THE GUY NEXT DOOR: Josh Bloomfield, Cycle City Tours
At The Burrard, we’re big fans of seeing Vancouver atop a set of wheels, which is exactly why we give all our guests the chance to burn up the bike lanes on one of our Brooklyn Cruiser bikes for free. But the first time you head out, you might want to solicit the services of a pro to show you around the city, pointing out the must-sees, and giving you the gossip on our neighbourhoods, parks and food scene. (Yes, we’ve been known to gossip about a park.)
That pro might well be Josh Bloomfield, founder of Cycle City Tours, a local company that offers a whole suite of biking tours from the highlights-driven “Grand Tour,” through to special interests such as “The Food Tour” and “The Pride Tour.” We asked him for his take on Vancouver from high in the saddle.
Name: Josh Bloomfield
Where do you work and what do you do? I’m the Founder of Cycle City Tours. The basic idea is that we offer interactive tours of the city by bike, with our guide sharing fun stories about places, history, food, culture, etc.
How did you find yourself doing this? It has been quite a serendipitous journey actually. Here’s the short story: I graduated some years ago with a commerce degree, specializing in finance… and really couldn’t see myself pursuing a career in it so I decided to travel. Over several years, I lived in Brazil, Japan and Cambodia and worked various jobs. I taught English in a village in Japan for two years and was given a bike. I got really interested in sustainable travel after seeing the impacts of “mass tourism” in Southeast Asia. Eventually found myself living in Cambodia guiding a 1,000 km bike tour focusing on sustainable development and sustainable travel. When I eventually moved to Vancouver (I’m originally from Winnipeg), I wanted to keep promoting sustainable tourism and bike travel in a small group, as I believe its the best way to get acquainted with a new place. I started CCT in 2011 to offer this type of experience in Vancouver.
What’s the #1 reason for getting on a bike in Vancouver? A lot of people want to promote biking as a sustainable option, which it is. But the true reason to get on a bike is FUN. It’s relaxing and you feel good afterwards.
Morning-after strategy? I’ve given up on heavy drinking… I like to get up early and go for a run or to a yoga class.
Thing that you love about Vancouver? It’s so close to nature. Being able to get over to the forest, mountains, or in the ocean is a real treat (I grew up in Winnipeg, remember?) Getting out in nature is the best way to clear your head and centre yourself. I’m also loving all the new small businesses popping up: food trucks, craft breweries, artisan shops. It feels good to go into a shop and know the staff and enjoy products that people carefully made.
Thing that drives you crazy about Vancouver? Hmm, people always want to rant to me about new bike lanes because I work in the bike industry. Get over it! We need them for more people to bike and feel safe doing so!
Someone’s visiting Vancouver for the first time and has just 24 hours. How would you suggest they spend them? Twenty-four hours is way too short and they’re going to try to pack too many things in. But if that’s all they had, I would recommend taking a bike tour (shameless self-promo) because you can see a lot of the city in a short time.
On the “must do” list: drink a coffee sitting on a log on English Bay Beach, get a pint at a local craft brewery (33 Acres, Brassneck, and Bomber have great tasting rooms), walk or bike through the rainforest in Stanley Park, bike the seawall, and catch a sunset at the top of Grouse Mountain! At night, catch a concert at the Commodore or Vogue and finish the evening with a cocktail overlooking the brick streets of Gastown (too many places to list!)
Backpack or wheelie suitcase? Depends on the adventure.