11 Jul 2023 | Blog, Victoria

Biking is one of the easiest and most convenient options to tour a city. This statement is especially true if you visit a bike-friendly destination with prominent bike tours, trails, and bike lanes. Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, in Canada, is one example of a city travelers should experience on two wheels.

A one-of-a-kind spot, Victoria, BC, is surrounded by water, historic buildings, castles, natural spaces, and formal gardens that exhibit the beauty of this city. Explore this city at your own pace while biking along favored routes will keep you safe and mitigate any potential harm to the environment.

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Why Choose a Bike Tour in Victoria

When you opt for a Victoria bike tour, the advantages are significant, starting with the health benefits. For starters, a bike will allow you to cover a larger footprint, helping you stay active, burn calories and avoid adding holiday weight while sampling the best of the city.

Unlike a bus, a bike tour allows you to experience things up close, in a leisurely manner. Discover the city’s hidden gems at your own pace and get to know your local tour guide and fellow travelers. Any feelings of stress and anxiety from traveling will melt away as you cycle around the scenic pathways.

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A bike tour is how you can get a natural feel of the city. Get a local perspective, strike up conversations, and experience this city through the eyes of people who have lived here all their lives.

The former advantages make taking a bike tour more alluring, but the biggest reason to opt for a bike tour in Victoria these days must be its eco-friendly aspect. Enjoy the beauty of Victoria guilt-free by opting for this carbon-neutral mode of transportation.

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Exploring Victoria’s Bike Lanes and Trails

Victoria is on its way to becoming a biking capital. This city’s biking trails are a priority for the City of Victoria, as the AAA (All Ages and Abilities) cycling network plan proves. The city adopted this plan in 2016, and by 2024, 95 percent of the municipality will be within 500m of a AAA cycling route. For biking travelers, this means safer trails, protected bike lanes, and more convenient access to parks, villages, and recreation centers. This map shows the AAA-protected lanes and AAA shared-use street lanes.

As the city of Victoria moves to a more sustainable mobility strategy, bikers of all ages and abilities can confidently travel in designated bike lanes. The extensive network of bike lanes and trails in Victoria is significant. The most popular trails include the Galloping Goose Trail and the Lochside Trail.

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A former railway line, the Galloping Goose Trail boasts a 55km journey taking travelers from Victoria to Sooke. One of the best cycling trails in the Greater Victoria area, visitors will witness the beauty of urban, rural, and wild scenery on the Galloping Goose trail. Take a day trip on this trail to Mill Hill Regional Park, only 14km away from city center. You can visit Matheson Lake for a 5km ride or head to the Spring Salmon Place Campground (13km away) if you visit the Galloping Goose trail between May and September.

The Lochside Trails is another former railway-turned-bike lane for cycling enthusiasts. This trail includes rustic elements, off-road ventures, and gravel public roads that cyclists have to share with cars, including farm vehicles. Take a day trip through this trail and head to Swan Lake, then over to Cordova Bay Beach for a 12km trip.

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Spotlight on Popular Victoria Bike Tour

Finding the best bike tours in Victoria that satisfy your expectations about the landmarks you want to see is how you can turn your travels into exceptional memories. When planning your visit, make sure to find the best Victoria bike tours, depending on where your interests lie.

You must opt for Beacon Hill Park for an arresting view of nature. Both locals and travelers love to tour this park by bike because of the stunning scenery. There are playgrounds to visit, sports fields, a splash park, and even a petting zoo.

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The Harbour to Farm Tour is the bike ride to take if you want to see Victoria’s varied landscape while having several stops including a delicious lunch at Charlotte and the Quail. This self-guided bike tour will have you follow the trail as you roam through the suburbs and land in a stunning rural setting. The Harbour to Farm tour is the top choice for food tasting to sample the local cuisine while experiencing the feel of the city.

You can opt for a private tour to get to know the city in an intimate setting, but group tours are wonderful if you hope to meet people from around the world.

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If you are limited on time, a full-day bike tour of Victoria is a great choice to see the best of what this city offers on two wheels. On this tour, you will have the choice to rent affordable bikes and see the city with the trusted guidance of a local who knows the ins and outs of this stunning place. This bike tour includes some of the most noteworthy sights, like the Government House and Craigdarroch Castle. You will pass through Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point, and The Breakwater, not to mention Fisherman’s Wharf.

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Victoria on Two Wheels: What to Expect

Victoria is a city where you can be as laid-back or productive as you want on vacation. This place offers the best landmarks, the natural world, local culture, and entertainment to suit your preferences. Experience Victoria on two wheels as you roam through the most famous sights and landmarks.

Here is where you will find the Royal British Columbia Museum on traditional territories of the Lekwungen (Songhees and Xwsepsum Nations), boasting around 7 million historical objects. Similarly, The Miniature World is a popular and unique tourist attraction for its tiny yet intricate miniature dioramas and displays.

