Cycling is a great way to explore British Columbia . The casual pace allows riders time to stop and appreciate the scenery, wildlife, and flowers that can easily be overlooked at high speeds. Some of the most popular areas for cycling trips are the Southern Gulf Islands  between Vancouver Island and the mainland (quiet, laid-back, loads of sunshine, rural scenery, and lots of artists), the east coast of Vancouver Island  (following the Strait of Georgia past lazy beaches and bustling towns), the Kootenays (forest-clad mountains, deep lakes, curious old gold- and silver-mining communities, and ghost towns—good mountain-bike country), and the Rockies (outstanding mountain scenery second to none, abundant wildlife often right beside the highways, hot springs, and hiking trails). Rocky Mountain routes suit the intermediate to advanced cyclist.
For information on touring, tour operators, bicycle routes, and local clubs, contact Cycling BC (1367 W. Broadway, 604/737-3034, www.cyclingbc.net ) or, in the same building, the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (604/737-3058, www.orcbc.ca ), which also publishes a series of maps covering much of British Columbia. These maps can by purchased directly from the council or at many sporting-goods stores and bookstores. A good source of online information is the British Columbia Mountain Bike Guide (www.bcmbg.com ).