On a clear sunny day in the spring after a cold wet winter nothing better suits me than this great mountain biking trip, which I’ve been riding for the better part of twenty years. It’s a classic combining Vancouver‘s seawall, beaches and the natural beauty of single trails through Pacific Spirit Park. From start to finish the ride takes roughly 2 1/2 hours and covers 35 km of off road riding.
The starting point is at the Coast Guard station at the entrance to False Creek on the south side of the Burrard Street Bridge. If you look up at the biggest tree beside you, there is a good chance the pair of eagles living in this tree will be looking out at their domain.
Head west along the water front past the Maritime Museum and continue along the waterfront through Kits Beach around the largest outdoor pool in Canada. From here, pick up Point Grey Road, which is a side street for about 4 blocks. Instead of riding the narrow busy Cornwall street out towards Jericho, take First Street and enjoy some really classic west side homes. Cross over Arbutus Street, head back to the beach and follow the gravel trial past the Jericho Sailing Club all the way to the end of Spanish Banks.
Keep heading west along N.W. Marine Drive until you hit the small parking lot for Spanish Banks, directly across the street is the Trial Head for Salish. This trial is very steep for the first 200 metres and then it gradually starts to level off. The trial comes out beside a school, stay on road cross over Chancellor Blvd and pick up the Salish trial again heading up towards the UBC Golf Course.
Once beside the golf course, cross over University Blvd and stay on the Salish Trial heading in a southerly direction. At this point the trial has leveled off and you once more have to cross over 16th Ave which has a very large grass divider in the middle of the road, be careful the cars travel very fast along here.
Once across 16th follow Salish way down to where it hits S.W. Marine Dr near Camosun, this section of forest is really special with massive Douglas Fir trees and the sun light streaming through the forest. There are many trials to explore in this area but once you get to the south east corner of the park stay in park picking up the Hemlock trial back toward s the UBC Golf Course.
Cycle back along Salish and turn right on to Spanish Trial, follow this trial crossing over Chancellor Blvd and down a big downhill back to the beach. Grab a coffee at the concession stand across the street and take in the views of the North shore Mountains and freighters anchored in English Bay. The wind should be at your back heading towards town with great views of the downtown core. Stop on the pier at Jericho and watch the locals catch Dungeness Crab. If it’s Wednesday late afternoon, there is a good chance that there will be sail boats racing very close by. Jericho has a great deck serving good food and beer looking over all the action.
Hop back on your bike and retrace your steps back to the Coast Guard station, from here the Seawall continues all the way to the end of False Creek back a long the other side and through Stanley. This will add another 25 km to your ride!