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Old 01-17-13, 07:37 PM   #1
spinnaker
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Vancover Island?

Has anyone toured Vancouver Island? Looks awesome.

What is the terrain like? Roads? Crowds in the summer? What about credit card tour lodging?
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Old 01-17-13, 07:48 PM   #2
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Hi, I never actually rode my bike all the way but it's a great tour I'm sure, at least the last time I drove the whole island from bottom to the top it was great...
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Old 01-17-13, 07:58 PM   #3
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This guy seems like he had a good time on the logging roads:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?..._id=10856&v=6e

You wouldn't have to worry about summer crowds but I guess lodging might be a little more difficult to find.
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Old 01-17-13, 08:34 PM   #4
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Hi, I never actually rode my bike all the way but it's a great tour I'm sure, at least the last time I drove the whole island from bottom to the top it was great...

What are the climbs like?

There appears to be no real loop so looks like a lot of back tracking? One thing I considered was doing the east coast of the island then crossing to the mainland then back to Vancouver. Or would I be missing out on trips to Port Renfrew and some of the other western towns?

Are there any things I should not miss?
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Old 01-17-13, 08:44 PM   #5
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Has anyone toured Vancouver Island? Looks awesome.
It is! How long do you have? What is your touring style and preferences? Interests? Loop or out and back? Starting point?

A nice loop starts n Anacortes, WA(or anywhere along the route), through the San Juan Islands (bike and ferry), to Vancouver Island, to Tsawwassen, to Vancouver, up the Sunshine Coast almost to Lund, across to Comox on Vancouver Island a quick trip to Victoria, and then Back to Anacortes, WA. There are a lot of different options. There are a lot of ferries and great bike riding.

The route can be extended by going from Victoria to Port Angeles, and then back up to
Anacortes. The Fort Vancouver RV park is a good place to camp while in Victoria. It is a 5 minute ride to city center.

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Old 01-17-13, 10:30 PM   #6
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Don’t limit yourself to a “tip-to-tip tour”. Put a lot of east/west into you island exploration. Be sure to incorporate the BC ferry boats especially the west coast boats the Lady Rose and the Uchuck. They can help avoid some of the back tracking and open up amazing vistas. In many places you can contract with First Nation folks for a water taxi ride to the next logging road or hot springs. There are lots of climbs, but the afternoon summer winds can be wild. Some dirt ready tires will open up the island’s wilderness. There are wolves among other wild animals when you get beyond urban civilization. Have the time of your life.
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Old 01-18-13, 07:01 AM   #7
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I've cycled there as part of randonnees ... in the Chemainus area ... and liked it so much that Rowan and I returned in August 2011 and did a short tour, across from Vancouver, to Victoria, to Duncan, to Ladysmith, to Nanaimo, and across to Vancouver again.

Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...7627943421118/

We'd like to go back to do more.
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Old 01-18-13, 07:10 AM   #8
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I asked similar questions before our tour in 2011 ... and then I posted a write-up complete with photos in that same thread, here ...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ight=Vancouver
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Old 01-18-13, 10:19 AM   #9
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It's a great place to tour, having something for just about any style or time frame. The southern half can get very busy with tourists, but obtaining good local maps will allow you quieter alternate routes bypassing the main drags. You need to take a couple of months off at least to cover most of the Island. Credit card touring can be expensive, especially during tourist season. A lot of potential visitors don't realize that there are a good number of challenging grades even on the main roads, and if you're into riding forestry or logging roads, very steep and long ones. The motel accommodations are mostly along the main thoroughfares. Many riders do the main Island highways and then cross over to the mainland for the ride back to Vancouver either by using the Comox to Powell River, or over the Texada Island and then to the mainland.
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Old 01-18-13, 11:34 AM   #10
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I was on Vancouver Island when I was 18. I visited the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, the Gardens in Victoria and then took the ferry from the north of the Island up to Prinve Rupert. It's beautiful and Victoria is a lovely town. Once you get out of Victoria the roads are almost empty.
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Old 01-18-13, 05:15 PM   #11
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I asked similar questions before our tour in 2011 ... and then I posted a write-up complete with photos in that same thread, here ...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ight=Vancouver

Thanks! This is awesome. Judging by the equipment in your pictures it looks like you probably did not do many or any logging roads?

I got a real scare from the blogger on crazy guy about how busy the main roads are. Plus I am gun shy after my tour of Maine along Hwy 1 last year. I don't want a repeat of that mess. If I were to do that tour over again, I thing I would have incorporated a car and explored more of the peninsulas which are simply beautiful.
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Old 01-18-13, 07:37 PM   #12
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We're going out sightseeing here in Perth right now, but when we get back I'll look up the roads we used. We weren't on main roads much at all. If you have a look in the photos, most of the roads were small and quiet.
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Old 01-18-13, 08:39 PM   #13
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Thanks.

Looking at your town list I bet I could figure it out but roads would be a nice additional resource.

Not sure if Vancouver Island is going to be this year or next. Because of time constraints for the rest of "the gang" it might be the Cabot Trail this year. Another good choice for a tour.
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Old 01-18-13, 11:01 PM   #14
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Has anyone toured Vancouver Island? Looks awesome.

