I have ridden quite a bit however am just getting into riding over on the shore. The only trail I've done over there is Pipeline on Grouse which is more of an intermediate to advanced trail. The shore's riding is pretty technical, however there are a few good intro trails closer to the bottom of the mountains.
go here - www.gutsploder.com to get maps of the shore. the baden powell trail is a good one to start on with certain sections being pretty technical and rooty to give you a good insight of what riding is like around here. I hear the woodlot trails are very nice as well and would be up to a day over there sometime. YOu can click on the little flags on those maps to see pics of the trails.
A good place for beginner/intermediate valley trails is whistler. They have a huge network or trails around the lakes and of course the lift accessed trails up the mountain which opened this weekend. There are a few green runs down the mountain for starters but the lost lake trails would be the best.
Tell them what you are looking for and they will probably help you out with a few options. I'd go to the shore shops instead of downtown shops for this though as they will know the area better and will give less attitude.
John Henry also has a pedals and pints riding club that I might join that has rides of all levels which would be really great when starting out to get to know the trails and it allows you to meet other riders.
FYI: tonight at 8pm there is a trials and jump demo with two of the pros going on at the library north side. It's to hype up crankworks.
The riding culture is huge here and people are generally very friendly. I will be trying to go up to the shore at least once a week.
I just did a quick ride to UBC and back today to try and find out what the trails look like but wasn't to sure where bikes were allowed and where it was only walking. There was a map at 16th and Blanca but I didn't look at it very long because I was going home.
From what I could see it looks like a lot of dog walking type trails with hikers and strolling types. You could probably move quite quickly through the trails but you might run someone over. I think it would be nice scenic riding for Sundays on bike with a massive spring loaded seat.
I'm a horrible technical rider so I might have to check it out some time. Unfortunately I'm used to downtown Toronto traffic riding so I'll have to try to relax a bit more on the trails.
Oh and going from about Dunbar to MacDonald on 16th is one hell of a rush! It's all down hill and it's really wide. I was flying past cars which always makes me happy.
For a good quick workout I like riding around the Stanely Park road, not actually on the seawall as it has too many people and rollerbladers to get around. The road has a nice long climb just before you go over the Lions Gate bridge, and has a nice long decline shortly after the climb. Sometimes I jump back on the path just after English Bay and carry on up over the burrard bridge. The bridge has a great view in the evening.
It's located about 15 mins before you get to whistler on HWY 99.
It was approx 14k to the whistler bungee jump site and back. Good entry level ride with a taste of rooty singletrack. I was with someone whos was on their virgin ride and they had a good time and didn't find it too difficult.
I saw 3 bears last weekend as well, 2 on the golf course in Whistler and one off to the side of 99 near horseshoe bay.