It's All Uphill From Here...
Let 'er rip!
AWESOME good time last night. Got to combine a couple different routes that I've been playing with into one great tour of Vancouver.
Woke up Saturday morning, blue sky, good times! Look at the weather forecast, 70% chance of rain. Ummm... Well which is it going to be? Kept an eye on things all morning, even started looking at the weather radar and the like. Nice big rain clouds rolling over Victoria on their way for Vancouver, hmmm... Well, what to do what to do...
Texted out to see what people were feeling like - Mad Dog and Chris were already out riding but not sure what the weather was going to do. Had a couple of bites, but nothing really nailed down. Got an email from Michael saying he had a few people interested in riding in the evening - well, I had errands that either needed to be run Saturday or Sunday, let's get it done Saturday daytime just in case the weather turns since Sunday was supposed to be great. Free us up for an evening ride on Saturday if things were going to stay nice. Ok, let's do it!
Met up at Science World... Where to go? I used a new feature over at Google Maps to draw out our route, check it out!
Pretty much right off the bat Mad Dog, Chris and Don booked... Guess I understand, the pace was pretty quick right off the bat. Sounds like they had a great night riding downtown, good times. Once I knew they were gone for sure we kept on trucking over towards Commercial.
Rode up on Commercial to 10th avenue... We probably should have headed over to Woodland at about 7th or so just to avoid the really busy part of Commercial right near Broadway - too many cars right around there. Next time...
Headed West along 10th past the China Creek skate park up to Windsor. Windsor is probably the best place to do the big climb up to the top of the ridge - not too steep and it's a designated bike route so you've got lights anywhere you need to cross. It's a pretty long grind - I'd take it over the Patello bridge though! Lots of nice older houses along the way - actually the entire evening had some pretty good older Vancouver scenery.
Took a quick breather at Kingsway for the group to gather up again and then got back at it. It's a long way to the top! By 33rd we were all ready to stop - there's Glen Park! Looking at the map there's actually 2 Glen Parks a few blocks away from one another - go figure. We chilled there for about half an hour - nice area, you can really see how high up you are looking over towards the mountains. By this point the sky had completely cleared - stars, the works. Gorgeous!
Once we'd had some time to cool off it was back at it... You're pretty much at the peak of the ridge up there so there's really not any more climbing to do save a small hill here and there. Got ourselves up to 37th - it's an official bike path - headed West to Fraser and crossed in to the cemetery.... Scaaaaary!
The other night when Dylan, Kendal and I rode through we only went as far as 33rd before we exited stage left. Turns out a lot of the really neat stuff is north of 33rd. Rode through there last night, it's a lot of fun rolling up over a hill, monuments on either side of you. Awesome good times.
Popped out the side along a path around 32nd avenue. Got back in to the side streets - it's all been downhill since 37th - got over to 29th and kept on going West.
We made a quick stop at Ontario - a couple of people had been talking about heading back down to Science World to end the night but I guess we were all having too good a time. Decided we'd head to Jeremiah's on 4th for some food and beer, that got everyone hooked. Like I've said before though - if you 're riding the ridge with people Ontario is a good exit point. You can be back down at Science World in about 15 minutes tops. Pretty much the only cranking you'll have to do is back pedaling to use your brake, one loooong downhill descent.
Kept on over towards 25th and Cambie - you need to cross at one of the few places with proper facilities with all the RAV construction going on right now. Once you're past Cambie though it's all good so we got back up to 26th, Heather, 28th and then through the hospital to 30th.
Hopped on Osler and cruised into the Crescent. Stopped at the park for a bit - Amber and David made a quick pit stop at our place (it's just 3-4 blocks away) while we rested for a bit before heading off again. I love that park - as long as you're near the middle of it nobody even knows you're there. Of course all the uber-rich people aren't out walking or anything 'common' like that so the place is deserted anyhow.
Took one wrong turn on the way out but no big deal - if you're not familiar with the area you don't even know which way is up so it doesn't seem like you're going in circles even if you are. I love it actually - throw in some fog and all those twisty streets can easily eat up an hour of riding even though you haven't gone more than a few blocks.
Got us over to 25th and Granville - you can't really cross Granville safely without a light, 6 lanes of express from Richmond to Downtown and vice versa. I don't really feel like getting wanged by the 98-B Line thanks. Dropped back into the richie rich houses again for some more twisty fun until we got close to Arbutus. There you've got the railroad tracks to deal with - not that they're a huge obstacle or anything but it's always nicer to just stay on your bike. Anyhow there's a good route around that which includes a light to cross Arbutus so we headed over that way.
One real steep downhill with Arbutus at the bottom - you could smell the hot coaster brakes while we waited for the light. Definitely want to make sure you know your bike there - traffic at the bottom could be a recipe for badness if you're not being careful.
That took us to Prince of Wales. Hit up Valley drive, nice north-west diagonal route leading towards Macdonald and 16th. Pretty much straight to Jeremiah's from there... Locked up the bikes and grabbed ourselves a table or 3...
Ordered a ton of food - I was ravenously hungry. Definitely nice way to end the ride. Enjoyed the beer, good times all around. Once we were done with the pub it was time to head for home - David and Amber wisely headed back up through Kits to get back to our place while I rode the rest of the way back to Science World with the crew. Awesome night, great ride, great company.
Nice thing about that route is you get all the hard work done at the beginning. Climbing up Windsor isn't for everyone, I'll give you that. But if the weather is right and the group is right it's totally worth it when you get to spend the rest of the ride enjoying what you worked for. Now I'm thinking of a Patterson SkyTrain to Jericho ride, that'd be ALL downhill... scheme scheme... ;) See ya next time!