To Vogue or Bust

My 4 Fave Bike Routes in Vancouver

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If you guys follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my posts in March about how my beloved bike Mojito (named after its mint green tone) got stolen—I had had that bike for over a decade and it’d been with me all around the country, from university in Victoria to Toronto when I lived there, back to Vancouver. I’d explored so much with it (or him, I always make my inanimate objects male which I’m sure is perfectly normal, right?). It’s just an object but I do think some objects transcend into a kind of more personal space, particularly one you use so much making memories and that’s been all around with you. The only thing that ended up cheering me up was when shortly after Mojito got stolen, I connected with the Victoria-based company Lochside Cycles.

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With Victoria being my university town and a place I really love and know well, I felt immediately connected to the brand, particularly when I realized that their bikes were mostly all named after the routes that they loved to cycle in and around the city. Victoria (and Vancouver) are both cities that bridge the urban-outdoors gap, making you feel like you’re really able to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors while still having access to everything you’d need or want in a city—it’s part of the reason biking is such a big thing here and the city has invested so heavily in making the area easy to bike. I also instantly fell for Lochside because while I’m always looking for something stylish and beautiful, I equally value function and quality—Lochside provides both in equal measure, creating bikes that offer high performance and a comfy ride without sacrificing style. This bike is basically meant to be photographed!

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To celebrate the arrival of my gorgeous Lovelo cruiser bike (which I’ve named Keanu, a nod to its Hawaiian blue and of course to Keanu Reeves who I’m obsessed with), I wanted to share some of my favourite bike routes in the city so that whether you’re a local or planning a trip to Vancouver soon, you experience the city as I personally think it should be explored: by bike! We’re so lucky here in Vancouver to have so many amazing bike lanes and bike paths, even if you’re not the most confident person on a bike you can comfortably see the whole city quickly and efficiently this way. I, for one, mostly commute by biking so I can personally testify to how easy and well laid-out the bike system is.

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It helps, obviously, to have a bike you love too—while we have some great bike sharing in Vancouver (perfect if you’re visiting, or you can hit up a rental shop!) if you’re a local I’d really urge you to look into Lochside! Not only do you support local, but you get top-grade bikes that range from cruisers like Lovelo (which is a 5-speed step-through, making it ideal for my city cruising and the slight hills I have to face in my commutes) to really high-performance road bikes like their 8-speed. But now onto the routes so that you can get exploring ASAP, particularly with the weather being as gorgeous as it has been!

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The Stanley Park Loop

Let’s start with the most iconic one! This is a fave of my friends and me—the number of times we’ve all met up in David Lam (I’m coming from the Fairview/Kits area whereas the other girls are in East Van, the West End or Yaletown) and then hit up this route is honestly countless. We always like to go the long way if we have time and do the whole park, always stopping at Third Beach (one of my fave beaches in the city, you can see this guide for even more of my fave beaches!) for a swim and a hang. Just to be clear, the long way is snaking through Coal Harbour, going by the Rugby Club, and then heading west around the whole park—there is a short cut to Third Beach on a forest trail just by Second Beach but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not from here because it’s easy enough to get lost finding it even as a local! If you’re starting right at the base of Denman (which a lot of tourists do as that’s where the bike rental companies are) then you’ll be sent along on the long way as it is, which by the way isn’t so long—if you’re starting from across the city like me then it’s a decent bike ride but nothing too intense, and if you’re going from Denman it won’t take long at all! Just pack up all the essentials (drinks, beach towels, sunscreen, snacks) and have a day of it with your friends, making sure to stop for lots of pics and a beach hang at my fave beach in the city: Third Beach!

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The False Creek Seawall (Sunset Beach to Kits)

Part of the reason I love living in Fairview is that we’re on the Sea Wall about halfway through this exact route—I’m usually heading west into Kitsilano since that’s where most of my go-to cafes, studios, appointments, etc are, but if I’m heading into my studio in Gastown I get to do the other part of this route heading east as well and they’re both beyond lovely. It’s such a beautiful stretch of the Sea Wall, with lots of places to stop at! From Olympic Village for a beer to The Local for a margarita in Kits to Granville Island to all the amazing beaches along the way, it’s a really easy and lovely way to see a bunch of different neighbourhoods in the city quickly.

