A couple weeks ago, I picked up a bike rack for the trunk of my car and this week I had my handlebars raised on my bike. I also purchased a water bottle holder to attach to my bike and my dad fixed my kick stand. All of these tasks were in preparation for going on regular cycling trips.

I will admit that I am out of shape, but I really want to be stronger. I am going to try to go for bike rides on Fridays. With the use of the bike rack, I’ll be able to check out new areas in the Lower Mainland as well as selecting trails that suit my fitness level.

I’ve been following SmuttySteff on Twitter and she’s been tweeting about her cycling achievements. It’s been very inspirational and the other day I emailed her for some cycling advice. Steff said I can share some of her advice here:

  • “I ALWAYS have a hard time breathing in the first 5-10 minutes of cycling. Even now. Not as hard as I used to, but there’s a marked difference in my ease of breathing after 30 minutes than when I first start. Why? The lungs just need to warm up. Give it time. Huff, puff and wheeze through it. You’re allowed to take a break here or there, but I recommend just shifting down as low as you can and peddling lighter till you catch your breath.”
  • [For cycling as transportation] “It’s really hard for the first four weeks. It’s supposed to suck. It’s supposed to hurt. All you have to do is make some allowances for that, but you have to push harder & further than you THINK you can, because it’s totally a mind game. Do that, that’s where the accomplishment comes from.”
  • “Get yourself a tripometer at MEC for $15-20 so you know how far you’re cycling and at what speed. Tracking progress feels great and is more black/white than numbers on a scale or measurements — when the others aren’t coming for you, knowing there’s progress in performance compensates fabulously.”

Steff had tons more recommendations and I’d like to publicly thank her for emailing me back! Now, without further ado, my bike ride!

I selected Richmond’s South Dyke Trail because we’d done it before as a family (when I was maybe 12 or 13). I remember cycling out to Steveston to see the Tall Ships in Steveston and the Britannia Heritage Shipyard.

I drove to the bottom of No.4 Road and started at Finn’s Slough . It was originally a small fishing village established by Finnish settlers in the 1880s. Most people would think this is now maintained as a heritage area but surprisingly, people still live in Finn’s Slough in floating shacks and homes on stilts. It’s also completely off-grid.

The Village of Finn's Slough in Richmond, BC

The Village of Finn’s Slough in Richmond, BC

The majority of the South Dyke Trail follows the waterfront. On a beautiful day (like yesterday) it’s great with the sun shining down and the wind off the water. (Word to the wise, remember sunscreen… heh.)

Richmond's South Dyke Trail

I cycled past the London Farm, Gilbert Beach, London’s Landing, and took a break at the Britannia Heritage Shipyard.

Britannia Heritage Shipyard - Stilt Houses & Boardwalk

These four stilt homes were built in the 1800s as fisherman’s dwellings. They are located along the boardwalk which was Steveston’s main street during the time.

Statue dedicated to the Japanese Canadian Fishermen

This statue is dedicated to the Japanese Canadian fishermen and was erected by family members of the fishermen.

As I continued, I cycled into Steveston village and walked around the town for a bit. I grabbed a smoothie from Bean & Beyond Café and picked up some smoked salmon from a local fish shop. Then I headed to my final destination before turning back: Garry Point Park.

Kites in Garry Point Park, Richmond
The kites reminded me of Vanier Park in Vancouver. But something I’ve never seen before is the kite-flyers were sitting in little go-karts that were being powered by the pull from the kites.

Wind Waves from the Vancouver Biennale Art installations
My final photos were of one of the Vancouver Biennale Art installations: Wind Waves. I’ve got a Vancouver Biennale set in my Flickr and I’m trying to take photos of all the installations while they’re up until 2011.

From Finn’s Slough to Garry Point Park, it took me about 45 minutes because I was stopping for photos. On the way back, it took me about a half hour with a couple quick breaks cause the bike seat hurt my butt! I ignored the burn in my thighs and for the most part, my lungs didn’t hurt much.

If you’d like to see the other photos I took during the bike ride, visit my Flickr set for the South Dyke Trail.