San Juans and Vancouver Islands

The Pacific Northwest's Playground

San Juans and Vancouver Islands

The Pacific Northwest's Playground

San Juans and Vancouver Islands

The Pacific Northwest's Playground

San Juans and Vancouver Islands

The Pacific Northwest's Playground

San Juans and Vancouver Islands

The Pacific Northwest's Playground

San Juans and Vancouver Islands

The Pacific Northwest's Playground

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Highlights

  • Custom itineraries and uniquely personal service
  • Cycling along quiet lanes through lush forests and past bucolic farms
  • Island-hopping between five very distinct islands
  • Spotting orca whales in their natural habitat
  • Canada’s “Garden City” with its unique heritage and culture

Seasons

Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall

Starting / Ending City

Seattle or Friday Harbor, WA

Tour Length

4 to 9 Days

Trip Types

◊ Self-Guided
With our Self-Guided tours an expert local guide takes care of your transfers, route briefing, luggage moves, and planned transfers. They are also available should you need mechanical assistance, help with a dinner reservation, or general questions. You have a GPS unit, maps, and a detailed guidebook to help you select your route, choose where you eat, and, generally, explore the area.

◊ Guided Group
Our Guided tours allow your group to explore a destination with an expert local guide with a dedicated support vehicle. You will also have GPS units, maps and a detailed guidebook to help learn about both the major sights and the hidden gems. Your guide takes care of both you and all the logistics – from route advice to bottle washing.

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San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island

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    Where do you want to stay?

    Budget

    Two Star Silverton Inn Suites

    Simple B&Bs and more modest hotels but all well-kept with en suite facilities

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    Classic

    Four Star accommodation

    Smaller hotels or luxurious B&Bs with very personal service often including wine tasting

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    Luxury accommodation

    Some of the nicest full-service hotels in the area. Typically include a pool and a good restaurant

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    Sample Itinerary

    San Juan and Vancouver Island in Canada cover photo

    The San Juan Islands are a bucolic wonderland where the pace of life is reminiscent of a time long passed on the mainland. Drivers give friendly waves as you ride on quiet lanes past small farms and around coves where the sun sparkles off the water. It is common to see seals, sea lions, porpoises and even orca whales breaching.

    Then take the ferry across the border to Vancouver Island in Canada. Here you ride into the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Victoria. Set picturesquely on a sheltered bay, Victoria has more bicycle routes than any other city in Canada.

    TOUR LENGTH

    6 Days / 5 Nights

    ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

    Budget  

    Classic  

    Luxury  

    START & END

    Start: Friday Harbor, WA USA
    End: Victoria B.C., Canada

    SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS

    • Private transfer from Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal (or airport) with bike set up and full route briefing at the start of your tour
    • Accommodation and breakfasts
    • On-call roadside assistance
    • Optional transfers along the routes
    • GPS units, maps, directions and a comprehensive guidebook
    • Expert guides delivering superior service
    • Transfer to Victoria Airport at the end of tour

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    • Sea kayaking
    • Whale-watching tours
    • Harbor boat tours
    • Customize your route

    BIKE AVAILABILITY

    DAY-BY-DAY FLOW

    Day 1: San Juan Island Southern Loop

    Day 2: Lopez Island Excursion

    Day 3: San Juan Island Northern Loop

    Day 4: Friday Harbor to Victoria BC

    Day 5: Victoria Loop Day

    Day 6: Victoria Loop Day

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    Day One - San Juan Island Southern Loops

    You will be met by your guide in the vibrant port town of Friday Harbor. Your guide will serve you lunch, give you your trip briefing, and then ride with you for a few miles – just to help you get oriented. Your riding today is focused on the southern part of San Juan Island.

    The Intermediate ride heads to American Camp at the southernmost tip of San Juan Island. (American Camp was home to the US Army during the joint occupation of the islands by the Americans and the British in 1859.) Your route then continues around the marine sanctuary at False Bay to Pelindaba Lavender Farm – in full purple bloom during the summer months. You then circle back to Friday Harbor.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate ride above but skip the southernmost tip of the island to loop around False Bay before heading directly back to Friday Harbor.

