When I first moved from Toronto to Vancouver, I realized that everyone raced across the city on two wheels (or two feet!). I was hooked into this West Coast vibe and couldn’t get a bike fast enough. So, I made my first bike purchase from a pro triathlete (goals!) and took it to Bicicletta for a fitting, who ended up being my first bike sponsor. From super newbie to super ambitious, my relationship with my bicycles proves to be very exciting! Except: being a newbie was undeniably an overwhelming process, especially shopping for “all of the things” that go with getting a bike...
Bike shoes and cleats.
Tools and (chain) lube.
Outfits! (And questions like: do you wear underwear with a chamois?!)
Here is what I carry in my jersey on a ride!
Anyway, it’s been a long-lasting love affair. In the spirit of sharing the love, here are my top 4 rides for all different cycling levels:
- The Beginner Buddy
Distance: 15 - 20km
You're chasing the sunset and only have an hour to kill – definitely hit Stanley Park. One loop is 10km and it’s a beauty. But keep your eye out for cars and horses! Especially the cars filled with people coming in and out of the park and gawking out at second beach! If you are lucky, you will find a buddy also doing a lap of the park and your 10km ride will turn into a 20km..or 30km ride before you know it! (We call that: bonus miles!)
- The Casual Hobbyist
Distance: 30 - 45km
This is my bro, Matt’s ride from Vancouver to Steveston, and the best way to get the full Juice Truck experience. Take the bike path down Ontario and stop to hydrate up at The Juice Truck Steveston location.
If you want to incorporate some hills into your ride, Richmond via UBC is the way to go. Hill repeats on Spanish Banks? Don’t mind if you do!
The Weekend Warrior
Distance: 50 - 80km
- My favourite local climb is undeniably Cypress Mountain. You can go for the first look out or all the way to the top! You can hit cruise control all the way up or put in some punchy efforts with a set like: 5-8x (2min hard/ 2min easy) -- easy is never so easy when you are climbing a mountain.
- My second option is Horseshoe Bay via Marine Drive. It is beautiful and perfectly rolling to keep you honest. Zip out to Whytecliff Park or even up to Lion’s Bay on a gorgeous day, because #bonusmiles.
- The Ride or Die
Distance: 100 - 180km
Option 1: Vancouver to Whistler. Stay the night and make it a quick weekend getaway!
Option 2: Vancouver to Squamish. Stop at Zephyr Cafe for a tasty veggie meal and make the ride back down.
Option 3: The Triple Crown. Three local mountains - Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour.
ProTip#1: For these rides, have approximately 1 bottle of fluid per hour (I’m biased: i highly suggest F2C hydration products!) and some calories to go along with it. If real food is your kick, a banana or Prima bar are great choices. If you’d rather some chemicals, then GU makes it easy to digest gels. #fuelmatters
ProTip#2: This ride is beautifully hilly -- and the only way to get stronger on the climbs is to relax your shoulders and keep!climbing! I promise if you just ...keep...riding you will get to the top and be stronger for it.
If it’s raining?
It rains here a lot. We know.
And if riding in the rain is your thing, awesome!
Another option is indoor cycling and there are great places including Method and TaG. My newfound favourite indoor ride is on my trainer in my office, so rain or shine, there is no reason to miss a ride!
When it comes to cycling routes here in this beautiful city we gratefully call home, there are options for everyone! Everyday is a chance to discover a new route and I will never stop finding them. Next stop: find a start line -- Penticton GranFondo or GranFondo Whistler are two awesome races in beautiful BC.
(Spoiler: my favorite accessory to a bike ride is actually...my coach! Because with a coach comes direction, feedback, more belief in what I can do and more education on how I can do it better. Consider this a plug for my lifeline known as B78 Coaching!)
Steph Corker is the founder of The Corker Co, starting the company after spending the last 12 years recruiting across several sectors. She held senior management positions for over 10 years at two major North American retailers before starting her own management training and consulting company. Steph has led workshops for Google, WestJet, and The Rennie Group to help take their team from performing to soaring. She is a 16x Ironman finisher and 3x Ironman World Championship qualifier.