Exploring Vancouver and Victoria by Bicycle

Like golf, bicycling is a year-round pastime in Vancouver and Victoria. Hotels offer special stay-and-pedal packages, and there are hundreds of kilometres of dedicated bike trails. Just be sure to pace yourself.

 

Vancouver skyline (Image: Vancouver Tourism)

Hopping on a rental bike is an ideal way to explore Vancouver.
(Image: Tourism Vancouver)

Years ago, on one of my first visits to Vancouver, I was so eager to explore the city by bicycle that I spent the better part of a day on my rental 10-speed — pedaling the seawall loop around Stanley Park, discovering the inner city, and even venturing as far from my downtown hotel as the University of British Columbia campus. Caught up in my enthusiasm, I overdid it. The next day my legs were so sore I could barely walk the two blocks to my business meeting.

These days I take gentler turns around a city where bicycling — like golf at local clubs such as Morgan Creek and Westwood Plateau — is a year-round activity. There are more than 500 kilometres of dedicated routes, and top hotels even feature special stay-and-pedal packages.

Situated in Vancouver’s stylish Yaletown neighbourhood — and a short cycle from the False Creek seawall — Opus Hotel Vancouver offers the Weekend Escape package, which includes one night’s accommodation, valet parking, breakfast for two, late check-out and complimentary bikes. But all guests are welcome to borrow a bike from the hotel’s collection, which ranges from trendy cruisers to mountain bikes.

Vancouver by bike (Image: Vancouver Tourism)

Vancouver has more than 500 kilometres of dedicated bike routes. (Image: Tourism Vancouver)

Vancouver’s popular Fairmont hotels — Fairmont Waterfront, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Fairmont Pacific Rim — also provide complimentary bikes to guests.

If possible, Victoria is even more bike-friendly — and obsessed — than Vancouver. According to a 2011 Statistics Canada survey, there are more bicyclists per capita in British Columbia’s gorgeous capital city than anywhere else in Canada. After a round of golf at Cordova Bay or Olympic View, select a route from among hundreds of kilometres of bicycle trails. Especially popular are the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails. Those into extreme cycling will enjoy the challenge of the mountain bike trails at Mount Work Regional Park.

Want some company and a little guidance? Local cycling companies Cycle BC, Cycle Treks and The Pedaler offer guided tours of the city and the nearby countryside.

Just be sure to pace yourself.

 

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