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The Beach Route (Kits to Spanish Banks)

What used to be a pretty narrow bike route you’d have to share with cars along a few of Vancouver’s best-known beaches (Kits, Jericho, Locarno, and Spanish Banks) has now been remodeled and largely dedicated to bikes, making it a super easy cruise to whatever beach is your fave! I’m personally partial to Jericho and Spanish but really love them all. I feel like this is an area a lot of visitors from the city skip out on but while I may be partial because these are my stomping grounds, I really think the whole west end of Vancouver is pretty intrinsic to the city’s culture/ethos so I really urge you to visit it. If you’re staying downtown which a lot of visitors do, you can take a short cut by either going over Burrard Street Bridge (which will spit you out near Kits) or you can take an Aquabus or False Creek Ferry (which are a fun experience in and of themselves, and a lot of them let you board with your bike)! While I’d recommend any of these beaches, if I had to pick one to recommend to someone visiting I’d say go to Spanish Banks since it has incredible views of the city, allows you to experience another fave Vancouver pastime (skimboarding!), is unique in its really flat, long shoreline and has lots of room for you to find a nice quiet area (as opposed to ever-busy Kits). Again, if you want more beach recommendations, visit this guide here!

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The Adanac Route

Also known as the brewery crawl to many locals—there are so many amazing breweries dotting the picturesque Adanac route, not to mention lots of older heritage houses and cute street corners. I don’t know East Van as well as I do the west area of the city (where my hood is, Kits, the West End, South Granville, etc) but it is super lovely and has a really incredible artistic community. Gear up for a brewery crawl here to experience one of the things our city is best known for: craft beer! There are seriously countless options so literally park your bike on one block, try out a few and then do it all over again a few blocks later (but obviously drink responsibly and wear a helmet).

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I have all the routes in a map that you can access below but just wanted to make a note that these are largely focused on the actual city area of Vancouver—there is so much other amazing biking to be had in the larger Metro Vancouver area, from mountain biking in the hood I grew up in (Lynn Valley in North Vancouver, which not only has some of the most amazing mountain biking trails but the flat [and gorgeous] Seymour Demonstration Forest trail that you can take any bike on) to the dyke in Richmond and so much more. But since I don’t venture much out of my zone when I’m the city, these are the 4 that I can say with total certainty are very Vancouver and really special. If you guys are newer to biking, here are some style tips to having a comfy but stylish ride in this guideand this guide! Finally, check out Lochside here if you’re in the market for a new bike—can’t say enough good things about my new beauty Keanu (née Lovelo)! Feel free to pin the snap below for future reference – happy cycling guys!

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Kit and Ace
Men's Navigator Campaign - Summer 2018 Made to Perform
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Alicia Fashionista
 

ROLLING INTO SEPTEMBER WITH LOCHSIDE CYCLES

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Building up my confidence on these two wheels!

I’ve been in the throes of our bedroom makeover as we approach the big reveal day.  As most room refreshes go, things had to get really chaotic before they could get better, which was tough.  Our entire bedroom was in our living/dining room, and for a hot minute, we had double of all our bedroom furniture.  Once we sold everything (to really great homes, loved how delightful everyone who bought stuff was) and were able to switch things around, everything is really coming together and it already feels like an entire new space.

When the dust settled and we cleared out living room clutter, my beautiful Lochside bike was calling my name (I love it so much that I don’t trust storing it in our building’s bike room, so it lives in our apartment rn lol).  I’m so sad that I didn’t feature this beauty sooner, so please stick around while I give these guys some major love.

Lochside Cycles is a local company, started by two brothers based out of Victoria.  They just love cycling and wanted to get more people out there on bikes!  They’d always tinkered around with customizing their own wheels, and ended up creating what is now Lochside Cycles, names after the local bike trail they grew up riding.  They saw room in the local market for minimal, stylish, yet functional bikes, and they’ve really created such a gorgeous collection.  With attainability in mind, they also somehow keep the prices reasonable so that occasional riders, like myself, still find their offerings accessible.

What I ended up with was the Uptown Bike.  It’s a 5-Speed with internal gears for easy shifting, and quite perfect for my city cruising.   I was really great in July for going out for short rides to help build up my biking skills, but I really let that go this past month while I was in project mode.  I am dedicating September to more rides!  The final goal is to be able to cycle to the office in Gastown, and to nearby errands.  I even bought a front basket with this goal in mind.  I can’t wait to be a confident badass biker out there in those Vancouver bike lanes!

