Into the abyss that is Delta

16 02 2016

Delta is cycling’s Bermuda Triangle.

Cyclists enter its tangled weave of suburban courts and cul-de-sacs and are never seen again, lost and confused in its spaghetti serving of random bike routes that begin and end abruptly, non-existent links, and signs to nowhere.

Maybe it’s a sly civic scheme to increase population and the tax base; eventually all those lost cyclists give up, put a down payment on a an early-70s rancher with aluminum siding and the next thing they know they’re signed on for pick-up no-contact hockey down at the Sungod Arena.

Delta’s boggy soil ensures bike routes are turned routinely into lakes after a day or two of heavy rain.

Traversing a flooded bike path after three days of heavy rain. Much of Delta is on flood plain, so the soil is already pretty saturated.

Traversing a flooded bike path after three days of heavy rain. Much of Delta is on flood plain, so the soil is already pretty saturated.

It’s where tires go to die.

Rare is the ride through Delta that doesn’t involve at least one flat. Maybe that’s because the bike lanes are rarely swept, left littered with gravel and shards of glass. And the rural routes are pocked with potholes and heaved hardtop.

Last year I famously popped both the front and rear tires simultaneously when I ran over a rock I didn’t see until it was too late. Today I lost the rear tire when a puddle of broken auto glass jumped up from the bike lane on the Alex Fraser Bridge, the gateway to Delta’s Hades.

The Alex Fraser Bridge is not the most fun place to have to change a flat tire.

The Alex Fraser Bridge is not the most fun place to have to change a flat tire.

But survive all that and you’re rewarded with some lovely rural riding, past potato farms, horse stables and a variety of quirky farmhouse architecture. As well as one of the finest breweries in the Lower Mainland’s booming craft beer scene, Four Winds. All against a distant backdrop of city skylines from Vancouver, Burnaby and New West that constantly peak above the flatlands.

Four Winds brewery is one of the area's most renowned craft brewers.

Four Winds brewery is one of the area’s most renowned craft brewers.

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