    Challenge riders follow the Intermediate ride and add on a loop out to Lime Kiln State Park – the nation’s only whale watching park with its iconic lighthouse and old lime kilns.

    Visit American Camp State Park, False Bay Marine Preserve, and Pelindaba Lavender Farm

    San Juan Islands Southern Loop cycling tour segment

     

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 900 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 2,000 feet

    Challenge
    40 miles with 2,400 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Friday Harbor

    Friday Harbor is a quaint, well- preserved town with several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. There is a whale museum and whale-watching tours. There are also several great places to eat. As you would expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.

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    Day Two - Lopez Island Excursion

    Today, you head over to Lopez Island – the “Friendly Isle.” This 15-mile island is one of the most peaceful and relaxed islands in the San Juan chain.

    Once on Lopez Island, Intermediate riders cycle past driftwood-scattered beaches to Spencer Spit with stunning views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains. After cycling past small farms that produce fruits and vegetables, you get to Shark Reef Sanctuary where seals bask in the sunshine. From here you head back up to Lopez Village.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate route but head straight to Lopez Village from Spencer Spit – skipping the loop to Sharks Reef.

    Challenge riders follow all of the Intermediate route but also add in an extra loop to MacKaye Harbor on the southern tip of the island.
    For all routes, the best place for lunch is Lopez Village; beautifully situated at the north end of Fisherman Bay. At the end of the day, you take the ferry back to Friday Harbor

    Lopez Island is the most friendly, peaceful, and relaxed island in the San Juan chain

    Lopez Island in the San Juan Island chain cycling tour segment

     

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    20 miles with 1,100 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    25 miles with 1,500 feet

    Challenge
    35 miles with 1,900 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Friday Harbor

    Friday Harbor is a quaint, well- preserved town with several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. There is a whale museum and whale-watching tours. There are also several great places to eat. As you would expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.

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    Day Three - San Juan Island Northern Loops

    Today you do a loop ride in the northern part of the island.

    The Intermediate ride follows rolling back roads to Roche Harbor. This sheltered cove has been a haven for sailors for over 150 years. There are several waterfront restaurants – ideal for a leisurely lunch in the sunshine.

    After lunch, you go on to explore British Camp (the site used by the British troops during the joint military occupation of the Island in 1859). From here it’s a meandering loop back to Friday Harbor along the west coast. In places, you’re less than 3 miles from the Canadian border, and the snowcapped mountains of Vancouver Island frame the western horizon. Sites en route include an outdoor sculpture park, an alpaca farm, and Lime Kiln State Park – the nation’s only whale watching park. Wildlife is a common sight – orcas in the ocean, deer on the land and bald eagles in the air.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate route to Roche Harbor and English camp before heading straight back to Friday Harbor across the center of the island.

    Lunch in the beautiful cove of Roche Harbor – a haven for sailors for over 150 years

    San Juan Islands Northern Loop thru Roche Harbor cycling tour segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    25 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 2,000 feet

    Challenge
    N/A

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Friday Harbor

    Friday Harbor is a quaint, well- preserved town with several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. There is a whale museum and whale-watching tours. There are also several great places to eat. As you would expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.

    a

    Day Four - Friday Harbor WA to Victoria BC

    Today, you head to Canada – boarding a ferry with your guide for a transfer to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island.

    Once through customs, Intermediate riders cycle south from the ferry terminal on a bike route that snakes through well-kept neighborhoods before skirting the coastline to Cordova Bay – a great lunch stop. The San Juan Islands to the east and the Olympic Peninsula to the south frame the horizon. After lunch, you continue along the coast visiting Mount Douglas Park, Cattle Point, and Willows Beach before riding into the center of Victoria on a mix of quiet streets and bike paths.

