Riding in Vancouver, BC?

I’m traveling to Vancouver, BC for the first time for work and I have one free morning while I am in town. I was thinking about renting a road bike to explore the area during that free time.

For those who are local to or familiar with the Vancouver area-- do you have any route recommendations or know of any Saturday morning group rides? I made up a route for myself based on Strava heatmaps, but would greatly appreciate local intel on which roads are best, any must-see points of interest, mid-ride coffee shop stops, and anything else that might be good to know for riding in the area.

Thank you in advance for your tips!

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It depends how far you want to ride.
You could go around Stanley park and down to UBC or head to the north shore and try one of the famous climbs such as Mt Seymour, Cypress or Grouse (or all 3) or head out to whytecliff and back around the coast. Ride with gps will have some suggestions.
Personally I head east out into the countryside to be out of the city.
I would advise leaving as early as possible to minimize the amount of traffic you will encounter since even the cycle paths can be full of dog walkers etc.
also don’t be tempted to leave your bike anywhere -bike theft is rampant! Take your bike into washrooms etc

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Thanks for these tips and recommendations! This is a route I’d scrapped together based solely on heatmaps, was planning to ride as early as daylight permits:

What do you think? Any areas I should avoid?

Looks like a pretty good route @b_blake . I might suggest incorporating Deep cove and Indian river drive (do both) rather than heading to Burnaby if you want to maximize the scenery.there is a place famous for honey doughnuts that everyone raves about out that way too. Burnaby is ok but not where I would head to if I just had one ride in the area

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I second heading to Deep Cove. Stopping at Honey Doughnuts there is a time honoured tradition.

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I would skip the ride out to SFU; riding through the city to hit a 10-15min climb that’s not very scenic. After Horseshoe Bay, I would do as @chancie.cycles suggested and head east along the north shore. In addition to Deep Cove and Indian River, consider Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.

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Echoing others, I’d recommend cutting off that Burnaby portion, and instead going north over the ironworkers bridge and going towards deep cove and Indian river drive. Or just adding it on; that’s a really classic road ride here.

Or rent a mountain bike and experience the north shore. It’s an eye opening experience riding the shore trails for the first time!

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I would LOVE to rent a mountain bike, but the logistics seemed tough. I can walk from my hotel to the bike shop to rent a road bike and ride from the hotel. But if I rent a mountain bike, I’d have to take an Uber/Lyft from the hotel to a mountain bike shop that’s within riding distance of a trail head since I won’t have a way to transport a MTB… sigh

I was just there for a business trip, rented a road bike, and did several rides that were all very enjoyable. Whytecliff Park/Horseshoe Bay is beautiful. Lower Seymour Conversation area was fantastic - magnificent scenery and miles of no cars. Lastly, the Triple Crown was fun but quite a test.

I skipped Stanley Park because it was very crowded with walkers and runners.

Riding in the city was a little bit painful even with the cycling infrastructure. Certain streets/roads are part of the cycling system and some are not and I didn’t know which was which as first even when using my headunit. All I wanted to do was get out of the central part of the city as quickly as possible.

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Would you be willing to share the route(s) you enjoyed most? Would be great to learn from your experience! FWIW my goal for this ride is sightseeing and enjoyment, so it’s fine if I have to ride more slowly to dodge pedestrians on greenways. Not trying to grind out intervals or anything like that (although I would perhaps go hard on a climb if the vibe is right).

Also, here’s my updated route based on @chancie.cycles, @ChrisJDunbar, and @geebutbut’s feedback:

This route is awesome! Another option is to include the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve ride, its about 20km out and back of road width paved path, bikes only. It goes up into the Seymour watershed, which is completely undeveloped with super beautiful forest.

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+1 for the Seymour Conservation Area, super beautiful and closed to cars. Just FYI Marine drive has a lot of traffic and can be sketchy to ride on. Honestly Cypress or Mount Seymour are more rewarding and beautiful in my opinion. Seymour is right near Deep Cove so that would work perfectly. Also Stanley Park is always worth it even if it’s crowded.

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For coffee stops along your route:

  • Isetta - this is recently opened on the west side. It’s on Marine Drive. You could visit this on your way back from HSB
  • United Strangers - this is on the east side. It’s on Mt Seymour Parkway. You could visit this after Deep Cove/Indian River

Both are popular with cyclists

I might get some hate, but I think the donuts in Deep Cove are overrated. Too greasy in my experience :stuck_out_tongue:

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Sure. Here are the three routes. I didn’t stop on the shorter ones. The last one I stopped at the bottom of Cypress Mountain at the first switchback. It was a nice place to grab a coffee and a personal pizza while getting a view out over the water and city. Also a nice spot to warm up after the descent - there was still snow up top so it was rather cold coming down.

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Looks great! Just get out early to minimize pedestrians and traffic etc and don’t forget to stop at various view points to take photos :grinning:

There are tons of options and as many others have said locals frequently get out of the city as quickly as possible for consistent riding rather than stop/start but this will be a nice scenic tour.

For the record when I first visited Vancouver, I rode up Mt Seymour only to be met by cloud and no views so this route at least guarantees decent scenery whatever the weather!

Thank you all for your feedback! I think I’ve settled on a slightly different version of the route that cuts out Horseshoe Bay due to total distance constraints and some of the feedback on Marine Dr being somewhat sketchy.

Going to attempt this if time (and legs) permit, but will cut out the Mt Seymour climb if needed. I’ve never done a true sustained mountain climb on the road before, so the climb could be a little over ambitious. If any local Vancouver riders would like to join in for any/all of this, I’d love some company!

Around 82km on your Tour 4.0 route there’s the Lynn Canyon Park, if it’s not super busy it’s worth taking a peek at from one of the bridges across the canyon. The bike road up to Seymour Lake was one of the highlights from my riding around Vancouver, I was heading down to Seattle for a 1200 so I skipped the big climbs but they’re on my list for the next time I go out there.

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