The Best Places for Bike Rentals in Whistler, British Columbia

| © Dave G. Houser / Alamy Stock Photo
Doug ONeill

Whistler in Canada is winter heaven for powder hounds who come to ski the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. But as soon as the snow melts, skiers make room for amateur and competitive cyclists who hop on rental bikes for exhilarating spins on downhill or cross-country trails. Here’s our roundup of best places to hire a bike.

Just as cyclists have their pick of bike trails in Whistler – Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler Mountain Bike Park, the easier Cheakamus Trail and the more challenging Garbanzo and Peak zones – they also have the best choice of bikes to rent. Bike rental outlets in Whistler carry models geared to the full spectrum of cyclists: mountain bikes, fat bikes, cruisers, downhill bikes, suspension mountain bikes, comfort bikes – even e-bikes.

Some bike rental shops carry small fleets of super performance downhill bikes for the more competitive cyclists. Brand names also run the gamut: Scott, Norco, Kona, Enduro and Santa Cruz.

1. Arbutus Routes

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The Arbutus Routes Team includes cyclists who have completed their Professional Mountain Bike Instructors certification, and are trained in wilderness survival, first aid, leave no trace and national outdoor leadership. Some Arbutus mechanics have worked at the Enduro World Series mountain bike competitions and other major bike-racing events. Bike rentals include Enduro and downhill bikes, trail bikes, road and gravel bikes, e-bikes and family-friendly bikes with trailers. Staff also lead bike tours ranging from easy (e-bike outings around Whistler) to more advanced (challenging single-track trails).

2. Whistler electric bike tours

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Electric bikes are ideal if you’re knackered after thigh-burning mountain bike trails and simply want to go for a more relaxed spin. Whistler electric bike tours (on Swiss-designed and -engineered electric bikes) take visitors on guided bike tours past alpine lakes, 500-year-old red cedar stands, bird sanctuaries and beaver lodges. Staff lead a variety of tours, one of which is the Awesome Old-Growth, Cross Country Trail Network – where guests and their bike rentals end up at a brew pub.

3. Premium Mountain

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This bike shop is conveniently located next to the Old Spaghetti Factory, which is handy if you fancy a post-ride carb-fest. Premium Mountain carries top brands such as Kona and Scott, and staff will arrange XC Enduro rentals for advanced cyclists eager to explore the single-track trails or head up to the peak of Whistler Mountain. Premium Mountain bike rentals include fat bikes, as well as e-bikes for those who simply want to explore the valley trails the easier way.

4. Garbanzo Bike and Bean

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Garbanzo Bike and Bean, known locally as GBB, features the latest in Scott, Norco and Santa Cruz models among their cycles up for rental. GBB operates a Demo Center, where customers can test-drive a range of high-performance downhill bikes. Staff-lead guided cycling tours, which include Women’s Night, for beginner and experienced members of the female cycling community, and Elevate the Park, for strong intermediate, advanced and expert riders who are looking to develop specific cycling skills.

5. Evolution Whistler

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Owner Jenine Schramm was among the first entrepreneurs to successfully operate a bike shop in a ski town. Established in 1995, Evolution Whistler is located across from the Conference Centre on Whistler’s Village Square. Schramm’s team maintains a small fleet of super performance downhill bikes, which book up quickly. Performance trail bikes and Valley Trail bike rentals can be booked in advance, though walk-ins are possible. Staff will match the best bike rental geared to the customer’s experience.

6. Cycle Whistler

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When Yohann Sheetz founded Spitfire Rentals, later renamed Cycle Whistler, in 2013, he basically wanted visitors to be able to hop on a bike and explore the valleys and hilly terrain around Whistler without any fuss: “Sometimes all you need to get around is a regular pedal bicycle.” Bike rentals at Cycle Whistler include a range of mostly lightweight cruiser bikes, e-bikes, tandem, kids’ bikes and scooters. Staff will recommend trails based on customers’ cycling abilities and interests. Cycle Whistler operates out of Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel.

7. FanatykCo

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Bike rentals have been part of FanatykCo’s core business since ski and cycling enthusiasts Scott Humby, Kevan Kobayashi and Bruce Pegram established the venture in 1996. All rentals are equipped with top-of-the-line Shimano Zee/Saint or Shimano XT/XTR components, which are popular with advanced cyclists. FanatykCo’s on-site mechanics are trained in Shimano products and suspension set-up. All staff are intimately familiar with local trails and will brief beginners in advance on what gear to bring, as well as advise intermediate and advanced cyclists on feature jumps and drops in the area.

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