Cycling is an incredibly cool way to explore the city of Vancouver. That’s most likely why we see more and more people hop on their bikes every year.
If you’re a Vancouverite considering the switch to cycling, you’ve arrived at the right place. We’re here to keep you up to speed on all things cycling in Van City!
Why You Should Consider Cycling in Vancouver
You should consider cycling in Vancouver because it offers a sustainable, convenient, and community-focused way to explore both the city and its breathtaking surroundings.
Vancouver Is a Bike-Friendly City
No questions asked.
In various areas of Vancouver, the City has gone all out to make bike lanes bike-friendly, separating them from vehicle traffic using concrete medians, planters, or by repurposing vehicle parking lanes.
You’ll find these designated bike lanes on Beatty Street, Burrard Bridge, Dunsmuir Street, and Richards Street, among others.
The City has also started establishing Greenways around the city to thoughtfully make cycling (and walking) more pleasant and encourage more people to hop on their bikes.
The result of these efforts? Vancouver is a “Biker’s Paradise,” according to Walk Score, which means you can zip around town on your bike and take care of your daily errands without a problem.
Eco-Friendly Living is Cool
The City of Vancouver is aiming for 12% of trips in Vancouver to be completed via bike by 2040. Thanks to this and other sustainability goals, the City provides a highly encouraging level of support to cyclists.
In turn, cyclists contribute a lot to these efforts. When you choose pedals over gas pedals, you’re not just cruising – you’re cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions and those pesky traffic jams.
You get a cleaner, greener city to explore, and you shrink your personal carbon footprint in the process.
Bikes Beat Traffic Jams
Cycling is a speedy way of getting around Vancouver, especially during rush hours or for short commutes.
Unlike sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can smoothly pedal through congested areas and bypass the frustrations of gridlock.
What’s great is that you have the option to bike to public transit or even bring your bike with you if it’s allowed on your chosen mode of transportation.
Most transit services (including buses, SeaBus, and SkyTrain) allow bikes, though there are some restrictions. For example, buses can carry up to two bikes on their front racks, while the Canada Line permits one bike per car.
If you’re planning to bike to transit – or should we say #BiketoTransit – and you have a Compass Card, you can park it in a bike parkade outside of several stations like Main Street-Science World and King George Station.
You can also access a bike locker for just CAD 10/month.
Or, if you’re looking for free bike parking, you’ll find bike racks outside all SkyTrain and West Coast Express stations, as well as at most bus exchanges.
You’ll Save on Fuel and More
Cycling is a cost-effective transportation alternative in Vancouver. By choosing two wheels over four, you save a bundle on fuel, parking fees, and public transportation expenses.
The savings can add up significantly, allowing you to allocate your budget to other activities, such as savoring meals at Vancouver’s renowned restaurants or diving into its cultural attractions.
Makeshift Workspace did the math using data from StatsCan in 2019. They found that back then, your savings could have been anywhere from CAD 300 to CAD 588 per year on gas alone.
Just think about how much you could save today, factoring in parking and maintenance costs as well.
Affordable Bikes are Easy to Find
In Vancouver, affordable biking options are plentiful. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for a cost-effective way to enjoy cycling, you’ll find a variety of choices here.
Shops like Ride On Again Bikes offer quality, budget-friendly bicycles. Additionally, community bike-sharing programs offer convenient and economical rentals for those who prefer not to own bikes.
Vancouver’s Bike Share Program, Mobi by Shaw Go, offers a convenient solution for those looking to explore the city on two wheels.
The program features numerous docking stations throughout Vancouver, which makes it a breeze for both residents and visitors to rent bicycles for short trips where they can ride just one way or part of the way.
You can choose from passes that range from 24 hours to 30 days or a whole year.
Van City’s Bike Scene is Awesome
Vancouver is home to a thriving cycling scene that welcomes all levels of riders.
From group rides to bike-related festivals, there are ample opportunities to connect with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
There are even community bike shops like Kickstand in East Vancouver, where you can learn how to fix up your own bike with the guidance of volunteer mechanics.
HUB Cycling gives courses for those interested in doing a better job at maintaining their bikes and being safe on the road. This resource is also helpful for first-time cyclists.
Beautiful Views Await
And the most important reason for many bikers? Cycling in Vancouver is a visual treat when you pedal through its scenic routes.
You’ll be captivated by the views of the city’s majestic mountains, pristine coastline, and lush green parks.
These routes are thoughtfully designed to offer riders an immersive experience of the city’s unique blend of urban and natural beauty, making cycling an ideal way to explore Vancouver’s breathtaking scenery.
Which routes to take then, you may ask – which is why we’ll dive into that right about now.
Bike Routes to Try in Vancouver
Jericho Beach to False Creek Seawall
The bike route from Jericho Beach to False Creek Seawall in Vancouver offers a diverse journey with a mix of streets and pathways. It typically commences at Jericho Beach, where you’ll begin your adventure along Point Grey Road, a picturesque coastal route.
