Category Archives: Cycle touring

Gabriola Island, 24 Sep 2016

Ying D. on Gabriola Island:
“We had a very fun weekend touring Gabriola Island. Gabriola, although the flattest of the southern Gulf Islands, is definitely not flat. We had a good workout. You will encounter uphills and downhills throughout your loop of the island. The uphill and downhill are gradual and doable though. Most of the routes are decently paved. A hidden gem we discovered during this trip is Gabbie’s Cider and the orchard. The apples right from the tree and the cider are heavenly! Highly recommended. We also found our spontaneous short ride along Berry Point Rd to Orlebar Point very enjoyable (not part of the loop). It was a very scenic (along the ocean) and smooth (well paved route) ride.”

Mt Bishop, 23 Sep 2015

Tamara S. on Mt Bishop:
“This was a bike & hike trip into the Seymour Valley up to Mt Bishop at 1509 m. We, a group of 4 hikers, set out with our bikes from the gazebo at the entrance of Seymour Valley Trailway at 8.30 am and pedaled all the way back to the dam on the paved road. Up over the Bear Bridges, a bit uphill and on to the Mt Bishop trail. It took us one hour to cycle in. The first part of the trail is pretty steep with a lot of ropes for help. On a wetter day the downhill could get quite tricky here as the trail is very muddy and slippery. At the lakes, half-way up, one of the hikers decided to descend again to return to the city and 3 of us continued to the peak. Just below the peak on the rock field it is not immediately clear where the peak is but it becomes clearer as you get up over a little gully with a view to the peak. It is a bit of a scramble at the top where you have a beautiful 360 degree view. Lots of water on the way up to refill water bottles. We were back at the gazebo at around 6.15ish quite tired, with some scratches, bruises and dirty pants.

Advice: good shoes, it can be very wet at the lakes and muddy on the first section.”

Mount Bishop Summit

Iona Beach, 15 Feb 2015

Colleen C. cycling to Iona Beach:
“Four of us enjoyed a beautiful if surprisingly cold day biking out to Iona Beach. Strong headwind and a short but odoriferous bit past the sewage plant made the initial 7 km seem longer. However, once we got to the park we spent a pleasant hour or so wandering the north spit enjoying the views and sunshine. A huge swath of the shrubby area has
been cleared out which led us to wonder if it was an invasive species removal project or some other sort of development. With the wind at our backs we made good time returning and all of us ended up biking all the way back into Vancouver. A good reminder at how biking is a great complement to hiking. Looking forward to some longer rides soon!”

Holiday Bike Ride, 14 Dec 2014

Steve v. dashing through the bike lanes, on his one-person open bike:
“It was a perfect night for a sleigh-bell ride by bike around Vancouver’s holiday sights. Twelve of us, most decked out either in bike lights or attire, really rang in the holiday spirit. On our route we hit St. Paul’s, the Robson ice rink, Jack Poole plaza, Canada Place, Lost Lagoon, the West End willow tree, the tree near David Lam park and Olympic Village, plus all the trails and seawall in between.

That wasn’t the best part though. The true meaning of this season was seen in the reactions of others hearing our broadcasted Christmas music coming and then turning to see Santa Claus, Rudolph and more riding their way on a cold winter night, completely decked out in festive wheels and frame lights. We received applause, smiles, comments, compliments, and many camera flashes.

One unexpected highlight was when a carol ship paused under the Granville St. Bridge and cranked up Ave Maria on their fantastic sound system. It reverberated like a cathedral between the buildings and bridge deck. We then heard a voice – Colleen who was scheduled to ride with us yelling from the ship telling us our bikes look awesome!

It truly is better to give than to receive. I want to thank everyone that came for the extra effort they put in. This isn’t just a “pack your bag” callout; people spent money and time to make it more than the sum of the parts for this ride. Happy Holidays everyone!”

