When we travel overseas we often choose bicycle riding to really get in touch with the area we are exploring and Vancouver is one of the most bicycle friendly cities we have visited. There were literally thousands of bikes riding around the Seawall in Stanley Park the day we set off on our adventure. We hired our bikes from Bicycle Sports Pacific or BSP, just one block from Davie Street. After a false start with a bike seat problem and a few adjustments we were on our way.
First stop was English Bay Beach, the best of Vancouver’s city beaches. Further on at Second Beach the bike trail takes a right turn and then its ‘one way’ all the way around Stanley Park. However, we missed the turn and for some reason decided to take the dirt track called the Bridle Trail, and suddenly no other bikers.
The trail took us uphill and further uphill but our reward was seeing a magnificent forest with towering redwoods hundreds of years old and we had the trail to ourselves. After a stop or two and a lot of huffing and puffing we reached the top at Prospect Point. Here we had magnificent views over English Bay and the Lionsgate Bridge.
At Prospect Point there are a number of places to eat and drink and, as the Canadians would say, there are also ‘washrooms’. From here we walked our bikes down an incredibly steep, rough gravel path to the Seawall and, surprisingly again, there were no other tourists on this trail. How did we manage to get it so wrong? But we had a lot of fun along the way.
At last, back on the Seawall Trail we were feeling relieved until we realised the bike trail was only ‘oneway’ and we were going the wrong way. We wanted to see the famous Totem Poles and they were further back, in the wrong direction of course. So, feeling a little naughty, we decided to break the rules and rode the opposite way to everyone else, and after a few near misses with oncoming bicycles and pedestrians, we finally arrived at the Totem Poles.
The Totem was the British Columbia Indian’s ‘Coat of Arms’. The Totem Poles are unique to the North West Coast of BC and lower Alaska. Carved from western red cedar each Totem tells of a real or mythical event. Don’t miss them.
With lots of pics of the Totems we decided to go ‘mainstream’ and ride in the same direction as everyone else. The whole ride around and through Stanley Park took us about three hours and it was truly a great ride. Did we find anything gay? Of course there were a few hunky daddies and a scattering of cute joggers. However, we have it on good authority that if we had taken the Eagle Trail we may have been even more entertained. Maybe something for next time.
If you are visiting Vancouver for the first time, get right in touch with the city from the outset by taking a relaxing and thoroughly scenic ride through beautiful Stanley Park.
Tip: It can be very hard for Australians to find coffee in Canada which suits the style they enjoy to drink. The Canadians prefer their coffee large and weak. If you are staying in Davie Village we found the best place for coffee is Breka Bakery and Café on the corner of Hornby and Davie Streets. They will make the coffee the way you like it and their baked goods are sensational. Give yourself a little treat before heading out for your excursion.