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Discussion Starter #1
Hi from Bellingham. A friend and I are riding a 6 day trip in a few weeks. Day 1 is an after work departure and a short day: Bellingham to Sunshine Coast via ferry out of Horseshoe Bay. I am looking for suggestions for a route through or around the city. Doesn't need to be the fastest, more interested in it being least chaotic. I'm kind of guessing it might just be 15 N to 1 W. But local knowledge is always good. Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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I'd just ride through to 99 to Lilooet which is one of the best motorcycle rides evah. Just time it to avoid rush hour.
 

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I'd just ride through to 99 to Lilooet which is one of the best motorcycle rides evah. Just time it to avoid rush hour.

Absolutely, Lilooet to Pemberton to Whistler down to North Vancouver and grab the ferry out of Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast and return the same way if you're just doing a quick turnaround home.
 

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We'll come back down through Lilooet. We're going up to Powell River, Comox, and taking the ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola. I've ridden the Sea to Sky and the Fraser/1, agreed, great rides. Hopefully I'll talk my partner into taking the dirt route through Skookumchuck. But for now, I'm just curious if 99 right through the city center is any better than going around on 15 and 1 to Horseshoe Bay? It will be a Thursday evening, presumably after rush hour. Maybe my friend gets out of work early and we beat rush hour.
 

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Sounds like a great ride. I may have to try that one out before summer is over. Doing a loop around Mt. Rainier Saturday and the Olympic peninsula in a few weeks.
 

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15 and 1 to Horseshoe Bay is fine is you just want to cruise as it's nearly all freeway. Nothing spectacular to see close to the highways but distant scenery is nice.

I'd suggest riding 99 all the way through the city if you don't mind riding in traffic and have a bit more time. Much more to see and you'll get bit of the feel of the city as you ride though the downtown core and Stanley Park on this route. Note that Vancouver rush hour starts around 2:00pm and ends around 6:00pm.

Might be a good idea to check traffic conditions on google maps before you leave the border to see if there are any major problems along your selected route.
 

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Try this. Go to drivebc.ca click on 'plan your route'. Put in Bellingham and Horseshoe Bay Ferry. It will show the shortest route. Up through Burnaby to the #1 then you stay on that all the way to the ferry. Will give you a choice of border crossing too. You need to get to the ferry early or have a reservation. Once you are on the #1 you will be going against rush hour and make better time. On the map you can grab the route and pull it to a way point to change it. The South Frazer Perimeter Route (SFPR) is an option that avoids all the small roads through Vancouver.
 

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I should clarify about getting on BC Ferries. I had cars in my mind as I'm driving down in a day or two to Vancouver Island. On a bike, even when the ferry is full they will wave you up to the toll booth and you get in and often park with the rest of the bikes. Then you are almost first to board and almost first off. On some of the older boats they will stuff you in a corner and you might have to wait to get off. So in general no reservation needed but get there more than a half hour before sailing. I've met people that were left behind, rare but can happen. And when you look at DriveBc it works best on a computer. Mobile is a lot of work. Easier to plan on the computer and check mobile en route for problems. It will show currant and future road work. Incidents, road closures etc.
 

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@Bentwee
If you come up I5, you have only two logical options for getting from south to north. You can just say on 99 and go through the tunnel, then up Oak street. You could go through downtown to Stanley Park and over the Lions Gate bridge and on to Highway 1 to Horseshoe Bay and beyond.

Alternatively, you do the tunnel & Oak street and head east to get onto Hwy 1 over the second narrows/ Ironworkers memorial bridge. I don't see any benefit to that route; not time or scenery.

One other deviation is to get on to the 91A road and go over the Alex Fraser Bridge, then the Queensborough Bridge and then head west on Marine Way. Semi- scenic at best.

Personally, I'd just do 99 through the tunnel and make that part of the trip direct and tiresome. If you do, be sure to take the HOV lane exit; it will get you around the long traffic line up for northbound traffic into the tunnel. It is 4 lanes, but they do a 3 & 1 config. in the direction of rush hour, so northbound traffic in the aft will be backed up for quite a way.

Once over the Lions Gate, you could opt for the Marine Drive seaside route. Slow but pretty and it will get you to Horseshoe Bay, with a bit of back tracking to get into the ferry line. May or may not be worth it. Once into Langdale/ Gibsons, it is a nice ride.

I can try to offer more specific guidance through our crowded streets if you want, but I may pick the wrong road just as easily.

Happy to send contact info if you feel it would be of any benefit at all.

BTW, if you have time, the ride north from Powell River is really nice. Depending on your ferry preference from Powell River to Comox, you could do the ride to Lund and back.... About 1.5 hours each way? Or, stay overnight in Lund. Pub at the hotel does great mussels in a coconut cream curry. That and the kale & beet salad do the job. With beer, of course. (Beer & Food; its why we ride. Full Patch members of the club get a Hi Viz lobster bib).

Hope you have a great trip!
 

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Everyone is in love with the Duffy Lake road but my favourite bit of pavement is the Sunshine Coast highway, Halfmoon Bay to Earls Cove. It's worth planning that route to avoid ferry traffic. You'll be first off the boat in Langdale. Either go right for it then, or let the ferry traffic dissipate beforehand. There's nothing worse than getting stuck behind a line of RVs, but at least there's lots of scenery. You'll encounter a few stop and go lights through Gibsons and then it's smooth sailing except for a couple lights in Sechelt. If you get a chance, the ride up the east side of Porpoise Bay to Tuwanek is pretty nice (a short detour). The suggested speed limit signs around Pender Harbour can be conservatively doubled (40k means 80 k, 30 k means 60 k). I was up there last week and there was no gravel or sand on the roads.

The road to Powell River is great too, but the ferry crossing from Earl's Cove is one of my favourites. You've picked a good route. Don't worry about how you get through Vancouver. Just get through it and be prepared for stop and go in the afternoon. Rush hour is several hours. Bridges and tunnels are the shits.
 

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While you are in Vancouver, please pay attention to these subtle rules of the road,
which I have seen in that city and nowhere else.

1. Single solid white line means "DO NOT CROSS ME".

2. U-turns are not allowed in Vancouver (or is it just downtown Vancouver?), sign or no sign.

3. A flashing green traffic light indicates a "pedestrian-controlled intersection" at which:
- The cross-street has a STOP sign, and no traffic light, so traffic can legally emerge from that cross-street.
- Pedestrians can push a button, which changes the flashing green to amber, then red to let pedestrians cross.

Understand, I am no expert at BC Laws, but I have experience with the above 3 differences.
I ask for corrections from BC riders who can add necessary info or show where the above is wrong.

Keith
 

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It's a bit late for advice for your trip but you can avoid Vancouver by taking the ferry from Anacortes to Sydney and you're already on Vancouver Island ready to roll up to Port Hardy and the ferry to Bella Coola. You avoid having to take two extra ferries. You can get off the Island's TC1 when you get past Nanaimo and enjoy the Oceanside route. It will take you all the way to Campbell River without having to go on the boring but much faster upper highway.
 
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