Gravel bike riding is continuing to rise in popularity, and Vancouver is home to an extensive network of gravel paths suitable for riders. Many riders enjoy the more leisurely pace of gravel bike rides and the opportunity to escape city traffic. Here we detail some of Vancouver’s best gravel rides and answer some common questions about gravel bikes.
What’s the difference between a gravel bike & a mountain bike?
Typically, a mountain bike has suspension and a gravel bike doesn’t. A modern gravel bike will typically have drop handlebars now, whereas a mountain bike will have wider, flat handlebars.
Mountain bike tires are usually more aggressive and wider than gravel bike tires, suitable for riding over bigger bumps, obstacles and tree roots. Also, the riding position on a mountain bike is far more upright than a gravel bike, as it is designed for riding over obstacles rather than cruising along pathways.
What are the best gravel bike rides in Vancouver?
Some trails and gravel paths that we love to ride are:
Fisherman’s Trail, North Vancouver This trail is the perfect place to perfect your gravel biking skills in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. The scenery is beautiful, hugging the Seymour river.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park Pacific Spirit Regional Park has more than 55 km of trails, though these are also shared with runners, walkers and hikers. You’ll feel miles away from the city, nestled between the forest and the coast, whilst being only moments away from the heart of Vancouver.
Trans Canada Trail Burnaby & Barnet Marine Travel from Burnaby Heights through Confederation Park to connect to the north side of Burnaby Mountain, heading along the beautiful waterfront of Barnet Marine. Keep going and you’ll eventually reach the breweries in Port Moody!
What’s a cyclocross bike? What’s the difference between a cyclocross & gravel bike?
Cyclocross bikes are usually set up for short track race conditions. The differences lie in the geometry and the bike handling. If you’re looking to ride longer gravel trails around Vancouver, a cyclocross bike is probably not for you. If you’re looking to ride shorter, faster trails with twists & turns then a cyclocross bike may be suited to your needs.
Can I convert a mountain bike into a gravel bike?
It is increasingly popular to convert mountain bikes from the late 1980s – 1990s into gravel bikes, but it requires changes to the brakes, gears, cabling, tires & handlebars. The geometry will still be very different to that of a modern gravel bike.
Do you run gravel bike tours in Vancouver?
Our Stanley Park bike tour includes riding through forest trails, with stops at Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake. It does include bikeway riding too, but it is ideal for those looking to experience some off-road riding. We use our city bikes (not gravel bikes) for this tour as we ride at a relaxed pace through the park. We have 24-speed flat bar bikes available with wider gravel tires for those who want to rent a bike and ride at their own pace – we call these City Cross in our rental system.
Cycle City’s Stanley Park Bike Tour runs daily. Find out more or book a spot on our bike tours page.
With great respect for the original and enduring inhabitants of these lands, we acknowledge that we work, live, and ride on the Ancestral & Unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples.