Since buying my first bike, I’ve gone on a few rides. The first being the ride from the bike store back to my place. Yes, like 3k! Then I went on an adventure around Stanley Park — 23k and the climb up to Prospect Point was the worst. Then I met E at Kits Beach one night and he took me over the Burrard Bridge for the first time!
On Thursday though, I woke up and thought I should bike to UBC. Why? I have no idea. Other than I’m still totally scared of riding on the road and I need to get over that. Sidenote: When running, I’ve never gone past Jericho Beach, primarily because I don’t usually train at more than 15-18k distance, but also because that’s the place I fell on my face. So the 4th ride of my adult life would be to UBC and back — unknown territory and a weekday cloudy afternoon adventure.
I started off on Main Street, with a plan to get to 1st Avenue. I don’t really like cycling in traffic and Main Street had plenty of it. I was pretty happy to find out that 1st Avenue turned into this lovely bike-friendly road and the next thing you know I was in Kitsilano. The minutes just fly by when you’re so concentrated on learning something new. I paid a lot of attention to bike lanes, cars and pedestrians, but not a whole lot of attention to my surroundings. ;) The next thing you know I was at Spanish Banks.
Let me tell you… Spanish Banks is BEAUTIFUL. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a book and a bikini, otherwise I would have stayed all day. :) I continued past the beach and up the hill to UBC. It might have been good to know that UBC is on a hill, I didn’t know that. Regardless, I climbed up at pretty much 0 km/hour as hardcores passed me.
At the end of NW Marine Drive, I took a quick look at my GPS to see where I was and I decided that I would loop back to downtown at 16th Avenue. I didn’t realize that 16th Avenue was a hill! I saw a beach cruiser headed up the hill and that was the perfect opportunity to show my amateur cycling domination. And I did.
I cut back on Westbrook Mall, thinking it would take me to NW Marine Drive. Amateur mistake. When it didn’t reach NW Marine Drive, I was pretty confused and maybe a bit lost, so I just decided to head in the right direction towards home. I learned a lot about myself on that ride down Chancellor Avenue and 4th Avenue. The first being that I’m capable of riding on the road and the second being that riding on the road in between buses and traffic still scares the shit out of me.
I took ‘scaring the shit out of me’ as motivation to keep at it, so at Burrard Bridge, I cut back to the busy streets and took West 6th home. At one point a cop was on my tail and I kept on telling myself he was going to pull me over for not knowing bike bylaws. Well, he didn’t. I was prepared to tell him that I was on my 4th bike ride and hoped he would give me a high five.
Just shy of 2 hours later, I made it home. Longest ride to date: 34.4km. Yeehaw.
And you know what? It’s kinda fun exploring your city through a different lens. As much as I’m a planner, it’s lovely to just get on your bike and go with the flow.