29 Oct 2023 | Blog, Victoria

city tours, victoria bc, food tours, rented e-bikes, explore victoria, lochside trails, rail trail, galloping goose, city streets, local guide, outdoor activities

Having the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Coast Mountains on the other, British Columbia’s Victoria waterfront city is one of the most picturesque locations on the planet.

According to Canadian Cycling Magazine, the area’s eastern coastlines have been chosen as the centrepiece of a future bike route, making it the ultimate cycling destination.

In other words, the Greater Victoria area is a cyclist’s dream come true, with dedicated bike lanes throughout the urban core and a vast trail system. The 60-kilometre-long Galloping Goose Trail is a great way to exercise and see the sights between Victoria and the Sooke Potholes.

The most incredible bike rides in Victoria, British Columbia, highlight the city’s many distinct and exciting neighbourhoods.

This guide offers the best bike tours, e-bike rentals, and city tours and highlights some of the outstanding self-guided experiences in Victoria. 

Let’s start by looking at what makes Victoria such a bike-friendly city. 

Victoria’s Bike-Friendly Atmosphere 

outdoor activities, rail trail, free cancellation, vibrant neighbourhoods, fisherman's wharf, sooke basin, route, biking, drink, parks, tours

So the question is, is it easy to bike around Victoria, BC? If yes, what makes Victoria such a bike-friendly city?

Victoria, British Columbia, is undoubtedly a heaven for cyclists. There are bike lanes on many of the city’s streets, so riding a bike to get around or work up a sweat is a breeze. The substantial number of cyclists who live there indicates that bicycling is the people’s first choice when getting around town.

Thankfully, there are about 450 bike paths in the city, and luckily, most are flat or go downhill. If you’re getting into cycling or are looking for a pleasant family outing, Victoria is the place to go. Even though the routes can get crowded in the summer, riding a bike is a great way to experience Victoria in all its splendour. Perhaps you are a native, a frequent visitor, or this is your first time in Victoria; nothing compares to riding about the city for an unforgettable experience.

Is it permissible to ride on Victoria’s sidewalks?

The city made sure it has many bicycle routes, so you’ll never have to ride on its sidewalks. Even if you enjoy the beautiful buildings, you should stay on the bike lanes because it is unlawful for anybody above the age of 16 to ride on the sidewalk and doing so may attract a hefty charge.

Top Bike Tours in Victoria 

bike tours victoria, bike ride, free cancellation, biking, fun, history, drink, parks, cycle, town, fun, canada, ride, bicycle

The Harbour to Farm Tour

You can rent bikes and self-explore if you’re visiting Victoria for a day or two. But if you want to hear forgotten stories and see places not even some locals know about, you should take a guided bike trip for CAD 65 per person. 

The garden and lunch combination on the harbour-to-farm tour will impress anyone who takes it. The bike journey begins on Johnson Street, close to the Inner Harbour. Given the recent inauguration of the Johnston Street Bridge (following 10 years and a complete rebuild due to poor Chinese steel), reaching a vantage point overseeing the entire harbour is relatively easy. From this point, you’ll appreciate the arrivals and departures of seaplanes, boat taxis, and ferries. 

Biking the Galloping Goose Trail

According to sources like AllTrail.com, Galloping Goose Trail is Victoria’s longest road biking trail. The Galloping Goose Trail spans approximately 55 kilometres, starting at the Johnston Street Bridge in downtown Victoria and ending north of Sooke Potholes Regional Park.

If you take it to Thetis Lake, you’ll go through some of the most stunning seaside villages and quiet, shimmering lakes. 

Ride your bike on designated lanes around the city to Saanich, but remember to watch out for landmarks like Swan Lake. Then, raise your heart rate by crossing the TransCanada Highway to experience the breathtaking vistas at Thetis Lake Regional Park. 

But remember that March to November is the time to explore this rail if you want the best experience. 

Cycling the Lochside Trail

ride, free cancellation, Canada, town, transportation, hike, Canada, route, ride,

The ferry terminal and the heart of downtown Victoria are connected by the Lochside Trail, which is 29 kilometres long. Most of its path is spent traversing the agricultural landscape of the Saanich Peninsula. There are several trestles to cross on the way to Victoria, notably the Swan Trestle, which provides a peek into the picturesque Swan Lake wetland.

