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Bicycling in British Columbia

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Pedal Pushers: BC Beckons Cyclists with Fast Tracks and Easy Rides

by Judi Lees (courtesy of Tourism BC)

 

British Columbia boasts some of North America’s most diverse cycling routes: you can pedal by the ocean, or through a famed city park, tour wineries or visit Aboriginal sites on remote islands.  BC’s Spirit of 2010 Trail, a corridor of multi-use trails on converted rail tracks links 27 communities over 750 kilometres.

 

Situated at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and with the highest per capita bicycle use in the country, Victoria has an impressive network of trails. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail is used by both commuters and pleasure bikers alike. Named for a 1920s rail car that once used to transport passengers between Victoria and the nearby community of Sooke, the 55-kilometre route follows abandoned rail beds along woodsy corridors, over trestle bridges, past pretty farmland and marshes and through bird sanctuaries and rainforest. Well marked and scenic, the Galloping Goose offers dozens of options for a leisurely few hours or an overnight weekend excursion.

 

In Metro Vancouver family-friendly routes abound. Cycle the seawall in Stanley Park – just keep the ocean on your right! Take the kids to Steveston, in Richmond, for fish and chips in the historic fishing village before working up a sweat along dykes with views of the Strait of Georgia, or explore the many bike trails all over Metro Vancouver.

 

To get the adrenalin pumping, take a weekend cycle north along the Sunshine Coast. Connected by ferry from Horseshoe Bay, the ride will include visits to waterfront towns, stays in charming B&Bs and stops at tranquil coves.

 

The Okanagan’s best-known cycling route is along the historic Kettle Valley Railway (KVR): 600 kilometres of dramatic trails that can be broken down into short trips. One KVR highlight and easy day-trip out of Kelowna is Myra Canyon, where cyclists soar along a series of  trestle bridges that hang over a verdant, horseshoe-shaped gorge. The trestle bridge section is popular with families, thanks to its smooth terrain and multiple access points.

 

While mountain biking reigns supreme in the Kootenay Rockies there are still some fine road trips to be savoured.  The Great Northern Rail Trail is a 48-kilometre ride that connects the mountain village of Salmo to Troup Junction. Surrounded by illustrious peaks, and set beside crystalline streams and rivers, the trail is rich in wildlife and history: the pathway follows a railway route that was constructed in the late 1800s. This route takes you through the tiny communities of Salmo, Ymir, and Summit, with a stop in the funky community of Nelson, before ending at Troup Junction.

 

Whether you pack your panniers or just head out for a few hours with a picnic lunch, cycling in British Columbia promises to get the adrenalin pumping.

 

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