PEDAL PUSHERS: St. Andrews a good route for zipping down to Lonsdale Quay

Our safe cycling network is growing, but in the meantime many of our North Shore routes are incomplete.

Pedal Pushers are out on the streets looking for the best routes for you. We’ll share what we learn periodically to help you find safe(r) routes around the North Shore.

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Going overtown to the art gallery or to watch the Vancouver Whitecaps play? Meeting someone for coffee in Gastown? Here’s an option for a two-wheeled ride down the hill on your way to that hot date downtown. If you live near Lonsdale, the St. Andrews route is more pleasant than most going downhill. Uphill, not so much -- unless you are on an e-bike. Arbitrarily starting at 21st Street and Lonsdale, take the Green Necklace to St. Andrews Avenue or just cycle east on 21st for a couple of blocks. We do not recommend Chesterfield Avenue because there are too many parked and moving cars.

St. Andrews is an on-street, designated cycling route which is wide and mostly quiet in terms of vehicle use. There are a few crossings to watch for at 17th, 15th and 13th streets which are busier roads. According to City of North Vancouver engineering, these crossings are planned for renewal to help both pedestrians and people riding to cross safely, so this route will improve (except for the uphill return journey, although lights will give you a rest as you wait for them to change).

There are also traffic circles at 18th, 12th, 10th and 8th streets. Approach these as though you are part of regular traffic flow and take the lane. If you are in the circle before anyone else no matter what form of transport, you have the right of way. And vice versa. Just don’t assume all the drivers know the rules. Always yield to people on foot crossing the street at traffic circles.

Approach every corner as you speed downhill with caution. Drivers emerging from cross streets and laneways are not always expecting a fast moving person on a bike – even if it is a posted bike route. Cycle away from the curb and parked cars to increase your visibility. This is a sweet, flowy downhill route until it steepens at Keith. From Keith on down keep your speed in check, you don’t want to damage someone’s new car, your bike, or most importantly ruin your hot date.

There is no crossing light at 3rd Street, another busy road, so be very wary here. At the bottom of the hill you’ll come out at the corner of the slipway along the commercial spaces just north of Esplanade. You could take Esplanade, but don’t. A waaay safer route is to go left instead for half a block east and use the bike/pedestrian crossing across Esplanade to the Spirit Trail on the south side (although you will miss riding past all the auto repair shops…).

At St. Georges Avenue, abandon the Spirit Trail and take to the street on Victory Ship Way. This winds around to Lonsdale. Here you could dismount and walk along the sidewalk to the SeaBus. Right now, because of construction on Carrie Cates Court, that’s your best bet.

Hop on the SeaBus and you’ll be downtown in 15 minutes, refreshed and eager for adventures in the big city. Starting right from the top at 21st Street and Lonsdale, this route takes around 17 minutes (including the final walk to the SeaBus). The total time to downtown is around 30 minutes. Funny thing is that riding the entire way across the Lions Gate Bridge would take around 40 minutes, so not much more time. Cycling is kind of like that message on your rear view mirror: places are closer than you think. Try it. You’ll be surprised.

The North Shore Pedal Pushers are Heather Drugge and Antje Wahl. The guy who makes the column readable, Dan Campbell, prefers driving. See – we can all work together.

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