again in order to join the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver plus Party (RSVP), which is put on by the Cascade Bike Club. Last year, I did their Seattle to Portland (STP) ride, and this time, Steve and I decided to mix things up a bit and do their other large ride along the coast.

Got my bib number!

As per my previous STP, I’ll be using the Brompton, and so it was time to make sure it was ready.

First order of business: replacing the Ti rack with a half rack. The hope is that it will make the fold a bit more compact, given that I’ll never use the full size rack. I got a very inexpensive half rack from eBay.

It is aluminum, rather than titanium, but given the fact that it is basically a mounting point for two EZ wheels, and the fender, it doesn’t have to be very strong. Here is a comparison of the two racks. You can see that the half rack is much shorter.

I managed to switch racks without removing the rear wheel, which was a clear win. The only tricky bit was drilling a new hole in the fender without puncturing the tire.

You can see that the new rack is not nicely triangulated like the Ti rack. We’ll see how it holds up.

One other concern that I had was that the fender protrudes much farther to the rear than the rack, but it turns out that this isn’t an issue while folding the bike.

The other thing that I did was to replace one of my aftermarket EZ wheels with a new pair from NOV designs.

Also, hydration. For a while I had misplaced my Randi Jo Fab bartender bag, so I pulled out a monkii cage that I had bought a while ago. This version has a Brompton specific mount that fits well on the stem.

The bottle cage clips into the mount, and when you want a drink, you remove the bottle while it is still attached to the cage.

I used this for a couple of training rides, and while it worked well, I found that I preferred the older setup with the soft bag. Happily I found my bartender bag yesterday, and so that is what I’ll be using on RSVP. BTW if anyone wants the monkii cage for cheap, let me know.

I noticed that Sam had a similar beverage bag on his bike when we met at the DAS ghost bike refurbishment. His is made in Montréal by Atwater Atelier.

I’ll be flying into Vancouver with the Brompton in its usual hard case. I’ll be taking a bus down to Seattle, and so for that leg of the trip, I’ll use a soft case. My bag of choice is the one by Radical Designs. It has a shoulder strap that will be handy.

Here is the bag folded up.

The storage bag has saddle bag loops and is designed to be carried on the bike, although in actuality, it will be in my backpack which will be hauled to the midpoint (Bellingham) and to the finish in Vancouver).

So, Seattle to Vancouver, about 302 km, over two days with 1940 m of climbing. This on insufficient training. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Given that I was on the left coast, I managed to clear a day to head on over to Vancouver Island to visit Naked Bicycles. More precisely, I went over to Quadra Island, which is an island off the coast of Vancouver Island. I wonder if Quadra residents consider Vancouver Islanders as mainlanders?

Starting from Vancouver, two ferry rides and a drive later, you encounter these signs deep in the woods at the end of a road.

Here is builder Sam Whittingham, of WHPSC and NAHBS fame.

He took over this workshop from his dad, who was a cabinet maker.

The space is 99% given over to bike production. Here are some of his NAHBS awards piled up near the ceiling.

Tucked away in a corner, some of his racing awards, including traces of the fact that he was the world’s fastest cyclist for over a decade.

Near the center of the room: his latest build, a steel framed bike for a larger rider.

A frame welding fixture, and Ti main triangle visible to the right.

Lots of interesting stuff hung from the rafters. Here is a Ti mountain bike with belt drive and Jones bars.

A full suspension art bike with wood rims and seatpost, back from the days when Sam says he was still showing off at NAHBS.

Back in a corner, I find the cargobike that Sam used to pioneer the concept of a 20″ rear wheeled longtail cargobike. This showbike is the basis for the Xtracycle Edgerunner, and all other longtails that have gone the small rear wheel route, including my Haul a Day.

A whole wall of Naked bikes.

Sam and I have a chat about bike fit. Tip: if you are going to visit him for a bike fitting, bring your regular saddle, shoes, shorts, etc.