    Leisure riders start with a van transfer from Sidney Ferry terminal to Mount Douglas Park from where they join the Intermediate route, above, for the gentle ride into Victoria.

    The San Juan Islands and the Olympic Peninsula frame the horizon as you ride into cosmopolitan Victoria

    Friday Harbor WA to Victoria BC cycling tour segment also goes thru the Olympic Peninsula

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 200 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 1,300 feet

    Challenge
    N/A

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Victoria

    Known as the Garden City, Victoria is consistently recognized as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit. It is set around a stunning harbor bustling with yachts, ferries, and floatplanes. Away from the harbor, there is a blend of old-world charm and vibrant international confidence complete with street performers and excellent museums.

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    Day Five - Victoria Loops

    Today you explore Victoria and its surrounds. Choose from gardens, castles, art galleries, or city sights.

    The Challenge route loops up to Butchart Gardens. As well as being a great place for a picnic lunch, the world-renowned Butchart Gardens are well worth exploring: the grounds cover 55 acres and there are over 900 plant varieties. Cadboro Bay is a great place to gather a picnic lunch en route.

    The Intermediate route follows the Challenge route but turns around at Cordova Bay, a little short of Butchart Gardens.

    The Leisure loop is an urban adventure along regional bike trails. This peaceful route meanders over the Selkirk Trestle, and through quiet neighborhoods and parks. Your destination is Hatley Castle, an Edwardian castle set in over 500 acres of landscaped grounds on the shores of Esquimalt Lagoon.

    Today is also a great day to explore the city sights. Top choices include the Parliament Buildings, the British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, and Beacon Hill Park.

    Take a picnic to world- renowned Butchart Gardens: 55 acres with 900 plant varieties

    Victoria BC Canada cycling tour Loops segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    20 miles with 850 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    35 miles with 1,600 feet

    Challenge
    40 miles with 1,900

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Victoria

    Known as the Garden City, Victoria is consistently recognized as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit. It is set around a stunning harbor bustling with yachts, ferries, and floatplanes. Away from the harbor, there is a blend of old-world charm and vibrant international confidence complete with street performers and excellent museums.

    a

    Day Six - Victoria Loops - Last Day

    Today’s options are similar to yesterday but there is so much to see and do in Victoria, you will not be repeating yourself.

    The Intermediate route heads up to the 55-acre Butchart Gardens on a mix of quiet roads and bike paths. Your guide will meet you there, with your luggage, for your end-of-tour transfer.

    The Challenge route follows the Intermediate route to Butchart Gardens and then loops back to Victoria where your guide meets you at your hotel.

    The Leisure route is an in-and-out ride along regional bike paths to Hatley Castle.

    There are also a host of things to do off the bike. The harbor boat tours visit historic landmarks, First Nation sacred territories, and float home communities. Fisherman’s Wharf makes a great stopping-off point for sushi, fish and chips, or a scoop of ice cream. Other water activities are kayaking tours and whale watching tours. Back on land, city sights include Parliament Buildings, the British Columbia Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, and Beacon Hill Park.

    Explore this vibrant, world-class city by bike, by foot or by waterVictoria BC Canada cycling tour Loops segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    20 miles with 1,100 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    25 miles with 1,400 feet

    Challenge
    35 miles with 1,900 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    None

    As this is the last day of your tour, there is no overnight accommodation unless explicitly requested on booking.

    Friday Harbor:

    Discovery Inn

    This small family-owned inn has a friendly staff and a mid-20th century rustic charm. The rooms are clean, pleasant, well-appointed and recently renovated – all with private bathrooms. Most rooms are spacious with the exception of those on the third floor where there are sloping ceilings

    Victoria:

    The Craigmyle B&B

    The Craigmyle is a popular gem located in a residential neighborhood close to Craigdarroch Castle. The B&B is in a four-story manor house with a large common room, a guest kitchen, and a self- serve laundry but no elevator. The 15 rooms are simple but very pleasant and have all been recently renovated.

