It’s always more rewarding when you earn your dinner. Pemberton’s annual Slow Food Cycle Sunday definitely takes this to heart. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or are more suited to training wheels, this relaxed bicycle-oriented meander is the perfect introduction to the beauty of the Pemberton Valley and the local foods and goods found there.
Founded in 2005 at the Helmer’s Organic Farm, the goal of this 31-mile bicycle tour of Pemberton Meadows Road is to let locals and travelers alike experience the importance of farmland, while also giving them a chance to enjoy a day in the country. As a traveler, you’ll need to bring your own bike, so consider renting one in Whistler for a couple days starting out with the Slow Food Cycle Sunday, and then exploring the Whistler Valley Trail.
The Slow Food Cycle Sunday route is leisurely and mostly flat, meaning that you can zoom from one stop to the next -- snacking and shopping along the way — or simply choose a stop or two and move between them at whatever speed suits you best. No matter where you end up, you’ll be able to connect with farmers and learn about the principles of the Slow Food Movement, which focuses on mixing the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.
Better still, the event takes place on the second or third Sunday of August each year, and has a festival vibe with live music and the tastiest local foods to sample — though the especially tasty offerings can often sell out, so make sure you set out on the road early. Though there are plenty of things to snack on, be sure to pack your own water and a few bites to ensure your ride is as lovely as the scenery — remembering that the whole route (though you can just do a section if you’d like) can take anywhere between three and seven hours, depending on your pace.
To start your journey, grab a coffee and a snack, like a breakfast burrito or a fresh-baked good at Mount Currie Coffee Company, then pick up a map of the route and register where Pemberton Meadows Road intersects with Collins Road — you can’t miss all the bikes! Then, set out on the road with Mount Currie in the background, basket in hand, which will be full by the end of the day as we know you’ll be stocking up on local produce, crafts and more. The tempting stops include Bandit Farms, Helmer’s Organic Farm, Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef, and Karen Love Art Studio.
About 30 minutes outside of Whistler, visiting the town of Pemberton is a must while in Sea to Sky country for everyone from adventure lovers to food fanatics. Besides offering special events like the Slow Food Cycle, there are also a selection of breathtaking hikes (like at Joffre Lakes), amazing fishing spots, and activities for adrenaline junkies. And of course, cycling.
After a day of cruising through the natural beauty of Pemberton, you’ll understand why this event has become so popular and even inspired other similar events in communities like Agassiz near Vancouver, and Sooke near Victoria. Then, with bushels of carrots, flowers, fresh tomatoes, and more in hand, head to Mile One Eating House for their famous burgers or deliciously gooey mac n’ cheese before heading back down to Whistler Village to extend your stay. Trust us, a day is never enough in Sea to Sky country -- you’ll want at least a week.
Need more inspiration for your next trip in Whistler and Pemberton? Check out our tips for things to do this summer and make sure you hit all the spots on our Sea to Sky Guide that highlights favorites from Vancouver to Pemberton.