Island Cycles Kicks Up the Dirt
News from the Vancouver Island Cycle Tourism Alliance
August, 2005
 
 
Mountain Biking Update:
Come out to save mountain biking:  The South Island Mountain Bike Society is a leader in protecting the interests of off-road riders across Vancouver Island.  Insurance issues will be the focus of their special meeting on Wednesday, August 10th at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt, in the Victoria area.  With 80,000 visits recorded annually at the region's Hartland Mountain Bike Park, off-road cycling is a major activity for area riders and many visitors.  Building trails and protecting access to the park has been a major focus of SIMBS and they'll be sharing concerns and strategies at this important meeting.  For details visit:  www.simbs.com
 
Poker Run August 14:  All work and no-fun makes for a sad organization.  SIMBS is also planning a "Poker Run" mountain bike event at the park Sunday, August 14th.  It's a ride for all ages and skill levels.  Find out more at:  www.simbs.com
 
Mt Washington Events:
Summer at Mount Washington Alpine Resort is a full menu of mountain bike race clinics, women's rides and kids classes at the Island's premier destination facility.  Gondola mountain biking and 35 kilometres of off-road trails are drawing riders from all over.  Big days will be August 26th - 28th when the SISU BC Cup Finals hit the mountain for X-Country and Downhill events.  Last year's racing saw more than 300 riders hit the slopes for a mudfest.  Get all the dirt at:  http://www.bccupfinals.ca/  Find Mount Washington at:  http://www.mountwashington.ca/
 
Road Events:
Showing their age?  Not likely.  The BC Seniors Games are coming to the Cowichan Valley August 25th - 28th with the BC Masters Cycling Association organizing the road race events at Shawnigan Lake.  My old friend Bert, on the occasion of his 82nd birthday a few years back said the race was all over if it came to a sprint finish.  No one could beat him to the line!  Find out more about the fast guys at:  http://www.bcmasterscycling.net/
 
On Track:
American Velodrome Challenge and BC Track Championships are on the schedule at the Juan de Fuca Velodrome in suburban Colwood August 19-21st.  A legacy of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, this bike racing track brings out the best all summer long.  If you haven't seen track racing, here's a chance to catch the excitement.  Follow the wheels at:  http://www.gvva.bc.ca/
 
Bikes in the news:  19 million bikes were sold in the United States last year.  They have to ride them somwhere!  The majority of sales, according to a U.S. wireservice (Reuters) story, are for leisure riding.  The report appeared in the Victoria News Daily August 3rd and said that high gas prices and concern about personal health are driving near record sales.
 
Must be some coming here:  Tourism Victoria's last exit survey says more than 6% of air travellers coming to the are are spending time on a bike.  It matches figures reported last year and suggests people bike here more than they do at home.  Only in Victoria is cycling's share of traffic that high.
 
Riding tips:
Thanks to Rick Boyd of Edmonton who sent in his trip logs - 920 km of riding criss-crossing Vancouver Island.  He explored many of the routes illustrated on our map and guide and sent in grade tables and road condition reports on the "Climber's Tour" to the west island.  His table covers the hub city of Nanaimo over "the Hump" to Port Alberni, halfway across the Island, and another section on the rolling ride to Tofino on the open Pacific.  Rick and his partner Debbie had a "hard but fulfilling" tour with some delectable sidetrips to the Cowichan Valley, Salt Spring Island and says the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails in the Victoria area were highlights.
 
For a copy of Rick's route description of the ride profiles from Nanaimo to Tofino, send an email to johnluton@shaw.ca  We'll get them on our web site soon too.  Got pictures of that ride?  Send your best to johnluton@shaw.ca and win a box of Roger's Chocolates.
 
Bike tourism survey: A special box of Rogers went to Victoria's Laurie O'Dowd who compiled information on our bike tourism survey, conducted at the Seattle International Bike Expo.  143 visitors to our booth answered questions about what kind of bikes they ride, where they like to ride them, where they stay when they travel and what they think about Vancouver Island.  If you are in the tourism business, you'll want to know what our market says.  Email johnluton@shaw.ca for a copy of the PDF report.  It too is destined for the website.
 
The Road Less Travelled:
John's Blog:  My Malahat friends. He's from Terrace, she's from Sidney.  Been biking and camping for 8 days.  Sure liked the hot bath in the B&B they splurged for the night before.  Just happened to run into them at the Malahat Summit (352 metres above Saanich Inlet on the Trans Canada Highway).  Make a note to talk to Highways about construction projects - could use a primer on bollard spacing and I sure hope you are planning to finish paving those shoulders. 
 
Mill Bay Ferry - Vancouver Island's most beautiful shortcut.  It was running behind schedule so it allowed me a sprint to Mill Bay to make a delivery and grab a cookie for the ride home.  Last time out a sea lion was lounging on the dock.  Guess he couldn't make the fare for the boat ride.
 
Maps:  Salt Spring Island Heritage Map
BC's Gulf Islands, sprinkled through Georgia Strait that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland, are a quieter and welcoming place to ride.  Salt Spring is the biggest of the Islands, and Saturday's farm and craft market in the village of Ganges is a big draw.  But there's lots more to see on the Island - bike routes to explore, galleries to visit, wineries open for tastings, mountain hikes and beach walks.  Island Pathways has mapped the highlights.  They are also lobbying for more bike lanes and better shoulders. 
 
The Salt Spring map is available from VICTA.  Find a price list for our commercial maps at:  http://www.cyclevancouverisland.ca/maps.html  We've got freebies too, including our "Cycle Vancouver Island - It's Worth the Ride" Map and Guide.  Order yours from:  johnluton@shaw.ca  Most of the 60,000 copies are gone but a few hundred remain.  If you aren't on the map, why not?  Get in the next edition.  Email for details.
 
Where to Eat:  Victoria's Executive House
All that riding makes me hungry.  But where to go?  Try Victoria's Executive House Hotel.  With 4 restaurants there are great menus to choose from if you need to replenish your calorie deficit or load up for your next turn of the pedals.  Check them all out at:  http://www.executivehouse.com/home.html
 
Got a tip, story or feature photo?  Send yours to johnluton@shaw.ca   This month's photo is by Claire Townsend of Victoria.  Claire wins a box of Roger's.  Husband Andrew, featured in the photo, will expect to claim some modelling fees (Truffles?  Victoria Creams?)
 

Island Cycles is published by:

John Luton, 22 Philippa Place; Victoria, BC; V8S 1S6; 250-592-4753/250-886-4166 (cell) johnluton@shaw.ca

Coordinator, Vancouver Island Cycle Tourism Alliance.  Visit us at:  www.cyclevancouverisland.ca