Vancouver's most popular bike path is the 9-km (5½-mile) Stanley Park Seawall, which follows the park's perimeter, hugging the harbor along the way. The views of Lion's Gate Bridge and the mountains to the north are breathtaking. The path connects at both ends with the city's longer seawall path, if you feel like making a day of it. Rent your bike near the entrance to Stanley Park, in the West End, as there are no rentals once you're inside the park.
In North Vancouver, the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve has some trails that are bike accessible, as does Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Point Grey, and Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver. In flat Richmond, there's an easy, pleasant cycle along the West Dyke and South Dyke trails.
For biking on city streets, downtown Vancouver's "separated bike lanes" have made biking even safer—most bike lanes have a barrier between them and the traffic. Especially useful ones are along Hornby and Dunsmuir streets. These lanes are in addition to the city's many bikeways, identified by green bicycle signs.
Vancouver cycling routes connect with those in nearby communities and here most routes do share the road with cars, but they're quite safe and include cyclist-activated traffic signals and other bike-friendly measures. Many TransLink buses have bike racks, and bikes are welcome on the SeaBus and on the SkyTrain at off-peak times. Aquabus Ferries transport bikes and riders across False Creek, too. If cycling is a key component of your visit, check online with HUB Cycling (bikehub.ca).
There are detailed maps and other information on the website operated by the City of Vancouver (www.vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/biking.aspx). Cycling maps are also available from most bike shops and bike-rental outlets. Helmets are required by law, and a sturdy lock is essential.
Seawall. The paved bike paths of Vancouver's 22-km (13½-mile) seawall start Downtown at Canada Place, go around Stanley Park, and follow False Creek to Kitsilano. Downtown, Vancouver, British Columbia. www.vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/seawall.aspx.
Bayshore Bike Rentals. If you're starting your ride near Stanley Park, try this friendly store. It has a wide range of bikes as well as bike trailers for kids, and in-line skates. 745 Denman St., West End, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6G 2L6. 604/688–2453; www.bayshorebikerentals.ca.
Reckless Bike Stores. This outfit rents bikes on the Yaletown section of Vancouver's seawall route. To explore Granville Island, check out the branch at 1810 Fir Street in Kitsilano. 110 Davie St., Yaletown, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 2Y1. 604/648–2600; www.reckless.ca.
Spokes Bicycle Rentals. Near Stanley Park, Spokes has a wide selection of mountain bikes, tandem bikes, and children's bikes. Everything from hourly to weekly rentals are available. Helmets, locks, and route maps are complimentary. 1798 W. Georgia St., West End, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6G 2V7. 604/688–5141; www.spokesbicyclerentals.com.
Mountain biking may be a worldwide phenomenon, but its most radical expression, known as free-riding, was born in the 1990s on the steep-and-rugged North Shore Mountains. This extreme type of mountain biking has thrill-seekers riding ultra-heavy-duty bikes through gnarly forests, along log-strewn trails, over rocky precipices, and down stony stream beds (not to mention along obstacles like planks and teeter-totters). The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve in nearby North Vancouver has challenging biking trails through alpine meadows, forested slopes, and river flood plains: the Corkscrew and Salvation trails are classified as advanced or extreme. There are also advanced mountain biking trails on the lower slopes of Mount Fromme (next to Grouse Mountain) and Mount Seymour.
Endless Biking. Convenient to North Vancouver's challenging trails, this bike shop specializes in mountain bikes including those with rugged suspension systems. Reservations are recommended. The shop also runs guided tours, as well as a shuttle to local trail heads. 1401 Hunter St., North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7J 1H3. 604/985–2519; www.endlessbiking.com.