After three days of hard biking, it was time for a rest. Kelowna is the perfect spot to stop. While you may know it as Canada’s top retirement community, Kelowna is also a bustling hub of young people who are attracted to its great weather and robust economy. I happen to have several close friends and family members in town, including one couple with a newborn in need of a visit.
True to form, I spent my rest day exploring Kelowna’s new bike trails. The city has invested heavily in bike paths along the waterfront and throughout downtown, and they are teeming with people of all ages. Last night on my way in to town I was stuck in a traffic jam behind three families out for Saturday evening rides.
We took one trail from downtown to MEC, in the suburbs. From the condo downtown we were on a separated path for 100% of the trip, except for the MEC parking lot. While I did not get a chance to explore the towns, First Nations bands, and unincorporated areas that comprise metro Kelowna, but I am told they have fairly good bicycle infrastructure that is rapidly improving.
Just as we returned from the tour, the downpour began. Luckily we were warm and dry, and I was thankful to have not been out riding for those few hours.
In addition to the bike lanes, Kelowna has invested in really nice transit shelters featuring lots of wood, many benches, and real-time bus departure signs. Unfortunately the buses come infrequently, but the infrastructure is ready for the big leagues.
Finally, there is a lot of great new architecture in Kelowna. Many low-rise apartment buildings and mixed-use developments have gone up around town, and for the most part they were tastefully designed and competently constructed, apart from the bike racks. It would be great to see more cities encourage the modest scale that Kelowna seems to make work.
With so many friends moving to the BC interior, I can see myself returning soon and using Kelowna as a home base for exploring further.