Monday, April 05, 2010

Pacific Populaire

Last Sunday Ilana and I completed the BC Randonneurs Pacific Populaire bike ride. We did the 100km route starting from Riley Park, looping past UBC over the Arthur Laing Bridge to circumnavigate Richmond, back into Vancouver over the Canada Line bridge, looping past UBC again to end up back at Riley Park. Including the ride to/from the start point we did 107km in a little less than 5 hours. That day there was very strong wind coming from the East meaning that on several stretches of road we were battling 30-40km/h sustained headwinds. It was a good start to doing some longer distance rides and it made for a nice shakedown ride for my new Brodie Elan touring bike (more on that in another post). Having never done any riding in the Richmond area, I was really pleased with the route the ride took. Most of the time we were on quiet streets or streets with plenty of shoulder space to ride without having to worry about being buzzed by cars, and several parts of the ride wound through scenic views of the Fraser River delta. I'm always on the lookout for new routes to ride, especially ones that combine significant distance with relatively low traffic, and I suspect I'll ride all or part of this route again this year.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Night Riding - Solitary Pleasure

A couple nights ago I did something that I haven't done since last summer: I went on a mediumish length solo night ride. My ride was a loop starting from home, taking the Seaside Bypass bike route along Vancouver's Northern shore all the way up past Spanish Banks, along South West Marine Dr, up the Cypress bike route to 37th Ave, and back East then North along Cambie and home. The distance was somewhere around the 35-40km mark (my bike computer needs a new battery) making for a 75 minute ride at good pace. I haven't been riding as much as I'd like over the past couple of months especially since my commute to work is no longer long enough to justify biking over transit (ironic that too short a ride puts me off cycling to work), so it was nice to be out for a decent ride where I was able to push a bit.

Night riding is a great way to get out with minimal traffic interference as long as you have sufficient lights to make sure you can be seen. My route took me through a few unlit stretches where I really wished for a better front light. I'm riding with a BLT Super Doppler DX LED light that I've used since 2006. This light is great as a bright "being seen" type of light, but falls short as a true headlight on an unlit road. I'm still figuring out what to get as a proper head light for night rides, but until then this light will do.