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  • Two weeks biking in Vancouver advice needed
  • devbrix
    Free Member

    Planning a trip to Vancouver in September to mountain bike in Whistler/Squamish/Vancouver Island. Not been out before and seem to be a lot of options so any tips/advice welcome. We are both strong intermediate riders. Undecided about taking our own bikes (Nomad and Megatower) or rent and if we take bikes what to do with the bike bags whilst travelling. Is it best to hire an RV, Airbnb or alternative? Any other advice/tips appreciated?

    Full Member

    I’d be renting a car for the whole of a big trip like that, gets you around easily, and somewhere to stuff the bike bags and other luggage. Bike rentals run about 100cad a day so really adds up.

    Also add Kamloops, superstar and sun peaks as a road trip (there’s another new bike park out there too) as well as coast gravity park if you want to up your riding.

    Lots of airbnbs around, in some of the resorts the hotels are about the same price but you have to eat out. VRBO is an Airbnb alternative out there that has a lot of listings

    Free Member

    There’s so much to choose from it really depends what riding you like. For what it’s worth, I’ve done a couple of trips there and ridden in the bikepark/around Whistler for a week, then done the other week elsewhere.

    For a first trip I’d suggest that Squamish/North Shore and ether Vancouver Island or sunshine coast would provide more than enough riding for a week. There are also lots of good non riding things to do for days off.

    If you didn’t want to ride in the whistler park for a whole week (or at all) there is more than enough riding around Whistler and Pemberton to fill a lot of time.

    For a first trip, I wouldn’t bother going to Kamloops etc. Great riding but there is more than enough around Vancouver and you don’t lose much time travelling between places.

    We just used trailforks to decide where/what to ride.

    Free Member

    Whatever you do you will love it, enjoy.

    I used it as an opportunity to rent Yeti’s and not have to sorry about killing them. Don’t forget to calculate the years worth of wear and tear you put on your own bike every day hurtling down endless downhill out there.

    Get yoann Barelli to take you out for the day.

    Don’t forget Pemberton too.

    Full Member

    Is it “just” a bike trip or do you intend doing other things?

    Reason I ask, is Vancouver Island complicates logistics a LOT and, for a first time visitor, you’ll probably find plenty to do without that complication.

    If you’re seriously considering an RV, do plenty of research as there’s likely to be nowhere to store bikes (unless you luck out with a Sprinter with a garage area). You could probably rent a bike rack but I wouldn’t leave bikes on a rack overnight or if you went hiking or shopping or to pub….

    Also, check out where the campsites are and whether reservations are possible. Most places book up months early.

    If you rent bikes, bear in mind the brakes will be set up the wrong way round. This doesn’t phase some people but it freaks me out! Some places will swap brakes around for you.

    Free Member

    I’d start planning and booking soon as it’s a popular part of the world.  Not every option is bike friendly even in places like Whistler so it’s worth doing your research.

    Personally I’d bring own bikes for that length of time.  As Vlad says by default they’ll be Euro set up and constantly asking for moto setup or renting one bike for that long both not ideal.

    Not all trail heads are in town so some form of transport is going to be very helpful.

    Also Vlad +1 on the Island being hassle. It’s really nice but the ferries are special.

    Free Member

    Is the idea just to ride bikes , or see part of the area too?

    I really didn’t like Whistler it’s a busy horrible ski resort, could be any where in the world, and actually the scenery around there is a bet meh.

    Locals really rate the Pemberton area

    I would ditch bikes for a bit and head as far north as you can on Vancouver Island. It’s stunning, and a different world.

    Free Member

    Thanks, really helpful and sounds an amazing destination. Now looking more towards taking own bikes – I don’t want to find out the hard way riding Euro-brakes but don’t mind good bike prep and maintenance on the fly (had to rebuild my rear wheel in the Pyrenees a couple of weeks ago).
    Sounds like hiring a car and airBnB/hoteling-it is probably the best bet with bikes and bags with us and gives us the option of travelling to see the area as well. Will get on and sort!

    Full Member

    I’ve been to whistler for a week and a bit twice. Second time I rode a couple of days outside the park.

    I wasn’t bored 😃

    So my dull but easy to organise suggestion is base yourself in whistler and ride all day every day.

    Full Member

    Local here, some general thoughts:

    I’d be inclined to bring your own bikes, if possible. Renting will get expensive very quickly, particularly if you damage anything.

    Getting around is a swine without a car, so factor that in.

    There are new restrictions on Air B&B type accomodation, so you might find choices are more limited for that type of thing.

    Get Trailforks, all but the “secret” trails are marked and well documented on there, to help guage how you feel.

    North Shore is fun and accessible, worth it just for the MTB history….but can be a bit rock armoury/sterile. For extra points go and ride Burke Mtn. (my favourite) or Eagle Mtn. over in Coquitlam.

    Squamish is easily drivable from Vancouver for day trips. All the classic rock slabs are at Alice Lake, which is good fun and compact. You could stay and spend a few days on the way up to Whistler. Lots of climbing/hiking too, if that’s your bag.

    Whistler is a weird place. The bike park is cool, worth a day or 2, but the valley trails are something else. Just unbelievably good. I always have way more fun outside of the park. Likewise, try and have a day or 2 riding in Pemberton.