Gabriola Island, 16 May 2014

Brenda C. cycling Gabriola Island:
“My original plan was to do a solo cycle tour of Gabriola Island but decided to invite a few people along. In the end I did a solo cycle tour just as originally planned! I am not sure if it was the forecast of rain on Saturday or that it was only 2 days of a long weekend or that my trip included a Friday but nonetheless, I was happy to do the trip on my own.

I cycled from my home near Broadway and Granville and made it to Horseshoe Bay in 1.5 hours. I left extra early as I was not sure how long it would take me. The sun was rising and there were few cars on the road – it was a lovely ride. The 8:30 am ferry brought me to Nanaimo then then it was an easy cycle to Nanaimo Harbour terminal to catch the ferry to Gabriola. On the ferry I ran into the other Wanderung day cyclists who kindly offered that I could join them for the day. I knew I wanted to take my time checking out the island so I passed on the offer. I hope you guys had a great day! By 11:05 I was on the island and in less than 5 minutes I was at Descanso Regional Campground where I set up my tent and checked out the bay at low tide. Descanso is a very nice campground as far as car camping sites go. It is located in a nice forest area and, though there are no waterfront sites, it is a short walk to the water.

I spent most of Friday cycling along South Road stopping at beaches, checking out the petroglyphs near the United Church and the tide pools at Drumbeg Provincial Park. Gabriola is a nice island for cycling. There are constant rolling hills but overall, not too many steep climbs (South Road leaving the ferry terminal is probably the toughest climb). I had an early dinner at Silva Bay. I’d recommend the restaurant at the marina: a nice, large patio overlooking the marina; good food with vegetarian and gluten free options and cold beer! Oh, and there’s a liquor store next door if you should want to pick up a few bevvies for watching the sunset later. Just a suggestion! That evening as the sun set I checked out the rock formations at Malaspina Gallery and relaxed on a rocky point as sea lions swam by.

Saturday, after breakfast on the waterfront at Descanso Bay, I packed up camp (the friendly camp hosts allowed me to store my stuff at the office while I cycled the island for the day) then went to the Farmer’s Market. There were lots of edible goodies and talented artists. It’s a good spot to pick up a wedding gift! (Just sayin’…) The forecast for Saturday had been rain: wrong! As one of the other patrons of Mad Rona’s Coffee House said ‘there must be a sun pocket over Gabriola Island.’ It was another gorgeous day. I spent a few hours beachcombing at Sandwell Provincial Park. Over the 2 days I went to almost every beach on Gabriola, except for Whalebone Beach. Well, what did I find at Sandwell? Whalebones!!! Or maybe sea lion bones. Ribs, sternum, vertebrae and flipper bones. I called the visitors centre thinking that this was a unique find but when no one came rushing to see my discovery I realized that I am just a city slicker who should have been a marine biologist! That afternoon I caught the 3:15 ferry back to Nanaimo. It gave me plenty of time to walk along the promenade and enjoy an ice cream before heading to Departure Bay for the 5:20 pm ferry. Just as I boarded the ferry it started to rain. Thankfully, it cleared up by the time I reached Horseshoe Bay which allowed me cycle back home again as the sun set behind me. I was quite proud of myself for making this a fully self propelled trip – okay, I had some help from the ferries!

My recommendations:
– Use a BC Ferries Experience card to save on fares and bicycle charges (I saved over $10)
– Camping at Descanso Regional Park: less than 5 minutes to the ferry terminal
– Check out the Farmer’s Market: High quality artisans and yummy treats
– Great beginner to intermediate cycle trip: there are hills but it’s not too challenging.”

Gabriola Sands Provincial Park

Galloping Goose, 31 Aug 2013

Keith cycling the Galloping Goose trail:
“I had Markus and Amy sign up for the jaunt and the weather was perfect. Recently I have done a few things I have not done before and many have been bike related: Pemberton Slow Food Cycle Tour, Whistler Gran Fondo, and cycling the Oregon Coast as well. I have made crabapple hot pepper jelly as well for the first time – great with camembert on crackers! Galloping Goose was one I have wanted to do for a while and it looked like a good time to do it. The trail is about 180 km to Sooke and back to the ferry. It is an old rail bed so I think the grade is no more than 2 or 3 % – even though when everything is flat you notice the “hills”.

