Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Lovin': Weekend Bike Tour

Have you been having a great summer so far?
S and I definitely have, it has involved a lot of sunny, hot weekends at the beach and mandatory evening bike ridesOur friends are astonished when we tell them that:
 "last night we rode in from New Westminster to Vancouver to go for dinner and drinks"
and their immediate reaction is that we must be avid, hard-core cyclists; this could not be farther from the truth! 
So friends, today's post is all about the best bike route for anyone who would like to ride around the lower mainland and specifically for those who live east of the downtown/westside/eastside core: this route winds itself from New Westminster to Vancouver, eventually connecting directly onto the beautiful Stanley Park seawall.
1 hour and 10 minutes from New Westminster to Union Street/Main Street, with a fitness level of 5 out of 10 and safety at the same rate, make sure to try this route, you will surely be addicted!  This route will of course include food and drink stops in New Westminster, East Vancouver, Chinatown, Coal Harbour, Yaletown and False Creek.
Starting your cycle tour through quaint Queens Park in New Westminster, make sure to appreciate the palatial homes which carry as much revenue for the owner as it does history!
From Queens Park head WEST on the Crosstown route (7th Avenue) // At Sixth Street turn RIGHT and ride up half a block // Keep an eye out to your LEFT....
Anny's Dairy Bar, the only place on earth where I don't get an insta-stomach ache after consuming sugar and dairy.  I can't promise you that it indeed solves dairy allergies however, I can most definitely promise you the best ice cream experience EVER.  Make sure it's the maple twist cone you order!  I've heard their poutine is quite scrumptious as well...
Anny's Dairy Bar
722 Sixth Street
* New Westminster *
Get back onto the Crosstown route until you get to Moody Park, ride through the park // At Tenth Street turn RIGHT, continue until London Street // Turn LEFT onto London Street, continue on the London Street Bikeway // Staying on London Street Bikeway will connect you directly onto the BC Parkway // Head WEST on the BC Parkway....
The BC Parkway is one of the safest bikes routes around, most of the route is a dedicated bike lane, meaning no contact with cars whatsoever.
BC Parkway winds through Burnaby until you reach Central Park // At Central Park/Boundary Road head NORTH down Boundary turn LEFT on Vanness Avenue // Continue WEST on Vanness (keep an eye out for the BC Parkway signs) // BC Parkway will lead you right to John Hendry Park....
Ride THROUGH John Hendry Park turn down Lakewood Drive // Cycling down Lakewood Drive connects directly back onto the BC Parkway route until Commercial Drive // Turn RIGHT onto Commercial Drive and cycle down......
Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar is hands-down one of the best sushi places in Vancouver.  Directly on Commercial Drive a few shops down from the Grandview-Woodland bike route, it's a perfect appetizer stop on your way into downtown Vancouver.  Everything is delicious and the only advice is to check out what everyone else is ordering and if a dish appeals to you, ask for it!  Get there right at 5 PM or you will be waiting....
 2054 Commercial Drive (closed on Mondays)
* East Vancouver *

Continue WEST on the Grandview-Woodland route and turn right on Woodland Drive // Head NORTH down Woodland until you hit Venables, continue past the intersection until you reach Adanac Street, turn LEFT....
 Bomber Brewing is one stop that still needs to be experienced.  We personally have not had a chance to visit however it is on our next cycle tour "must-do" as the reviews are very good and there is always a steady stream of people exiting and entering this brewery, whether for the tasting room or to fill their growlers.  They are open until 11 PM / 7 days a week so this spot can be hit either on the way down to Vancouver or on the return home back to New Westminter.
1488 Adanac Street
* East Vancouver *

Continue WEST down Adanac Street, you will start to see a steady stream of cyclists // Follow the crowd down Union Street until you cross Dunlevy Avenue // Prepare to PARK your bike at any of the bike racks provided by the city.....
The Union Bar is the perfect stop heading into downtown Vancouver. There are always tons of bikes parked outside and the atmosphere is full of life.  Grab a seat on their patio, people watch and order the best dish hands down, their Banh-Mi sandwich.  On Mondays their special is any of the Banh-Mi sandwiches with a pint of beer for $10.
219 Union Street (at Main)
* Chinatown *
Now, you have 2 choices, go for dessert in Chinatown or continue your bike route towards the seawall.....
DESSERT: Continue WEST down Union Street towards Quebec Street // Turn RIGHT and continue (Quebec turns into Columbia) until Pender Street // Turn RIGHT on Pender Street and cycle half-way up the block....
New Town Bakery where the best apple tarts are sold.  Famous even in New York City (no joke), this is THE bakery for melt-in-your-mouth flaky pastry that envelopes perfectly baked apples.  Don't let the dingy facade fool you, the owners know exactly what they are doing.  Bring cash and your "elbowing" powers!
New Town Bakery
148 East Pender Street (open until 8:30 PM)
* Chinatown *

SEAWALL: Continue WEST down Union Street towards Quebec Street // Turn LEFT and continue until the seawall appears // Turn RIGHT and start your cycle around the seawall. 
The following are excellent stops along one of the most beautiful seawall routes in North America.
Not sure how the group at Cactus Club Cafe receives licensing however all kudos to them as the restaurant group seems to find the most perfect locations throughout our city.  In addition to the location, their food matches perfectly and a visit to Cactus Club Cafe never disappoints.  Favorites include: Ravioli Prawn Trio, Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl (with extra yogurt dressing of course!), Bellinis and Spiked Frapps.
1790 Beach Avenue
* English Bay/Westend *
Just one block up from the seawall in the financial district of Vancouver is Giovane Cafe, are you starting to feel a bit tired from all the cycling?  Then make a sugar bun stop at Giovane's, you won't be disappointed!  And while you are at it, browse through their great collection of international magazines.
1038 Canada Place
* Coal Harbour * 
Don't let this picture of the Tap & Barrel fool you.  Their patio is never empty so make sure to stop here at the end of your tour.  Please PLEASE request a table on their upstairs patio because the view of the sunset is absolute perfection!  I have to admit I visit this place strictly for their beer flights.  It's a fun way to be introduced to different beers and T&B was where my love for beers was reignited.
1 Athletes Way at the Olympic Village
* False Creek *
Planning on making this tour roundtrip?  You can jump on the skytrain which will take you home to any of the outerlying suburbs of Vancouver or if you are like us, we force ourselves to ride home  shaving off some of those calories we seem to always consume :).
TGIF and Bon Appetit!
What are you up to this weekend?
** Oh and here is a great resource that will confirm your addiction to riding the BC Parkway **

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