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Cycling Vancouver: Up for riding the Sea to Sky? Try a ride to Lions Bay

A more difficult ride for those who want to venture a little farther

The Cycling Vancouver series features well-known Metro Vancouver cycling destinations with dashes of food stops and interesting sights. Cycling can really open your eyes to your own city; Vancouver has so much to offer and I hope to share some of it with you.

Where: Lions Bay

Why: A more difficult ride for those who want to venture a little farther.

Difficulty: From a physical standpoint, the trip isn’t much more difficult than one to Horseshoe Bay. From downtown Vancouver, it is nearly 80 kilometres round-trip. The terrain is rolling, with consecutive small ascents and descents. There are no extended long climbs, but a round trip will net you a nice 900-1000m of elevation.

As with a ride to Horseshoe Bay, I would strongly recommend this trip be attempted on a bike with gears.

The true difficulty of this ride is the Sea to Sky Highway. For new cyclists, the Sea to Sky can be frightful: cars and trucks drive by (closely) in excess of 90 km/h; there can be a significant amount of debris on the road shoulder; and on some of the longer pitches, you can hit speeds of 70 km/h or more. I would recommend this trip for those who feel comfortable being on the road and close to cars.

How to get there (by bicycle): My preferred way of getting to Lions Bay is to travel to the Horseshoe Bay roundabout via Marine Drive. At the Horseshoe Bay roundabout, you can access Horseshoe Bay Drive northbound. Horseshoe Bay Drive parallels the Sea to Sky for a couple of kilometres before merging with it.

Once on the Sea to Sky, you stay on the highway shoulder until you finally reach Lions Bay. Lions Bay is right off the highway; just take the Oceanview Road exit.

Returning, you take the same exact same route back – Sea to Sky to Horseshoe Bay Drive then back into Vancouver. For clarity, please take the same roads back, but make sure you are on the opposite shoulder to the one you got to Lions Bay on (that is, when heading north to Lions Bay, be on the east shoulder; when travelling south, please be on the west shoulder).

Important notes:

  1. Be especially vigilant on the Sea to Sky. As mentioned, there can road debris – anything from rocks and scraps of metal to pieces of cars. There used to be very large water drains on the shoulder, but most have been covered over. Regardless, please keep a very sharp eye on the ground ahead of you.
  2. The Lions Bay General Store and Café is a great stop. The staff is friendly, and it is definitely bike-friendly.