Cycle the City



Guidebook takes a grand tour of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods on two wheels.


Story and photos by Alice Sejin Lim


Vancouver is a gigantic city with lots of things to see. I have lived in the Lower Mainland for almost eight months, and yet there’s many famous landmarks in Vancouver I don’t know about.


So, I signed up for a bicycle tour—Cycle City’s “Grand City Tour”—which takes tourists through attractions in Stanley Park, the West End, Granville Island, False Creek, Chinatown and Gastown. All these places have historic stories associated with them.


I was excited to ride a bike and explore the city. However, I was afraid, too. I had not ridden a bike for almost two years, and biking for almost five hours in a busy city seemed dangerous.


Those worries were not necessary. As soon as I arrived at the bike shop in the West End, skilled and trained mechanics found me a perfect bicycle. Pretty quickly I received a helmet, listened to a brief instruction about the bike, and met my tour guide. He was really friendly and explained the tour plan for the day. As I listened to his introductions, I started to relax and felt confident about riding a bicycle.


Once the other tourists in our group were ready to roll, we set out to Stanley Park. We rode along the seawall, stopping every now and then as our tour guide explained some famous landmarks, such as the totem poles and the Vancouver skyline. The explanations were full of interesting stories and jokes.


We rested for a few minutes on the famous English Bay, and rode a little ferry to Granville Island. We had an hour to explore the Granville Island market on our own. The market was bustling with liveliness; the market sold everything from fresh berries to spices to handcrafted souvenirs. After exploring the market and eating lunch on our own, we set out to the Olympic Village.


After looking at Olympic Village and its busy apartments, we rode alongside Science World to Chinatown. There, we saw the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, and some of the city’s oldest buildings. We headed over to Gastown, the Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. We finished our ride at Canada Place, then headed back to the bike shop.


This tour is easygoing, safe, and entertaining. The road is not steep, and tourists ride at an easy pace. At the beginning, the staff at the bike shop find each person a suitable bicycle. The tour stops every ten to twenty minutes to allow riders to take a closer look, and to give our legs a rest. The explanations are easy to understand and entertaining. If there are any questions, the tour guides answer it.


This tour gave me, and other tourists, the best explanation of the city.


Cycle City Tours has its base on Spokes Bicycle Rentals. Cycle City Tours offers tours other than the Grand City Tour; they offer Stanley Tours, which takes tourists around the Stanley Park, and Central City tours, which is a smaller version of the Grand City Tour. The tours are available on any days, and at different times. They also offer small private group tours for families with little children. At least 24 hour notification is needed to cancel a tour, and if it rains, two hour notification to cancel a reservation is acceptable.


More information on the tour is available on their website,, or on their Facebook page,


False Creek