Cycling in New Westminster and Beyond.
New Westminster is the hub of cycling for all of the lower mainland. Most bike routes go through New West. Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam all have routes that pass through New West on three major routes, the BC Parkway, the Central Valley Greenway and the Queensborough Loop.
The BC Parkway is the oldest dedicated bike route in the lower Mainland. It connects New West with Burnaby and on into Vancouver. From it you can access the outlying cities of Richmond, Surrey and Coquitlam. It needs an upgrade and better signage but it is a great ride if you are looking for a two hour ride from New West to Central Park in Burnaby and then back. It climbs all the way up to Central Park and then descends all the way into East Vancouver and then links to the downtown area. It parallels the original Sky Train route and was built at the same time for World Fair. Great as it is, it does have some problems, especially around the 22nd street Sky Train Station. When the Alex Fraser Bridge was built Stewardson Way and the Queensborough Bridge were also rebuilt, which improved this bike route but also complicated it. To make matters worse, even though they spent millions on improving this bike route with its new links, which use the tail end of the Queensborough bridge, they failed terribly by providing no or inadequate signage. Most of the maps can help cyclists but without signage most cyclists end up taking the old route which leads either onto 6th avenue or on to the wrong side of Stewardson with the confused and terrified cyclist facing oncoming traffic. Until signage is improved by Translink follow these simple directions. When descending from Burnaby into New West turn down towards the Queensborough bridge just before you get to the 22nd street station. Follow this trail past the dog park and on to the tail end of the Queensborough bridge and then take the first right and descend off the bridge. This will swing you back under the bridge and onto Stewardson heading east and right down to the Quay Boardwalk. Those riding up from New West to Burnaby ride up under the bridge and ride up the ramp to the bridge, then follow the tail end of the bridge towards 22nd street and then up the BC Parkway to Central Park and beyond.
In downtown New West the BC Parkway connects to the Central Valley Greenway right at River Market on the Quay boardwalk. This route then heads north on Columbia right past the Pattullo Bridge (there is your link to Surrey) and into Sapperton where it goes right by the Royal Columbian Hospital. It continues through Hume Park before it follows the Brunette River west passing by Burnaby Lake all the way into Vancouver. This new route was finished a few years ago and is a great way to get into Vancouver, avoiding most of the hills and giving the rider lots of scenery on a dedicated safe bike trail.
The Queensborough Loop is a great twenty kilometer circle ride beginning at Pier Park on the Quay in New West up and over the Queensborough bridge and around the North end of Lulu Island. This is an easy, scenic and safe ride that also links to the BC Parkway into Burnaby or into Richmond via the Westminster Highway. It also sets you up to get to all of the links to Delta and beyond.
Cap’s Bike Rentals is now located right on the Central Valley Greenway at the original Cap’s Bicycle Shop at 434 Columbia and at their new location Cap’s Bike Rentals at River Market located right at the junction of the Central Valley Greenway and the BC Parkway. Cap’s is now working with Fraser River Bike Tours to provide rental bikes and tours for all of these great rides, especially if you want to ride them the first time with a guide. Cap’s Rentals can set you up with a great rental bike and helmet and a Fraser River Bike Tour’s guide can make what seems complicated in words or on a map the first time you ride it a cycling delight.
If you want to try riding any of these trails yourself, you can download all of these cycling maps and more at www.fraserriverbiketours.com. Cap’s and Fraser River Bike Tours is committed to getting you out on a bike exploring the amazing investments our local governments have made to make cycling safer and more fun for you and your family. Find out what you like first by renting and then when you are sold on cycling Cap’s can outfit your entire family with affordable and quality bikes. Use Fraser River Bike Tour’s guides to learn these great rides and relax as a qualified guide, with first aid and detailed information on the local flora and fauna show you not only the trails but all of the scenic sites, the history and wildlife along the way.
For cycling advice and maybe a little motivation check out www.cycle-therapy.ca.
Get out there in the fresh air and sunshine on a great bike on our amazing local cycling trails this summer. Just go for it.