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As you can also see, from my wardrobe, I am mentally checked out of summer and fully moved into fall mode.  September means that we’re only a few weeks away from the very best season of them all!  Cannot even wait.  Hope you all have a wonderful long weekend!

 
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This Renegade Love
 

FACING MY FEARS ON TWO WHEELS

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There are only a few things in life I have an unwavering fear of:

1) Touching the bottom of the lake in bare feet.
2) Speaking in front of people.
3) Biking on the streets of Toronto.

Now with the lake thing, no worries friends, because your girl’s got water shoes. They’re hot pink, pair sooooo well with my bikini look, and let me wade in the shallow waters off the dock at the cottage. As for public speaking – the more I do it, the more comfortable I become. I force myself to do Insta Lives, sit on panel discussions, and I even signed on to speak at Blogpodium at the end of the summer. But the biking thing? Well, there’s a bit of history there…

The thing is, I can physically ride a bike. Every summer as a kid was spent biking to parks, poppin’ wheelies and throwin’ Band-Aids onto scraped knees. As I got older and started driving, there was no need for two wheels when I had four. And so when I got to my late twenties, I hadn’t ridden a bike in ages. Then I met Damien and moved to the UK, and I knew he was pretty hardcore into cycling, so I thought, “Oh that’ll be a nice weekend thing to do. Hop on a bike and scoot around the English countryside.”

That was until he gave me a bike to ride and I found myself head-down, ass-up on a proper cycling bike, barely able to touch my feet to the ground if I needed to, and trying to navigate the streets of rural London. Every time a car approached me, I started wobbling, Damien started laughing, and the best part of the whole experience was when we stopped at a pub for a drink two hours later. Safe to say, my British cycling days were short-lived.

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So when I was approached by BC-based Lochside Cycles about trying out one of their bikes for my urban lifestyle, no one was more surprised than me when I said ‘yes’. When I had moved back to Toronto two years ago, the city seemed to have gotten so much busier. The traffic was worse, the construction was never-ending, and don’t even get me started on horror stories from cyclists getting their wheels stuck in the streetcar tracks.

Despite all of that, I craved the freedom that a bike would allow me. I recently moved to the east end of Toronto and I love it, but getting downtown or over to the west side is a bitch when I don’t have the car. And when it was announced that the Queen streetcar would be replaced by buses all summer, that was the icing on the cake, because my aversion to buses is real. So I made it my goal to get comfy riding a bike

The thing that attracted me to Lochside in the first place was that they had a selection of city bikes, one of which was a cruiser. No more of the face-down, ass-up terror I experienced when riding in the UK. Somehow, riding in an upright position just seems so much more natural and feasible to me. Plus, I could put a basket on the front and pretend to be Mary Poppins.

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So I chose the Madeline bike in black with white wheels because, well #monochromelife, and ordered a cute mint green helmet online because I’m all about that safety friends. When the bike arrived a few days later (free shipping, y’all!), all we (Damien) needed to do was attach the parts to the main frame and I was ready to ride!

Well… kinda.

Even though I’m obsessed with my new bike and it’s comfy AF, I was still shit-scared to take on Toronto’s busy streets – even though downtown has plenty of bike lanes, it’s gonna take some getting used to. Luckily, the east end has plenty of residential side streets for me to practice on and to start feeling comfortable scooting around on two wheels. Also, what better way to prep dis booty for my wedding dress in the fall than to cycle to events and meetings all summer long?

I’ll be posting more about my cycling adventure throughout the summer, so keep an eye out on Instagram for pics and Insta Stories of me facing my fears on two wheels!

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Her Waise Choice
 

Wheels

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Although it often means tight spaces and shared laundry, living in the city certainly has its perks. Since we moved to the heart of Vancouver almost a year ago, I’ve stopped driving, taken way less transit, and have spent much less time commuting in general… and I’m certain that it’s done wonders for my overall well-being. My primary mode of transportation these days is by foot, and I love being able to stay active while I’m going from place to place.

The downside to walking, of course, is that it’s definitely time-consuming – which is why I’m hoping to start biking this summer. I learned how to cycle as a kid, but it’s been a while since I’ve been comfortable riding one. However, we literally have a bike lane on the street right outside our apartment, and it’s basically been calling out to me since we moved in. So when the opportunity came to partner with Lochside Cycles, I officially ran out of excuses. The Victoria-based company is owned by two brothers, who make bikes that are perfect for the city: well-made, functional, simple, and stylish.

