Friday, 4 July 2014

E is for Enjoy!

Enjoy every day - live life to the fullest!  Profitez de tous les jours - de vivre la vie au maximum!

My friend France had a dream to cycle across Canada when she turned 50. That was 2 years ago and that year she cycled from Jasper to Banff. She did not forget her dream & arrived in Vancouver June 23 this year. I had invited her to start her cycle across Canada from Mile 0 here in Victoria, she accepted the additional kilometres and my invitation to couch surf with me. She also agreed that I cycle with her from Victoria to Hope. Merci pour un grand tour de velo France! :)

After a supper of Wild Coho Salmon and roasted vegetables we packed up our cycling gear 
for our ride to Hope, BC. Over 4 days we rode from Mile 0 to Sidney and took BC Ferries to 
Tsawwassen - Wed June 25, rode from Tsawwassen to Mission east of Maple Ridge Thur June 26,
rode from Mission to Agassiz Fri June 27 and rode from Agassiz to
Hope Sat June 28. I attached the map below for reference.

From my apt Wednesday, we met up with Denise at Mile 0. The 3 of us rode through downtown Victoria to join up the Lochside Trail, an old railway bed, which takes cyclists and walkers north to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal on a dedicated pathway. We stopped in Sidney for lunch with my friend Roger. He had a lovely table of foods and wines set out under the apple trees in his front yard. We had time to relax, eat, drink and chat as it was a while until the 3pm ferry.

France, Denise, Roger

France and I retraced our ferry journey to Tsawwassen and cycled the 6 kms to our campsite where we had a friendly race to see which of us could set up our tents the fastest. We then cycled into Tsawassen for something to eat and of course there had to be one more hill before the day was over! I calculated our days cycle at 46kms but let's say we did 50 kms to include our last outing to eat and buy cereal and yogart for breakfast.
MSR 1p tent on L; Escort 2p tent on R
My Opus Mondano hybrid 24 speed (Performance Cycles, Victoria)

Wednesday had been a casual stop and go ride but Thursday was to be a serious cycle.  We felt fine by Tyne Head Regional Park in Surrey, our half way point, and continued to Sun Valley Trout Park in Mission.
We both had two rear panniers with another bag bungy-corded on top of them. This bag held our tents, mattresses and for me, my sleeping bag. I also had a small bag wedged under my seat. This held chain lube, lights, a spare tube and my wallet. France had cycled around Quebec City with some weight in her panniers but this was the first time I had cycled with significant weight onboard. I packed the bare minimum for the 4 day tour to Hope but was glad I replaced my rear rim with one much stronger. I did not want the worry of another broken spoke.

Back into the traffic we rode north on Highway 17 through Surrey and onto the new "Golden Ears Bridge" (photo above) which replaced the Albion Ferry.  A toll bridge for cars we passed over for free and had spectacular views towards the mountains around us. I had researched a few detours to cut back our days mileage so we made good time. We did not see many other touring cyclists so it was good to have Chris "the Swiss" dart across Highway 7 to say hello. He was loaded with 7 bags! Mind you he was travelling for a year or so. Still I would have loved to have seen everything he was carrying with him layed out on a floor. After a nice chat and photos we rolled into our campsite before 7pm sweaty and hungry once again.  

The mosquitos where also hungry so I abandoned setting up my tent until I showered and dressed in long pants and sleeves. Once we were both sorted we hopped on our bicycles for a short ride into the Mission Springs Pub. Yes I did say to France that this was turning into a "sipping n cycling" tour! I've since wondered, "How many local micro-brewed beers will she have tasted in the next 5,195+ kilometres?"  

After a very good pub meal we rode home in the dark on a much quieter Highway 7 with all our lights a glow and looked forward to a good nights sleep. I rounded our days kilometres to 80 which should account for the detour and crawl to the pub.

Friday we pedalled east of Mission leaving most of the heavy urban traffic behind. Here Hwy 7 enters the rural communities of Harrison Mills and Agassiz. There are over 15 Native Bands along Hwy 7. We stopped at the Band Office at Scowlitz part of the Sto:lo Nation to use their toilet. The campground next door had just reopened that day but it was too soon to stop so we carried on down the highway. We had sunshine and then rain so we checked into the small Pathfinder Motel just west of Agassiz. They had a campground as well but we needed to warm up and dry out. The closest restaurant, just 1km down the road, offered international cuisine so France ate her first Kangaroo Burger. I tucked into an Ostrich burger after which we cycled back to the motel. We cycled about 55 kms on Friday. 

I had calculated an easy 37 kms from Agassiz to Hope for Saturday but the first highway sign we saw said 45 kms to Hope so we'll go with that. We visited the Hope Tourist Centre which had a small museum, we tried to find a cellular shop for repairs to France's cell phone, I purchased my Greyhound Bus ticket and we ate at the Home Restaurant. For a small town Hope offered us everything we needed. It continued to rain 'Cats n Dogs' outside and our waitress talked France into a campground in Hope for the night. There had been a couple of semi-truck accidents on Highway 3 due to wet and slippery road conditions.

I boxed bike for the 6pm bus to Vancouver by Greyhound. We had a fun cycle trip together and saw many wonderful sights. I really enjoyed our week together and said goodbye to France just before all the big mountain ranges of BCs interior. I wished her all the best on her journey across Canada and back home to Quebec City.

Most cyclists follow Highway 7 from downtown Vancouver to Hope. I did not find information or blogs by cyclists beginning in Victoria. There are good cycle routes through Surrey. Here's some background on Highway 7:

My list of gear for 4 days: 

bike, helmet, Master 6' lock, 2 water bottles, tool kit, 1 spare tube, 1 patch kit, small bottle chain lube, small rear/front lights, 2 bungy cords, 2 panniers with pockets & dry bag liners for inside and 2 yellow waterproof pannier covers, 1 long dry bag with tent, thermarest mattress, down-mummy sleepbag & 2 lrg garbage bags for ground sheet.  In panniers: 1 pr flip flops, 1 pant, 1 short, 1 underwear, 1 pr wool sox, 1 bra, 1 long sleeve, 1 cycle short, 1 wool tshirt, 1 pr cycle tights, 1 windstopper jkt, 1 water resistant shell, 1 goretex helmet cover, 2 cycle gloves with/wo fingers, 1 beanie, 1 ear muff, 1 pr sunglasses, 1 ball cap, 1 micro towel, 1 bathing suit, 1 pot, 1 cup, 1 bowl, 1 fork, 1 Swiss Army knife - Picnicer, 1 folding stove, 1 mini cannister fuel, matches, granola bars, ziplock of nuts & raisins, 1 shopping bag & toiletries: shampoo, cr rinse, soap, lotion all 30ml; comb, toothpaste/brush, floss, face soap, toner, moisturizer, sunscreen all 5ml, body sunscreen 150ml, small pkg kleenex, Burts Bees lip balm & eye drops. I also had my camera w 2 sets of batteries but no recharger, cell phone w recharger, small note book & pencil, a book to read - "Swimming with Crocodiles" by Will Chaffey. (In prep for my 2015 tour of The Kimberleys, Western Australia)  I was wearing my perscription glasses, a Casio watch with alarm & night light, Merrill walking shoes with a stiff sole, wool sox, cycle shorts, Icebreaker wool tshirt & a sports bra. I carried a small wallet with cash and cards and a set of keys.

Note: I forgot my spoon, insect repellent and headlamp but managed with what I had.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds fun! I shall be following your various trips. Josephine x