Ready Set Pedal

A charity bike ride has changed my life :)

Archive for the tag “Cycling in Vancouver”

Weekly Group Ride with Comor Sports to Iona Beach

It had been a looonnng time since my last Comor Sports group ride. So when I saw that they were heading to Iona beach a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to join them again and brought my friend Oliver along with me. The evening was spectacular – nice and sunny, not too hot (although my camera & phone were sweat drenched after the ride – so gross!), and a good-sized friendly group.

Blair giving us an update on the evening’s group ride plan.

Blair gave us a run-through of where we were heading, and told us about the special surprise he had in store for us that eve. There were prizes to be won via some races. Sort of like the cash primes I saw professional cyclists race for in the Tour de Delta, Gastown GranPrix, etc. Pretty neat! I didn’t think… ahem I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete though because I am not a super fast cyclist. But still – I thought it was a great idea!

I had been down to Iona Beach once before, way back in May, and was half expecting us to take the same route my friends and I always take when we cycle to Richmond…. but the route was slightly different. We cycled all the way down the Cypress bike route and crossed the bridge used by cars heading towards the Airport – can’t recall what it is called right now.

Once we reached the flat, long stretch of road leading to the beach we REALLY started to pick up the speed. I ended up in a group towards the back and we worked on drafting super close to one another in order to close the gap between us and the group ahead of us. Was really fun but really tough. I mean really tough! haha I had never really cycled at a consistent fast pace with other riders.

I ended up falling behind towards the last little bit and I drafted behind the SUV that Blair was driving. It was pretty funny really…  and I joked about it when I reached the pack who were inhaling their energy gels and bars.

You would think this is pretty daft – but others do it all the time! Such as…

Crazy! I doubt I would ever draft behind such a large truck. A sudden brake, and you’d end up as a pancake on the back of the truck! But behind an open-back SUV where I can also chat with the driver? Why not?

Heading back to Vancouver, I was offered the opportunity to jump in the vehicle if I was feeling too tired… but I wasn’t really suffering that bad. I am sure my face looked like I was about to die BUT I just needed to catch my breath and go at a slightly slower pace.

So John kept me company most of the way back and we had a good chat about cycling, bike fittings, and other random stuff. I don’t have a map of the exact route we took back – but roughly it was Eastward bound on SW Marine Drive, up Camosen Street, through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, through Point Grey, including the beautiful Bellevue & Belmont intersection, and then Westward bound through Kitsilano towards the bike shop on 4th and Burrard.

Cycling through the Regional Park and via the Bellevue & Belmont crossroads was definitely a highlight for me. I had never been in that park before or seen the gorgeous view from Bellevue & Belmont, and I wished I had a camera strapped to my bike or helmut at that moment. The view of English Bay, the tankers and the city at dusk was just magnificent.

Somewhere in Kits I realized I had a flat tire – thankfully this happened towards the end of the ride!! So I rode into the Comor Sports shop for a quick repair job. Turns out a tiny yet razor sharp pin prick was stuck in my tire – good thing Blair spotted that one!

Blair changing my tire after a flat.

After that, we joined the group  at Ceili’s Irish Pub for some beers & burgers, and I discovered that I had won a prize for the night! Whhhaaat??? I won a gorgeous Marin Bikes hoodie – the “Red Lantern” prize for keeping the most consistent speed. 🙂 Woo hoo!! I was really touched!

I really enjoyed chatting with the other riders as we ate and the place had an open mic session going on with really nice blues music – something you don’t hear too often in Vancouver!

At Ceili’s – the Comor Sports Group Ride table.

My yummy burger, salad (so healthy!) and beer! A fine treat after a good ride!

My “Red Lantern” Prize!!

BIG THANKS to John for keeping me company as we rode back into Vancouver and to Blair for helping me draft behind the van and for changing my tire!

Gastown Grand Prix: July 11 2012

A day after the UBC Grand Prix…. is the legendary Gastown Grand Prix. This GP went on a 3-year hiatus due to lack of sponsorship funding ….  Global Relay, a Gastown-based technology firm has saved the day however and have brought this super prestigeous event to life again. Way to go Global Relay… and all the other sponsors who helped make this happen!

Twitter: @gastowngp

Facebook: Gastown Grand Prix

Many famous cyclists have raced in this important event over the decades, making the Gastown Grand Prix (GP) one of the most popular one-day bike races in North America.

Gastown Grand Prix 2006 Copyright: Greg Descantes

The Instigator:

Back in 1973, Dr. Roger Sumner, a Vancouver native and bike racer, organized a race with a primary goal of showing the public how spectacular top level bike racing in Canada COULD be.

He wanted to create a quality race that would be highly accessible to the public. Gastown, Vancouver’s popular historic district, has streets lined with cafes and restaurants and is in a central downtown location…. so it fit the bill. Sumner himself competed in the Gastown Grand Prix until 1978. He was later inducted into the BC Hall of Fame for his 30 years of service to the sport in the roles of racer, coach, manager and racing organizer. Tragically, he died in 2000 after being hit by a car while riding his bike!!

