Breaking out of the route rut

12 06 2013

It’s amazing how quickly tried and true routes become ruts.

When I joined the FR Fuggitivi group ride last spring, it was to become a more social cyclist and also to learn about and explore new routes.

As we’re well into our second season, the group is growing, the camaraderie is enlivening and the new routes are, well, becoming ruts.

So it was with a pioneering spirit we embarked in a new direction on Sunday. East.

For the most part rides from New West head west because going east involves crossing sketchy bridges or a long detour through the un bike-friendly environs of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam where motorists are always in a hurry to return to their suburban hovels and bike lanes inexplicably disappear.

Before long, though,  all those westbound routes become variations of each other.

So with the recent opening of a new perimeter road skirting the opposite shore of the Fraser River and promising quick access to the rural routes of the Fraser Valley, we decided to brave the perilous sidewalk of the creaky Pattullo Bridge to check it out.

As the highway is still incomplete in sections, accessing it was a bit of a circuitous adventure past dilapidated scrapyards and new industrial parks. But once we hit the meat of the road, the shoulder is wide, if in need of a good sweep, and on a Sunday morning traffic is light. Passing beneath the hulking expanse of the new Port Mann bridge was a surreal experience, and the climb to the outskirts of Langley was tougher than it looked.

The new South Fraser Perimeter Road is wide, smooth, quiet on a Sunday morning and offers a unique view of the hulking new Port Mann bridge.

The new South Fraser Perimeter Road is wide, smooth, quiet on a Sunday morning and offers a unique view of the hulking new Port Mann bridge.

An unexpected surprise was a section of wide multi-user path through a corridor of tall grasses and trees that felt for a few moments like it could have been in rural France.

Wait a minute, have we been magically transported to rural France.

Wait a minute, have we been magically transported to rural France.

Round trip to our snack stop in Fort Langley was almost 72 kms. But more importantly it’s opened new possibilities  for even more new routes into the countryside.

New routes mean an opportunity to check out new snack stops.

New routes mean an opportunity to check out new snack stops.

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