View Full Version : Road/Mountain/Touring around Vancouver?

08-23-2006, 11:56 AM
I'm headed up to Vancouver on Monday for two weeks, loaded up with road bikes, mountain bikes and climbing gear.

I have a book for mountain biking areas- we'll probably start at Squamish and head out from there.

We're also thinking of b&b touring on road bikes around the Gulf Islands, but don't know much about it.

I'd love to do at least one or two long, hilly, beautiful road rides, but am having trouble finding information online or in the books we have.

Does anyone have advice about biking in SW BC? Road, mtb, touring, the gulf islands, whistler, etc.? Any other general advice? I'd love to hear it- I'm psyched for my first trip up into this part of the world.


08-23-2006, 02:59 PM
I have lived in Vancouver for a year now and have explored the road cycling world here. I can't say anything about the mountain biking though.

If you are planning to ride on the Gulf Island, I strongly suggest Salt Spring Island. You can get a 100 km ride there, trying just about every road. Make sure you have a map and plan your trip accordingly. You can also ride from Vancouver Island to the Brentwood Bay - Mill Bay Ferry, ride from there to another ferry (can't remember the name at the moment) to Salt Spring Island Vesuvius Bay, then from Vesuvius Bay to the other ferry station (again my memory fails me) at the other end of the island back to Vancouver Island (Swartz Bay). If you intend on going to Victoria anyway, that can be a good plan.

I also have written a detailed ride around the Saanich Peninsula (where Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island) which I could send your way if you want.

Around Vancouver itself there is also a lot of good rides, long and short, to do on the road. If you want some group action, join the Dizzy Chicks on Saturday morning, 9:30. (I'm a member. See our web site: http://www.dizzychicks.com for the details of ride meeting points.) There is also a weekly ride (Sunday morning) east of Vancouver that's just as exciting. I have ridden less in the distant perimeter of Vancouver because I don't have a car so all my rides start from home. I could inquire for you if you want.

I hope you enjoy your trip! Let me know if you need more info!

08-23-2006, 03:10 PM
Fantastic, thanks!

I'd love your detailed Victoria ride if you have it handy.

Do you know of a good map of the Gulf Islands?

We're going to be staying with someone in Vancouver proper for at least 5-6 days, so if you know of some specific day/half day rides from there, I'd love more info. The group rides on Saturday/Sunday sound like a great idea. Are boys allowed? My guy is coming and more of a mountain biker, but I'm trying to get him on a road bike more and more...

08-23-2006, 03:14 PM
As for mountain biking in the Vancouver / Squamish /Whistler area, well you're certainly coming to the right place.

Not sure how technical you would like the trails to be but I would suggest you head to any decent LBS (JOhn Henry, Dizzy Cycles, Bicycle Sports Pacific) in Vancouver area and get the goods and trail maps for the North Shore.

In Squamish, Corsa Cycles off Cleveland Avenue (the main drag), beside the IGA is chock-full of info and there's a great trail map ($7) for all the outstanding riding in the area. And it IS outstanding. Every level.

Whistler, you're looking at both xc and downhill riding. Hit the Bike Park if you're into downhill riding (chairlift up, ride down). Otherwise, more than 200km of xc trails exist in the area. Check out www.whistlermountainbike.com

There's also some great road riding in both the Squamish & Whistler areas. As well as Pemberton, north of Whistler (30k). The ride from Whistler to Pemberton is about 60k return with a 1500 feet elevation gain on the return trip. Good shoulders most of the way. In the Pemberton area, The Meadows is pancake flat and positively spectacular.

This is my playground so PM me if you'd like more info.

08-23-2006, 03:26 PM
In Vancouver proper, you can ride to Iona Beach (which is a drive along the airport). Easy to spot on a map, flat ride. Flat rides also go through the roads of Richmond (lots of farmland on the eastern side, and flat as a pancake). You can actually get a cycling map of Vancouver at decent bike shops (as said above). You can go to Horseshoe Bay on the North Shore by riding along Marine Drive (beware : lots of streets are called "Marine Drive" around here) from the Lions Gate Bridge. Riding around Stanley Park on the "Seawall" is fun on a hybrid, but you can also ride the (auto) road around the park for a nice loop (10 km or so, add to any ride in the area). Climbing the road to Cypress Mountain is also a great workout (about 12km of a 7% hill) and can be coupled to a ride to Horseshoe Bay or others...

Dizzy Chicks & Men: In the winter we sometimes have men riding with us (partners of regular riders) but this is really rare. When there are, we set the pace. To tell you the truth, on a summer ride, for a newcomer, I think your hubby would feel really awkward (or that other riders would feel a bit awkward). Also, it requires paceline riding skills as all the rides are done as a close group.

Send me a private message to let me know when you're around if you want, I can also go for a ride with you sometime.

And here's the route around Saanich Peninsula:

"Ok, here is the favourite 2-hour route:

Actually there it is:

I strongly suggest you start by going on West Saanich (West / Left on the map) and finish in the Cordova Bay area.

Some comments and variants:
- You can replace Interurban Rd by Prospect Lake Dr (just a bit further down West Saanich). It's really beautiful, in the forest, up and down, but the pavement quality is much less interesting than on Interurban and Hastings/Charlton.

The Admiral / Esquimalt part of the ride is not the greatest but there are some nice views along the way and it takes you right into the historic district of Victoria.

Watch out - the bridge is made of metal. Use the sidewalk.

From Belleville (in front of the parliement) you basically start following signs for a known route (the Scenic Marine Route or something like that). Small yellow signs. You follow them through the James Bay area and then on the ocean side. It's really gorgeous (and sometimes cool because of the ocean breeze... arm warmers are nice to have). You get quite a nice hill up to King George Terrace and a fabulous view as a reward. Then down and through some small streets, but again it's pretty self-explanatory and obvious.

On the way back you go through the backwoods of Mt Douglas park, which is also great (look out for deers).

Towards the end you can either go straight back on Royal Oak to your place or continue on a slight right on Cordova Bay road. This second option will take you to Matticks Farm, a great place to enjoy ice cream or a light lunch. :)"

08-23-2006, 06:05 PM
I am in Victoria right now - thanks for the Saanich Tour info! We have one more day left and we're trying to decide where to go. We did the Galloping Goose on our first - 80km to Sooke and back. MTB trails but not hilly, mostly flat, some paved, some gravel, easy, beautiful ride. Also did the Seaside Route, the paved roads all around Victoria. Beautiful views, fancy houses, great ride too.

I just wanted to add that Whistler has TONS of bike trails from what I understand. I haven't been yet but it's recommended to me many times...