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The perfect ride

📍 Fort Langley, BC - My name is Gaith Sarhan, I’m VP of Finance and  the latest addition to the Overstory team. 

One of my goals when joining Overstory is to become a better writer. As an accountant I appreciated well written narratives that tie the numbers together. To be able to clearly articulate thoughts in words (and numbers!) is a major life hack and it allows you to connect with readers in a way that is very powerful. 

I’ve always wanted to write about my bike adventures that I have taken over the years. There is something about riding a bike that connects you to your surroundings, in a way other forms of travel cannot. It’s slow enough to allow you to appreciate the details that build a community. Like the little farm stand that sells fresh eggs or the gas station in the little towns where everyone’s name is well known. 

Often overshadowed by regional cycling meccas to the west, the Fraser Valley is unlikely to break into any top destinations for cycling. Cycling tourists often flock to Vancouver to take on the big challenging triple crown or the scenic Stanley Park loops but what’s left for the Fraser Valley?

While the Valley is generally flat, there’s still plenty of up and more than enough #roadslikethese to satisfy even the most well-travelled cyclists. Fort Langley is the perfect base camp to explore every ascent, descent and community in between.

The Valley doesn’t hide its history – tales of development, colonialism and exploration are written into the names of the streets. From narrow, nearly abandoned roads to the wide and orderly bike lanes on quiet rural roads, the bike is the perfect way to explore and connect with your some parts of the Fraser Valley community.  This post is not meant to be about “the bike”. But instead it’s about the way the bike connects me to my community. 

For me, the perfect ride starts early on a Sunday morning.

The ride starts out meandering through suburbia, but very quickly and almost suddenly turns to quiet rural roads. Fort Langley is on the western side of Fraser Valley and right on the Fraser River. Early in the morning, the train heading east disrupts the flow of this sleepy little village which over the years has become a hub for chic/hip dining, quiet cafes, and all sorts of specialty stores.

I usually stop at a little coffee roaster, Republica Café. It’s from there, the ride usually starts, and I find my groove. Cycling allows me to retreat into my own mind with my own thoughts. Thoughts that have their own cadence and rhythm. This ride is always unforgettable, more so in the middle of a pandemic.

The ride continues east across Glen Valley and through the old community of Clayburn Village at the foot of Mount Sumas. Plaques dot this village to remind me of its history as the first “company town" in British Columbia, a town built by the Clayburn Company to provide employee housing and services. A far cry for the rising housing prices impacting the valley.

The first and only “real” climb of the ride – Mount Sumas is a 5KM climb to the top. At some points of the climb there are creeks flowing on either side of the road. The sound and scenery are a reminder of why I do this. Riding uphill on your own is meditative. The mind cannot focus on your legs burning, or your heart pounding, otherwise you will never make it to the top. 

After that tough climb, it’s all downhill back into the City Centre. I have been stopping at Old Hand Café for years. I ask for their version of an Oreo cookie to be wrapped up and a sandwich and coffee to fuel the ride home. The route back follows the Fraser River all the way back to Fort Langley.

Next time you're in the area and thinking of doing something different, try riding your bike in the Fraser Valley. You might be surprised to discover how lovely it is.

If you are interested in showing me “The Perfect Ride” in your community or want to join me on this ride – email me at


Interested in giving this ride a try? Check out the route: