Community Ride-Ahead on the BMO Marathon course – UPDATE


Since this letter from “Cycle Thon” below was originally published on our web site, organizers of the BMO Vancouver Marathon have asked that this ride not take place this year due to all the unknowns related to setting up their new course.

Can riders be trusted to be off the course an hour ahead of the runners, keep out of the way of water station setup, not disrupt local traffic and buses, and do nothing that could harm the operation or reputation of the BMO Vancouver Marathon? If not, don’t ride.

How many of these bicycles (and their riders) featured in our Bike Brake series will we see out on the course? Photos: Rachel Bee


From “Cycle Thon” (

Be part of the inaugural Community Ride-Ahead Sunday May 6
Explore the BMO Vancouver Marathon course on two wheels

Imagine a temporary 30-km scenic city bike route completely protected from cars, passing through UBC, Spanish Bank, Kitsilano beach and downtown Vancouver. It’s happening early Sunday May 6 in Vancouver.

Most people know the route as the course of the BMO Vancouver Marathon. This year it will also be the first test ride of the Community Ride-Ahead, an experimental family ride along a big section of the Vancouver Marathon course ahead of the runners. The Community Ride-Ahead will start at 33rd and Ontario, the southeast corner of Riley Park (out of the way of the running start line), ending at the Jack Poole plaza at Thurlow and Cordova in downtown Vancouver, a distance of approximately 32 km.

This is a spontaneous, unregulated, unorganized experiment in having a community bike ride in Vancouver that doesn’t make car drivers angry and doesn’t cost anything. It will take advantage of the financial investments and hard work of the Vancouver Marathon organizers, sponsors and volunteers in setting up a barricaded course.

To participate, just show up at Ontario and 33rd Avenue ready to leave by 7 am. Ride south to 37th Ave., then west along the 37th Ave. bike route to connect with new Vancouver Marathon course at Cambie St.

Bring your friends and family! Wear a costume!

To make this work, PLEASE:

– Think of this a chance for cyclists of all ages, abilities and with any kind of bike to explore our beautiful city by bicycle. It is not a race.

– Respect the Vancouver Marathon. Your first priority is not to interfere with the race or the runners in any way. Ride well ahead of the first full marathon runners. They start at 8 am and move fast. That means starting no later than 7:00 am from Riley Park (meet at Ontario and 33rd). Riders should be over the Burrard Bridge by 9:00 am. Riders can start anywhere along the route before these times. Check out a street by street description of the full marathon route here.

– Do not go west along Pacific Boulevard or around the Stanley Park Seawall—the half marathon race will be in progress. Instead cross the Burrard Bridge on the northbound sidewalk, then turn one block east (right) onto the northbound Hornby St. bike lane to Hastings and then north and west to Cordova and Thurlow. Join other cyclists to celebrate the end of the ride at the Jack Poole Plaza by the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.

– Remember that cycling is not allowed on the marathon course or half-marathon course while the race is in progress.

– Show your appreciation to the BMO Vancouver Marathon by donating a minimum of $10 to the Vancouver Food Bank (donate online here), or to another of the marathon’s designated charities.

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Bob founded Vancouver Is Awesome in 2008. He heads up the publication as our Publisher and Editor-In-Chief.