Well, folks, we’ve got some great weather this week, which has us thinking about all the amazing cycling routes and destinations to check out in Vancouver. After all, we’ve got pretty much everything at our fingertips- leisurely beachside rides, interesting woodland trails, and challenging day trips are all ready to be explored. So, let’s make the most of it this spring and summer!
Here are 11 great cycling routes and destinations to check out in Vancouver. For your convenience, we’ve listed them in order of increasing difficulty.
Of course, we’re going to start at Stanley Park. The inner-city haven has been a road cycling dream for years, and has a full lane devoted to it all through this summer. It’s hard to beat when it comes to convenience, but, we can’t say the same about how quiet it will be.
Distance: Around 13km
Located near the Vancouver Airport, the Iona Jetty has a lot to offer. Iona Beach is itself a regional park filled with wildlife, but it’s the jetty, that runs nearly 4km out on the water, that’s the real kicker on this trip. It’s easy to access from pretty much anywhere in Vancouver, and there’s minimal elevation change to worry about.
Distance: Around 25km out and back
There’s no better way to ease into hill climbs in Vancouver than heading from Kits/Point Grey towards the UBC Campus. Luckily, you’re rewarded with little elevation change once you’re up there, and kilometres of easy-to-navigate paths to explore. For some added fun, you could also take a quick detour in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. For the basic route though, we recommend using Strava.
Distance: Around 29km
If you’re looking to for an intro to North Shore road cycling, this is it. A favourite amongst West Vancouver cyclists, this route offers a decent amount of elevation change, but nothing too serious, while still covering a lot of ground. We suggest starting the ride around Stanley Park, for a full downtown to the mountains experience.
Distance: Around 46km
Another Strava-certified route, this one pretty much puts together the UBC and Iona Jetty routes. You’ll start in Vancouver, head out to UBC, then essentially travel all the way down to Steveston before looping back around.
Distance: Around 67km
Seymour Demonstration Road
Now closed to vehicles, the Seymour Demonstration Road is part of Vancouver’s cycling canon. Starting at the north tip of Lynn Canyon, the road winds up into the forest, eventually ending at the always-stunning Seymour Dam lookout point. For the trail enthusiasts, the adjacent Fisherman’s Trail is a great alternative. Not so long, but there are some tough hills to climb along the way.
Distance: Around 24km out and back
Shoutout to the Landyachtz Gravel Guide for this great Metro Vancouver loop. Starting in East Vancouver, the route winds through Burnaby, and all the way to the eastern tip of Port Coquitlam. On the way back, you’ll be on the northern side, which means tackling parts of Burnaby Mountain.
Distance: Around 75km
You knew this was coming, of course. The North Shore is home to some very humbling mountains, especially when you’re trying to get up them on a bike. While this route is shorter and has less elevation gain than the PoCo Lasso, it all comes in the form of mean switchbacks up the side of the mountain. You are rewarded with stunning views, though.
Distance: Around 30km out and back, if starting at Stanley Park
This route is the big brother of Cypress Mountain. It’s further away from Vancouver, has more elevation gain, and even more gruelling inclines. Basically, it’s everything you could ask for in a challenging day trip. At least it’s a day trip for us- we’d need a few hours to catch our breath if we ever made it to the top.
Distance: Around 55km out and back, if starting at Stanley Park
Strava’s ‘Triple Crown’ Route
These last two picks are what we’d call ‘aspirational’. First up is the notorious Triple Crown route from Strava, which combines Cypress, the Seymour Demonstration Road, and Mt. Seymour in one single, practically impossible, feat. If you ever meet someone with legitimate proof that they’ve done this, run away.
Distance: Around 117km
RBC Gran Fondo Route
Our second aspirational pick comes from slightly different reasons. We can’t, in good conscience, suggest cycling on the side of the Sea to Sky Highway. This means that if you really want to try and bike to Whistler, it should probably happen during the RBC Gran Fondo event. It’s a tough reality for two reasons- it (barring a pandemic) happens only once a year, and it costs hundreds of dollars to participate. But do it, and you’ll immediately be certified as a dentist in West Vancouver. We’ve seen it happen.
Distance: Around 122km
Difficulty: You gotta pay to play, baby!
And that’s our roundup of some amazing cycling routes and destinations we think you should check out in Vancouver! Hopefully, we reminded you of some classics, and shown you a couple of new options. Have fun out there and stay safe!