Island Cycles:
News from the Vancouver Island Cycle Tourism Alliance
April 16, 2003

  1. Wish You Were Here: The Virtual Tour
  2. Hot Product: Cycling Tourism
  3. Rides with Bears
  4. Gold Found in Parks
  5. Breaking News: Cyclists also Walk
A Day in the Country:
It’s April. Platoons of cyclists are sprinkled all over rural Saanich. A gently rolling peninsula reaches north alongside calm inland waters towards ferry terminals spilling cars and ever more bikes onto the island from points on the mainland. A morning rain has washed roads and muddied trails. The air is damp and early spring cool. Hardy cyclists in gore-tex and polypro slip through the countryside. Take the virtual tour through the gallery at: www.cyclevancouverisland.ca
 
Cycling Works:
Active travelers stay longer and come back more often to prime destinations according to recent studies. They spend more too, not surprisingly often on food and drink. Maine found cycle tourists ate and drank 22% of their travel budgets. A third of bicycling tourists also hike; a quarter look for water to play in.

New recruits to support the Vancouver Island cycling include: Swallow Hill Farm B&B, Executive House Hotel, the Laurel Point Inn, Butchart Gardens, the Qualicum Heritage Inn, the Chateau Victoria, Lighthouse Breweries and the Robin Hood Motel.

Gardens Tours
Our friends at the Butcharts have long known their attraction to cyclists. Rumour has it that couples were seen cycling in the direction of the spectacular gardens at least as early as the 30’s. There are a few Victorians still cycling that could have been along for the ride. Soon bike racks for the many employees and visitors who travel to the Gardens will emerge from storage. The nearby Mill Bay Ferry at Brentwood, ferries many of them back and forth on the island’s most beautiful short cut. Take the virtual tour at: www.butchartgardens.com
 
The Bear Facts:
Cycling Vancouver Island comes with free wildlife viewing all over the island. Riders will consider themselves lucky to see the big ones. I’ve had two bear sightings cycling west of Sooke. I had a closer look mountain biking an old logging road on the way to Bamfield, on the island’s rugged west coast.

Bears ask that you respect their personal space. Most of your sightings will be from a distance. But it is an exciting free wildlife experience some folks would travel far to experience. Most of the island is pretty tame, but if you do venture towards the rainforests tie a little bell somewhere to tinkle while you ride. For more information on bears visit: www.bearaware.bc.ca More on bears and other wildlife experiences will appear on the pages of www.cyclevancouverisland.ca

Sooke info: www.district.sooke.bc.ca or www.sooketourism.bc.ca and www.thegallopinggoosetrail.com for accommodations.

Closing the Gaps:
Connecting Victoria’s trails north to the Cowichan Valley is good news. Gaps remaining in urbanized areas will still need to be bridged for visiting and local cyclists. An overpass at Juan de Fuca and another at Millstream are needed to reach north and west to Sooke. At Jacklin Road in Langford, a push-button crossing could work for trail users crossing a busy arterial. For information on how you can support these initiatives, contact: jluton@horizon.bc.ca
 
Island Parks Export Gold:
World beaters are sprouting from Vancouver Island’s mountain bike parks and old logging roads. April’s world cup Sea Otter Classic race in California, finished with four islanders in the top ten of an international field. Two-time world champion Victoria’s Roland Green took first. Must be the training on local trails like Hartland near Victoria or Top Bridge near Qualicum Beach up island.

Hartland trails are maintained by the South Island Mountain Bike Society at: www.SIMBS.com

Visiting Qualicum? Top Bridge info at: www.islands.bc.ca/outdoor/frcycling.htm Need a place to stay? They like bikes at the Qualicum Heritage Inn. Visit them at: www.qualicumheritageinn.com

Get Maps: VICTA will carry an extensive library of local maps and information guides covering Vancouver Island. Contact: jluton@horizon.bc.ca

Got an event or tourism tip? Favourite Ride? Share it with VICTA. Contact jluton@horizon.bc.ca

Next big thing:
Everyone’s a pedestrian:
Elements of the following programs will visit Vancouver Island for Pro Walk – Pro Bike in September of 2004 at Victoria’s Conference Centre. Victoria’s team at these events will be promoting next year’s visit to the island. 700 delegates are expected to attend.
Island Cycles is published by:
John Luton, 22 Philippa Place; Victoria, BC; V8S 1S6; 250-592-4753/250-886-4166 (cell) jluton@horizon.bc.ca
Coordinator, Vancouver Island Cycle Tourism Alliance
Chair, Victoria Host Committee for Pro Walk - Pro Bike 2004*
 
Pro Walk – Pro Bike 2004, is hosted by the National Centre for Bicycling and Walking, will be held at the Victoria Conference Centre, September 7 – 11th More info at: www.bikefed.org