Moderate
Difficulty level
Cycling
Activity (Bike)
6 Night, 7 Day
Duration

Canada, British Columbia: Vancouver Island Bike

Six nights; seven days of biking on British Columbia’s “Spirit Loop”, following the finest coastal roads and an optional portion of the Cowichan Valley Trail.


“Truly unbelievable care and thought…you gave us a superb holiday with many cherished memories” – Joan H. & Richard van S.

WHY THIS TRIP?

  • Beautiful mountain terrain meets attractive, rugged coastline, with lots of natural history. The views over the Juan de Fuca Strait and the open Pacific are awesome!
  • Mild climate.
  • Thriving arts community.
  • Parks, lakes, and beaches. Hidden swimming holes.
  • Small, charming inns.
  • Some of the freshest halibut and salmon North America has to offer.
  • BC Forest Discovery Center – a large, open air museum.
  • Lake Cowichan – the Island’s secret.
  • Avatar Grove, and hike in the Botanical Gardens.
  • Interesting towns: Duncan. Port Renfrew. Victoria.
  • The island has been the homeland of indigenous peoples for thousands of years; abundant artistic, cultural, and historical monuments testify to the presence and influence of these cultures, and you will notice that many place names retain their indigenous origin.

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.


You’ll be riding on a mix of paved roads and unpaved bike trails through rural towns. Some sections follow, optionally, the Galloping Goose Trail. There are some hills, and e-bikes are available.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: 40 km
  • DAY 2: 43 km
  • DAY 3: 43 km + options
  • DAY 4: 60 km
  • DAY 5: Up to 26 km + options
  • DAY 6: 80 km
  • DAY 7: 36 km

Elevation Profile:

 


Start: Downtown Victoria, Inn at Laurel Point, or Abigails Hotel 11:00, day one. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary. Optional pickups from Swartz Bay ferry terminal or Victoria (YYJ) airport available upon request; note: YYJ is located in Sidney, ~32km from downtown Victoria!

Finish: Downtown Victoria for 15:30; Victoria Airport for 16:00 or the Swartz Bay ferry terminal for 16:30 to catch the 17:00 departure to Vancouver. Day seven.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Introductions & 40 km Loop Ride

Spend your day becoming familiar with your bikes while you explore the stunning capital of British Columbia. This loop begins in the downtown area, taking you through several parks, and alongside the Juan de Fuca Strait. Cyclists looking for a challenge will relish the opportunity to climb Mount Douglas, and will be rewarded with panoramic views of Victoria and the surrounding area. Beacon Hill Park also warrants extra time to explore its 200 acres of native flora and abundant wildlife. Ride past the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and the lush greens of the Victoria Golf Club to find the sandy beaches, with magnificent views of the straits and Trial Islands before arriving back at your luxurious lodging. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips only. Self-guided trips include breakfasts only)

Inn at Laurel Point, or Abigail’s Hotel, or ; Optional upgrade ($150pp) to Fairmont Empress, Victoria

2

Victoria to Cowichan Bay 43km

Follow bike pathways out of Victoria to Brentwood Bay. If time permits, stop at the magnificent Butchart Gardens, leaving in time to catch your scenic ferry to Mill Bay. Cycle north along the coast, into wine country, with optional stops for tastings as you ride to your lodging in the artistic seaside village of Cowichan Bay. B

OceanFront Suites at Cowichan Bay, or ; Dream Weaver Bed & Breakfast , Cowichan Bay

3

Winery Loop; 43kms

Ride north from your hotel around Quamichan and Somenos Lakes, stopping at farms and wineries along the way. Discover British Columbia’s rich history in the forest industry at the BC Forest Discovery Center; a 100-acre, open air museum, with hands-on exhibits, heritage buildings, logging artifacts, and even an operational railway. This centre features forest and marsh trails for walking with excellent bird watching opportunities. Finish your day with a ride through Duncan before returning to your seaside retreat for a well-deserved rest. BLD

Same lodging

4

Lake Cowichan to Port Renfrew 60km

Start your day with a short 30 min van transfer to Lake Cowichan, deemed “Vancouver Island’s best kept secret”, before riding one of the most beautiful stretches of the week. This quiet winding road offers incredible mountain views, and you will see first-hand why Port Renfrew has a rich history in forestry and fishing. Enjoy an independent dinner in the community that is considered one of the best locations for salmon and halibut fishing in North America. BL

