During my first cycling trip in Western China, I totally fell in love with long-distance bicycle touring. This is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to discover new places and meet locals as well as other travellers. For the Labour Day long weekend in Canada, which falls on the first Monday of September, I planned my first North American cycling adventure. Read on for details about my Sunshine Coast cycling trip.
There are many cycling opportunities in British Columbia, Canada.
Just to mention a few other, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in B.C. as well as the Oregon Coast, U.S. are popular destination for cyclists here on the West Coast. And definitely on my cycling bucket list.
Cycling Sunshine Coast is perfect for a 3-7 day trip, depending on the time you have available.
There is so much to do here and so many beautiful beaches and lakes. My time, however, was very limited, as I only had 3 days.
Read more: 8 Amazing Hiking Trails Around Vancouver
A huge factor in planning my Sunshine Coast cycling route was the availability of campsites (which I will talk about further below).
During all long weekends in B.C. campsites are always 100% full. So make sure to plan and book a few weeks or even months ahead. …Which of course I didn’t. Please don’t take me as an example on this one ;)
The topography of the Sunshine Coast is fairly flat, with elevation never reaching more than 160 meters (525 feet) a.s.l. along the road. This means that you can cycle up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) each day.
As my first campsite was in Egmont near Earls Cove, I had to cycle a total of 118 kilometers just in one day! It was 25 kilometers from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay Terminal, then take the ferry for 45 minutes and then cycle another 93 kilometers. Quite a long way for my first day, but this was the only campsite I found available last-minute.
I started my journey at 6:30 in the morning. The sun was just about to rise and the city was still asleep.
It was such a good feeling to be out so early with my bike loaded up with camping gear and the essentials. I was at the ferry terminal by 8:20 A.M., right on time for the 9 o’clock ferry to Langdale.
FYI: You don’t need to book a ferry ticket in advance, if you’re traveling by foot or bicycle.
Most of the Sunshine Coast cycling route leads along the Sunshine Coast Highway (SCH), which is a one-, sometimes two-lane highway. The traffic is heavy between Gibsons and Sechelt, but eases after that.
There is a shoulder along the whole Sunshine Coast Highway, which is regarded as a designated bike path.
To avoid some major steep hills and traffic, take these 3 alternative routes. They were recommended to me by a fellow cycling on the ferry and worked out perfectly:
About 2/3rd’s into the cycling, my legs were starting to get shaky and my stomach was growling. It was time for a break.
Pender Harbour was a great, beautiful town to stop in. There are some restaurants and an IGA. If you have the time, explore nearby sights such Lily Lake, Beaver Island or Garden Bay.
I continued on without much sightseeing, as I had to make it to Egmont before sunset.
This is a great little village with no cellphone reception. Don't worry, you can catch free wifi at the general store.
Egmont is popular with travellers because of the Skookumchuck Rapids.
Twice a day as the tide comes in and out, the water pours through the narrow opening between the Georgia Strait and the Sechelt Inlet, creating one of the world’s largest water rapids. The speed of the current can exceed 30 km/hr and is popular with experienced kayakers.
The West Coast Wilderness Lodge in Egmont offers great tours to discover more around, such as zodiac tours, kayak tours or cruises to Princess Louisa Inlet.
I was lucky to meet some amazing people at the campsite. They invited me to go fishing and later we had a feast and played pool at the one and only Backeddy Pub.
Thanks to my new friends I had a great and unforgettable time in Egmont, despite coming alone.
There are two types of campsites in British Columbia: BC Parks Provincial, private and primitive campsites. Here is a full list of campgrounds on the Sunshine Coast.
Reservations for BC Parks Camping Sites are made online here. Unfortunately, for long weekends a minimum of three nights is required.
For my first night, I stayed at Strongwater Camping and Cabins in Egmont. This private campsite is fairly small, but with good amenities and very friendly owners with a dog, pig, chicken and ducks!
I spent my second night on the way back in Sechelt at Bayside Campground, which is big and located right by the Sechelt Inlet. Both campsites are around C$20-25 per night.
Strongwater Camping and Cabins
Address: 6713 Egmont Rd, Egmont, BC V0N 1N0
Phone: (604) 883-1323
Bayside Campground & RV Park
Address: 6040 Sechelt Inlet Rd, Sechelt, BC V0N 3A3
Phone: (604) 885-7444