More About - Cycle Touring Vancouver Island
Lochside regional bike path, from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal down the Saanich Peninsula to Victoria. Beautiful & easy-riding multi-modal route - bike lanes, trails, rural tracks
What makes this site special? And who should be interested?
What makes this site special? It's the passion for cycling, and for getting out into the incredible natural wonders of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
This is mostly a website for cycle tourists: both locals and visitors who are looking for riding information, recommended routes & campgrounds, or advice on things like getting started cycle touring, whether one needs to be worried about bears, or ....
Near Fanny Bay, east/central Vancouver Island, a favourite hang-out for sea lions.
The site appeals to both beginners and hard core cycle tourists and bikepackers. You'll find all the popular cycle touring routes, on roads manageable by cyclists of all skill levels. Then there's Fav backroad rides for the small group of experienced riders who like to get out into Vancouver Island's vast, rough & remote wilderness.
In terms of cycle touring accommodations, the focus here is on campgrounds - of all sorts, from top end to a clearing in the wilds. If you are a cycle tourist who prefers hotels or B & Bs, you can still get lots of benefits here by finding rides you might like, then checking online for accommodations along the way.
The site also has appeal for non-cyclists who like heading into the outdoors. If you're thinking about travelling Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast, and you enjoy camping and far flung corners - then there's lots of info, routes and photos for you here.
I like to get feedback and news. You can email me via the Contact page. If you like the site, you can help - please save it to your links, and share it with friends to help improve the search profile.
As also noted on the 'About' page, there is no business angle to this site, nor is one planned. It does not offer cycling tours. The site objective is to promote and support cycle touring in my corner of British Columbia.
The incredible, other-worldly trail through the wetlands into Smuggler Cove, north of Halfmoon Bay along the Sunshine Coast, a favourite campground
Where are Vancouver Island & the Sunshine Coast?
This is a question for our international visitors.
Check out the map below. Vancouver Island is the extreme SW corner of Canada, part of the spectacular western province of British Columbia (provincial motto: 'Super, Naturally').
The Sunshine Coast hugs SW BC, a ferry hop north of Vancouver. Vancouver Island & the Sunshine Coast are joined by a ferry connection between Powell River and Comox (a few kms from my home in Courtenay). Both these regions have NO direct road link to the Vancouver area - connections are by ferry (or air, for those in a hurry).
Why visit Vancouver Island & the Sunshine Coast?
One of the world's great islands is also one of the world's great cycle touring and bikepacking destinations. Bigger than Belgium, with a coastline longer than France, Vancouver Island is a paradise of brilliant coastline, beaches, a couple of cities (notably, Victoria), local communities and comforts, parks, wildlife, interior mountains and lakes.
Choose your preferred rides, from the main coastal routes with paved shoulders, frequent services & full service campgrounds along the way, to abandoned logging tracks, trails & wild camping far from anywhere.
The Sunshine Coast is one of BC's best kept secrets. There's endless coastline, with smaller islands, long fjord-like inlets and grand channels. The secondary highway and most people are found along the coast, with steep slopes and backroads climbing to interior lakes and the rugged Coast Mountain Range.
My Surly ECR bikepacking bike, taking a breather on a rough trail along the upper Oyster River, NW of Courtenay
You've likely noticed this term. It's been around a good while, but has picked up real steam in recent years. If you're already into bikepacking, you'll love many of the remote backroad rides on this site.
What is bikepacking? Think of a hybrid of bike touring & mountain biking & minimalist camping. Trips are mostly multi-day, on bikes designed for rough terrain. You carry gear in bags attached to the frame vs bulky racks & panniers. Some bikes, like my ECR above, can take oversized tires, commonly ridden at low pressure to serve like shocks. But you'll find bikepackers using all sorts of rugged bikes out in the wilds.
If you want more info on bikepacking bike options, check out this page (from Bikepacking.com), or this one from Worldbiking, a blog I sometimes follow. Or, have a look at bikes from Salsa and Surly, both of which have full bikepacking lines. See also the FAQ on bikepacking, which has some added info.
Check out the Fav backroads rides for lots of rougher backroads routes that appeal to bikepackers. It you're certifiable, check out the 'Tip to Tip' backroads ride, south to north up Vancouver Island entirely on dirt backroads - 750+kms of remote, hard core riding.
For a more personal perspective, check out my thoughts on my new Surly ECR bikepacker. I'm loving it.
Do you like sun drenched swimming along gorgeous seaside? Check out the swimmers at the lower right. From Saltery Bay Provincial Campground, along the north Sunshine Coast.