This road leads you past stunning beachfront residences and offers glimpses of the serene waters of Jericho Beach Park and the North Shore Mountains in the background.
Continuing your ride, you’ll transition onto Cornwall Avenue, which will guide you through vibrant neighborhoods, local shops, and charming cafes. Nothing but the inviting, laid-back atmosphere of Vancouver’s west side.
Upon reaching the False Creek area, you’ll join the Seaside Seawall path. This dedicated cycling route allows you to glide alongside the waters of False Creek, with striking views of Vancouver’s iconic skyline on one side and the tranquil waters on the other.
Further along the Seawall, you can access the Science World, and then end your ride at False Creek Seawall.
The Arbutus Greenway is a reliable and well-used path. Stretching along Arbutus Street from the Fraser River almost to Granville Island, it’s like a north-to-south journey wrapped up in a single bike ride.
This 8.5-kilometer path involves some uphill stretches, especially when pedaling south. However, it keeps things exciting with a mix of climbs and descents, without being overly challenging.
Financial Times writer Richard Dal Monte lists it as one of the several bike routes in the city, while AllTrails marks it as one of the easy bike routes in the city.
The best part for us? You can cap off your ride with a visit to Granville Island. Sounds like the perfect reward after almost two hours of biking!
Coal Harbour via Stanley Park Seawall
The bike route from Coal Harbour through the Stanley Park Seawall spans more than 20 kilometers round-trip, offering an enchanting waterfront journey. Starting at Coal Harbour, your ride will take you past several captivating waypoints.
As you follow the Seawall path, you’ll come across a distinctive tree atop the Eugenia Place building, symbolizing the original forest’s height in Stanley Park.
The path leads you through lush sections of Stanley Park, which have regrown since logging in the 1860s. Along the way, you’ll pass Second Beach and Third Beach.
Upon nearing Siwash Rock, a short detour via the Siwash Rock Trail will guide you to Prospect Point Lookout, delivering panoramic views of the area.
Continuing your ride, you’ll have the option to visit the Vancouver Aquarium, before visiting the famed Totem Poles. You’ll also get to the Stanley Park Nature House, so you can make a stop if you want to get insights into the park’s flora and fauna.
Completing the loop, you’ll return to Coal Harbour, concluding a cycling adventure that embraces Vancouver’s diverse urban, natural, and cultural highlights.
Canada Place to Granville Island
This bike route from Canada Place to Granville Island showcases the best of the city’s urban and natural landscapes through downtown Vancouver. It covers a distance of about 6 kilometres (3 miles), with gentle uphills and mostly flat terrain.
That’s probably why New York Times writer Timothy Taylor calls this route moderate – his route includes interesting detours that are worth checking out too.
Starting at Canada Place, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains. As you venture out, you’ll get to Stanley Park, with its lush forests.
Upon reaching the southern edge of Stanley Park, you’ll cross the famous Burrard Street Bridge, which provides striking panoramic views of the city skyline and False Creek.
You’ll then make your way to Granville Island, an artistic and culinary hotspot, with its vibrant Public Market, artisan shops, theaters, and scenic waterfront parks. This is the perfect spot to take a break, enjoy a meal, or explore the local artisan scene.
The bike path is family-friendly – just make sure to be cautious and check for pedestrians whom you’ll be sharing much of the space with.
Jericho Beach – UBC – Pacific Spirit Regional Park
As you pedal westward from Jericho Beach, you’ll pass by the upscale neighborhood of Point Grey, known for its stunning beachfront residences and panoramic ocean views.
Your route will take you through the UBC campus, where you’ll encounter impressive modern architecture, sprawling lawns, and a vibrant academic atmosphere.
UBC boasts an array of attractions, including the Museum of Anthropology, the UBC Botanical Garden, and the Nitobe Memorial Garden, each worth exploring.
Continuing your ride, you’ll enter Pacific Spirit Regional Park, which provides a contrast to the urban and academic settings, and offers a tranquil environment for you to immerse in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
The park is also crisscrossed with a network of well-maintained trails, perfect if you want to walk around or extend your ride to explore the natural wonders of the region
Your journey concludes here, where you can take a break, enjoy a picnic, or simply relish the tranquility of the surroundings.
Creekside to English Bay
Beginning at Creekside, you’ll follow the Seawall path and you’ll pass by Science World, a striking architectural gem known for its interactive science exhibits.
Further along, you’ll come across Olympic Village, a testament to the city’s sporting history and urban development.
The route then leads you across the Cambie Street Bridge, providing scenic views of the city skyline and False Creek. The vibrant neighborhood of Yaletown is next on the journey, with its chic restaurants, boutiques, and charming streets.
Upon reaching English Bay, you’ll be greeted with the soothing sounds of the ocean and the picturesque beachfront. The vibrant atmosphere of this area makes it a perfect spot to relax, savor a meal, or simply take in the stunning vistas.