Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cycle Touring - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Day 2 Victoria!!


I apologize ahead of time if this post seem incoherent or terribly written or incomplete or in a different language.  I am absolutely exhausted from today's ride.  I was on the bike for 10 hours today and I have just sat down at my campsite for the night and it is already getting late.  Also forgive me if I don't finish this post tonight..  I am starting it, but I'm not sure if I can finish it.

Only one word can describe today's bike ride into Victoria,...  EPIC!
But first, let me start off by telling you about how my night went trying to get some early sleep so that I can be awake by 5am.  Well, it was the worst sleep I've had while camping.  I was not able to get to sleep until 2am and it was a disturbed sleep.  But yet, I stuck to my guns and had the alarm set for 5am.  Tsawwassen is what some locals would call a fairly 'ritzy' town. A lot of well-to-do people live here and a lot of retirees.  You would think it would be a quiet place but boy was I wrong.  It seems that everyone and their dog own loud motorcycles around here, add to that loud obnoxious trucks are always whizzing by.  And the planes! The Planes!  Tsawwassen is situated closely to Richmond, BC where the Vancouver International Airport is located.  I think Tsawwassen is actually on the flight path of planes to the airport.  So add all those things together make for one lousy night of sleep.  Maybe everyone's houses around here have some magical soundproofing so they really don't notice, but when you're out on the yard in a tent, you hear EVERYTHING!
Ok, starting off when my alarm came on at 5am.  Ugh.  3hrs of sleep, now I gotta get up, pack up all my sh*t, and try and make the 7am ferry.  It's freakin cold out and I feel miserable.  Do I not bother and just sleep the rest of the morning?  The answer is no.  Like a trooper, I get myself out of my warm sleeping bag and started gathering up all my stuff, started taking down my tent and packed up my Mayacycle trailer.  I expect the day to be lacking much energy from me.  Maybe I can nap on the ferry!  By 6am I was already on the road. I was already at the terminal by 6:30am.  The ferry ride was very scenic.  If you know of the BC Ferries, it is well known to go through some of the most beautiful passes on the westcoast.  You can often see whales if you're lucky.  For me, the picture taking didn't last long, I was still desperately seeking that nap.  It never did happen because as soon as I sat down, I started watching some of the Olympic coverage on the TV.  2 hour ferry ride passed quickly.

We reached Swartz Bay ferry terminal slightly before 9am. Perfect. Lots of time to ride slow and be able to see everything.  Upon getting off the ferry, I ran into 4 cyclists that were doing the same thing I was, riding and tenting for the weekend.  4 buddies just out on their bikes.  This made me a little jealous as I think it would be so kickass if my friends joined me on my bike trips.  Unfortunately, no one is into biking as much as I am except for one friend who wasn't able to come due to scheduling conflict.  It may seem to most that I prefer to do solo trips because it's always only me going on these bike tours.  In reality, I always wished there were people with me.  But hey... there's nothing wrong with going solo.  I can be the Lone Ranger on my own 'me' time.
The Lochside Regional Trail is a very popular bike/people pathway that goes from the ferry terminal all the way into Victoria.  This is the route of choice as I often hear and read about it.  With my trusty GPS, I was able to locate this trail and the signs were well marked.  Except for the wrong turn here and there, it was straightforward.  The trail is a mix of paved and crushed gravel and certain areas you ride on the street and some areas are on wooden bridges over water.  It was a wonderful ride as the terrain was basically flat! What a treat! I am used to so many hills living in the lower mainland that a relatively flat pathway that is over 50Kms long is a definite bonus.  The trail also connects to connecting trails going into the City of Victoria and the other going to Sooke BC.  (there may be more connections but I'm not gonna try and look them up).  The Galloping Goose Trail is the connection of choice as that takes me all the way down to downtown city core.  The Lochside along with the Galloping Goose consists of waterside scenery, farmlands and portions of trails forested over.  It is a wonderful day ride if you happen to be in the area.  The best thing to do right now is to show you pictures so that you get the idea.

One of the places I wanted to see while on this bike trip to Victoria is a bicycle shop.  Just a regular shop that really has nothing special about it that someone would go out of their way to see.  The difference is that this is where my beloved Cannondale was born over 21 years ago.  When I purchased this bike two years ago it was a bit of a mess.  It was a Craigslist rescue and almost everything had to be replaced to bring it back to life.  I restored this bike from the ground up and has become my trusty steed and has taken me over 3000kms in a span of only 2 years when I have (let's just say a few) other bikes to choose from. I had left the original bike shop sticker on the frame, I googled the shop and I was surprised that it still existed!  So this place was definitely on the list of 'must-see' for me.  The bike shop is called Rider's Cycles and they have been at that same location for 30 years.  As I approached the storefront, I took a few pictures of my bike in front of the store.  The staff inside must have been watching me and wondering what I was doing.  I entered the store and was immediately greeted by a few staff members.  I told them the whole story about my bike and how it was born at this shop so they all came out to see it.  They were very impressed at what I had done with the bike.  Originally, the Cannondale SH400 was a 'performance' hybrid bike. But the frame itself was shared with Cannondale's touring bikes at the time.  So for the first few months of owning my Cannondale, I had turned it into a Cyclocross bike that I could take on and offroad.  But since I have defined my riding habits as more a touring cyclist, I have now permanently turned my Cannondale into a dedicated touring bike.  The staff were glad I brought the bike over and we chit chatted for a while about touring and specifically riding across the country. (gulp)
Rider's Cycles - The Birthplace of my Cannondale

Oh boy.  At this stage I am starting to drift from exhaustion.  I don't think I'll be able to complete this blog tonight.  I think I will make a Part 1 and Part 2 for this blog entry.  I've still yet to get to the good parts even.  So for now, stay tuned for Part 2 of my Day at Victoria, BC.
I will be heading home tomorrow but the best part is that I won't have to wake up at 5am!

Good night for now.

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