Once you cross the Switch Bridge, watch for the street art depicting Queen Victoria riding a bike.

The five-hour bike journey is completed at a reasonable pace, allowing ample time for picture stops and panoramic views at various points of interest.

Guided Bike Tours 

Interested in taking a guided bike tour of Victoria’s bubbling scene? How does a massive mega-bike that accommodates you and sixteen of your best friends sound? Victoria has it all! Some guided tours even have special offers that pay for your first round of drinks at local watering holes as you explore the city. It’s like a party but on wheels!

You enjoy driving into the heart of the city and stroll along the quiet yet lively avenues. With so many options, here are a few of our favourite stops:

  • Penny Farthing Pub

  • The Avenue Gallery 

  • Vis-à-vis

It is the ideal training opportunity for the Tour de Victoria, initiated by Ryder Hesjedal. This is a huge cycling event through the beautiful countryside of Victoria, which features some of the world’s best cyclists and cycling roads.

Bike Rentals in Victoria 

Victoria’s biking haven wouldn’t be complete without bike rentals. These businesses and solopreneurs provide tourists and natives with the best in bicycles, scooters, or even motorbikes. You find some of the best bike rentals in Whistler’s Trails.

With premium mountain bikes, you can explore the renowned Whistler Bike Park and its breathtaking valley trails. Visitors and cyclists can select a diverse range of high-quality enduro, trail, and downhill bikes from top brands like Santa Cruz and Trek. Some of these rentals have special 20% offers for cyclists who book in advance.  

Average rental costs are between $80 to $700, depending on the type of bike. And generally, online bookings cost less than walk-ins. 

Family-Friendly and Group Biking 

The majority of the city’s bike tours are suitable for families and welcome large groups. You will start your experience in Victoria by meeting your guide, choosing a bike that you can ride, putting on your helmet, and then setting out on a journey that will last for several hours. If you want to know what makes Victoria such a charming city, this trip will show you everything!

Among the most remarkable highlights you can look forward to on your tour are the following:

  • One of the highest totem poles in the world 

  • Take a trip along the smallest street on the continent.

  • Explore North America’s second-oldest Chinatown.

  • Discover the secrets of the ancient Craigdarroch Castle.

Generally speaking, family- and group-friendly bikers must meet the following criteria:

  • All participants must be at least 12 years old.

  • Must be bike-able.

  • There is a 280-pound weight limit.

  • Tours go on rain or shine. 

  • Dress decently. 

The tours are informal and move leisurely, ensuring nobody is left behind. Participants should be reasonably fit and able to handle moderate levels of physical activity. Also, everyone in your group must have to be a proficient cyclist.

You should take group bike tours to give everyone a one-of-a-kind gift or have fun in Victoria.

Planning a Cycling Tour 

transportation, ride, route, free cancellation, bike ride,

Despite Victoria’s beautiful trails and amenities, a successful and memorable bike tour depends mostly on you. You’ll have to do a lot of preparation. These planning generally include three elements:

  • Choose a date

  • Prepare a budget and start saving

  • Ready your bike, sleeping bag, accommodation, ten, and other supplies.

What is the Ideal Time to Go for a Victoria Bike Tour?

Good weather is a prerequisite for most short bike tours, especially for first-timers. The ideal weather would be mild in temperature, dry and windless, and allow for a full day of cycling before sunset.

However, as a general rule, the optimal time for cycling coincides with the optimal time for vacations.

Additionally, your range can significantly vary in colder climates depending on your outfit, so carefully select your gear and apparel and follow a few easy guidelines for winter cycling and camping in Victoria.

Once you have your timing and rentals in order, you need to know the top attractions in Victoria to complete your itinerary. These include:

Victoria Inner Harbour

Butchart Gardens

Japanese garden

Songhees Canoe Ride

Farimont Empress Hotel

Beacon Hill Park

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Royal British Columbia Museum

With these hidden gems, the right trails, high-quality bikes, and the right guide, you simply can’t go wrong. 

Must-See Attractions and Landmarks 

Now, let’s look at these must-see landmarks and attractions. 