If you have more time that I had, then you can also arrange to go for a ride. There were some nice looking MTB trails literally meters away from the front door of the shop.

It was great to see Sam again. I don’t think we had crossed paths in Battle Mountain since about 2011 or so.

My visit was a little shorter than intended due to a three hour delay for the ferry going over to Nanaimo. If I had even more time, I would have also tried to squeeze in a trip to Gabriola Island to visit Varna Innovations as well.

As a side note, here is a picture of me in line waiting for the ferry during that delay. Fortunately, I had saved an emergency Stroopwafel (served to me as snack on a recent United Airlines flight).

What made part of the long wait fun was that I noticed a couple of interesting looking bikes mounted off the back of a car a few vehicles ahead of me.

It turns out that the owner was an avid cyclist, Morgan, who reviews bicycles for Radavist. These fat tired tourers were evolved versions of the bikes he described here. Lots of details to geek out about, including Swift Industries bags, prototype welded construction Porcelain Rocket frame bags, and bottle holders from RandiJoFab.

Here is the under bag support for the Swift Industries saddle bag.

I didn’t know that Honjo made wide fenders.

It was a pleasure talking to both Morgan and Stephanie. They were enroute to cycling on Cortes Island, with kid in tow in a one wheeled trailer of Danny MacAskill fame. If you want to run into Morgan himself, he is often on the Friday morning rides for coffee in the Vancouver area.

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I’m in the bicycling paradise that is Vancouver for the next week or so, and I just wanted to post a few quick pix from downtown that I took yesterday.

I note that most of the Mobi bike share bikes that I see do not have a helmet locked up with them.

There is a helmet law here, and I noticed these helmet liners at the bike stand.

Not a great look, but it looks like I’m ready to rent a helmet, or to prep some food.

The other thing that I noticed while waiting for a bus on Nelson just leading up to the Cambie Bridge is how nicely the bus stand is integrated into the bike infrastructure. There were many cyclists zooming by as I waited.

There is actually a lot to unpack in this picture. In the distance, you can see that overall, about 1.5 traffic lanes have been given over to bike infra, and that at the next intersection, there is a left turn lane for cars that is still separated from the bike lane by a curb. Here is a Google street view of that intersection.

Pretty nice when the best we can hope for in Toronto is green paint with a solid white line.

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Last week, Cycle TO did a demonstration of a fully protected intersection at the intersection of St. George and Bloor. However, what kept it from being an effective demonstration was the fact that it was done during open streets, and so there was no barrier to having bikes just bike leisurely through the intersection, as if they were car traffic.

Today I found myself in Vancouver with a little time on my hands, so I took the opportunity to check out the first fully protected four way intersection that was just installed at Quebec and 1st.

Today’s ride was my old Dahon Speed Uno folder. One of the advantages of such a simple machine is that you can put it away for two years and then pull it out, put air in the tires, and just ride off.

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Here I am at the intersection, looking way too happy.

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The intersection is designed so that pedestrian and bike crossings are separated, and there are concrete islands that prevent right turning cars from intruding into the space for bikes and people on foot. Here is the diagram from the twitter post linked above.

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One thing that I found amusing was that on the south east corner, there was a dealer for these very odd electric vehicles.

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Ok, I’d settle for the Porsche on the end, but I did not get close enough to it to see if it was a replica.

Here are some cyclists waiting for a light. You see that they are naturally hugging the intersection side of the crossing.

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Here is a short video of me simulating an indirect left turn.

The thing that you notice at the end is the lack of a push button for the bike crossing.

However, you can see that there is a mount on the black pole.

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I also noticed that the pedestrian buttons were not active yet.

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I talked to this workman who was in the process of wiring up some of the signals. He confirmed that there will be push buttons for both cyclists and pedestrians at all four corners.

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Action photo of some cyclists crossing.

