Bike-Seeing the Vancouver Waterfront

English Bay Classic

When it comes to spectacular waterfronts, Vancouver ranks with the world’s great cities. Throughout downtown, busy streets dead-end at beaches and waterside parks, offering postcard-worthy views of the ocean and snowcapped mountains.

Vancouver’s waterfront also happens to be uniquely accessible. A 14-mile seawall – a broad ocean-side promenade dating back to 1917 – extends uninterrupted for nearly its entire length. And one of the best ways to experience the seawall is on two wheels.

Dozens of shops throughout the city rent bicycles by the hour. Meanwhile, a unique bike-sharing program to be unveiled in 2014 means there will always be a set of wheels nearby. It’s possible to bike the entire seawall in one go or to explore different sections one-at-a-time. Here’s a quick preview of what to expect:

  • Coal Harbour Seawall (1.4 miles): Start your ride on the newest stretch of seawall, which runs adjacent the glitzy high-rises of downtown’s Coal Harbour. Cycle past the new Vancouver Convention Centre, while enjoying vistas of boats in the marina and the North Shore mountains.
  • Stanley Park Seawall (5.5 miles): Keep pedaling to reach the most famous section of seawall, which encircles 1,000-acre Stanley Park. Zip along stretches of old-growth forest, past white-sand beaches and even underneath the famous Lions Gate Bridge. Along the way, you can park your bike and explore trails, playing fields and panoramic views of the Burrard Inlet and English Bay.
  • False Creek Seawall (6.8 miles): If you’ve still got energy to burn, continue onto the seawall’s longest segment, which traces downtown’s False Creek inlet. Cycle along beaches and into trendy Yaletown, lined with grassy parks and waterfront cafes. On the opposite shore, pedal past the new Olympic Village and waterfront arts hub Granville Island, before cruising to a stop at Vancouver’s trendiest strand, Kitsilano Beach.

For a detailed map of the Vancouver seawall, visit the official website.

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