UPDATED MAR 14, 2020
Don’t let the packs of spandexed road riders intimidate you off the city’s best bike lanes, trails, and paths. Whether you’re commuting, chasing some cardio, or out for a scenic ride, Vancouver’s growing network of bikeable terrain has something for every cyclist.
If there’s anything more wholesome than going to a baseball game, it’s riding your bike to that baseball game. The Ontario Street bike lane is a straight shot from Olympic Village to Nat Bailey Stadium (hell, it beelines out to the Fraser River if you’re keen!). Prefer playing sports to watching them? Queen Elizabeth Park is across the street in all of its disc golf and pitch-and-putt glory. Or skip the extra aerobics and visit the park’s arboretum, floral conservatory, and picnic-worthy green space.
This route has it all: bike-friendly roads, bike trails, hills, flats, beaches — you name it. What’s that? You want to strip down? That’ll be at Wreck Beach, known for its stunning views (seriously, the sunsets are insane) as well as its clothing optional reputation. Start your ride at Jericho Beach or Spanish Banks—both are killer beaches to spend the day—and follow NW Marine Drive around the UBC peninsula. Cut into Pacific Spirit Pack to get off the paved roads and into the network of shared trails and terrain fit for cyclocross.
Easy rider’s paradise is only a quick half-hour drive (or a 20-km bike ride) from downtown Vancouver to Richmond. Head to the Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf for a dockside lunch, then take the bikes along the South Dyke Trail — you'll ride six kilometres from the small fishing village, past the old boats at Finn Slough, and when you're done, you can double back when you hit the north-south Horseshoe Slough Trail.
Want to get two wheels in the forest without breaking your shins on a mountain bike trail? Drive past Capilano University and up Lillooet Road to ride the Lower Seymour Demonstration Forest. The beauty of this trail? It’s paved but car-less, so you only have to watch out for speed gates and young families on the multi-use path. The trail winds through the trees, up a couple of moderate hills, and has a few picnic spots and outhouses along the way. Fitt Tip: don’t stop at the end gate — duck around, take a left, and follow the service road just a little further to end up at a gazebo with a view of Seymour Dam.
Want to be one of the first in the know? Get on the Arbutus Greenway — the historic train corridor from Granville Island to the Fraser River is getting a facelift. The unused, overgrown railway has been ripped up and replaced with a temporary bike path so we can start exploring the route before it’s officially done. The 8.5-km route is a paved bikeway lined with community gardens, parks, and a few shopping areas to explore near West 4th Ave., Kerrisdale, and Marpole. FYI: the route is already set up with benches, wildflowers, and portable washrooms, so it’s not like you’re riding through a construction zone!
This one is for the extremists. Maybe you’re training for the Whistler GranFondo (122 kilometres uphill, hello) or just looking to punish your legs. The 15-km road up Cypress climbs over 800 ft. in elevation. But the view from First Lookout is the actual best in Vancouver, and the lodge pub at the top will reward and refuel your tired body. Not enough for you? Throw in a ride up Grouse Mountain and another up Mount Seymour to earn yourself a Triple Crown — yes, that’s all in one day, and yes, you have to ride between the peaks too.
If crossing three city lines sounds better than bagging three mountaintops, head south on the Central Valley Greenway. This bike path cuts from Vancouver to Burnaby to New Westminster. It’s a solid 24-km road ride, especially if you’re doing an out-and-back ride. (But no judgement from us if you hop on the Skytrain at one end.) Start at the Telus World of Science, cruise through Burnaby Lake Park, along Brunette River, and end at the River Market in New Westminster.
You have to ride over the Lion’s Gate Bridge at least once. The bike lane is wide and separated from traffic — and the views are absolutely worth it. Once you hit solid ground in West Vancouver, breeze through the waterfront Ambleside Park and take the West Vancouver Seawall until you’re ready to tackle the uphill climb back downtown. Fitt Tip: this bikeway is part of the North Shore Spirit Trail and we’ve heard big plans that soon they'll allow you to ride from Horseshoe Bay all the way to Deep Cove.
This is island cycling without the price tag of your average BC Ferries ride. That’s right — the ferry to Barnston Island is free. So, explore the trails in Surrey Bend Park then hop on mini-barge for the rest of your ride. There’s a paved road around the edge of the island to ease the 10-km loop, and a couple of beach points to check out. You’ll get views of the Fraser River and the mainland on one side, with local farms on the other.
Thought we were going to forget Vancouver’s most iconic bike path for a second there, didn’t you? The 10-km stretch of seawall that loops Stanley Park will take around an hour (or longer if you stop at the beaches and restaurants, or check out the park’s attractions like the aquarium). Keep in mind: this area is on every tourist’s to-do list, so prepare to pedal to a real cruisey pace in the summer. If you want more of a workout than a pretty pedal, hop on the roadways around the park and crush out a Sploop (Stanley Park Loop) or two. Fitt Tip: there are way more options for tasty bites in the West End, so start at the Convention Center and make English Bay your finish line.
Stanley Park may get all the glory, but the rest of the Seawall is a close second (and slightly less busy, emphasis on slightly.) Start at the Telus World of Science—that big silver golf ball at the end of False Creek— and head south towards Kitsilano Beach. You’ll get views of the downtown skyline from across the water and a route full of patios. Plus, the market at Granville Island is a picnic paradise and always good for an artsy pitstop.
This bike-friendly street cuts across the guts of the city from East Van to Kits, and is super traffic-controlled for easy road riding. The tree-lined corridor passes through homey neighbourhoods and is way more chill than the seawall if you want to get into Kitsilano on a sunny day. Stop for a coffee at the Federal Store, a little mom-and-pop grocer one block west of Main Street. If you’re in the neighbourhood around dusk, you won’t miss the three massive heritage homes decked out in fresh paint and twinkly lights on “Vancouver’s Most Beautiful Block 2001-2002” (Manitoba Street and Columbia Street for those who miss the faded street sign).
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