Craigdarroch Castle 

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia, was constructed by Scottish coal baron Robert Dunsmuir in 1890 to reflect his immense wealth. It has many turrets and chimneys, a red slate roof, stained-glass windows, wood carvings, antique furnishings, and gold-framed paintings, among other lavish decorations.

Butchart Gardens 

The 1904-established Butchart Gardens offer visitors a captivating floral display that varies with the seasons. The 55-acre (22-hectare) botanical park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is expertly divided into many themed gardens, each sure to fascinate and inspire avid gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts.

Beacon Hill Park 

Stretching over the southern edge of Victori, Beacon Hill Park is a place of breathtaking natural beauty. But that’s not all that makes it fascinating. It’s home to one of the highest totem poles worldwide. It also features a petting zoo, splash parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and endless footpaths, and it is a favourite destination for both locals and tourists.

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

This national park was created in 2003 and covers 8,896 acres (3,600 hectares) with forests and sea life between Vancouver Island and Vancouver. There are bald eagles, cormorants, and hawks patrolling its airspace, while the rest of the environment resembles the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, orcas, porpoises, and seals populate the waters.

BC Parliament Buildings

bike ride, Bike tours

The British Columbia Parliament Buildings, erected in the 1890s, are still the site of the province’s legislative body. Constructed following the blueprints of Francis Rattenbury, a young British architect, the neo-Baroque building boasts an impressive appearance due to its grandeur, copper domes, turrets, and coloured glass.

Victoria Inner Harbour

Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the city’s busy port, a slim wedge of water surrounded by famous monuments. This Harbour is a must-see destination for anybody touring Victoria; here, you can take a whale-watching boat or bask in the salty air while taking in the sights. The posh Fairmont Empress Hotel and the surrounding passageways are the area’s best features.

 

Tips and Practical Information

An excellent place for lodging is the Inn at Laurel Point, which offers breathtaking views of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Anyone who stays here for a few nights will find that all the big attractions are easily accessible by bike and foot.

Aside from the Inn at Laurel, The Urban Den is highly recommended if you prefer to cook for yourself.

Meanwhile, Marketa’s Bed & Breakfast is highly recommended for those interested in trying out the bed and breakfast experience.

While staying in Victoria, Dial 911 for police, medical assistance, or fire.

Alternatively, you can ring “0” and ask to speak with a representative from the police or a medical provider. Additionally, all phone books in British Columbia provide an index of emergency numbers on the front cover.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which Victoria Bike Tours Are the Best?

According to online reviews, these are the top-rated bike rides in Victoria:

  • 3-Hour Bike Tour of Victoria City & the Coastal Shoreside Castles, Hoods & Legends – Bike Tour

  • Half-Day Whale Watching Adventure from Victoria

  • Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour Victoria Guided Food and History Tour

Which Victoria Bike Ride Requires Extra Safety Measures?

These Victoria experiences are providing extra safety precautions:

  • Castles, Hoods & Legends – Bike Tour

  • Victoria City and Butchart Gardens 

  • Private Half-Day Tour 

  • Butchart Gardens & Beyond Spirit, Vine, Tea & Honey

Which Victoria Bike Lanes Are Good For Getting Away From the Crowds?

You won’t run into too many people at these tucked-away Victoria gems:

Private Wine Tasting in the Stunning Cowichan Valley, followed by a Guided Food and Historical Tour in Victoria, British Columbia

Panorama Seaplane Flight Over Victoria Half-Day Whale Viewing Tour from Victoria Castles, 

Bike tour at Hoods and Legends 

Conclusion 

In Victoria, you can discover everything the city offers on two wheels with a selection of self-guided tours, guided bike tours, E-bike rentals, bike rentals, culinary tours, bespoke cycle tours and events, tandem bikes, child carriers, and more! The most pleasant bike tours in Victoria, British Columbia, highlight the distinctive and energetic neighbourhoods contributing to the city’s biking culture. You’ll pedal to Victoria’s most popular tourist spots and enjoy some of the state’s finest cuisine and beverages. The fascinating history and beautiful landscapes of Victoria’s neighbourhoods and trails await you. Start planning today by booking a tour today.