News from the Vancouver Island Cycle
Island Cycles is back online with fresh cycling
news from the roads and trails of Vancouver Island. A new season is
on the way.
Time on the bike: East Coast Sprint
Last fall's riding took me up the east coast to
the hub city of Nanaimo, checking out some new backroads and visiting
new destinations. I checked with a "local" for some advice
on where to fuel up and found great food at "Acme", a newer restaurant in
town. Bruce, a transplanted Aussie who runs the Painted Turtle Hostel
with his partner Angie, put me on the right track. Note to file:
send them some ideas on bike parking.
Ferry Trips and
Got 3 or 4 trips across the Mill Bay Ferry this
year. Always other bikers on board too. Found out from BC Ferries
that traffic on the Brentwood to Mill Bay run bike traffic tripled
Tens of thousands of bikes are getting on board
free. A quick survey on trips between the Island and the Lower
Mainland found that as many as 5 - 10 times the number of bikes are coming
on cars, trucks and vans as are rolling aboard. More than 75,000
bikes rolled on to BC Ferries last summer. That says a half million
more bikes are also coming and going every year.
News flash! Watch for BC Ferries to begin
testing new bike racks on ferries proto-types soon.
Other folk's rides:
Adventure tourism class from
Carolina will bring lucky students to ride the Island's eastern shores
and Sunshine Coast, for spring break. Doctor
in Utah spent generously for maps of Victoria and the Gulf Islands to plan next
summer's bike trip. Robert in the
Netherlands is targeting August for a warm Island ride. Family from Montana figures they'll try the
spring. Got a map
request from Victoria for a ride here in 2006. (That's
Victoria, Australia). Belgium cyclist
waited weeks for her books on the Island. She'll be riding here next
summer. Steve from Nanaimo
is planning a group biking tour for amputees. Last year it was Britain, next year it's the
Island. A rider from Indiana is
coming to visit her aunt in Victoria next spring. She plans to
ride while she is here. Experienced on the road, she likes
mountain biking too. David from
Vernon sure liked the Goose, but found no signage and few links to Sooke
town. Reminder to let council know they've got
business riding the trail if they can find their way downtown.
Michael from Minnesota did the Oak Bay Beach
Hotel, rode the Goose and checked out the mountain bike trails, then headed to
Parksville and Pacific Sands for more mountain biking. Says he'll be back
- maybe for good. Tom in New York is
looking to ride Gabriola Island. Tim
in Seattle is heading to Port Alberni.
Saddle sore: Numbers of
visitors are asking me to join them for part or all of their rides or
events. Seems like I'm always working when the time comes, but now and
again I get a good ride in or a visit with a biking traveller from
elsewhere. Shared the Seaside route with Carol from New York. Had
drinks with Buddy from Idaho and sent him and his riding partners to discover
long roads across the South Island. Got some great Australian baseball
caps for my kids over beer and riding tips for a bloke's trip up the
east coast. Calgary road riders waxed poetic about the restaurants I
recommended over coffee. Note to the food industry - cycling tourists eat
more, and more often.
Got one good ride in on the Trans Canada Trail
southwest of Duncan during Christmas holidays. Great opportunity to look
over the Kinsoll Trestle (which needs to be replaced).
Sidney by the Sea: 25 km
north of Victoria, next door to Victoria's international airport,
where visiting cyclists are well served. Airport has bike box
storage and assembly shelter, along with a pump and a work
stand. The road east from the terminal is equipped with
shoulder bike lanes and some new traffic calming features.
Hollywood types who own property in the area use the private terminal next
It's not just the cycle tourists taking advantage
of the facilities. Sidney has a higher than average modal share for
cycling. Lots of industrial activity grows up around airports and much of
the workforce lives in the nearby town, an easy, flat ride away. At
Sidney a ferry brings Washington State visitors from
Anacortes. Killer whales may be sighted from on deck.
Likewise from the BC Ferries whose anchorage is 5 km from
Seen on the Island: Log
Train Trail near Port Alberni is a great ride says Batstar Adventures owner
Blake Johnson. Local knowledge is always a good source.
Island Express: My column in
Vancouver's alternative transportation magazine
Momentum talks in the latest issue about leaders in cycling on
Vancouver Island - folks who built the Galloping Goose and Lochside
Trails. Today's players are working on the West Side Rail Trail alongside
the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway - Nanaimo already boasts their own rail with
trail through town. My new focus is on Salt Spring Island, where community
partners are working on a bikeway project that will connect cyclists to the town
of Ganges and between ferries that cruise between Salt Spring and "the big
Bike Parking Manual Published:
Victoria's Capital Bike and Walk newest publication
details bicycle parking do's and don'ts for architects, planners, engineers and
developers. Get yours: send $5 to Capital Bike and Walk, c/o John
Luton at 22 Philippa Place, Victoria, BC V8S 1S6. Need parking
help? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Map: San Juan and Gulf
Islands Nautical and Recreational Planning Map ($20 including taxes and
shipping). It's got it - topography for those that want to find out where
the hills aren't. (Or where the good ones are!).
Old Favourites: Free maps
for many Island and regional destinations (shipping rates are modest).
Guide books and commercial maps are on our website at: www.cyclevancouverisland.ca
Got a fresh supply of Davenport's Cowichan Valley road map, a must for wine
country cyclists. ($7 including taxes and shipping). Salt Spring
Island Heritage Map: All the details on routes, culture, services
and where to find the beaches. $10 includes taxes and
Cycle Vancouver Island - It's Worth the
Ride: We're still planning a third edition for the hundreds of
direct mail requests and thousands required by tourism info centres and
adventure outlets. See how you can become a sponsor. Visit www.cycletourism.com or email email@example.com Deadline for
sponsors: February 15th, 2006.
News: Moutain Bike magazine
is talking to Tourism Victoria about visiting the region to explore trails this
month. We'll be on hand to help them find the best of what we have to
offer. Premier Gordon Campbell announced $50 million for cycling projects
in his new Gateway program. Let's hope that some investments are made to
our gateway facilities like the Trans Canada Trail on Vancouver Island
where broken links between Victoria and the south Island remain to be
BtWW 11: It's Bike to Work
Week. Victoria's 11th Annual comes in May. Here's something
new: you don't have to be in Victoria to sign up. Bike commuters
from Cobble Hill and Nanaimo have been known to ride to the big city during the
week. Now we've got riders registering from all over BC and counting
kilometers ridden at home.
Bastion Square Cycling Festival:
Canada's Olympians come home for some fast rides in the road
race out Sooke way and the always exciting crit downtown. More
details next issue.
Learn More About Dirt: The
International Mountain Bike Association comes to Victoria February 4th and 5th
to conduct a trail building workshop with the South Island Mountain Bike
Society. More at: www.simbs.com
Oops: Hold on there
partner! Last issue I talked about passports requirements for
U.S. citizens coming to Canada Passports aren't yet required to
come riding in Canada (or for any other trip). The proposal would
kick in for 2007 but hard work by tourism agencies is convincing lawmakers to
give this program a closer look.
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