The group met up and we were off! The ride into Victoria was basic – the trail is mostly crushed gravel and mixed with pavement. We stopped to say hi to the pigs and they were not so interested. I bowled an orange towards one of them but no movement. The blackberries were big, juicy, ripe, tasty, plentiful and easy to pick. The blackberries seem to get another month in Victoria and are usually better. They were good. BC Ferries had a blueberry promo with White Spot on the ferry – I considered taking off the blueberries in the café to make their offering more tasty and more local; I decided this would be frowned upon.

We had a stop at Thrifty’s for lunch and got a few supplies. Amy had some issues with her bike Clunky Sue with the chain jamming. We continued on. We found a bike shop that did a bit of work and got it hopefully running along well. There are not many bike shops along the route and if you see one and THINK you need something looked at – stop in! The owner of the shop was very thankful for blackberry thorns – he seems to do good business with punctures due to them.

After we were fixed up and a couple of near misses between bikes, the trail was meandering and nice. As we neared Sooke you cross the Sooke Road and Sooke is still about 30 minutes into Sooke proper. If you want dinner out there is a pub called the Stickleback just 2 minutes west down the road before the Shell station. The beer selection is great and the food tasty and reasonable – get the tsunami fries!

The trail is very pleasant and has different smells along the way – from moth balls, to watermelon, to sweet blackberries that are past their prime. We rolled into the Sooke Potholes campground around 7 pm or so and set up for the night after biking some of the bigger trestles – didn’t realize how high up they are. There is a spot for bikers to camp with a big fire ring. I had a dream about a wolverine-like man attacking us, but nothing actually happened. This time 🙂

We had a quick but really nice swim at the potholes in the morning and biked on back towards the ferry. We (I) picked some more blackberries – they were just that good. We saw one rabbit, some pigs, horses and that’s about it.

I met a guy on the ferry who I called White Bread Will as that was what he ordered for food after cutting Markus off in the line up, he was drunk and was biking to Winnipeg on a rough looking machine. I urged him to get some air in his tires as they were super low.

The trail is easy to follow, flat, and a great trip for the fall. Overall a great trip that can be done as a day trip or comfortable 2 or 3 day trip.

Overall a fun trip and great weather!!”

Cypress cycling, 10 Jul 2013

Tu Loan cycling up to Cypress Bowl:
“Emeric L. joined TLT in her third callout of the Triple Crown series. Because he had already ridden the ridiculous hill along 15th street as part of his commuting regiment, they started at the bottom of Cypress. After consolidating gear and discussing the water situation, as they both anticipated a hot and thirsty ride up the mountain, the peloton of two made their way up the mountain.

The trees provided ample shade much to the delight of the riders. Good conversation was to be had as Emeric imparted some much appreciated wisdom regarding race preparation. TLT soaked it in as she had 5 days to prep for a big race/event that she hadn’t been thinking much about. “Breathe from the stomach. Set your intentions. Visualize. Meditate.” The ride up was a great place to practice TLT’s breathing. Later, she figured it was a great strategy for Emeric to not have to listen to her talk!

The ride was definitely less daunting than anticipated (as predicted in the callout). At the 11 km mark, with TLT’s insistence, Emeric channeled his TDF French roots and blasted the last 4 km to the top. Literally. He blasted! TLT believed she heard a sonic boom. With him gone, she was able to set her intentions of consuming a cold beverage after the ride, visualize the pizza she was going to order, and breathe in the hot melting cheese. She figured the food-induced coma will help with her meditation. Emeric came back to pick her up and together they reached the chalet where they were greeted with much enthusiasm by mosquitoes. A quick picture was taken before they flew down the mountain.

