Slow Biking – Kits Beach to Lighthouse Park

Cycling English Bay Vancouver

Photo: R. Weiss

Have you heard about the Slow Bicycle Movement?  I would argue it is more of a philosophy than a movement, a celebration of cycling so to speak.  Slow biking is about the journey and not the destination.  An emphasis on enjoying the ride.  The unofficial rules of the Slow Bicycle Movement are simple:

  • Ride the bike you have, in the clothes you like, at the speed you enjoy
  • Walk hills if you prefer
  • Stop, take pictures, chat with a friend

Without question, Vancouver is a poster city for the Slow Bicycle Movement.  The combination of beaches, bridges and bike paths is simply too delicious to resist.  Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination.  Take a day, a week or a month to complete this route and enjoy the ride!

Here are the Top 5 Places to Slow Down:

  1. Kits Beach
Kits Beach, Vancouver

Photo: R. Weiss

Of course the views from Kits are amazing, but for me the draw is the people, the cast of characters that flock to this beach rain or shine.  I am always astonished at the vibrancy of the area. The mix of slackliners, joggers, walkers and cyclists provide ample opportunity for people watching.  A slow ride here never disappoints.

As you leave Kits, follow the Seaside Greenway up and over the Art Deco style Burrard Bridge.  The best part of the deal?  The bike lane over the bridge is protected from traffic and the views of Granville Island are second to none.

  1. English Bay
Inukshuk English Bay

Photo: R. Weiss

The seawall bike path winds its way from the Burrard Bridge along the waterfront towards English Bay.  Look for the Inukshuk to guide you. This popular landmark always stirs my imagination and beckons me to stop and look.

Moving on you are faced with an extremely difficult decision.  Ride the loop around the Stanley Park Seawall or head directly to the Lions Gate Bridge.   On the bright side, you cannot make a wrong choice as both are fantastic cycling options.

  1. Lions Gate Bridge
Cycling on the Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver

Photo: R. Weiss

Riding over the Lions Gate Bridge is a thrill!  Traffic on the causeway can be busy at times.  You will appreciate the designated shared bike and pedestrian pathway.  Two majestic Lion Statues proudly welcome you to the entrance of the bridge.  Panoramic views of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet from the mid span are absolutely spectacular and if you are lucky you may witness a cruise ship pass below you.

  1. Ambleside Park and Centennial Seawalk

West-Vancouver

After the hustle and bustle of bridge traffic it is a welcome relief to follow the bike route off the bridge towards Ambleside Park.  The waterfront pathway is for pedestrian use only, but certainly worth hopping off the bikes to enjoy this stretch.  Remember, this is a slow bike ride, hopping off is highly recommended.

The most adventurous part of the day begins as you leave Ambleside Park.  Roller coaster hills will test your endurance as you wind your way through West Vancouver.   Peek-a-boo ocean views and glimpses of palatial water front homes add a unique flavour to this section of the ride.

  1. Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver

Photo: R. Weiss

The icing on the cake.  After grinding up that last hill you will arrive at Lighthouse Park.  Majestic first growth Douglas fir trees greet you and invite you to explore.  It is a must to get off the bike, hike out to Point Atkinson and visit this National Historic site.  Built on granite boulders the lighthouse stands proudly at the entrance to Burrard Inlet.  A perfect place to stop for that well deserved picnic.

Map and Route Tips:

  • Construction is currently underway to make safety improvements on the southern approach to Lions Gate Bridge. Obey traffic signs.
  • The Spirit Trail on the North Shore is a work in progress with the promise of eventually connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.
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One Response to Slow Biking – Kits Beach to Lighthouse Park

  1. Lesley

    I am all for your slow biking philosophy journey :)
    Your pictures really captured the unique
    views of Vancouver.