Photo credit: Ann Hung | Flickr
Five Great Bike Rides
With its mild climate and extensive network of bike lanes and paths, Vancouver is an ideal destination for sightseeing on two wheels. Rent a bike or bring your own, and get ready to explore the city’s beaches, parks and attractions with one of these leisurely routes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even plot your own path with this map of Vancouver’s bike trails.
1. Stanley Park
It can be difficult to cover all the ground in Stanley Park in one afternoon, as this sprawling urban sanctuary is packed with historic landmarks, upscale and casual restaurants, scenic gardens, sandy beaches and Canada’s largest aquarium. Ride the 10 kilometre (6 mile) paved path along the Stanley Park Seawall, which circles the entire park and promises plenty of spectacular sightseeing. Or speed things up and cruise the bike trails through the park, where you can coast by the rose garden, the Vancouver Rowing Club and Lost Lagoon.
2. Sunset Beach – False Creek – Kitsilano Beach
Pedal along this seaside route to see Vancouver’s beaches and urban waterfront areas. Start at Sunset Beach on the English Bay, where rollerbladers and joggers often share the path and families take advantage of the floating slide and full-time lifeguard. Continue along the path, which circles False Creek, leading you past a number of museums, including Science World and Vancouver Maritime Museum. Foodies might be tempted to take a detour to Granville Island, which is known for its array of dining options, waterfront patios and the famous Granville Island Public Market. End the ride at Kitsilano Beach, where outdoor enthusiasts gather for recreational games along the sandy beaches and grassy areas. You can even cool off at Kitsilano Pool, an outdoor saltwater pool with impressive views of the city and ocean.
3. Central Valley Greenway
This 24-kilometre (15-mile) route connects downtown Vancouver with the nearby municipalities of Burnaby and New Westminster, leading cyclists through metropolitan neighbourhoods, along historic shopping districts and into scenic, natural areas. The route begins at Science World on False Creek and curves down through Commercial Drive, making it easy to explore the nearby neighbourhoods and Trout Lake. Continue along through Burnaby, where you can see wildlife at Burnaby Lake and pass by the Nature House, Equestrian Centre and Rowing Pavilion. Finally, the path leads to New Westminster, where you can stop at one of the many outdoor cafés or browse fresh produce and locally-made goods at the River Market at New Westminster Quay.
4. Queen Elizabeth Park – VanDusen Botanical Gardens
For a short ride through lush gardens and parks, take the Midtown/Ridgeway or Ontario Street bike route to Queen Elizabeth Park, where you’ll find Quarry Gardens, an arboretum and the Bloedel Floral Conservatory. After checking out the various green spaces, pedal west along 37th Avenue to reach the VanDusen Botanical Garden, where plant species from around the world are on display year-round.
5. Jericho Beach – UBC – Pacific Spirit Regional Park
Start out at Jericho Beach, where windsurfers and sailboats can be found coasting along the waters of the English Bay. The bike path winds along the shoreline, past Spanish Banks, where it’s easy to spot people playing soccer and volleyball. Stop at a nearby beach concession stand and enjoy a picnic on the sandy banks, or keep following the route, which leads up to the University of British Columbia. This sprawling campus is home to the renowned Museum of Anthropology, the UBC Botanical Garden, Greenheart Canopy Walkway and Nitobe Memorial Garden. End the trip at Pacific Spirit Regional Park, where unpaved bike paths cut through lushly forested areas.