Post-ride refreshments were enoyed at the Tap House in Park Royal. TLT had her pizza and beer just as she intended.

Thank you Emeric for another great ride! Now that TLT’s ridden all three local mountains, she will be looking to climb them all in one day! Look out for that callout!”

Cypress bike call out- July 10

Bike ‘n Grind, 25 Jun 2013

Tu Loan cycling to the Grouse Grind:
What does it take to entice a Bowen Islander to sign up for her first Wanderung activity? A Bike and Grind! Sarah G. showed up with her mountain bike to impress TLT, who was ecstatic that someone actually would want to join her on this callout! Sarah spun her way up to Grouse with ease as she channeled her former ironman and adventure racing days. TLT was in awe!

After about half an hour, they reached the parking lot. Transition from biker to hiker took about 7 minutes. The weather was cooperating and one could see patches of blue sky. This of course was all planned out by TLT. With her MapMyRide app, Sarah was eager to see how she would fare after a 7 year absence from the Grind. This is typical elite athlete attitude. TLT was just happy to have someone to chat with while doing the Grind.

The trail was not very crowded; although you had your usual Grinder with their Lululemon gear powering their way up and the casual tourist with their jeans and checkered shirts. The lighting was nice enough for a couple of pictures. Chatter about food and triathlons were animatedly shared, mostly with TLT asking all the questions. She was kindly told to go ahead to give Sarah some peace and concentration. By the three-quarter mark, the steepest section of the Grind, no chatter was heard as the two were eager to focus all their attention to the finish.

Reaching the top after under an hour AND a bike ride up, the two were elated with their efforts! They meandered their way to the grizzly enclosure to say “hi”. By then, the clouds broke and the beer and nachos (best post-workout combo EVER!) were enjoyed with a great view of the city.

The trip ended with a drop-off to Horseshoe Bay where Sarah was able to catch the 8:50 ferry. Thank you Sarah for making the Bike and Grind so much fun!”

Bike and Grind - June 25, 2013

Gabriola Island cycling, 22-23 Jun 2013

Markus cycling on Gabriola Island:
“A fun, if sleep deprived, weekend was had by all. We enjoyed a nice sunny ferry ride out to Nanaimo and found a nice seaside bike route along the way from Departure Bay to the Gabriola Island ferry terminal.

After arriving on Gabriola we had a short easy ride to Descanso Bay regional camp ground and settled in for the night. Saturday was a good mix of sun and cloud as we made our way to the south end of the island. Along the way we stopped in at the Farmers Market, checked out Brickyard Beach, the petroglyphs (which would have been really disappointing but for the spontaneous frisbee match) and stopped at Drumbeg Provincial Park for lunch and enjoyed the neat rock formations, wildlife and gorgeous views. On our way back, we branched off the road to so some exploring of the trail network that run throughout the middle of the island (shout out to Ricki, Jeanette and Mary). Afterwards we stopped in at Robert’s Place for a well deserved meal and then back to the campsite for an evening of campfire and marshmallows.

Sunday greeted us with rain and so, after a short trip to see the Malaspina Gallerys, we made our way to the Ferry and home. Overall, I would say Gabriola is an excellent choice for a first time bike trip to a Gulf Island. Lots of amenities, conveniently located campsite near the ferry terminal, easy ride (Tip: bike the island counter-clockwise.) and lots to see.”

Vancouver cycling, 16 Jun 2013

Keith cycling around town:
“I did a bike trip around the city (with Stuart I.) back in June and I know people are wondering how it went, well I’ll let you know… We biked about 65 km around the city. Originally it was to be only 35 km but we extended it into Richmond as it was only the two of us. As you will see we were slowed down a bit by some of the stops Stuart wanted to make. If you want to know how to balance 3 cases of pizza pops on one side of the bike and 8 litres of canola oil on the other – better call Stuart! We won $13 on the slots.”