Is the grass greener somewhere else?
It is human nature to think others are better off. They have more of this or that. Their lives are easier, more interesting, or happier. You know what I mean. They think the grass is greener on the other side of that proverbial fence.
I was training in Stanley Park last week on my road bike like I have for almost 30 years when I began to wonder if there is any better place in the world to cycle. I am certain there are a lot of other places, and I know of several in the area that are comparable, but there are some unique things about Stanley Park that set it apart.
For those of you who have never visited Vancouver, Stanley Park is a 1,000-acre public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver, Canada and is almost entirely surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. There is a pedestrian seawall that circumnavigates the entire park along the waterfront, and a vehicular road that circles the interior of the park. Traffic on these arteries always travels in a counter clockwise direction, so there is never any oncoming traffic to contend with, and both routes are approximately 10 km in length without any stoppages. No intersections. No traffic lights. And, no stop signs. You can cycle continuously for as long, or short a period of time as you like.
Yes, the park can get busy. In the summer months in particular, the Seawall and road can be busy with walkers, skateboarders and cyclists. However, in the off seasons, and early morning hours, it is quiet. So, if you pick your times carefully, you can cycle without traffic of any sort for hours.
The Seawall is flat, smooth and winding. Without traffic, you can race around, enjoy the ocean scenery and fresh sea air. The road which cuts through an old growth coastal forest includes a 1.5 km climb, a 2 km descent on a very smooth surface, and the balance of 6.5 km is rolling and winding. In 10 short km you can practice sprints, climbs and descents without ever having to stop.
Add a mild, temperate climate enabling cycling all year, and you have a cyclists paradise. The park is 10 km from the house on traffic calmed bikeways, and 5 km from the office on quiet streets and bike paths. And, the park is on the way home from the office.
What could be better?
So, if weather, traffic, road surface, scenery, fresh air, and terrain are important to you, I know the perfect place to ride.
There is no greener grass than that under your wheel.