Is the grass really greener?


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.

11 thoughts on “Is the grass really greener?

  1. I’ve traveled through/to 30 states on my motorcycle and every one has its own kind of beauty. The prairies of South Dakota had some of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen. The Rockie Mountains have the remarkable grandeur as do the Tetons. The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and N. Carolina have a wonderfully relaxed nature to their beauty. I can’t think of ANY PLACE I don’t want to see or ride!

    • I know what you mean. I am heading to rural Ontario in a week or two, with my bikes of course, and hope to cycle in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota along the way. There is no bad place to cycle. The purpose of the post is to encourage people to get out on their bikes. There is really no better place to ride than where you are 🙂

    • Well, we get a lot of rain in the winter and some don’t like that. Once I figured out what to wear, I don’t really mind it. But yes, the park is a great place to ride for all level of cyclist. The road is a popular training route for the serious cyclist and where I spend a lot of my time. Thanks for the comment 🙂

      • You’re a pro and go cycling no matter the weather. Rain is not yet my choice!
        I’m getting braver with strong winds though.
        Glad to visit your blog.

      • Thanks for the visit.

        I am no pro. Believe me 🙂 But I do like to ride and be outside. I was raised in Toronto, home to bitterly cold, windy winters. I tried cycling in the snow, ice, and cold but it was impossible for me. I ventured west to find a more temperate climate, and friendlier cycling community.

        While I have you, I have to tell you that I enjoy your photography. You make me think about how and why I take the pictures I do.

    • What? You don’t believe me? Many of the images in previous posts are from the park. I cycle it most days, and one of my favourite places to stop, rest, refuel and pee is 3rd Beach atop a cliff overlooking English Bay.

  2. Believe it or not, I really enjoy cycling where I live too. I love taking the bikes with me on vacations, to check out new places, but I always love coming back to the relative safety of our quiet town. On the other side of that coin, I do wish people were a little less ignorant about cyclists here. Always something to contend with I suppose.

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