Cycling experience around Southern Vancouver Island

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Saanichton-Port Renfrew Ride Day 1 Sept 05, 2019

Saanichton to Sooke

After my mid summer 2019 ride through the southern interior of British Columbia, went on a shorter 3 day ride around the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This ride was a repeat of the route my family took for a summer camping trip in the mid 1950’s. I took my time on the ride – probably did it in about the same time we did it by car. The big change this time was the road was paved for the entire trip, in the 1950’s the route would have been about 150 k or half of it unpaved.
For this ride I incorporated a few lessons learned from my longer ride. Especially as it was a shorter ride packed less and swapped out the deigned to fall Blackburn pannier rack for one of a superior design.The first trip I had planned to video more of it but settled for still pictures with a plan of organising them into a bit of a video re the trip, this time I decided to video more of the trip. Better organised re the videoing this time; but, still more lessons to learn on what shots I need etc. Requires a different thought process to think of camera angles and shots as one is peddling hard uphill; even if an action camera l ike the GoPro is designed for such a project.
The ride started out from my home in Saanichton, BC. From there I rode along West Saanich Road/Helmcken Rd connection with the Galloping Goose Rail Trail at Helmcken and the Trans Canada Highway. Much of the South East tip of Vancouver Island is fortunate to have some old rail road grades converted into rail trails with very gentle gradients. The Galloping Goose was a CNR track from Victoria to Cowichan Bay,, unfortunately one can only take it to about Sooke where it crosses into restrict access area of the Greater Victoria Watershed. The first portion of the “Goose” is a wide paved multiuse path.
After a while the trail becomes hard packed dirt. One of the draw backs with my style of bike is one can not “rise” out of the saddle as one can on an upwrong bike to absorb bumps, I feel every bump on the road, my experience in this respect is similar to what a small child or pet in an un-sprung trailer would feel – far less than pleasant. My bike does not like gravel surfaces but takes well to hard packed dirt.
Rather than ride the Goose through Albert Head in Metchosin I branched off at Kangaroo Road to connect with the Sooke Road just outside of Sooke.
I stopped for a brief bit in Sooke where I had a lunch

Sooke Roundabout

I had a minor “traffic incident” in Sooke at their roundabout, fortunately it did not result in a collision with a semi trailer. And was the only incident apart from the flaggers on for Don Man construction on West Saanich Road and Interurban. These flaggers did not seem to be aware that a bicycle lane is a lane of traffic and must be flagged the same way as an automobile line of traffic. Closing a cycling lane without warning to either motorists or cyclists and forging the cyclist out into the line of traffic is not in accordance with flagging procedures. In the Sooke roundabout as is correct procedure for a cyclist I took the lane in the roundabout and was riding at just under 20 k or about the speed of the traffic. A semi trailer came up behind me as I was entering the roundabout, honked its horn and proceeded to drive through the centre of the roundabout cutting me off just as I was emerging from the round about. About 100 feet further on it stopped to make a left turn off of Sooke Road. When I passed it and for a while after the driver was waiting to make a left turn, net time savings for the driver while they drove through the roundabout and nearly hit me at the other-side of the roundabout 0 seconds.

Sooke to China Beach

The motor vehicle traffic after Sooke reduced somewhat, making for a pleasant and relaxing ride. The Sooke area has an interesting tourist feature. At one time as one drove around the province there were a number of stop of interest signs – intended to encourage motorists to stop for a moment and take a break from driving as well as give a bit of the local history. A bit outside of Sooke was one sign giving a bit of information about the first permanent settler in the area. The Muirs purchased their land from a Captain Grant. Captain Grant’s claim to fame is he was the one that introduced the invasive weed and bane of many allergy sufferers Scotch Broom

Scotch Broom Introduced to Vancouver Island (Sooke) by Captain Grant circa 1850

Scotch Broom Introduced to Vancouver Island (Sooke) by Captain Grant circa 1850

From there on past Gordon Bay (the fish traps that I remembered as a small child have long since disappeared) and the location of the Tugwell Farm. From there up to From there on past Gordon Bay (the fish traps that I remembered as a small child have long since disappeared) and the location of the Tugwell Farm. From there up to Shirley, Shirley a small community along the West coast Highway most often associated with Sherinham Light House
For me I think I will associate it with a pleasant place to stop for a coffee. Back on the road the next stop was Jordan River. Jordan River is a shadow of the town it was at the beginning of the 20 th century. At that time it was a thriving coastal logging town. And also the site of one of the largest construction projects in Canada. The Jordan River Diversion Dam a hydro electric dam completed in 1911. The town during the construction of what was at that time the highest dam in Canada at 126 feet had a population of over 1000 people. The dam is still in operation producing in the order of 175 megawatts. When the dam was built it was not built to current earthquake safety codes and because of the fear it may have a catastrophic failure many of the residents in the Jordan River area have been removed by BCHydro
When I started the ride that day I had no real plans where I would end up for the day, other than a vague desire to be somewhere past Jordan River. There was a lot of daylight left after I crossed the bridge at Jordan River but shortly after I arrived at the China Beach Campsite and decided to stop for the night


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