Bike Map (pdf)
Mobi Bike Share (web)
Transit Map (pdf)
Vancouver is a dense urban core surrounded by a staggering amount of natural beauty. It has all the culture and complexity that makes a good city interesting, but the air is very clean. It's big enough to have diverse separate neighborhoods and suburbs, but you're never far from the water. And the best part, for the would-be biking tourist, is that all of these places are connected by bike paths. Vancouver has the kind of "turn your brain off and just ride" connectivity that we only saw in Portland and Minneapolis, and frankly has better natural beauty than either of them. There is so much to go see, and it's so incredibly easy to go see it on your bike.
Vancouver is an exemplary model of Canadian Politeness. The people here are open, friendly, and much less jaded than their American neighbors. On the whole, bikes here are mostly seen as a utilitarian device, or a means to an end, as opposed to Portland, where bikes become an extension of the rider's personality. We certainly saw a few stylish bikes, but overwhelmingly we saw commuter mules of nondescript Canadian origin. The seafood is fresh, the sushi is the best I've ever had, and the beer culture is getting better but still lags far behind the United States. New breweries are opening at a decent clip, but most of them aren't venturing too far from the staple styles. Several times at local breweries I witnessed what I call "Growler Culture"... people would pull up in cargo bikes or cars right at noon when the brewery opened, purchase somewhere between 2 growlers and 4 full flats of cans, and then slog it all home. People seemed to be buying their normal daily beer directly from the breweries here in numbers I've never seen in the US, bypassing the distributor middlemen in a way that I have to assume greatly benefits the breweries. Outdoor activity factors heavily into daily life here, and we saw more physically fit people in Vancouver than in any other city we've visited.
We heard the usual "on your left" about as much as usual here, though in most cases the bikes are separated from pedestrians by completely different paths alongside one another, which limits the interactions that happen between bikes-at-speed and slower pedestrians. Biking around magnificent Stanley Park, there are some odd splits of lanes between bikes, pedestrians, and roller blades, so keep your eyes open.
Vancouver has, bafflingly, a mandatory 100% helmet law for all riders. We certainly saw a lot of riders ignoring this law, but we also heard stories of crackdowns by the police, so for the time being, plan on wearing a helmet as you ride around town, if you weren't already. Meanwhile, Vancouver has such a fantastic network of paths that the odds of your needing that helmet are vanishingly small. We had limited interactions with fast spandex cyclists, bordering on "none." Vancouver is incredibly well set up for riding a normal, unhurried pace in complete safety.
Certain parts of town have been pointed out as hot spots for bike theft, primarily around Strathcona, so the old maxim applies here as much as anywhere else: Bring your bike inside at night. If you can't, then use a good-quality U-lock at a minimum, ideally in conjunction with a chain or cable lock around both wheels. If you're going to use a cheap combination cable lock, please understand that you are only deterring bike thieves below 5th grade. Every city with a healthy biking scene also has a healthy bike theft scene.
Best Bike Rides in Vancouver
These routes were curated by local Vancouver folk who wanted to share their #BestBikeRide with you. Print off the map for free!
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Mobi Bike Share - $7.50 daily (rides under 30 minutes are free) for sturdy city bike with front basket, lights, fully enclosed chain guard and skirt guard.
Bayshore - $30+ daily for cruiser, mountain, hybrid, tandem, kids, trail-a-bike or trailer. Locks extra
Cycle City - $25.50+/5 hours for city, city cross, mountain, hybrid, performance road, tandem and youth bikes plus trailer bikes, trailers and kids' seats
English Bay - $30+ daily for cruiser, mountain, folding, tandem and kids. Helmets and locks included.
EzeeRiders - $24+ daily for cruiser, mountain, road, electric, tandem, kids, trailer.
Reckless - $30+ daily for hybrid, comfort, road, trail-a-bike, trailer and baby seat. Includes helmet, lock, basket and map.
Spokes - $25+ daily for cruiser, city, mountain, road, tandem, kids, trail-a-bike, trailer, child seat
Translink - 100% buses equipped with bike racks and bikes allowed at most hours of the day on train and commuter rail
Amtrak Cascade (Seattle - Tacoma - Portland - Salem - Eugene) - $5 for roll on service
Via Rail (Montreal, Winnepeg) - $25 for boxed bikes
SeaBus - bikes allowed at all times
Bolt Bus - allow bikes
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