The next stop on our Rider House Tour was Vancouver, British Columbia. This was Eliel’s first trip North of the border, and we were fortunate to get the best local knowledge from our friends at Bicicletta.
After a long drive from San Francisco, we settled into our surroundings in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. We took an evening cruise through downtown Vancouver and headed up to explore Stanley Park, a 400 acre public park located just minutes from downtown. We rode both pavement and dirt, diving through the tight, twisting trails before enjoying the sunset over the English Bay.
The following morning, we meandered to Musette Caffé in downtown Vancouver. This is the epitome of a cycling café that highlights the best of cycling history and culture, while welcoming riders and coffee drinkers of all types. They have though of everything to make your visit exceptionally bike friendly, like being offered a lock to keep your bikes safe while you enjoy a delicious breakfast and latte.
To continue our tour of the city, and rolled along the Vancouver Seawall. We watched sea planes land and take off in the harbor as we soaked in the picturesque view of the downtown skyline from the bike path. Our roll about the city took us to visit our friends at Bicicletta, where we were met with espresso and smiles from Graham Fox, the owner, and the friendly staff.
After a tour of the shop, we got ready to check out the local Tuesday night criterium series. Graham is a staple in the local race scene, and he tested out a new prototype skinsuit, while Ryan briefly came out of a 9 year retirement and hung tough in fast and fun course.
Graham and Nick, also of Bicicletta, met us the following morning in Lynn Valley, where we rode a beautiful mixed surface ride that took us along Fisherman’s Trail, winding in and out of the towering forest and along the Seymour River. This took us out to Seymour Lake, all on single and double track, and we cruised home on the bike-only road.
That evening we met up with the Bicicletta crew and rode their Wednesday night community ride. Riders from the Pender Fund Race Team escort groups of attendees that are broken into three groups, varying in pace. All groups do three loops around Stanley Park. The welcoming and friendly atmosphere creates an inclusive vibe, leading riders of all abilities to challenge themselves.
Our final day in Canada was highlighted by a ride from the West Vancouver Bicicletta location. We started with a group of 25 riders, and immediately began to climb the side of Cypress Mountain. This long, arduous climb makes just four big switchbacks up the side of the hill, with extended straightaways between offering no reprieve. After a regroup, we descended together through the twisting neighborhoods back to the shop, where we enjoyed beers and snacks to cap a great ride.
Overall, our first trip to Canada was a phenomenal success, in great part to having phenomenal local guides to show us the ropes. We look forward to our next trip back, and the opportunity to share more miles with the Bicicletta crew. We’ll have a story on our next stop, Portland, coming soon.