The Route:

Start & Finish line:  Intersection of Cambie and Water streets, site of Gastown world famous steam clock. Riders will travel west on Cambie into the hairpin turn at Water and Cordova. From there they’ll ride east on Cordova past The Cambie and past Army and Navy before turning left onto Carrall Street and left again around the Gassy Jack statue and back onto Water street towards the steam clock.

This isn’t a super long route…. judging by this event’s popularity & central location and some of the images I’ve seen … the streets will be hopping with spectators!

Women’s Race: Start Time: 6:15pm (30 laps – 36 km)

Men’s Race: Start Time: 7:30pm (50 laps – 60km)

Awards: Start Time: 9:15pm

A vintage clip of when Lance Armstrong won this race back in 1991 (Soooo vintage – the graphics, the fashion, the hairstyles!):

UBC Grand Prix: July 10 2012

Following the Tour de Delta is the UBC Grand Prix.  For those reading this who live outside of Vancouver – UBC stands for University of British Columbia, which is a beautiful place to go cycling… and is also a fantastic university.  Had I been raised in this city I would have wanted to pursue my Undergrad at UBC for sure! It’s located on this beautiful peninsula with large old-growth trees, beaches, spectacular mountain & sea views, etc.

Facebook: UBC Grand Prix

Twitter: @ubcgrandprix

Copyright: Stefan Lozinsky

I stand to be corrected but I believe this is the 2nd edition – so it’s a fairly new event. The cyclists will race a 1.5km circuit and navigate around the course for 40-65 laps.

Race Schedule:

Corporate Team Challenge Race Start time: 3:15pm

Women’s pro race Start time: 5:15pm

Men’s pro race Start time: 6:30pm

I think the Corporate Team Challenge is a great idea. There will have about 20 teams participating (Telus, Sugoi, KPMG, etc), and the idea is for the team members to experience what it feels like to be a pro rider!

Copyright: Stefan Lozinsky

Aren’t the photos by Stefan Lozinsky so beautiful? I aspire to take similar photos of some of these (and future) events!

A video from last year’s event:

And here’s a video of Race Director Mark Ersting speaking about this year’s event:

5th Annual Cypress Challenge – Saturday 18, 2012

On a scale from 1 to 10… How crazy is it to do a 12km bike ride up a mountain and then fly to Asia on the same day I asked my colleague….

“Ummm…. I wouldn’t do that if I were you…. How long is your flight?? Do you really want to exert yourself that much, and have all that lactic acid built up in your legs when you are forced to sit down for so long?” she replid.

Oh rats… I didn’t think of that. So I guess the answer is 11. Bummer!! 😦

The 5th Annual Cypress Challenge will be held on Sat Aug 18th – and sadly I will have to give it a miss.

Participants will cycle 12km up Cypress Mountain to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Each year the challenge is dedictae to someone who pass passed, or is undergoing treatment for this type of Cancer. This year’s challenge is in memory of Bob Hager.

Who is Bob Hager??

Bob Hager was a prominent Vancouverite who was a driving force in building one of Canada’s most successful asset managers, Philips, Hager & North (PH&N). He was also a generous community contributor, enriching and improving the lives of the many people less fortunate than himself. He was quietly driven, humble and had a never ending dedication to his family, clients and community. Bob died of Pancreatic Cancer in October 2011.

Some info about this Event:

The event was created by Geoffrey and Myriam Glotman in 2008 after they lost Myriam’s mother Betty Ergas to pancreatic cancer. In 2010 the event hosted by Paul Carson, who was being treated for the disease at the time, raised $50,000 for pancreatic cancer research. Paul passed away from the disease in January 2011. In 2011 the event, dedicated to the memory of Jack Poole, raised over $125,000 for pancreatic cancer research.

Some REALLY scary facts about Pancreatic Cancer:

  • Nearly 600 British Columbians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012
  • 75% of patients do not survive a full year post-diagnosis
  • Only 5% survive after five years
  • Across Canada, pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths.

Would have SERIOUSLY loved to do this ride but I guess I will have to wait for next year…. Passed it on to my cycling friends in the meantime.

Check out this cool video from last year’s ride: Cypress Challenge 2011

Ride to Conquer Cancer Training – Vancouver to White Rock

On Saturday June 2, 2012 my friends and I went for a cycling trip down to White Rock – a city literally a stone’s throw from the US border.

We prayed AND prayed for a clear day all week – and our prayers were answered! Although the skies were heavy with rain when we started – the clouds held out for as long as they could as we escaped Vancouver and Richmond to reach our sunny destination. 🙂

Some facts:

Local pilots refer to White Rocks as ‘the hole in the sky’ – since the city is often bright and sunny while the rest of the Lower Mainland is covered by a thick blanket of grey clouds.

