Nothing beats the freedom of a bike for heading off the beaten path and making for some of the cosier and quirkier neighbourhoods around town, all while enjoying the ambiance of the journey. Plus, Hotel Zed has free bikes for you to rent!
Two measly little blocks away from Hotel Zed is Victoria's major bicycle artery, the Galloping Goose trail which will safely and stunningly take you over the Selkirk Trestle into downtown Victoria. I gotta say, it's a pretty awesome way to arrive. I'd plan on about 10 minutes to get you there.
On the way, some great stops are Glo Restaurant overlooking that beautiful Selkirk Trestle or grab a
coffee at Caffe Fantastico right on the Goose, which has a wicked bakery (Fol Epi) conveniently right beside it.
A slight detour would be to stop in at Spinnaker's for brunch over on the north side of the Inner Harbour; there's good food and great views. While there, I'd take the time for a lovely unique walk around the uppermost part of Victoria's harbour. Strangely, you won't see too many tourists here, just locals (the secret isn't out yet). For the best part of the walk, head in the direction away from downtown Victoria.
If this were my bike ride, I'd then head back towards downtown going over the Johnston Street Bridge, turning right onto Wharf Street to bike along the Inner Harbour, stopping to take in a busker or two (Darth Fiddler is pretty good). If you keep following Government Street a few blocks south you will run into Beacon Hill Park, which is a joy to ride around. Lots of trails, both paved and dirt, gardens, ponds, playgrounds and stunning vistas.
Exit Beacon Hill on the Cook Street side as it is seriously time for a coffee and probably a cookie. Ride up Cook Street away from the water to find a lovely little hamlet of shops and big leafy trees.
Now with all that sugar and caffeine coursing through your veins, a pint of beer sure would go down nice, eh? And you've got plenty of options. Nearby in the Cook Street Village is the Beagle Pub who has a lovely side patio perfect for a summer's day. But if you are still raring to go on your bicycle and wanting to check out another little hidden pocket of Victoria, head to Oak Bay Ave. The long way there (roughly 20 minutes) would be to head back to the water and take the extremely scenic way along Beach Drive. This route is the main attraction for a radical bike ride. The other way is much shorter (10 minutes) and almost as lovely as it winds along Rockland Ave, a windy quiet little road that goes past the Lieutenant Governor's house and into some of Victoria's nicest neighbourhoods.
Once on Oak Bay Ave, there's some great coffee shops to choose from ( Ottavio’s is my recommendation) or head to the Penny Farthing Pub. Sit up at the counter to meet some of Oak Bay's curmudgeonly and colourful locals (I'm one of them, I can say that!).
Ok, it's gotta be dinner time by now and you probably want to start heading back into town. On the way, I highly recommend hitting the tiny community of Fernwood for numerous small plates at Stage. We will often let the waiter curate the meal for us as you just can't go wrong with any of the food here, it's that good. There's also a great pub across the street if Stage is too busy or you want something a little more casual. The Fernwood Inn has got good local food and a very friendly vibe.
If you aren't too weary, head back to downtown for lots of dinner and drinking establishment options or bee line it back to the hotel because that outdoor hottub is calling your name!
Other radical ideas to do on the way:
- While on the Galloping Goose hit the Bike Skills Park at Cecelia Ravine Park This park is just a few blocks from Hotel Zed and is a fun stop with berms, bridges, skinnies and teeter totters that are do-able on any bike.
- Notice I like completely missed downtown Vic? Obviously downtown should not be missed and I'm guessing you likely don't need me to tell you what to do.
- Hit the bike stores to check out the local scene! Russ Hay’s is our bike shop who services the ZED bikes and is a couple of blocks away. Broad Street Cycles are downtown, Oak Bay Bike shop is guess where, yup, Oak Bay, and the Fairfield Bicycle Shop is close to Cook Street.
- take the Galloping Goose Trail the other direction away from downtown and explore our beautiful countryside.
- Ride Naked! Hey, you might not be the only one out there doing it...
Okay, so maybe this wasn't super "radical" but at least unique? Slightly off the beaten path? Kinda interesting?! Help me out here people....