Heading to Canada? Here’s what you need to know about renting a motorcycle for an epic adventure in British Columbia, West Canada.
Renting a Motorcycle in Canada
Why you’ll love it
Riding a motorcycle in Canada is incredible. British Columbia is serene, unspoilt and brimming with wildlife, jaw-dropping views and some of the most intensely beautiful nature in the world. Slinging a leg over a saddle and heading into the Canadian Rockies will be one of the most memorable rides of your life and needs to be right at the top of your to-do list.
My girlfriend and I rented a BMW R1200GS five years ago for a two-week ride through British Columbia. Since then we’ve ridden in over 60 countries and Canada’s still our favourite. So, we pulled this guide together to help you get out there, rent a bike and become mesmerised, because we know you’ll love it too.
Where to rent your bike from
We used CycleBC to rent a BMW R1200GS. They’re a reputable company in Vancouver, have been operating since 1993 and had very good reviews. They supplied us with an immaculate bike with luggage. We were impressed with their services and would recommend them based on our experience.
CycleBC offer motorcycle rentals if you fancy going it alone, and they also offer Tours if you want the stress taken out of your trip. Everything will be handled for you on a tour from route to hotels to food.
Motorcycle rental prices
CycleBC has a huge range of motorcycles including adventure bikes, sports tourers and cruisers. Way too many to list here.
Check out CycleBC’s Rental Page to have a look at their list of makes and models to see what’s on offer and the price range per bike.
What the manager says
Mike Gat, Manager at CycleBC says: “Canada’s best feature is the vast amount of nothingness. All of England is 130,000 km2 while British Columbia alone is 944,000 km2 with the population of 4.6 million, that’s less than half of the population of London. British Columbia offers a true sense of adventure that’s getting harder and harder to find these days, couple that with our renowned Canadian hospitality and that’s what makes Canada the perfect riding destination.”
When to go
August guarantees warm, dry weather but there’s less traffic in September and you can wear full kit without getting too hot. Outside of June to September, the Icefields Parkway may be closed due to snow and ice.
What you need
Luggage systems, helmets and gloves are included for riders and pillions, so just pack a jacket, a toothbrush, sun cream and a camera. Of course, taking your own kit is always a good idea as you know it works, fits and is comfortable. For more info on riding gear and what to pack, check out our motorcycle travel gear guides section.
You will also need your driver’s licence, passport, an International Driver’s Permit is always a good idea and personal travel insurance. The rental bike will come with its own vehicle insurance.
General travel costs
- Petrol prices fluctuate slightly. Expect to pay around £0.83 per litre
- Return flights to Vancouver cost around £400 on average. Check Skyscanner for up-to-date information and flight bookings.
- B&Bs are popular and cost around £45 a night for a really good one.
- Food and drink costs are similar to UK prices
There’s plenty of guest houses, B&Bs, motels and hotels throughout British Columbia and they’re relatively easy to find too.
We recommend using Booking.com as it makes life easier. In high season you will want to book ahead.
Take a look at this interactive map to get an idea of the hotel prices on your route.
Chances are, if you’re on a short tour and renting a bike in Canada then you’re not planning on camping very much. If you’re planning on camping, then take a look at the bcparks.ca website for more info on where and how to camp.
You’ll find more info on camping in our resource page too, including tips, tricks and camping gear guides.
READ MORE: Motorcycle Camping Resources
Motorcycling the Canadian Rockies
Our recommended route
We took on the Wild West Canada Route and loved it.
It took us 14 days and around 1,600 miles. We rode two-up and took our time. It’s a comfortable 9-day trip with one rest day in the middle if you haven’t got the full two weeks. But you will most likely want at least one extra day either side for picking up and dropping off the bike etc.
What makes this route special is that it takes on BC and Alberta, along the Gold Rush Trail, to hot springs, waterfalls, Banff, Lake Louise, the boiling hot desert region of Kamloops, the highest mountain in the Rockies and the epic Icefields Parkway route with its overhanging glaciers – the Icefields are the one thing you cannot miss in BC.
Here’s a map of our Wild West Route and a day-by-day breakdown.
Day by day route
Day 1: Vancouver to Whistler 100 miles
Stanley Park, Lion’s Gate Bridge, Highway 99, Sea to Sky Highway to the world-famous ski resort town of Whistler
Day 2: Whistler to Kelowna 260 miles
Pemberton, into the mountains, Coast Range Mountains, cowboy country past cattle ranches to Kelowna.
Day 3: Kelowna to Ainsworth Hot Springs 230 miles
The route changes from hills to mountains. You’ll ride through the Kootenay Mountain region, famous for ski resorts, breweries and the hot springs of Ainsworth.
Day 4: Ainsworth Hot Springs to Revelstoke 135 miles
Brilliant roads that flit between tarmac and little ferry crossings over turquoise blue lakes. There are plenty of hidden gems and off-piste routes here, so take a little extra time to dig them out.
Day 5: Revelstoke to Banff 205 miles
Storied Kicking Horse Pass, narrow valleys and plenty of switchbacks.
Day 6: Rest Day in Banff
Day 7: Banff to Mount Robson 235 miles
This one’s special. Today is the Icefields Parkway and one of the best roads in the world. Mount Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies are the riding around that area is very cool. You’ll probably see the most wildlife of your trip on this stretch too.
Day 8: Mount Robson to Kamloops 230 miles
Follow the Thompson River and the Canadian National Railway Line. Kamloops is the wild west part of BC. It was 42C when we arrived. It’s an arid desert region.
Day 9: Kamloops to Vancouver 280 miles
Follow the 1800’s Gold Rush Trail through Fraser River Canyon from Cache Creek to Hope and stop off at Hell’s Gate Canyon, jump onto the Trans Canada Highway before arriving back in Vancouver.
Read more on Motorcycle Travel in Canada
Thanks for checking out this Canada Motorcycle Trip Report. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycling in Canada that we recommend you read next.
Liked that? Try these next…
Planning a motorcycle ride in Canada? Let us know in the comments below!