The cold, snowy weather today is making me think nostalgically about warmer, drier weather – ideal weather for cycling.
In case you didn’t know, it’s possible to cycle from Lost Lagoon all the way around Stanley Park to the Telus World of Science (via English Bay and Yaletown) and end up at Granville Island without having to ride on the road. A few Saturdays ago I set out to do this ride, one of my favourites.
I started at Lost Lagoon. This is a great place to start if you’re renting a bike or tandem bike, because there are three bike rental shops nearby. The best known is Spokes, which is on the corner of Georgia and Denman, right next to the park.
I looped Stanley Park on the seawall (counter-clockwise direction), dodging confused pedestrians in the bike lane and construction areas. The seawall has been under construction since summer 2010 as they upgrade the pavement and walls where the ocean meets the land. Third Beach was bustling with morning sun-seekers despite the chilly temperatures.
I cruised through Yaletown toward Science World. The sun was in my eyes the whole way there in the morning, but that didn’t stop me from speeding past slower cyclists. My favourite section is when the path passes a group of waterfront cafes. It’s definitely an area to go slow, not only to avoid killing someone but because it’s a prime people-watching spot. People of all ages lounge on heated patios sipping morning caesars and dining on some truly delicious-looking brunch. There are dogs all over the place, tied to the balcony railings and sniffing at their owners’ meals. I can usually pick up a few brief snatches of gossip as I pass by, and it’s almost always salacious and
From here it’s not too much further on to the Edgewater Casino (another great spot for people watching, as gamblers stumble bleary-eyed out into the daylight). In the summer, you can see the tents of Cirque du Soleil just past the casino, but on a fall day it’s just a vast empty lot.
The next section of seawall is picturesque, but it is not ideal for bikes because of the cobblestone in some sections. Watch out – it’s slippery and quite bumpy at times.
The path continues on to Granville Island, where you can stop for a visit (bike parking is decent) or continue on through the townhouses, duck ponds and dog parks. I turned off the seawall at the connector to the Burrard Street Bridge. Hey, we’ve got these great bike lanes, we might as well take advantage of them! It’s just a quick jaunt back across the bridge and I arrived back downtown.
A perfect way to spend a couple of hours on a beautiful afternoon.