Cycling Around Vancouver During the Pandemic

Cycling the West Dyke Trail in Richmond near Vancouver, BC

Cycling the West Dyke Trail in Richmond. Photo credit: Tourism Richmond

Biking is having a moment during COVID-19. There are more cyclists on the roads and bike sales are off the charts. Here are some COVID-safe tips for cycling around Vancouver during the pandemic, including our picks for physically distant bike routes.


COVID-Safe Biking Tips

Plan Ahead and Bring Supplies

If you’re planning a bike ride, don’t forget some essential supplies. Bring a pump and a tire patch kit, just in case. Under BC law, you must wear a helmet and use lights if you’re out after dark. 

During Covid-19 you should also pack some extra supplies. Public washrooms may run low on soap, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper, so bring your own just in case. Bring a mask or face-covering to wear on indoor stops or in places where physical distancing is difficult.


Practice Physical Distancing

Remember to stay six feet (two metres) apart, especially when waiting at traffic lights or stop signs. Bike single file and give cyclists and pedestrians lots of room when passing.


Avoid Crowds

Cycling has gotten very popular during the pandemic and many bike paths can get really busy. Plan your route in advance to avoid busy spots. Consider biking midweek, early in the morning, or in the evening to avoid crowds.


Keep Your Group Small

Large groups take up lots of room on roads and trails, making it difficult for other cyclists to pass and making physical distancing challenging.


Make Sure Your Bike is Road-Worthy

If you haven’t ridden in a while, your bike might need a tune-up. Make sure your tires are pumped up and your brakes and gears work. (If you need a bike, many of Vancouver’s bike rental shops offer COVID-safe rentals.)


Best Vancouver-Area Places to Bike During the Pandemic

Discover Local Bike Routes

Use Translink’s cycling maps to find uncrowded bike routes in your neighbourhood. With a huge network of designated bike routes stretching from West Vancouver to Surrey, the Metro Vancouver area has tons of biking options. Many routes use quiet side streets or fully separated bike paths, but others share the road with traffic.


Vancouver’s Slow Streets

During the pandemic, the City of Vancouver has converted some residential streets into “Slow Streets”. Under this pilot program, signage and barriers limit motorized traffic to local-access only. This gives cyclists lots of space to bike without cars. Use the Slow Streets Map to plan your route.


Stanley Park Drive

The Stanley Park seawall is currently closed to give pedestrians more room to social distance. But you can still ride your bike around the park on Stanley Park Drive. The City of Vancouver has blocked off one lane of traffic for cyclists, so you won’t have to deal with traffic. You can also extend your ride to English Bay since Beach Avenue is also currently car-free. Keep in mind that Stanley Park Drive isn’t as flat as the seawall (there’s a big hill up to Prospect Point) so bring water and give yourself extra time for the climb.


Richmond’s West Dyke Trail

The gravel path on Richmond’s West Dyke is flat, wide, and car-free, making it a great place to ride during the pandemic. Ride from Terra Nova Park in the north to Steveston in the south, enjoying ocean views along the way. Get a snack in Steveston, then head back the way you came or make a loop by using the Railway Avenue off-street bike path. Richmond’s Cycling Map can help you find your way.


Seymour Valley Trailway

This 12 kilometre-long car-free Seymour Valley Trailway heads up the Seymour River valley to the Seymour Dam. The entire route is in beautiful rainforest forest, with a few viewpoints that make great pitstops. The paved path is wide, making physical distancing easy. (Tip: Trailhead parking lots fill fast. Consider parking at nearby Inter-River Park, then biking to the Trailway along the Berm Trail, which parallels Lillooet Road.)


Traboulay PoCo Trail

Head out to Port Coquitlam to pedal a 24 km loop on the Traboulay Poco Trail. Named for a former mayor, this flat trail meanders beside the Coquitlam and Pitt Rivers, making a circle around PoCo. Most of the route uses wide and car-free gravel paths with lots of room for bikes to spread out.


Central Valley Greenway

Using a mix of separated paths and bike lanes, the Central Valley Greenway heads east from Science World to the River Market in New Westminster 24 km later. The route follows the Millenium Line, so you can take the Skytrain home. To extend your route into a loop, follow the BC Parkway under the Expo Line from New Westminster back to Science World. 

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