July 02, 2008 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Vancouver - Biking
The newest addition to my household is a burgundy, five-gear, Amsterdam-style bicycle. It’s not exactly suited to the few (okay, the many) hills that are scattered throughout Vancouver, but it cruises along flat routes. Solution? The seawall.
View a larger image on flickr.com
The Stanley Park seawall loops 8.8 km around the park and is must-do for Vancouver locals and visitors alike. It’s paved, which makes it a great place for a bike ride – especially if you’re looking to avoid hills.
You can also walk or rollerblade around the seawall; the pedestrian path is separate from the “wheel” path (bikes, rollerblades, skateboards) to keep things safe.
As I’m biking I like to keep my eyes on the sky and the water to look for wildlife that’s out and about. Today I saw six herons fishing, a bald eagle sitting on a rock by Third Beach, and loads of crows cracking mussels.
No seals spotted on this particular ride, but I do notice their glossy heads peeking out of the water quite often. If it’s low tide, I like to pull over to look for bright purple sea stars hanging onto the rocks (or hanging halfway out of a greedy seagull’s gaping mouth).
Some tips for first-time seawall users:
- There are lots of bike and rollerblade rental places near Denman and Georgia Street.
- If you’re on wheels, ride the seawall in a counterclockwise direction. That means starting from Denman and Georgia and working your way towards English Bay. There is a large one-way section in the middle and you don’t want to be going the wrong way.
- If you’re walking, stay off the “wheel” path and watch for oncoming traffic when crossing that path. Pedestrians can walk around the seawall in either direction.
- Bring your camera! There are great views of the mountains, water, beaches and the city along the way.
- Head out in the morning when it’s least busy – it makes for a very relaxing ride.
- When you’ve finished and have worked up an appetite, grab a bite to eat on Denman Street. There is a huge variety of food here, including sushi, pizza, falafel – even a shop that sells nothing but cupcakes. My personal favourite is to order pizza to go from Nat’s New York Pizzeria and eat on the beach or grass in English Bay.
For a map of the seawall, as well as some of the landmarks and nature you’d see along the way, visit: http://vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley/