I’m going to put it out there and say you hagen’t been to Vancouver unless you’ve gone around part of Stanley Park either on foot or by bike (or roller blades if that’s more your style).
Stanley Park is a downtown Vancouverite’s 1000acre back yard. And, one of the best ways to explore it is by bike. There are many companies throughout Vancouver that rent bikes. You can rent tandems too! Bike rentals run from an hour to several days.
If you’re visiting Vancouver and want to get the low down on how to cycle Stanley Park, here’s everything you need to know including where to hire bikes from, the few cycling rules and the costs of bike rental.
What to know about cycling in Vancouver
Cycling in Vancouver is super popular. As soon as the sun comes out, so o the cyclists. It’s also one of the safer cities to cycle in thanks to a vast network of cycle paths. Besides the seawall – a 28km pedestrian and bike only path that goes from Canada Place to the far-side of the University of British Columbia and Pacific Spirit Park – there are numerous bike paths separated from cars, as well as quieter, bike friendly roads.
I only cycled a handful of times in London (whilst fearing for my life) and cycling confidently every day in Vancouver.
If you’re planning on cycling in Vancouver here are a few things you should know.
- DO: Wear a helmet; it’s just stupid not to.
- DON’T: Ride on the sidewalks. There are enough bike lanes!
- DO: Make sure you have a super strong ‘D’ lock. Bikes get stolen a lot in Vancouver so don’t make your bike an easy target!
- DON’T: Ride the wrong way around the Stanley Park section of the seawall (more below).
- DON’T: Lock your bike up outside overnight.
Where to rent bikes from in Vancouver
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to renting bikes in Vancouver for your Stanley Park bike ride.
Nearest to Stanley Park (Coal Harbour)
Spokes is one of the busiest bike rental places in Vancouver and is the closest to the main entrance for cyclists going around Stanley Park.
Pretty much across the road from Spokes is Bayshore Rentals. They’re slightly cheaper than Spokes but do charge you extra for a lock.
Nearest Sunset Beach/Burrard Bridge
Bicycle Sports Pacific
This is the bike shop I take my bike to to get repaired. They have a big collection of bikes and you can trust they’ll be in good condition. They’ll also give you a pocket map to help you get from A to B.
There are a few of these in Vancouver (the others being in Yaletown and on Granville Island). They’re also a proper bike shop so you can trust the bikes will be in good condition.
If you’re happen to have your own bicycle, Reckless bikes offer free air and oil while you’re cycling around Vancouver. Plus, if you’re in need of repairs, they’re offering a 24 hour repair service this summer.
Bicycle rentals also include a basket and map
The best cycling routes in Stanley Park, Vancouver
While most people who cycle around Stanley Park in Vancouver stick to the seawall, that’s not the only place you can cycle!
The Stanley Park section of the seawall is the quintessential Vancouver cycling trip. Cycling around the seawall is the one bike ride you absolutely should do if you’re short on time. You’ll get beautiful views of Vancouver’s beaches, Lion’s Gate bridge, the North Shore mountains and the mountains of Vancouver Island in the distance. Don’t forget to check out the Totem Poles too!
The Seawall + Prospect Point
Adding Prospect Point to your seawall cycle is something I’d highly recommend. It’s a little bit of an uphill climb but the views from the top are some of the best in the city.
To get to Prospect Point, cycle around the sea wall and look for the signs pointing you to the left as you begin to approach Lions Gate bridge. This spot is particularly good at sunset.
Stanley Park trails
There are miles of trails inside Stanley Park that few people explore. Inside you’ll spot numerous birds, perhaps a racoon, squirrels and see so many massive trees!
Bridle Path takes you from Second Beach up to Prospect Point, whilst the Lake Trail takes you past Beaver Lake which featured in 50 Shades of Grey!
This map shows you which trails are both bike and pedestrian trails (but no one seems to mind too much if you cycle those not specifically marked as bike trails).
If you’ve hired a single speed bike you’ll be better off sticking to the seawall as some of these trails are a bit steeper.
Want more cycling routes? Check out these top 5 cycling routes in Vancouver
Things to know about cycling the Stanley Park section of the seawall
- There are two lanes on the seawall. The path on the right is for pedestrians (who can walk around the park in both directions). The one of the left is for cyclists, rollerbladers and skate boards. These are clearly labelled so make sure you stay in the bike path.
- If you want to stop and look at the view don’t do so whilst you’re still in the bike path. The seawall in Stanley Park gets very busy so be considerate and move yourself and your bike out of the way.
- If you’re cycling in a group don’t take up the whole path, try and stick to the right so people can pass you on the left.
- There are certain sections where you’ll see a sign asking you to dismount.
- The Stanley Park section of the seawall only allows bikes to go around it anti-clockwise. This means you got from Coal Harbour up to the Brockton Point lighthouse and then down to English Bay. If you go towards Stanley Park from English Bay you’ll be directed to the eastern side of the park at the Lost Lagoon – the signs are pretty easy to follow! 🙂
What to pack for your Stanley Park bike ride
- Raincoat: Before going on your cycle around Stanley Park, make sure you check the weather. It rains a lot here, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a lightweight raincoat if the clouds are rolling in!
- Reuseable water bottle: (I like these ones!). Take a big reuseable water bottle with you. Cycling can be thirsty work! There are water fountains dotted along the seawall so you can refill your bottle for free.
- A camera/your phone: As if you’d leave without one, right? You’re going to want to take photos as you cycle around the park – it’s beautiful!
- Comfortable clothes
- Good shoes: Ideally not flip flops/sandals. You’ll be able to feel the pedals through the soles of these shoes and that’s just not that comfortable!