Norco bike

Let’s talk about the two-wheeled friends that we call bikes.  Whether sleek or rusty, speed-demons or doddlers, these earth-friendly machines have been helping us out (and not guzzling oil) since the 19th century.  Once you get used to riding one, walking will forever seem TOO SLOW, and I’ve ridden my bike (Tallulah) all over Richmond this year.  She has saved me tons of time and helped me burn off thousands of calories (only to be replaced by thousands more, of course).  While I’m far from a serious cyclist, I’d be lost without my bicicletta.

Accent Inns

Guess who else loves bikes?  The folks at Accent Inns.  Last night I staycationed at their Richmond hotel, and had a wonderfully comfortable room with a small kitchenette.

Accent Inns

As a company, Accent Inns have embraced cycling culture in an incredible way, with policies culminating in their innovative “Bike Love Program.”

Bike Love Program

It includes:

-Ground floor rooms you can store your bike in
-A bicycle wash and tuning station with a professional-grade bike stand
-Advanced tool kit at guests’ disposal, and
-Rags for cleaning bikes

Bike Love Program

Bike Love Program

Accent Inns bike map

There are even maps available with good cycling routes around Richmond.  The whole initiative was created with help from Norco, and yesterday they loaned me one of their sweet rides for a cycling adventure with the CEO of Tourism Richmond, Tracy Lakeman.

Norco bike

She IS a serious cyclist who’s currently training for BC’s Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day, 240 km bike journey from Vancouver to Seattle.  Funds raised go to support the BC Cancer Foundation, and last year Tracy raised $7000!  If you’re interested in donating to the cause, cycle on over here to her pledge page.

After I’d checked into the Accent Inn yesterday morning, Tracy picked me up and we went to the Steveston Hotel Cafe for a pre-ride breakfast.  What a gem.

Steveston Hotel

The hotel is a village institution, and its cafe has that small-town, ‘everyone’s your neighbour’ feel to it.  They open early and close after lunch, so I’d recommend stopping in during the morning for breakfast.  The food is classic and hearty, with a menu that includes eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, hashbrowns, pancakes, bennys, scrambles, burgers, sandwiches, soups, fish and chips, and more.

 Steveston Hotel menu

I ordered the monte cristo sandwich, which had turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese sandwiched between two egg-dipped French bread (because everyone needs four kinds of protein + two carbs before a bike ride, right?)  The hashbrowns were REAL and well-seasoned – almost as good as my Dad’s!  That is a huge compliment.

Steveston Hotel monte cristo

The sandwich was great and VERY filling – they roast their turkey and Virginia ham in-house, so I upgraded from Black Forest ham to Virginia (which was totally worth the extra pennies).

Steveston Hotel monte cristo

Tracy ordered two poached eggs with toast, grilled tomatoes, and hash browns, and it also looked like a darn fine meal.  Our bill came to about $20 in total, and the service could not have been friendlier.  If I lived nearby, I would want to eat breakfast at the Steveston Hotel everyday.

Steveston Hotel breakfast

Bellies filled, we hopped on our bikes and set off into to the cool, grey day.

Richmond bike route

We made our way along Dyke Road, past the Britannia Shipyards and into farm territory.  It’s filled with big modern homes, quaint farmhouses, and acre after acre of fields being prepped for the spring plant.

Richmond farms

We stopped to look at a picturesque little garden that’s been planted along one of the dykes; it’s lush and green – just the right spot to grow things.

dyke garden

bike-ride-richmond-11

I’d love it if this sign had another below it that said “And the farmers on them.”

farm sign

We made our way to Finn Slough, which I haven’t visited in awhile.  The ground was speckled with yellow skunk cabbage – those stubborn, endearing little mud-dwellers with an unfortunate name.

Finn Slough

The water was low, and the ground carpeted in green.

Finn Slough

Finn Slough

We cycled on, and eventually stopped to have a drink and snack on these awesome little raw fruit and nut balls that Tracy made (I dubbed them “Nuggets of Power”).  She got the idea from a blog called My New Roots, which I’ve now looked through obsessively and love.  It’s beautiful.  Thanks for the great recipe, Sarah B!

Richmond cycling

We cycled further along Dyke Road (almost as far as the BC Ferries maintenance centre), but eventually the (now-pouring) rain got the best of us and we decided to head back.  Despite the conditions, it was a great ride, and being soaked for a few hours made cozying up in my hotel room that much more wonderful.  Thanks to Tracy for taking me out, to Norco for the bike loan, to Accent Inns for all they do for cyclists.  After all…..

H.G. Wells quote

 

Steveston Hotel Cafe

12111 3rd Ave, Richmond BC

604-277-9511

Cash and cards accepted

Vegetarian options available