    For 2 weeks, you’d be absolutely spoilt for choice with just those options, I doubt you’d need much more. If you wanted to venture into the mountains, then I’d aim for Kelowna over Kamloops, it’s a much much nicer town with great bike park (Big White/Silver Star) and trail riding.

    Full Member

    Short term rentals are getting clamped down on here so to be safe, I would book with a place that is adhering to the new rules (i.e. have a valid business licence on their page). It would suck to book somewhere and have it cancelled at the last minute because the hosts are acting illegally.


    I wouldn’t be concerned about rental bikes having brakes the wrong way around. Any rental shop with any common sense here has bikes with brake levers that can be swapped over in a minute with an allen key (so anything other than Shimano).

    Depends how many days riding you’ll be doing as to whether it’s arguably worth renting over bringing. I’d take out insurance with rental bikes though! Bikes get an absolute hammering here. Finding somewhere to store bike bags might be a problem. You could risk using carboard bike boxes both ways but it would be a risk. Bikes aren’t selling too well so bike box availability in shops will be pretty limited.

    Don’t leave the bikes unattended or on the back of a vehicle unsecured. They will get stolen.

    Full Member

    Another vote for riding outside whistler bike park unless you love jumps. A couple of days then go and explore the rest of the trail network outside the park. It’s amazing

    Free Member

    Another thought. Don’t underestimate driving distances/ times. Already people have suggested more options than I’d try to do in one two week trip.

    It’s quite easy to be constantly on the move and whilst the roads aren’t busy by UK standards they’re mostly single carriageway A roads and you will get stuck behind an RV….

    Full Member

    Maybe consider hiring a guide for a day or two as well – we did it for a day in squamish and even though we could have pieced a ride together from Trailforks we ended up doing way more (number and grade of trails) with a guide. It also gives you some idea of where you want to go back to on subsequent days if you’re staying in the area

    Free Member

    I doubt you’d be disappointed wherever you end up. My only experience of Canada was the BC bike race in 2017. 7 days of riding in a different location every day (in and around Vancouver), all of which were an absolute revelation in terms of quality and quantity. We followed it up with 3 days in the park at Whistler (on our own trail bikes, so not ideal for anything scarier than blue runs). Even without the Whistler bit, if I found out tomorrow I could no longer ride, I’d take some solace in the fact that I’ll probably never ride better trails than that.

    Free Member

    We rent a uhaul van for $20 a day plus 99c mile  as it’s cheaper than a car and do north shore Seymour and frome Squamish Alice lake area and whistler bike park and local trails – air bnb all the way – rentals are very expensive so take own bikes (megatower) which fit nice  In the van. Van seats only though. Vancouver island is good but lose a day in ferries

    Free Member

    I’ll share what we did as I’d do exactly the same again next time. Took our own bikes, other than the cost and packaging it we had no big deals with it and it was significantly cheaper than hiring. Also I wouldn’t want to waste time getting used to a different bike/setup as time is valuable! I did demo a bike over there and the brakes were swapped over which I thought was no big deal until a panic moment when it turns out it does make a difference and almost lost it on a corner.

    We hired a big car/SUV size right from the airport so the bags fit inside and so that carefully the bikes would also fit inside the vehicle. We rented via VRBO a place in creekside just down the road from Whistler but next time I’d prob go for Squamish as its less ‘bike parks are raddddddddd’.

    Rode Squamish, Pemberton, North Shore, Whistler outside the park and just ‘top of the world’ inside the park. There’s so much good riding that being stuck inside the park is not my idea of a holiday (this was our second trip to Whistler so we’d already spent days previously inside to make this decision). Horses for courses though! I also rode Vancouver Island but that’s because we wanted to see Killer Whales. So we got the ferry over (easy), drove to our boat trip and had bought a cheap tent. We had then booked a campsite just for one night, turned up late and slept, then the next day I rode Nanaimo on the demo bike. (If you’re not fussed about wildlife then give it a miss as it’s an expense/time you may not want to spend).

    With two weeks I wouldn’t spend it driving elsewhere like others have suggested as again there’s so much amazing riding that you’ll fill your time and wallets just with the places we rode. I’d go again in a heartbeat but it wont be as cheap as Morzine etc. but you can’t take it with ya I always say!

    Free Member

    I can not really offer any advice, because I have never been, but I am heading over at the end of June. All the below is my interwebs research, so please take with a pinch of salt. Only there for 7 days of riding.

    We have booked 2 days Squamish guided riding on arrival (with Ride BC). The guiding was recommended, although many people seem to make their own way about and use Trail Forks. Worth looking up Shred Shuttle for when/if headed to Squamish.

    For Whistler, we are actually staying in Creekside, mainly to help with cost. But the pedal to/from Whistler Village isn’t too bad and it has its own lift access to the trails.

    As others have said, don’t discount the valley/outside the park trails. I am very keen to ride Top of the World, but there is every chance that it won’t be open when we are there.

    Full Member

    The shred shuttle is good, but only accessed a few trails in squarmish. If you want to get more riding in there, renting an ebike from the specialized concept store might be effective

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