Fav backroads rides
Cycle Touring Vancouver Island
Below are some of my very favourite backroad bike tours on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Many of these will be of interest to bikepackers.
You'll find backroads rides here of moderate distance, on roads regularly used by the public. For a few rides, the real attraction is camping along fine backwoods lakes.
CAUTION - Most backroads rides are intended for cycle tourists with some experience, ready to get off the beaten path. There are a few rides here that get really remote, with rough, confusing terrain, and some tracks may no longer even be passable. High elevation rides get early snows & melt late. Good gear and planning are key. If you try a very remote ride, a GPS is almost essential, and consider an emergency locator beacon. If you would like more ride details or GPX tracks for your GPS, email me through the contacts page. If you'd like more info on GPS devices or file sharing, check out this page. Certifiable backroaders may want to check out the epic 'Tip to Tip' Vancouver Island ride.
The site content is getting on in years, and I no longer update it (on to new projects). Most material is still relevant, but, particularly out in the backroads, things are always changing, so bear that in mind, and always ride safe.
Increasingly, logging companies are putting up gates, and seeking to restrict outsider access. Obviously, this can impact plans. Talking with locals about backroads access is always a good idea.
Here's an approach if you want to tackle some backroads rides. Try one of the more accessible backroads rides: I'd recommend Campbell River NW Lakes. If you like your ride, then try something more remote. Read the FAQs and the page on 'What about logging', and chat with locals about backroads.
Below is a summary map, showing all backroads rides in this section. Under the map, the rides are listed alphabetically, with links to the detailed pages for each. Or, following the map links is a list box of thumbnail links to the same ride pages. Finally, if you're into toggling through ride maps, at the bottom is a link to route map thumbnails.
Near the bottom of the page, there's thumbnail links to a couple of backroads pages, a page of links to cycling maps, and alternate routes around communities, and a page about managing cycle touring
Courtenay south on the backroads - backroads route south to Horne Lake in the grand hinterland up between the popular east coast & the central Beaufort Range
Local Maps & Off-Highway Options - links to area pages which contain links to local community cycling maps & off-highway (mostly paved) alternate route options
FAQ - What About Logging? - info and thoughts on managing bikepacking out in the backroads where you'll invariably meet logging operations. Here's some essential info: always be alert for trucks. You will usually hear them first, except when it's very windy or you're moving fast down hills, when you need added caution if you do not have a clear line of sight ahead. Always keep close to your side of the road.
See also the companion page ('Fav rides for all') with popular routes (mostly paved) accessible to all cycle tourists (including some longer rides), and the 'Honourable rides ...' page I added for still more rides I liked.
Finally, on the Fav rides for all page, there's a real useful thumbnail link to the Local Maps & Off-Hwy Options page. It includes useful community cycling maps (and links) along with some suggested off-highway paved alternate routes for cycle tourists to consider. It's not a backroads page, but even backroaders like to ride into & around local communities.
APRIL 2021 NEWS FLASH: It's been a long while since I added a new blog post, but I found news about the North Island 1000 Loop exciting enough that I thought hard core backroads site visitors should know. Check out my latest blog entry and click through to the post to read more.
Links below are for the rides in above map - click to jump to detailed ride pages
Or use the list box (thumbnails) following, with ride summaries & pics for each. You won't see the 'Tip to Tip' backroads ride on the map, as it's basically built on other rides, but it is in the links below.
Check out the great rides in this section
Below is a guide to the rides from the map above. Click on the pics to jump to the pages. At the bottom is a page with all ride map thumbnails (summary & individual), in case you'd like to toggle about.
Here's some 'Local Content Pages', with detailed off-highway backroads routes that can be useful for planning rides.
(perhaps part of your epic 'Tip to Tip ride). There's also a key page on managing out on the backroads where you may meet logging operations.