Try this stretch if you want to do repetitions of hills or a relaxed stretch of coast ?
This installation of our new series of guides to Metro Vancouver bike destinations has a route on the far west side of town between West Point Gray and University Endowment Lands.
Where: “Spanish Banks Hill” or “Spanish Banks” – the section of NW Marine Drive that extends from the parking lots of the Spanish banks to NW Marine Drive and Chancellor Boulevard.
Why: Either a not so long, not so steep 2 km ascent suitable for repetitions of hills (to the west), or a fun descent with a beautiful sea view (to the east).
Difficulty: The stretch of road specifically mentioned here is from the parking lots of the Spanish banks to the intersection of NW Marine Drive and Chancellor Boulevard. It is about 2 kilometers long, with an average grade of 3.2 percent. There is a steeper track that lasts a few hundred meters (give or take), but it is easily conquered for most riders on most bikes. If in doubt, shift to lighter gear and take it slow the first time.
How to get there: Unless you want to do specific cycling training (eg repetitions of hills), Spanish Banks Hill is not really a destination in itself; it is more a feature of a longer route. Most cyclists approaching Spanish banks from the east drive east on the W 4th, then turn right onto NW Marine Drive. NW Marine Drive takes you past Jericho, Locarno and the Spanish banks. Coming from the west, many cyclists cycle west on NW Marine Drive through UBC before turning left to stay on NW Marine Drive (if they go “straight”, NW Marine Drive will be westbound to Chancellor Boulevard).
- NW Marine Drive at the beaches (Jericho, Locarno, Spanish banks) is very busy in the summer. Many motorists are looking for parking and their attention may falter. Be careful with cars that turn into parking lots and with cars that leave parking lots. Go for a spin, friends!
- There can be many cyclists climbing the hill to the west. When you are on the road, you share the road with cars. For your own safety, pay attention to where you are on the road and try to stay as close to the right side of the track as possible. This allows drivers to pass comfortably – which also gives you more space. And from personal experience, drivers can get very frustrated.
Brian Lim likes to ride a bike (sometimes with his camera). He is a complete and complete amateur – both in cycling and in photography, and says that he does not take himself seriously – and neither should you. Glue will share his love of cycling, so contact me if you want to talk! You can find him on Instagram at @wheelsandwhiskey.