Sunday, July 24, 2016

Modo Adventure: Barnston Island

Bikes are loaded up on the Modo car bike rack
Bike #3 folded up in the trunk of our Modo vehicle

En route to Surrey for our ride around Barnston Island
Saturday we tried something we haven't done before: driving somewhere to bike. The vast majority of our riding is for transportation, which is still fun, but the main purpose isn't to get exercise or for recreation, it's just to get somewhere. So it was interesting to do some purely recreational riding. We decided to go to Barnston Island, which Oliver had ridden on when he was younger. I read a bit about it on Let's Go Biking & it sounded like a great place for Linny to ride on his little bike.

We booked the nearest Modo vehicle that has a bike rack & Oliver rode our folding bike over to pick it up. He returned to our house, where we loaded my hybrid & Linny's BMX on the hitch mounted Thule bike rack, tossing our bags & the iBert seat into the trunk with the folding bike.

Exploring while we get the bikes ready to go
We were one of many families taking the ferry with bikes
It's a fairly quick drive out to Surrey Bend Regional Park on the highway, only about 20 minutes. Parking in the gravel lot there is free & right next to the "ferry"--a small barge pushed back & forth across the river by a tugboat--which runs on demand. Colleen of Let's Go Biking writes that there's no traffic on Barnston & she wasn't kidding. We saw two cars & one motorcycle driving around on the 10km road around the island. I lost count of the cyclists we saw--somewhere around 35 or 40 in the two hours that we were there.

The riders were mainly families who were doing the same thing as us--driving to Surrey Bend & taking the ferry over for a ride around with a stop at the picnic spot on the northern tip of the island. Because there is so little traffic on the rural island, & it's nearly completely flat, it really is great for little riders--we saw kids as young as three riding around the roads of Barnston on their 12" bike with training wheels.

We're here & ready to ride!

Some of the many critters we saw on our ride
Along our circuit of Barnston, we stopped to pick blackberries & look at the many farm animals. We saw dozens of cows, sheep, goats, two donkeys, some chickens, dogs, a crusty old barn cat, & even a couple of turkey vultures. With all the stops, it took us nearly an hour & a half to ride counter-clockwise around from the ferry terminal to the picnic spot (about 8km). We had a quick bathroom break at the pit toilets in the entrance to the park & then biked down the path to the picnic tables for lunch. Other families came & went while we were there--Bronte tried out the bikes of some of the other little riders on the island. Next time we go I won't hesitate to bring her bike too--even a toddler on a runner bike could ride on Barnston.

Checking out the map of Barnston Island
Picnic stop on Barnston Island
After our picnic lunch we ride the remaining 1.8km back to the ferry & returned to Surrey, where we rode around a little more in Surrey Bend Park. There are a few wide gravel paths through the park, most of which allow biking. The park seems really new, & not quite complete, with shiny signs at all the path junctions, tons of bike racks, picnic tables, shiny fountains that aren't working & pit toilets without signs on the doors.

The Barnston Island Ferry crossing the Fraser
I missed the cargo bikes on our ride today--it's nice to have the flexibility to carry the kids or let them ride as long as they want to. Now that Bronte is getting to the top of the weight limit for the iBert seat, it's easier to bike with her on the bakfiets or the Yuba. & of course it's much easier to carry the picnic lunch & anything else you're bringing along on the big bikes. But it was nice to be able to just pop the bikes on a car & drive somewhere, rather than trying to find a route that is nice to cycle on. I look forward to a day when there are better regional cycling connections & riding around Metro Vancouver doesn't require as much planning. I think we'll definitely do this again.

Surrey Bend Regional Park was pretty quiet for a Saturday afternoon
If you'd like to see how carsharing works with biking & a family, watch for us on Instagram! I'm taking over Modo's account this week!

Disclaimer: As an Official Blogger Ambassador, Modo will be providing me with some driving credits & I'll be blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, & Instagramming about our adventures big & small with Modo. I've already been writing about carsharing for years, so if you've been following me for a while, expect more of the same!

To follow my Modo travels, & the other Modo Blogger Ambassadors (there are a few of us!) click on the hashtags #LetsModo & #MyModo & follow @Modo_CarCoop on TwitterInstagram, & Facebook.

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