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Cycling Vancouver: Stanley Park's Prospect Point climb and descent

For many new cyclists, the Prospect Point climb is one of the first “real” non-mountain climbs they'll undertake.

Prospect Point is a sight-seeing destination within Stanley Park. It is at the northern edge of the park; geographically on the south side of the First Narrows of Burrard Inlet, right by Lions Gate Bridge. For cyclists, it can be a short but challenging climb of just over a kilometre with a fun descent afterwards.

Cyclists in Stanley Park are able to ride either on the roadways (on a lane separated from motor vehicles) or around the sea wall. Prospect Point climb is accessible via Stanley Park Drive (the main road stretching the perimeter of the park). The climb is between one and one-and-a-half kilometres, depending on where you measure it; and it features an average grade of four per cent. 

For many new cyclists, the Prospect Point climb is one of the first “real” non-mountain climbs they'll undertake, and some cyclists even do repeats for training purposes. It can be difficult if one is new to cycling, but most should be able to conquer it on a bike with gears. I, however, have seen people on single-speed bikes and rental bikes (like Mobi) who have to push their bikes on foot to finish the climb.

At the top of the climb, you have a view of the Lions Gate bridge, washrooms, as well as a café/ice cream shop that is open during the summer. Once past the rest area, there is a fun and fast descent to the Teahouse Restaurant and Third Beach area.

Some tips/points:

1. The climb can be pretty steep at a couple of points, but manageable nonetheless. My advice is to drop to the easiest gear on the bicycle and pedal slowly through; the climb shouldn’t take longer than six to eight minutes in total so have faith!

2. The descent after the rest area can be fast. The posted speed limit is 30 km/ph for both cars and bicycles, but it is very easy to exceed that speed. I recommend caution when descending as there are pedestrian crosswalks intersecting the roadway; there is a sharp right corner at the bottom of the descent and sometimes people get lost or confused and travel up the roadway going the wrong way.

Brian Lim likes to ride bikes (sometimes with his camera). He's a complete and consummate amateur - both in cycling and in photography, and says he doesn't take himself seriously - and neither should you. Lim wants to share his love of cycling, so please reach out if you want to talk! You'll find him on Instagram at @wheelsandwhisky.

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