Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise and can be enjoyed with friends, family or alone, but there is nothing better than heading off on a bike ride around a beautiful Canadian city. Canada boasts some of the best cycling cities in the world, perfect for a gentle peddle and sightseeing. With easy to navigate streets, simple signposting and relatively flat streets, a bike tour of your favourite city has never been easier.
Find out which locations you should add to your Canadian bucket list if bike riding is one of your favourite activities, from Victoria to Halifax and Vancouver, continue reading to find out more.
Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia and one of the better-known Canadian cities is the perfect location for a meander on two wheels. Small enough to explore in its entirety but big enough that you’re never going to be short of small, quaint alleyways and green spaces to cover.
There are a plethora of areas to explore, including the stunning Inner Harbour with its glistening waterside roads, pass Johnston Street Bridge and explore the stunning views over the city landscape, on a clear day you can even see Washington State’s Olympic Mountains visible in the distance, a real gem and a view to treasure.
If you want to head a little further and take the road out of the city a little, you can follow the Johnston Street Bridge path to Lochside Trail and the Galloping Goose Trail. The Lochside trail offers diverse landscapes and alternate terrains for a more physical ride.
The best time to cycle in Victoria:
To avoid large crowds and scorching heats, April is a great time to hop on the saddle. Whilst the rest of the country is still under snow, Victoria has bloomed and flowers line the way on a cycling adventure.
Although often cold and a culprit for heavy snowfall, Halifax isn’t a location to be pushed aside when talking about stunning cycling routes. With the recent expansion of the bicycle system, the city now boasts hundreds of stunning, waterside routes for bikers of all experiences. Whether you’re after a short spin around the local park or want to see large parts of the city, then Halifax is a great location.
Momentum Mag told us about the options available to those in Halifax: “Plenty to see, lots of places to go, not busy, easy oceanside riding and oh, the seafood. Halifax is the ideal size. On a bike, most of the city is accessible and relatively speaking easier to get to and from when compared to an automobile. There is no bike share, but rentals are available. I Heart Bikes, for example, offers both cruisers and more high-performance bikes for rent and their waterfront location is ridiculously convenient.”
Although Halifax is somewhat focused on the water and riverside bike rides, there is also a selection of stunning green spaces that are ideal for cyclists and perfect for keeping away from the crowds. Point Pleasant Park is a cleansing mix of urban spaces and wild spots perfect for exploring. Situated at the southern tip of Halifax peninsula, getting to the park is simple to navigate and easy to find.
The best time to cycle in Victoria:
July is the perfect time to explore Halifax on two wheels, with the risk of snowfall at its lowest and warmer temperatures, July is also a pleasant time to explore the beauty of the city.
Known for being the capital of Canada, but also known as the city with exquisite waterfront parkways, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and urban spaces, Ottawa is perfect for a day of cycling. We spoke to Christopher who blogs about his travels on his site, Traveling Mitch. He told us a little more about cycling in Ottawa:
“As far as cycling cities in Canada are concerned, I think we’ve got some shining examples, but the first city that comes to mind for me is Ottawa. The reason is simple, you can bike for great distances along the historic Rideau Canal, and pedestrians clearly come first. That’s a nice change of pace for someone like myself who is from Toronto and has to battle on his bike each day for space on the road.”
Ottawa is a large city and one that often impresses when it comes to large and impressive spaces. Although the city is spread out, the routes for bikers are manageable and clearly signposted, as Christopher explains:
“Ottawa, generally speaking, is fairly spread out, but it’s still manageable by bike. In fact, you can bet that getting from Parliament Hill to Hintonburg will actually be faster by bike than it would be on public transit – especially if you’re a fast biker. So, if you get the chance, go and explore Ottawa, and recognise that there are few better cities to explore on the seat of your preferred bike!”
The best time to cycle in Ottawa:
Take advantage of Sunday Bikedays in Ottawa during the summer months (May to early September) when nearly 50km of parkways are closed to motorists, leaving them open to cyclists.
The effort that has been made to make the roads and paths suitable for cyclists in Vancouver makes this city the perfect location for bike enthusiasts. There are a plethora of enjoyable routes to explore, including Stanley Park, The False Creek Seawall and The North Shore.
With a paved, flat route of almost 10 miles, Stanley Park is an excellent escape from the bustle of the city and its tourists. We spoke to Gemma, one half of the duo at Two Scots Abroad who explained why they love cycling in Vancouver and Stanley Park:
“Vancouver is a fantastic city for cycling because of the huge city park, Stanley Park and its Seawall. This scenic route is best explored by wheels because it saves time. A ride takes around one hour compared to 2-3 hours by foot. There are plenty of stops on the marked out route too so you can enjoy a break, a beverage and even the beach.”
The False Creek Seawall
The perfect location for those who love the water and the sights and smells that come with it, the False Creek Seawall is the ultimate cycling route. Follow the wall that surrounds Stanley Park for stunning views across the harbour onto the cityscape beyond. Cycle the whole route (around 9.4 miles) and you’ll end up at False Creek via English Bay Beach.
The best time to cycle in Vancouver:
Cycling through Vancouver during shoulder season means you’ll avoid the large crowds but still be greeted by warm climates, perfect for a cycle or two.
A city with over 435 miles of bikeways and known as North America’s cycling capital, Montréal is a vibrant and captivating city of diverse cycles and stunning views offering an abundance of new and historic sights. Also known as one of the most cycling-friendly cities in the world, Montréal is a hub for lovers of two wheels. Head to the cycling routes and explore the large, green spaces that make this city so popular.
At the heart of the cycle network in Montréal, the Lachine Canal cycle route follows the water for 13.5km, easily accessible to all due to its flat paths and roads and a popular choice for those looking to escape the city life for lush, open green spaces.
“Punctuated by green spaces, skyscrapers and centuries-old buildings, this spectacular trail will appeal to both real and would-be athletes on two wheels. Experienced cyclists can travel from one end of the canal to the other – from the Old Port to Lachine – in about 60 minutes”, Parks Canada reports.
The best time to cycle in Montréal:
Montréal is a lovely city to cycle in all year round but to avoid large crowds, visiting in the shoulder seasons are recommended.
Canada is the perfect location for a holiday of every type, whether you are looking at fly drive Canada holidays, motorhome holidays or cycling holidays in Canada, take inspiration and start planning your very own adventure very soon.