The city is named for a distinctive large white boulder on its beach near the promenade, a glacial erratic that migrated south during the last glaciation. 19th-century sailors used it as a beacon.

One Native Indian legend claims that the gigantic rock marks the landing spot of a stone that was thrown across Georgia Straight  (i.e. the area with the killer whale fin)  by a young Indian chief in order to determine where his bride & he would move from Vancouver Island. Isn’t that cute? I like it!

Below is a play-by-play outline of the route we took…

By the time we reached Delta (which is beautiful BTW)… we felt like this trip was NEVER ENDING!! haha Man is White Rock ever far!

I’d love to explore more of the Southern Lower Mainland… one of my favourite parts of this trip was the Mud Bay area between Delta and White Rock.

That’s Jason panting… he was so tired from keeping us with us girls!!! ;p

There is nothing better than an ice-cold beer after a lonnnnng bike ride!!

And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… here’s the video I did about this ride. I was inspired by the vintage 1974 bike ride I had seen earlier that week – so I decided to give this video a vintage-feel. Hope you like it!

Some Great News – Sugoi Uniforms are NOW SHIPPED

Received some great news in my inbox this morning…

Our  Team Tetra Tech Uniforms are on the way!

My team mates and I CANNOT WAIT to try them on 🙂

Vancouver bike lanes set to expand

Vancouver Bike Lanes Set to Expand

Vancouver is fast becoming one of the best cities in thw world to get around on your bike – and I state this from a completely biased POV since I only just started riding a bike and that is within the confines of the Lower Mainland…. yet, it is very encouraging to read news of further bike lanes to use in the near future!

The city is considering turning parts of Commercial Drive, Point Grey Road and Cornwall Avenue into bikeways as part of the next phase of its quest to reduce bicycle-vehicle conflicts.

Obviously –  the idea is meeting mixed reviews ESP with businesses along Commercial Drive who are worried about the potential commercial impacts.

This fall the city also expects to move head with the long-planned Helmcken/Comox bikeway in the West End (my neighbourhood).
 
I really support additional bike lanes – my friends and I are always selecting these routes to get around as they are way safer, and cycling is becoming more and more popular among Vancouverites.
 

Weekend of Cycling Coming Up

Cannot wait to go for a nice long ride tomorrow!! Fresh Air, New Scenary, Blood Pumping, Sunshine on my face (fingers crossed)… sign me up!!

38km ride to Lighthouse Park (West Van) and back

Last Sunday (April 8th) Kath and I went for a bike ride to Lighthouse Park in West Van (and back!!).

38km in all for me … which was only a day after the epic 78km ride. OUCH!!!

The ride there is so pretty! Lots of hills and beautiful properties to day dream about living in!! I also saw a real estate agent’s sign with a Maltese surname (Grech).

Kathy and I at the Lions Gate Bridge - that connects Vancouver to West Vancouver.

Cycling through Stanley Park enroute to West Van was a KILLER – my legs were so sore from the previous day. We did a double-duty cycling weekend to see what it feels like to cycle on a Sat AND Sun – since that is what we will be doing for the Ride to Conquer Cancer…. only each day will be 125km and 125km NOT 78km and 38km. Needless to say – I am over the moon with our steady progress and dedication!!!

Silly pic with sign! No need to watch for me I was travelling super-slow!

Ambleside Park - I had always wanted to check out West Van's version of our seawall!

We cut through Ambleside Park instead of the crazy-busy road that leads into West Van…. and hit the endless, super steep hills that take you to Lighthouse Park.

Midway through I asked Kathy to make an emergency pitstop at a gas station/ mini market to fuel up. I bought a double chocolate bar, protein bar and Gatorade… Yes sometimes I eat like a hockey player!! haha Note to self: Never go for a ride when you haven’t eaten properly before!!

A nice guy whom we met at the park scoped out whether we can descend further into the park to get a view of the Lighthouse without having to lock up our bikes in the car park. Can you imagine getting your bike stolen way out there??? I would burst out crying! Turns out you can only make it half way…

We made it! 🙂 Now time to walk with our bikes in the park.

If you want to get right by the water and the lighthouse you’re going to have to leave your bike behind (car park) … so take a shitty bike!!

We found a nice little sign to pose with...

I was reading about the history of this place...nerd that I am! 🙂 ... and the first keepers of this lighthouse (19th century) had the first white baby in West Van. Maintaining a lighthouse = lots of time for baby making!

Of course... we wanted our money shot with the lighthouse... so after some off-trailing and rock climbing, we got our vantage point!

And then by SOME MIRACLE we managed to cycle all the way back!!

🙂 The End 🙂

Baby Lions in Stanley Park

Who knew that you could find mini lion statuettes in Stanley Park? Aren’t they cute?

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