Handsome Dan’s, or Soule Creek Lodge, Port Renfrew

5

Port Renfrew 6km + hiking, and/or 20km, optional activities

Today presents several options; depending on your energy level and preference, you may include one or all of the suggested activities. Cycle to Avatar Grove, a 50 hectare area of old growth forest famous for its mammoth cedar tree, or take a short loop ride south to the Botanical Gardens for a gorgeous hiking experience. Upon returning to Port Renfrew, you may want to take advantage of the many water sports available, such as kayaking, canoeing, surfing, fishing, or stroll the beach and enjoy the crashing waves. BL

Same Lodging

6

Port Renfrew to Sooke 80 km

Leave Port Renfrew as you cycle through Jordan River, a small settlement originally established as a logging camp that is now popular among surfers. An optional hiking detour leads to Sombrio Beach, an enchanting cobble beach that was occupied by several generations of hippies until the construction of the Juan de Fuca trail began in the late 1990s. Not surprisingly, today’s destination, Sooke, is home to a vibrant arts community, well-known for its painters, potters, and writers. If time allows, visit the nearby Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. BLD
Arbutus Cove Guesthouse, Sooke

7

Sooke to Victoria & Farewells 36 km


Cycle along a portion of the Galloping Goose Trail today, a rail trail that is part of the Trans-Canada Trail, as you make your way back to Victoria. A quiet alternate road will be an option for those preferring fully paved surfaces. If you have not spent a day or two enjoying the city before your tour, we recommend lingering in the province’s capital. Known as “The Garden City,” Victoria is home to many rare and native plant species, as well as an impressive number of historic buildings worth visiting. BL

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

Guided: C 4695 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 3 dinners, luggage handling, full-time guide and vehicle support, maps and route instructions, 5% sales tax

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.


Self-Guided: C 4095 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes, 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, essential transfers, maps, route instructions, 5% sales tax

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and support driver gratuities.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • Jun 12-18
  • Sep 11-17

2023 Guided dates:

  • Jun 19-25
  • Sep 10-16

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. Please ask us for a no-obligation quote from our insurance providers: Century Insurance, or CSA Travel Protection.

Difficulty This route is rated moderate (blue square).
Daily Distances 40-80km/day
Optional Extras Fishing, Swimming, Golfing
Best Months June (early flowers), July & late-August (warm weather, whales, more people), September (cooler and quiet).

Before & After The Tour:

Rent a car in Victoria and explore other parts of Vancouver Island, its bigger than you think!

Drive to Nanaimo and take a ferry to the Sunshine Coast.

Visit the coastal community of Tofino for a surf or a lesson in stunt kites.

If you are into mountain biking, Vancouver Island is a top notch destination providing many options to suit any rider.

More Reading:


Known for its mild climate and thriving arts community, the coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island displays an eclectic mix of nature and rich history. The island has been the homeland of indigenous peoples for thousands of years; abundant artistic, cultural, and historical monuments testify to the presence and influence of these cultures, and you will notice that many place names retain their indigenous origin. Immerse yourself in seven days of beauty, from the majesty of the rugged coast, to the vast wildlife of the myriad parks, lakes, and beaches you will encounter as you travel along bike pathways and quiet roads. Hiking enthusiasts will relish the chance to explore sections of Salt Spring Island by foot, and Lake Cowichan provides an opportunity to paddle board, surf, or kayak. You will foray to hidden swimming holes, dine on some of the freshest halibut and salmon North American has to offer, and rest in charming inns at the end of each day.

“The service is very personable, from the office to the guides. One has the feeling you really care!” – Andree B.

“Truly unbelievable care and thought…you gave us a superb holiday with many cherished memories” – Joan H. & Richard van S.

“Freewheeling is awesome and that is one of the reasons why this is our third trip with you and we are already looking at options for next year. I also tell everyone about your excellent service and the amazing trips that you provide.” – Karen & Keith M.

“Honestly, I cannot say enough about how well we were tended to.” – Eric G.