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Elliven Studio
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ELLIVEN STUDIO | WEEKEND CRUISING!

- by Julie Shaver -

If you haven't heard of Lochside Cycles before, let me introduce you!  The Canadian bike company is based out of Victoria, BC and they have created a phenomenal business, taking their passion for cycling and combining it with their appreciation for great style.  Their line of bikes include single speedsroadstersstep-throughs like mine, the beautiful Lovelo as well as practical accessories!  Their classic colours and attention to detail make their line of bikes eye-catching and dreamy!

The beautiful stitching, comfortable leather seat and the ability to change gears with ease are just a few of the reasons why I'm completely head over heels for this gorgeous ride.  My husband has been a long time bike enthusiast and it's only as of recently that I began to understand and appreciate the construction of a great bike.  I never really got it before, but when you hop on a bike that has been crafted out of quality products and designed with comfort and style in mind, you really do see and feel the difference.

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Treasures & Travels

TREASURES & TRAVELS | SPRING BIKE RIDE WITH LOCHSIDE CYCLES

- by Lindsay Sjoberg -

Lochside Cycles are a company from Victoria BC, owned by two brothers. Richard stopped by our studio in Vancouver the day before we took our bikes for a spin and tuned them up for us. What a nice guy! We love being able to meet the people we work alongside with, and it was so great to meet Richard, and learned firsthand about Lochside, how it came to be, and the heart behind their business. We highly recommend buying from these guys, they are rad and they provide high-quality bikes - plus they can ship them right to you!

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The Unseen Price
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THE UNSEEN PRICE | WELCOME TO VANCOUVER

- by Kristen Marie -

I was so hesitant about buying a new bike. I debated waiting till the bike share program started up (it launched this week). I didn't want to have another purchased bike stolen. Once I discovered Lochside though… C'mon how could I resist! It's my dream bike.

Riding around Vancouver is amazing! I have come to really dislike having a car. Finding and paying for parking can be the biggest headache. Having a bike usually takes the same amount of time to get somewhere and a bike rack is way easier to find and FREE! My Lochside bike is a one speed. And I wouldn't have it any other way. There isn't too many hills in Vancouver, and if there are hills they are usually small. It is a perfect city commuter or cruising bike.

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Richard KirkComment
Cashmere & Plaid

CASHMERE & PLAID | OUT AND ABOUT WITH LOCHSIDE CYCLES

- by Emily Johnson -

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take a ride around Victoria while cruising on a Lochside bike.  It had been a long time in the making and I was so excited when I finally got to get on one of their beautiful bikes!

Lochside Cycles is a bike company based out Victoria, BC.  The goal behind the company is to get more people on bikes. Period.  To accomplish this they have created a beautiful line of bikes designed to take into account the all the various lifestyles that people live.  The bike I got to ride was the “Madeline” - a sleek 5-speed step through that I now need. The first thing I noticed about this stunner was how amazing the handle bars felt.  They were squishy and warm and just felt so nice under my hands.  The next thing I noticed was how smooth the ride was.  The springs in the seat absorbed all the shock and made for an incredibly comfortable ride.  The other bikes in the line include the Roadster, a 5-speed perfect for zipping around downtown, the Café Racer, a beautiful 3-speed complete with a coffee holder (WHAT!?!), and the Single Speed, your basic (not to be confused with boring) bike with, you guessed it, a single speed. 

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Le Vélo

LE VÉLO | Lochside Cycles City Bike Review

- by Susan Stokhof -

The Ariel is ideal for the urban rider with classic sensibilities who is looking for an upright bicycle without the weight and girth of the classic Dutch bicycle. It is ideal for those living in apartments with stairs, I found it to be quite manageable to carry her up stairs. The Ariel is meant for daily rides in the city, to work, running errands and out to dinner parties with friends. Wearing a long dress, skirts and pants are not a problem as the Ariel comes with a chain guard, front and back fenders to protect your clothes and to stop the splash. She also comes with Sturmey-Archer 5-speed internally geared hub allows for easy-to-adjust speeds and upright geometry so you can cruise in comfort and style. 

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Madeline Step-Through Frame - Lochside Cycles
 
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