Sunday, 29 June 2014

D is for Destinations by bicycle; D is for Dog

Friday, June 21, I loaded up my Opus hybrid with rear panniers for a short 3 day cycle tour. My first destination was Sidney at the north end of the Saanich Peninsula about 35 kms from my apt. First I rode through downtown Victoria passing by Mile 0, of the Trans Canada Highway, in order to join up with the Lochside Trail.

"The Lochside Trail once hosted a daily 74 passenger General Electric gas car that transported passengers and freight between Victoria and a steamship dock at Patricia Bay". (CRD Regional Parks brochure)

Here's a photo of all the gear I took with me for 3 days. I packed only essentials: rain jacket/pant/helmet cover (Arc'teryx/MEC), bike lock, 1 pr fingered gloves, tool kit, 1 tube, patch kit, 2 lights, pump, 2 panniers with waterproof liner, under seat bag (MEC), cycle tights (Louis Garneau), wool-t shirt/long sleeve/1 pr spare sox (Icebreaker), Merrell shorts (Robinsons), ball cap, Victoria cycle map, Thrifty's grocery bag, Canon SX130 IS camera, cell phone, wallet, keys, swimwear (bathing suit, goggles, cap & flip flops, towel) and a book: Facts & Folklore - Southern Gulf Islands by Vicky Lindholm from the Oak Bay library. I wore Sugoi cycle shorts, wool tshirt & sox and Merrell walking shoes, fingerless cycle gloves and GIRO helmet.

As I slept over with friends I did not pack: tent, sleep mattress or sleeping bag.

Saturday I cycled with my friend Roger from Sidney to Swartz Bay to catch the early ferry to Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island. *Tip: any where in the world you will need to know the name of the ferry terminal which is often different from the nearest town. (ie Sidney is the town & Swartz Bay is the ferry terminal. Salt Spring Island has 3 ferry terminals but you can only go to Fulford Harbour from Swartz Bay.)

Prior to boarding we met Patrick and his dog Sequoia. We were all heading over to Salt Spring for their popular Saturday Market. Sequoia had the luxury of riding in a bike trailer pulled by Patrick. He said they went every where together. Sequoia was a celebrity during our 35 minute crossing. 

Once Roger, Patrick with Sequoia and I were off the ferry at Fulford we waited until the ferry traffic cleared before starting up the backroad, via Stewart, Cusheon Lake & Beddis Roads, to Ganges. **Tip: All the ferry terminals I have used had a steep hill when you come off the ferry. It is safest to pull over and wait for all the traffic to clear the terminal. 

I didn't time our ride but in the past I have found it usually takes 1.5 - 2 hours to ride into the town of Ganges; there are lots of ups and downs and plenty of great viewpoints. For the most part I have always found the traffic to be respectful. Salt Spring has had a bus service for about 2 years now which has a bike rack for 2 bikes if you only want to ride one way. The fare per ride: $2 cash only. After coffee and 2nd breakfast at Barb's Buns, with friends Lindsay and Jim, Roger and I returned to Swartz Bay.

As I walked my bike to the waiting area at Fulford I discovered I had another broken spoke. Thanks to Keith, who has a bicycle rental on Salt Spring, he removed it. I made an emergency dash into Sidney and ended up buying a whole new rim; one that would be better suited to cycle touring vs city transportation. Thanks to the great staff at Russ Hay's Sidney Cycle 2646 Bevan Avenue I was back on the road in under 1 hour. I was able to catch the 5pm ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen just south of Vancouver.

I stayed overnight in Vancouver and on Sunday took a day off from cycling. One place I visited was the Bill Reid Gallery. Look at this website for more info:

Monday I headed to Vancouver International Airport to meet my friend France from Quebec City. We met about 5 years ago through Couch Surfing. CS in an international organization of travellers helping other travellers. Before I arrived in Quebec City I emailed France. Once there we met up for coffee, snow shoeing, snowman building and beer sampling. If you want to meet up with locals on your travels consider joining Couch Surfing. I have been a member for more than 12 years and I can highly recommend it. Of course you have to see for yourself.

France was greeted by Orcas/Killer Whales and Bald Eagles on board the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay when we returned to Vancouver Island later on Monday. We finished off the day with a group of my friends - all travellers, some also Couch Surfers sampling local Victoria micro-brewed beers and sharing our travel stories. What a great start for France as she began her summer holiday!  Sante!

Bon courage, bon voyage France! 

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