Stanley Park. The gem of Vancouver. We saved the best for last & hopped on our bikes once the conference finished for a nice, slow roll around Stanley Park. I was carrying all of my stuff with me so I could head straight to the train station. I rode with two other women from the conference who were on Mobi bikes (I’m going to review these next week).
Here’s the route we took from the conference, down past the Olympic Cauldron, down to the seawall, and around the park.
We rode in the Hornby Street protected lanes to get down to the Cauldron but man it was a pain! It was so hard to make the light cycle as it only lasts 9 seconds & we kept having to stop for people to catch up, meaning missing yet another cycle. Plus the waits weren’t short so this was a definite source of frustration. It took us almost 15 minutes to go 6 blocks.
Getting to the seawall from the Orca & the Cauldron wasn’t intuitive & we had to ask for directions from a security guard who yelled at us about biking & made us get off & walk. We rode down a long, switchback-y ramp to get to the seawall & it was pretty crowded! Plenty of people out enjoying the day.
Once we got in the park the bicycle path is one-way & it’s raised with a sharp curb down to the pedestrian area. It’s only 8 feet at the widest point, and most of the trail was only 5 feet wide with a sharp cliff face on one side & steep curb on the other. I would not have designed the bicycle section to be raised, instead I would make the pedestrian area raised, much like they’ve done on the new section of the BGT through the UW campus. Passing was often uncomfortable & I was worried about falling off the path.
There were a large number of gates along the trail designed to force bike riders to get off & walk for very short distances, most only 30 meters. This was frustrating, especially since the park wasn’t crowded! It seemed like a way to punish people riding bikes. I fancy myself a rebel, but the other women I was with wanted to abide by the rules so I ended up pushing my heavily laden bike several times.
We took a snack break on the beach & then almost got run over by a dump truck trying to back down the trail half on the bike lane, half on the sidewalk. Yay for unnecessarily large trash removal vehicles!
I left my new friends around mile 8 & headed onto the street to check out the neighborhood diverters that had been installed to prevent people from driving down the street while still allowing bike access. I then hopped back on the seawall & sped along to catch my fast approaching train in order to snag a forward facing seat!
Overall the bike infrastructure in the park was lacking. It was poorly designed for riding which was a bummer as I’d heard such fantastic things about it! If you visit, of course you have to go, the views are amazing, but be prepared to walk & don’t plan to carry a wide/extra long load.
Side note: if your rack falls off but you’re too lazy to stop at a shop for repairs (and NO ONE at the very bikey conference has the tools you need) just hold it in place with your u-lock!