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Cycling from Parksville to Qualicum Beach

Bike route to downtown Qualicum Beach
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start stop bwd fwd
 

By Jackie Chow

 

On a sunny spring day, my husband and I decided to go on a discovery tour of Parksville and Qualicum Beach. There’s no better way to go off the beaten track than to do it by bike.

 

If you’re not bringing your own, bikes can be rented at Arrowsmith Bikes  (next to the bowling alley at 674 East Island Highway). Only mountain bikes and road bikes were available for us, no hybrids. Since we weren’t planning on biking on rough terrain, we opted for the road bikes. I personally prefer sitting more upright on a hybrid bike which is better for enjoying the scenery, but the good thing about road bikes of course is that they’re lighter, so you cover more ground with less effort, and it was definitely an advantage the few times that we had to bike uphill. Note that wearing a helmet is mandatory in British Columbia.


We decided to try a signed bike route, starting from Parksville City Hall to Qualicum Beach. If you’re biking from the bike shop, the easiest way to get to the starting point of the bike route is to go south on Shelby Street ( just west of the bike shop), then west on Stanford Ave. Turn right on Corfield Street and left on Jensen Ave. which leads along City Hall. From there just follow the bike route signs.


Along the route we enjoyed a variety of landscapes. I loved the low-traffic residential streets, where purple heather and flowering cherry trees provided lots of colour in well-kept gardens. With the seasons of course the scenery and colours will change. It was lovely biking along the quiet rural roads and off-road paths. We stopped on the pedestrian bridge crossing French Creek as well as at several other scenic locations to take pictures.


After about 13 kms of relaxed pedaling, we arrived at Qualicum Beach. The downtown is people-friendly and lovely, and it’s easy to understand why we saw quite a few people on bikes. We found some bike racks in front of City Hall and walked around to breathe in the atmosphere of the town, explore its nooks and crannies and have a bite to eat before heading back again.


One piece of advice: leave early, so you’ll have enough time to explore downtown Qualicum Beach and don’t need to rush back before dark (or dinner)!