Talking about my cycling plans with various people over the past couple of months, I found many others that had done similar trips. Pete, who I used to work with, cycled across Canada from the west coast to the east a few years ago. As he hadn’t cycled any long distance since then, he suggested to do one before I leave Vancouver. We decided to take 3 days and cycled to his parent’s house in Vancouver Island, something he used to do often while training for his long tour. Courtney is on the east coast of Vancouver Island, about 110km north of Nanaimo plus another 30km to Horseshoe Bay for the ferry. A good amount of kilometers to use as training. Since we were planning to stay at his parent’s, we didn’t have to carry many things. I fitted anything I needed in only one pannier which made the ride a little faster.
View Ride to Courteney in a larger map
We met in downtown Vancouver at 8am and started making our way to the North Shore and West Vancouver for Horseshoe bay. We got there early enough for a second breakfast before boarding the ferry. An hour and half later we were in Nanaimo and immediately started heading north via a short section on the highway, before entering the smaller roads. I definitely don’t enjoy riding on the highways, next to cars going at +90km/h, but we didn’t have any other option. At some point I accidentally dropped my water bottle while ridding and I saw it rolling into the middle of the road and under the cars. I am so glad none of them hit it and I managed to rescue it, as we still had to cover a lot of distance.
The view of Vancouver from the North Shore
Breakfast at Horseshoe bay
For lunch we stopped at Parksville, almost half way through the total distance we had to cover. Lunch break followed by a coffee and we realized we had lost a lot of valuable time as it was already 4-5pm and we had to cycle another 70km. Got back to the road, both plugged our earphones and didn’t stopped cycling until the next small break around Fanny Bay for ice-cream.
So much fun with the sand
On the way
By the time we got to Courtney, it was already getting dark. Right at the sunset we made it to the local liquor store, to get beer supplies for home. It’s kind of nice not to have to worry about accommodation after such a long ride. We got home, I had a shower and by the time I was out the salmon was already on the BBQ, together with a cold beer on the table. What a treat after 7 hours of cycling!
BBQ Salmon and veggies that was
Even though we were thinking of the possibility to cycle all the way back to Vancouver the day after, we decided to spend the morning at Courtney, leave just after lunch and cycle just to Parksville, where Pete had a friend staying in a time share resort. We had plenty of time to cover the distance, so we stopped again for an ice-cream on the way and a long dinner before the resort.
Pete leading the ride
Unfortunately during the day I started having pains on my knees, mostly the right one. It’s something that first appeared half way through my last trip and here it is again. I guess it’s because of the long distance we covered the day before. I think I need to check at a bike shop how well my bike fits me and try to adjust seat-post and handlebars.
Despite the amazing location and view of the resort, we left right after breakfast to catch the early ferry to Vancouver. The ride was relatively easy and the knee pain wasn’t as bad. Just a couple hours away we made it to Nanaimo and we instantly boarded to the boat. From Horseshoe bay the ride was equally enjoyable. We chose to ride along the scenic North Shore seawall, even if bikes are not allowed. I guess there are way too many elders who are afraid for their tiny little dogs and we were actually told off several times before the end of the section.
Low tide in front of the resort
Going through the bike paths around Nanaimo
Entering the ferry
Leaving the Island
Lion’s gate bridge
On this trip I decided to listen podcasts rather than music. I think in total on this trip I listened to about 12 hours of shows and I have to say it made the time fly away, as my brain was engaged with something other than the kilometers I had left. I am now in search for more podcasts, but also audio books to have plenty of material for my long ride.