Usually I begin to exhibit signs of spring fever after early glimpses of snowdrops and crocuses. My first flu like symptom is always an incurable urge to hop on my bike. I understand many of you hardy folk cycle religiously all year long and are never deterred by the winter “rains” or “winds”. Hats off to you! I am of weaker stalk. Despite attempting to do my fair share of winter riding, I must admit that I don’t quite maintain my “summer legs” all year long. When spring fever strikes and I feel motivated to grease the chain and pump up the tires, one of my “go to” rides is the Iona Causeway and Sea Island in Richmond.
Why? The route is flat, ideal for winter cycling legs that aren’t quite “hill” ready or for those seeking a more leisurely ride. This route offers options for both road and trail cycling and features glimpses of active YVR runways, the Richmond Olympic Oval, the BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus, the Fraser River, North Shore Mountains and Iona beaches. The shopper in you might even be tempted to hop off the bike and explore the award winning McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Mall.
The Larry Berg Flight Path Park marks the starting point for this outing. Truly charming, this unique park is perfectly situated for plane watching. My inner child loves the “flight path” themed playground and it’s not uncommon to observe adults “on top of the world” as they gather to watch Jumbo jets thundering overhead. I imagine this little park appeals to the wanderlust in all of us.
The frequent air traffic at the Vancouver International Airport dramatically provides contrast to the agricultural fields and protected natural areas of the Sea Island Conservation Area, McDonald Beach Park and Iona Beach Regional Park. Although quite barren, I would argue there’s a certain beauty to these windswept beaches. Hundreds of species of birds feed and rest at Iona Beach Regional park, and I found myself slowing my pace numerous times to take advantage of the incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.
The piece de la resistance of this route has to be the Iona Jetty. Stretching 4 km into the Strait of Georgia, the jetty seems to literally be floating in the ocean. You have heard of a stairway to heaven? Well, the jetty is the bike path to infinity and beyond. Cyclists and walkers share the trail on top and beside the cement outfall pipe. Viewing shelters strategically situated along the jetty are a welcome respite on those days when the wind picks up. Upon reaching the end of the jetty, I found myself staring out across the ocean, celebrating my day on the bike, watching the planes and feeling like a kid again. A bad case of spring fever, and quite frankly I am not searching for a cure!