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Word is that we will eventually get a similar intersection as a pilot project at Bloor and St. George. However it will be probably two years away.

On the way back, I took a little detour to Duffin’s Donuts, a local eatery that appeared in the movie Edge of Seventeen, and also has a very interesting history that explains why it serves both donuts and tamales. Regretfully it was a bit early for lunch, but I had a nice cinnamon donut.

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Also rode through the woods for old times sake.

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Update: talking to Chris Bruntlett on the book ride, he said that it took three years of fighting to get this intersection built.

 

 

 

 

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Today, Lucy and I took a ride downtown. Wait a minute, something is different about Bloor today, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

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Today was the first of two Open Streets events, from 10 am to 2 pm.

A gathering of cargo bikes at Curbside, with some Bromptons hanging around for good measure.

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Councillor Kristin Wong Tam has been a champion of this event. She led an official group bike ride.  Smile, Peter, smile 😉

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This was the finest bike decorating I saw today.

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These people were going nowhere in an awfully big hurry.

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There was also a group dog walk put on by Toronto Animal Services, but Lucy said “no, I prefer to keep riding”.

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Cycle Toronto had a demonstration fully protected intersection laid out at Bloor and St. George.

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The location meant, of course, that it was within sight of the Dalia Chako ghost bike.

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Temporary markings indicated how bicycle and pedestrian traffic should flow.

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Ironically, since there was no car traffic at this crossing, most people were just strolling or riding through the intersection.  Sort of like the King St. pilot.

Hopefully the city will install one of these, even just as a trial. Of course Vancouver is way ahead of us, and they already have the real thing.

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Parks and Rec advertised a temporary grass installation at Yonge and Bloor. 5000 square feet sounds like a lot, but when you actually look at it, it looks rather small compared to the acres of concrete and asphalt everywhere else.

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Lucy and Yonge St. This time there wasn’t a selfie station in the centre of the intersection, which was too bad.

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On the way home, we passed bike buddy Doug who was riding his new Wike Salamander cargo bike. Most in the bike community have met Honey the dachshund, but now Chelsea can also attend bike events as well.

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There is going to be one more Open Streets event on Sunday, September 16. Mark your calendars!

 

 

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The pie ride is a weekly informal ride put on by the Vancouver Bicycle Club. From their website:

Wednesday Night Pie Rides

The ride: We zip around the edges of Vancouver. Starting from Canada Place we climb to Prospect Point in Stanley Park, then along Beach to Science World, across to Kits, and out to UBC and back home along the bike routes of Kits. A fast, but friendly ride with several stops to collect everyone.

Meet: EVERY Wednesday at 4:30 PM at Canada Place (west side). (Ride depends on the weather.)

Distance: About 20 to 50 km, depending on how far you ride.

Pace: Multi-paced – please wait at pre-determined spots for others.

I went down to the start point at Canada Place, not knowing quite what to expect.  After accosting several people who were not part of the club, I finally meet up with these fine people.

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I was told that my Brompton was the first six wheeled bike to appear on the pie ride.

Lots of car traffic on Georgia approaching the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

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Entering Stanley Park, I see a Haul a Day in the wild.

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Circling the perimeter of the park, I was pleasantly surprised with the lack of car traffic at this time of day. I was told that ramps to the Bridge are closed and so cars don’t take this route at this time of day.

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First regroup was at Prospect Point.

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After circling the park, we ride out along Beach Blvd, and along Pacific Ave, eventually going onto the multiuse path to Science World.

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The second official regroup point is just after Science World.

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At this point, several other riders who live in the east end peeled off, and it was down to Henry and I to head towards UBC along the Seaside route.

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I was told that the last regroup point is at the top of the hill leading up from Spanish Bank, right by the Chan Centre.

The ride tonight was relatively fast paced, but with regroup points, and also various people peeling off to head home. Overall it was very enjoyable, and also nice to meet a few local cyclists.

 

 

 

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