Where to Bike Instead of the Seawall

It's time to accept that the Seawall isn't wide enough for all of us.

We all know that Vancouver is a comically expensive place to live, but on a day like last Saturday, it feels worth every penny. The real estate prices and rents are really just a tax we pay to get access to postcard-perfect spring views. (Sailboats and snow-capped mountains? Are you kidding me?!)

When the sun comes out, that giddy I-can’t-believe-we-get-to-live-here feeling draws most bike-riding Vancouverites to the Seawall, the ideal place to soak it all in. Normally, there’s a feeling of camaraderie among the strollers, rollerbladers, bikers and runners sharing the pathway, but in these strange social-distancing times, it’s now a veritable human obstacle course.

So what’s a pandemic-fearing cyclist to do? Where do we turn for a beautiful ride that we don’t have to share? Where we can pedal without fear of cross-contamination?

Here’s where: the Seymour Valley Trailway. 

Yes, technically this route is in North Van, but are you trying to tell me you don’t have the time right now for a little 20 minute car ride? 

I’m sure there’s some important research-related reason this 12km paved pathway snakes through the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, but to figure it out would take precious time away from doing this beaut of a ride. Closed to cars, cyclists only have to worry about dodging each other (and the odd shirtless crossblader) on the winding road through the coastal rainforest. Trickling creeks! Woodpeckers! Crisp, forest-fresh air! A heady soundtrack of chirping birds and whizzing tires! It’s downright magical. 

There are a few tougher inclines sprinkled throughout, but the breezy downhill portions are thrilling enough to balance it out. I’m a fairly new cyclist and a fair-weather commuter, so if I can handle it, you can. I recommend parking at Capilano University’s campus just a few kilometres south (don’t forget to pay for parking!), unload your bike and pedal away from your pandemic woes. 

This story was originally published on May 12, 2020.