    San Juan and Vancouver Island budget hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in our Budget category are typically simpler B&Bs and more modest inns or hotels. However, all the properties are well-kept with en suite facilities.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

    Tips & Notes
    The Discovery Inn is on the outskirts of town; less than a mile from the town center and the ferry.

    The Craigmyle B&B is just over a mile from Victoria Harbor but does have a few restaurants nearby. Note that this B&B has a lot of stairs to navigate and there is no elevator.

    Friday Harbor:

    Kirk House B&B

    This beautifully-preserved, 1907 Craftsman house was originally the summer retreat for a wealthy industrialist. Rooms have many original features and antique furniture with modern, en suite bathrooms. Breakfast is organic, local and plentiful. Afternoon refreshments feature baked goods and drinks – typically served on the wraparound veranda.

    Victoria:

    Abigail’s Hotel

    Abigail’s is a boutique luxury Inn situated in a 1930’s Tudor mansion. There are 23 rooms all tastefully decorated and furnished with antiques. The property is in a quiet neighborhood just ten minutes walk from Victoria’s Inner Harbor. Breakfast is excellent and hors d’oeuvres are served in evenings.

    San Juan and Vancouver Island classic hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in the Classic category are typically smaller hotels or luxurious B&Bs with very personal service sometimes including wine tasting or evening hors d’oeuvres.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

     

    Friday Harbor:

    Tucker House
    Stay as the guests of Anna and David in this luxury inn. Just a block from the bustling downtown, this charming inn consists of a cluster of buildings centered around two charming Victorians. Rooms are romantic and tastefully decorated while breakfast is a three-course feast with some ingredients flown in on the owner’s plane!

    Victoria:

    Magnolia Hotel & Spa

    One of the best hotels in the city, this boutique hotel sits in the heart of the downtown, just steps from Victoria’s Inner Harbor. This award-winning hotel boasts thoughtfully appointed rooms and personalized service. The property includes an excellent restaurant – the Courtney Room – and a full-service spa.

    San Juan and Vancouver Island luxury hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in our Luxury category are some of the nicest full-service hotels in the area. They typically include spa facilities and a good restaurant.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

     

    BIKE CHOICES

    Hybrids bikes, a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike

    Hybrids bikes are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. They have a relaxed riding position and are great for beginners and intermediate riders. A typical model is the Trek 7.3 FX with Shimano components and high-pressure road tires for better cycling efficiency than your typical hybrid.

    Road bikes, a racing style bike with drop handlebars

    Our road bikes are a racing style bike with drop handlebars. The road bikes are faster bikes than the hybrids with less upright riding position. A typical model is the Émonda ALR 5 with aluminum frame, carbon forks, and Shimano 105 components. (NOTE: Some of the smaller roads in Puglia can be a little rough making a hybrid bikes a better choice for some riders.)

    eBikes, designed to give you a little extra assistance when climbing hills

    Our eBikes are designed to give you a little extra assistance when climbing hills. The ride position is very similar to our hybrids. We typically rent Scott E-Sub equipped with a 250W E-drive Bosch motor. If one rider in a couple is stronger than the other, an eBike can be a great choice for the less-strong rider.

    Your Own Bike, if you have a favorite bike, we can help you get it to your destination as well as set it up once it is there

    If you have a favorite bike, we can help you get it to your destination as well as set it up once it is there. Please ask about options for bike shipping and assembly.

    group of cyclists

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    Receiving & Assembly
    per bike charge to receive bike from shipper, assemble the bike and repack it and deliver it to a shipper at the end of the tour.

    Bike Boxes 
    a per box charge for the extra logistics needed to handle bike boxes during a tour. Note: this fee can be avoided if you leave your box with your start/end hotel.

    Tandem Bike 
    a per bike fee for the extra logistics to handle a tandem bike that is brought by a guest.

    LIFECYCLE ADVENTURES LOCAL CYCLING GUIDES

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