The Fisgard Lighthouse is the oldest in Western Canada. Although it has not had a keeper since 1929, travelers are welcome to view two floors of exhibits to learn about the history of the Royal Canadian Navy. Pack a picnic if you visit this spot and enjoy the view of the fortress and gun batteries surrounding the area.

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Butchart Gardens is always a must. Enjoy a feast of floral designs and beauty the minute you pass by the gates, with flowers during every season. The Victoria Butterfly Garden is another particular spot to admire the natural world and its inhabiting wildlife. For a unique garden experience, visit the Abkhazi Gardens to witness rare breeds of plants and trees hidden in the peaceful neighborhood of Fairfield.

For a once in a lifetime flora and fauna experience, head to Goldstream Provincial Park. Located 17km from downtown Victoria, this park is unmissable because of the incredible natural ecosystems on show. Bike through sky-high Douglas firs and witness the evergreen arbutus tree, which you can only find on Vancouver Island. This park also houses endangered species of fauna and flora.

Moreover, the park is known for its salmon-spawning stream. Visit in October through December to spot thousands of salmon returning. In this park, you can see one of the country’s largest concentrations of bald eagles, with December through to February being the best months for spotting.

Fisherman’s Wharf is fun to visit, thanks to its float homes. Roam around this eco-spot brimming with eco-tourism businesses, including 33 float homes, and learn about its history. You can dine and shop in this area, while the Johnson Street Bridge is a stunning spot to catch a glimpse of the ferries, seaplanes, and boat taxis coming and going through the inner harbour.

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Bike Rentals in Victoria

In a city like Victoria, BC, which can hold 7,500 people riding bicycles per hour, you can expect several options for bike rentals. From tandem bicycles to the latest models, travelers can easily find the right brand when renting a bike. We recommend Sports Rent BC for acoustic and e-bike rentals.

For added assistance, e-bikes should be your go-to choice. These bicycles are great because they get you to your destination with much less effort. E-bikes help you better manage hills while knowing that you have the help of an electric motor when you get tired. These eco-friendly bicycles allow you to ride around with ease. Typically, e-bikes can run from 20 to 100 miles. Knowing how far you plan to go is good so you can rent the right e-bike for your journey.

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Tips for Biking in Victoria

You can expect moderate weather in Victoria thanks to its sub-Mediterranean climate. This city enjoys an average of 2,193 hours of sun annually, making it an ideal place to roam on a bike. However, visiting Victoria between May to June and September to October is best if you want to experience the calmest days while traveling by bike.

During these months, the city offers mild weather where the days are generally dry except for the occasional soft drizzle. The mild temperatures make these months ideal when biking through the city so you can enjoy the sights without the strain of hot temperatures.

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Being mindful of your wardrobe choices is especially important when traveling by bike. Pack clothes that will help you effortlessly pedal, and have reflective jackets at hand when biking during the night. Before renting a bike, ensure the provider has helmets for all the cyclists and the bike lights work. A bike lock is also essential because you frequently stop to dine, shop and visit must-see attractions, as is an emergency repair kit.

Victoria’s AAA cycling network takes the safety of cyclists very seriously, and their maps are helpful to ensure you stay on the right trail. Even so, it is best to familiarize yourself with local biking rules and etiquette before arriving. Cyclists in Victoria are privileged to have ideal biking conditions. Yet, they also have responsibilities, including obeying speed limits, stopping at stop signs, and riding on the correct roadside. You must signal before stopping or turning and stay as much on the right as possible. Moreover, you must avoid riding on sidewalks or crosswalks as a cyclist.

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FAQs about Biking in Victoria

  1. Is it easy to bike around Victoria, BC?

Yes, cyclists in Victoria have special signals, bike lanes, and bike-only paths to roam the city safely.

  1. How long are the bike tours?

The tours can go from two to four hours on average, with a 10 to 12 km distance. You can choose the tour depending on your level of fitness. You can also ask the provider for custom-length bike tours.

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  1. Can I bring my own bicycle on the tour?

Most tour companies will say yes, but it is best to ask before booking a tour.

  1. Are children welcome on guided tours?

Yes, if they can keep up with adults on a bicycle.

  1. Are all bike tours in Victoria guided?

No, there are self-guided tours that you can go on independently.

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Conclusion

Victoria, BC, is a stunning city offering awe-inspiring natural spots you must discover in your own time. A cycling vacation in this beautiful city allows you to immerse yourself in the local scene and experience a sense of calm. Witness unmissable ocean views, and breathe in cleaner air thanks to more people opting for bicycles rather than cars. Do not miss the chance to experience this city on two wheels!

References:

  1. https://engage.victoria.ca/aaa-cycling-network?tool=qanda
  2. https://vicmap.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=92ffcfd4764e485e8e0b2c37cced4b78
  3. https://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/residents/streets-transportation/walk-roll-transit/cycling/victoria-s-aaa-cycling-network.html
  4. https://www.peopleslawschool.ca/cyclist-rules-of-the-road/