I’ve heard some people complain about the lack of off street bike routes in Vancouver. But there are two excellent off street bike routes: the Central Valley Greenway and the BC Parkway (AKA the 7-11 trail). We decided to connect them together to form a neat loop leading from Vancouver to New Westminster and back.
We headed out from UBC along the bike route on 10th Ave., passing by the street library near the corner of St. George. Not a traditional library, there are no library cards or fines for late returns, rather take what you want and donate what you want. I think it’s a great idea: a fresh breath of cooperative community living, in the spirit of the pop-up libraries, but this one is here to stay (I hope!).
We picked up the Central Valley Greenway at the corner of Victoria and Broadway. The Greenway is a mostly paved off street route, perfect for cycling, and leads to Burnaby and then New Westminster. I’m surprised I hadn’t cycled it before to its end, cycling with no motorized vehicles around is so much more enjoyable, and somewhat unexpected, in the heart of the city. The trail follows Still Creek to Burnaby Lake. Near dusk, thousands of crows return to their roosts at Still Creek, a creepy Hitchkok like scene that ran chills down my spine last week, when we experienced it first hand.
Past Burnaby Lake, the trail follows the Brunette River and eventually leads to Columbia St in the heart of New Westminster. We followed the trail to the River Market at the New Westminster quay. One of the reasons we wanted to cycle to New West in the first place, was our love of Re-Up BBQ, by far our favorite Vancouver food truck, serving fall-off-your-chair BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. Once we were full, we had some ice cream and were ready to cycle back, except it was raining hard. We entertained ourselves a bit longer and finally set out into the rain.
The BC Parkway trail, also known as the 7-11 trail, runs mostly parallel to the Expo Skytrain line. It is also a neat off street bike path, although at times we were caught scratching our heads wondering where it continues – some more signage would be great.
We followed the trail to Trout Lake Park where we left it to continue on our way back to UBC. The whole loop, from UBC to New West and back was around 67km, but it would probably be around 36km if you were to start it from Victoria and Broadway. Yay for separated bike lanes and off street cycling routes!