Sunday, 22 July 2012

Party under the stars

Riding down the Windsor bikeway,
kids in tow
Last night we had the exciting privilege of joining some of our friends for a random night party near the Fraser River. Away from the residential areas, nestled between the river and darkened offices and industrial buildings is an unlabelled park, which became our own little musical hideaway for the evening. The family and I packed up our gear, including our portable BBQ, and took the 12 km trek on bike South to the river. I've done this ride only once before, when we went to the Richmond Night Market, and have to admit that it's pretty cool to cycle along the empty Kent Road Cycle path amidst old train tracks, trailers and closed factories. The only trouble is doing the immense climb North when the evening comes to a close, but I'll get to that later.

The view of the North Arm Bridge, the skytrain, cycle and
pedestrian bridge crossing the Fraser River
Our DJ's for the evening
So, as everyone arrived, under the growing cover of darkness, we began to set up. The BBQ cooked up some food for anyone looking to satisfy a late night appetite, others set blankets and caught up after a busy work week, meanwhile some of our friends set up a generator powered sound system and projector to provide us with some excellent music and entertainment for the night. Excited by all the people, it took a while for our kids to fall asleep, finally nodding off close to 10:30pm in our trusty trailer.

The night view of the North Arm Bridge
reflecting on the river water

It was such a casual gathering, everyone just having a relaxed, social evening, and exactly what we needed. As much as we enjoy all our usual activities from Whitecaps games, trips to the splash park, and cycling along the seawall, getting to be a part of these simple get togethers makes living in Vancouver all the better. It gives us the opportunity to really catch up, and also to allow our children to experience the excitement of being out in the city after dark, seeing the stars and watching parts of the city light up. Plus, what kid doesn't like knowing that they've been allowed to stay up way past their bedtime to hang out with the grown-ups?

Our sleeping children in the
family station wagon
on the way home.
As our energy started to dwindle, Chris and I were faced with how to get home with my hauling 100lbs in our trailer. Well, thanks to the still new Canada Line, we "cheated", or at least what we call cheating, and we took the relatively flat ride to the Marine Drive Skytrain station, and caught a ride up to City Hall Station and the 10th Ave Bikeway, to ride the rest of the way home. It was a nice, quiet ride home, being passed only by the occasional rider on their way home from their own parties or the beach. I've said it before, but I love night riding. It's so calm, quiet and free of the car/cyclist conflicts that can exist in the daytime, and is the perfect way to end a unique but fantastic evening!

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