Imperial Drive

The most dangerous road conditions on my Mackenzie Heights to UBC bike commute are on Imperial Drive. I use Imperial Drive as the continuation of the 29th Ave bike route to reach 16th where I head West to UBC. It is a very attractive part of the ride because it crosses through Pacific Spirit Park and the curves in the road mean that cars are not racing through here as they are on 16th, for example.

However, the road surface is becoming worse and worse. As is often the case, it is wearing out from the outside, i.e. exactly where I would be riding my bike. Cracks, developing holes and – especially hazardous, I find – chunks of asphalt breaking off at the edge.

These road conditions are especially treacherous coming home in the afternoon/evening as there is no street lighting on this stretch of road. Given the condition of the roadway, I feel compelled to ride in the centre of the lane which obviously works well when there is no car traffic behind me. Should a car come, however, I move over to the side where the road conditions are scary and I’ve already pitched off the roadway onto the soft should once. The lack of light is exacerbated by on-coming traffic that doesn’t alway recognize a bike light as a signal to switch to low-beams. My Gotham Defender bike light does give me some light on the road at the speed I’m going, but this is no use (no fault of the light) in on-coming high-beams.

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The Athletic Challenge of the 8th Ave Bike Route

Every once in a while I change my route to the UBC campus, particularly when my son decides to ride a bike to his school in Kitsilano.

Today I thus headed down the hill with him and turned back up the hill on the 8th Ave bike route. This is by far a greater athletic challenge than my usual route via the 29th Ave bike route and 16th Ave. The only incline that I usually face is the hill up to Dunbar Ave. While this is somewhat steep, it is fairly short (one block) and thus tackled quickly. Beyond that are only some minor inclines.

On 8th Ave by contrast the section from Highbury to Sasamat has some rather steep bits and lasts quite a while. Today, some athletic/cardiovascular competitive bug must have bitten me as I powered up the hill about as fast as I ever have. The good things is that the remainder of the way from the steep section to UBC is level, so that I can catch my breath and stop sweating too much before I arrive at my office. Nice workout occasionally though!