In springtime, when the sun first peaks out from behind the eternal veil of winter cloud and entices to go outside is the time when I love discovering local cycling trails. There’s an incredible network of bike trails in greater Vancouver and many are flat and completely separated from the car traffic, offering a great way of spending a lovely afternoon discovering really neat places. Today I invite you to explore Steveston, Britannia Historic Shipyards and Finn Slough to get a feel for the not-so-distant history on the Fraser River.
The inspiration for this trip cam from a great online cycling resource for the Vancouver area http://www.letsgobiking.net. The website is run by a local gal who is working on turning her numerous cycling itineraries into a book. Check out the website for cycling trip ideas! Also scroll to the bottom of this page for more cycling resources.
So, let’s go (25km, 2hrs moving time):
- This trip starts by taking a Canada Line skytrain to Richmod-Brighouse station. Get off and head south (left) on No.3 Road. You will be on a separated bike lane for the most part.
- When you reach Granville Avenue, turn right and continue for 2.5km, staying in the bike lane until the Railway Avenue where the cycling lane turns slightly left.
- Here, instead of staying on the roadway, look for a rail-to-trail bike/pedestrian path in the greenbelt to your right. Join this trail.
- Follow the rail trail (a remnant of a great historical train rail which was connecting Steveston to the big city of Vancouver until 1950’s) for 5km of easy railroad grade until you reach Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site in Steveston. This is a place worth of a visit! Park your bicycle on one of the boardwalks and take a stroll, visiting some of the the buildings and houses of the cannery workmen.
- After the shipyards, continue east following Westwater Road (passes directly behind the shipyards parking lot). At the foot of No.2 Road, go east but take the next right onto Dyke Rd. After about 500m you will arrive at another place worth a visit – London Heritage Farm. The grounds are publicly accessible and free to visit but do check out their tea room to be transported into the times of elegant tea service complete with a 3-tiered cake stand full of goodies to go with it.
- After the break at London Heritage Farm continue east on Dyke Rd. After No. 3 road it will turn into a dyke trail proper (wide, flat, fine gravel). Shortly after reemerging on the pavement again will reach another spot worth a stop and a photograph – Finn Slough. Finn Slough is a unique community of tiny fishing houses which are occupied by an eclectic collection of artists and others who seek a quiet life away from the hustle-bustle and don’t mind living off the grid. That’s right, no electricity and no gas. As I rode by I could smell the wonderful scent of wood-burning stoves. If you are a romantic type and instantly picture yourself living here, there was a great article in the Tyee newspaper describing what living at Finn Slough is really like.
- Continue east on Dyke Rd, cross the foot of Shell Rd and look out for the Horsehoe Trail turnoff on your left. Take this wooded trail. Follow the path until it joins with the paved road again. You are now on Shell Rd. Take the cycling path along Shell Road. It will again turn into a wide gravel path, a railbed turned into a trail. This path will take you back to Bridgeport Rd and back to the skytrain but the final part of it is on a road shared with cars. If this makes you uncomfortable follow a variation shown on the map below.
- What a wonderful day it was!
For more cycling ideas, visit:
- City of Richmond cycling trails
- Vancouver bike routes
- Cycling in Coquitlam and Tri-Cities
- Trans Canada Trail in BC