Return of GranFondo bike event brings road closures from Vancouver to Whistler

·3 min read
This is the first RBC GranFondo Whistler race, which starts in Stanley Park and ends in Whistler Village, since 2019. (Submitted by RBC GranFondo Whistler - image credit)
This is the first RBC GranFondo Whistler race, which starts in Stanley Park and ends in Whistler Village, since 2019. (Submitted by RBC GranFondo Whistler - image credit)

Thousands of cyclists are expected to converge on Vancouver streets Saturday morning for the return of an annual bike event that starts in Stanley Park and ends more than 100 kilometres away in Whistler, B.C.

Around 6,000 riders are expected to take part in the GranFondo Whistler, the gruelling 122-kilometre ride up the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Saturday's GranFondo is the first since 2019 as the last two were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of its size and the number of participants, roads and lanes are set aside for the cyclists, creating what organizers say is the safest day of the year to be on a bike.

Motorists are being notified of possible delays of up to three hours between West Vancouver and Whistler between 5:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

During the event, speed limits will be reduced to 60 km/h on sections of Highway 99 between Horseshoe Bay and Whistler.

Here are some of the major traffic changes and detours in Metro Vancouver:

  • Stanley Park Causeway and Lions Gate Bridge: The causeway and Lions Gate Bridge will be closed to northbound traffic from 5:30 am to 8:30 am. Motorists are advised to use the Ironworkers Memorial/Second Narrows Bridge. One southbound lane will remain open on the Lions Gate Bridge and causeway.

  • Access to Stanley Park Drive from Georgia Street will be closed from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m.

  • In North Vancouver, westbound Marine Drive will be closed between Capilano Road and Taylor Way. Traffic will be re-routed to Lower Capilano Road, Welch Street, Wardance Street and Taylor Way from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Southbound access to the Lions Gate Bridge will remain open via Marine Drive eastbound from the West Vancouver side.

  • In West Vancouver, access to Taylor Way will be restricted intermittently from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

  • Eastbound lanes on Highway 1 will be closed between Taylor Way and Horseshoe Bay from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Motorists can use Marine Drive eastbound.

  • Cypress Bowl Road will be closed from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

  • Westbound Highway 1 traffic and northbound Highway 99 traffic will be re-routed via Exit 2 to Old Highway 99 from 5:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

  • Southbound traffic on Highway 99 will be re-routed at the Pasco Road exit via the Old Highway 99 route to Marine Drive in West Vancouver, from 5:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

  • Counterflow traffic adjacent to cyclists will be in effect at Tunnel Point, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound available for motorists, leading to single-lane alternating traffic for 2.6 kilometres from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Other closures and detours will be in place on the Sea-to-Sky Highway and in Squamish and Whistler. A full list of traffic changes and closures can be found on the GranFondo Whistler website.

The GranFondo began in Italy some time in the 1970s as a mass cycling festival. The Italian word roughly translated into English means "the big ride."