Today Debbie, my partner, and I rode the BC Parkway from the Quay Boardwalk to Central Park. It was a beautiful day for a ride. It was sunny but cool and along the boardwalk the sun was brilliant as it reflected off the Fraser River.
We started the ride at the toy soldier at River Market. This is right where we will be opening a bike rental tour shop called Fraser River Bike Tours & Rentals in May. Deb and I have been riding the recommended routes, learning the rides in detail so that we can guide it effectively as well as give renters pointers about the routes, where things might get tricky the first time through.
We recommend three routes although there are dozens of great rides from where we will be located. The Queensborough Loop will probably be the most popular as it has few hills and most of it is riding is along different parts of the Fraser River. The Historic New Westminster Ride is also going to be a favourite as it highlights the original capital of BC as well as wanders through two major parks, Queens Park with its splash park and petting zoo and Moody Park with its outdoor swimming pool and sports fields.
But today we rode my favourite, up the BC Parkway to Central Park. This is a 25km ride that begins at the Quay and follows the boardwalk west until you take the railway overpass to the base of the BC Parkway. This trail follows skytrain up a medium hill, which is just over five km of the ride. I love this hill as it is a great anaerobic workout where you can push it hard for twenty minutes and get a good sweat going.
The BC Parkway is one of the original bike trails within Metro Vancouver and connects New Westminster with Burnaby and Vancouver. Central Park is the top of the hill and a great place to rest and refresh before you ride on to Vancouver or back down to New West. If you don’t like hills ride from the Quay to the New West Skytrain and skytrain it to Patterson at Central Park, then ride the Park before you enjoy the descent back down through Burnaby to New West.
The BC Parkway is well signed and is a shared (with pedestrians) who sometimes are oblivious to the fact that they are on a bikeway. I used to use an air horn when I was younger and more aggressive but now I click my brake with a steady staccato so that a walker with their back to you is warned of your approach without giving them an instant heart check-up with the air horn. On this ride you pass the “Smallville” set as well as Metro Town. Be careful around Metro Town as there is an elementary school just off the trail and if you go by at noon, or even worse at the end of the school day, the trail fills up with parents and kids. The kids are usually not the problem as they are streetwise but the parents freeze up like a deer in the headlights.
Central Park is a real jewel within the Metro Vancouver Park system. The circle trail (7.5km), which includes two lakes wanders through amazing forests that teem with life. Today we saw hawks, eagles, a Pileated Woodpecker and a coyote. Not to mention ducks, crows, seagulls, some geese as well as quite a few sun-shocked citizens wandering around with big grins on their faces.
The ride back when riding with Debbie is different than when I do it alone. By myself, I fly down the hill, getting air, sometimes I am almost able to defy gravity when you crest a hill at high speed. The only conversation is the occasional debate with an idiotic diver who thinks a bike in the crosswalk is fair game. With Debbie it is a controlled descent that is conducive to conversations about our kids and grandchild, where we are going with this business and of course what is for dinner when we get back.
This is another wonderful side effect of cycling. After twenty km every second day (minimum) you can pretty well eat anything you want but you will find that the harder you ride the more you desire good food. Lean meats, fish and lots of vegetables, with a balanced mix of complex carbs is what your body will want and the cheap highs of sugar and fatty foods will seem gross to your system when you make it work hard enough to sweat, after really pushing it for at least thirty minutes of a two hour work out.
So we got back to feast on chicken breasts, corn pasta, baked onion rings and a big salad.
On Sunday we will be riding the Queensborough loop and we invite anyone to join us if you have your own bike. Once the business is open in May then anyone can attend the guided tours and if they need a bike just rent one. And if you want to go it alone just rent a bike and with our advice and a good map you will do just fine. Until we open we will meet at the toy soldier at River Market. You won’t be able to miss it, bright color strips based on international cycling colors and rows of high end bikes will be your first clue.
Join us if the weather looks ok, by ok I mean not a downpour. Slight sprinkle no problem but at this time of the day it is most likely to get a sunny break (or not pouring).
See you then.