The Hot Gold 200km brevet explores some history of the Fraser River transportation over the past century.

The Agassiz-Rosedale Ferry was the only means of transportation across the Fraser River at Agassiz from 1901 to 1956 when it was replaced by the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. In 1957, the ferry that was being used at that time, called the Agassiz, was refitted, renamed the T’lagunna and put into service as the first ferry at Albion. This ferry was subsequently replaced by a newer ferry called the Klatawa in 1978, and a second ferry, the Kulleet, was added in 1985. The ferry service at Albion was discontinued in 2009, replaced by the Golden Ears Bridge. We use both of these bridges to cross the Fraser River during this brevet.

We start by heading over to Fort Langley, within a couple km of the south dock for the Albion Ferry. You can see the signs as you ride down Glover Rd indicating that the Ferry is now closed. From there, we head west to check out the new Golden Ears Bridge, a toll bridge that is just over a year old. The Golden Ears Bridge was built with accommodation for bicycles, with a wide multi-use sidewalk on both sides.

From the Golden Ears Bridge, we head north along the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge border and explore the newly signed 1-2-3 Bikeway through Maple Ridge as far as 232 Street. From there we head out Dewdney Trunk Road, which was one of the earliest major roads in the Fraser Valley. We take a detour off Dewdney Trunk Rd to ride over the Ruskin Dam (at Hayward Street) which has been producing electricity since 1930. Seismic upgrades were completed on this dam earlier in 2010.

We head over the hill in Mission, and descend east of Mission using Stave Lake Street. (A note of caution: This is a narrow road with tight corners so take it easy when descending. I can tell you from personal experience that 70km/h is too fast). Sylvester Road takes us to Highway 7, also known as the Lougheed Hwy. This highway connects from Vancouver to Hope along the north side of the Fraser River.

Using Lougheed Hwy, we cross the Nicomen Slough onto Nicomen Island. Much of this area flooded in 1948 when dikes broke at Agassiz, Chilliwack, Nicomen Island, Glen Valley, and Matsqui. A total of 200 square km of land was covered with water. There were close to record water levels on the Fraser River again in 2007 but due to improved dikes there was no major flooding that year. We take a short detour off Lougheed Hwy to avoid a section that has busy traffic and no road shoulder and instead, enjoy the Nicomen Island Trunk Rd with minimal traffic. We return to Lougheed Hwy just before crossing back over Nicomen Slough into Deroche.

We go over our last significant hill of the day, Mount Woodside, shortly before Harrison Hot Springs. The first hotel at the Hot Springs was the St. Alice Hotel and Bath House, built in 1886. It was destroyed by fire in 1920 and replaced by the existing hotel in 1925. The hotel was used during the 1940’s by the Department of National Defense for war casualties and a convalescent home for women in the armed forces. During the 50’s and 60’s the hotel was expanded with the addition of the West Tower, West Wing and Copper Room. The East tower was added in 1988, followed by expansion of the pools.

From Harrison Hot springs, we take a short ride over to Agassiz and cross the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. This is an older bridge, and does not accommodate cyclists well. Use caution crossing this bridge as you must share the lane with motor vehicle traffic. Immediately after crossing the bridge, we use the old Rosedale Ferry Rd to pass underneath the bridge and head west.

In lieu of hills on the ride back to Abbotsford, you can expect some headwinds on this section of the brevet. At No 3 Rd, with about 15km to go, you may wish to stop at the Yellow Barn Country Produce for a short break from the headwind and to re-fuel for the last stretch before the finish.