What is the terrain like? Roads? Crowds in the summer? What about credit card tour lodging?
Yes. Roads good, especially up north to Campbell River and Port Hardy as it gets quieter during the summer. Lots of European tourists like to go up north due for the ferry to Prince Rupert and then onwards to Skidegate on South Moresby Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). Anything past Campbell River is not at all crowded, but the ride to Port Hardy is breath-taking and spectacular!! The whale museum and the board walk -- oh so romantic. Credit card tour is viable. I've led a lot of group tours in the past on Vancouver Island.

The best known.

The Sunshine Coast loop
The Nanaimo Triangle (known as the Bronze Triangle I think)
Port Hardy to Haida Gwaii (the best!!). The ferry to Prince Rupert isn't exactly in Port Hardy. It's on the outskirt and there is a hotel nearby the BC ferry terminal or Wildwoods Campground if camping if your thing.
Transcanada Trails from Nanaimo passing through the new Kinsol Trestle which connects somewhat all the way to Leechtown.

Vancouver Island is great to tour on and is somewhat easier grade wise compared to the interior like Highway 97C connecting to Kelowna and beyond.

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Old 01-19-13, 01:06 AM   #15
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We've done some touring there. The galloping goose trail is wonderful. Once out of Victoria, the traffic is light, and the locals are extremely helpful. Every time we stopped to get our bearings, cars would stop and offer help in finding our way and their version of the best roads. We road as far north as Duncan before catching a ferry to the Gulf Islands. Highly recommended.
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Old 01-19-13, 07:34 AM   #16
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From the link I posted to my Vancouver Island thread ... and expanded with the roads we used ...

Day 1 we were dropped off at the ferry, crossed to Sidney, then took the bicycle trail (Lochside) to where we were staying in North Saanich. It was a little bit confusing in places, but not too bad.

You can find various hotels in that area, do a Google search on accommodations. We had thought about going into Victoria, but didn't have the time. However, it might be worth booking a couple nights at a hotel and then taking a day to see Victoria. If we had more time, we would have done that.


[HR][/HR]
Than on Day 2 we cycled over to the Brentwood/Mill Bay Ferry, and then cycled to Mill Bay, Cowichan Bay and Duncan on the first day. We stopped several times to take photos, which I will post when I'm back in Australia. We also stopped at the wooden boat museum in Cowichan Bay, and we arrived in Duncan early enough to see the totem poles. (44.98 km)

After crossing to Mill Bay, we cycled Mill Bay Road, then went onto Hwy 1 for a little bit (not bad, wide shoulder), then we turned onto Fisher Road and onto Telegraph Road, and onto Cowichan Bay Road. Then I think we came back to Hwy 1 (on Bench Road, I believe) into Duncan because the Super 8 where we stayed was on the southern end of Duncan.


[HR][/HR]
On Day 3 we cycled from Duncan to Chemainus and on to Ladysmith. We stopped at Chemainus for quite a while having lunch, browsing through the Wednesday market, and taking photos of the murals. In Ladysmith we discovered that there is one and only one motel, but it wasn't too bad and we had a view of the arm of the ocean just there. (46.5 km)

We came out of Duncan on Tzouhalem Road, which was a bit busy at first, then turned onto Maple Bay Road, Herd Road, Osborne Bay Road, Crofton Road, Chemainus Road, and then onto Hwy 1 when we got near to Ladysmith.


[HR][/HR]
On Day 4 we cycled from Ladysmith to Nanaimo, and had meant to do most of it by backroads, and did get out to Maple Bay ... but a wrong turn brought us back onto the TransCanada Highway and made for a longish day of cycling. However, the loop we did was very scenic. (69.5 km)

We were on Hwy 1 when we left Ladysmith, and then again when we went into Nanaimo, but it wasn't too bad. There's a wide shoulder to keep you away from the traffic. The only difficulty is that there is a fair amount of debris on the shoulder and we kind of struggled a bit with flats. Bring tubes.

In the middle we used Cedar Road, but that's where we got a little bit confused and ended up back on Hwy 1 sooner than planned. Cedar Road should take you to the south end of Nanaimo.


[HR][/HR]
We stayed with friends in Nanaimo and had a very good evening with them. The next morning (Day 5) we were given the opportunity to try out a Greenspeed tandem which was an interesting experience! Then we were escorted to Duke Point to catch the ferry back to Vancouver, and that was a good ride too. (33.5 km)

Cedar Road and Duke Point Highway
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Old 01-19-13, 10:19 AM   #17
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Once north of Nanimo there many side trips to quaint villages, some are long and go west across the Island, but others to the east are short. they are all worth the effort. As I mentioned earlier, you can spend many weeks enjoying what's offered by exploring that Island.
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Old 01-19-13, 12:44 PM   #18
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Unfortunately I don't have "many weeks". Two would be max and that includes travel. I figure it is 1 to 1.5 days each way for travel for me depending on what city I fly into.


The other plan for this year is the Cabot Trail in NS which is supposed to be awesome too but this thread is making me push for Vancouver this year as opposed to next.

Given my time constraints, can you suggest areas that I should not miss? Given moderate hills, I like to keep my mileage under 60 miles (100km) a day.
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Old 01-20-13, 09:38 AM   #19
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Unfortunately I don't have "many weeks". Two would be max and that includes travel. I figure it is 1 to 1.5 days each way for travel for me depending on what city I fly into.


The other plan for this year is the Cabot Trail in NS which is supposed to be awesome too but this thread is making me push for Vancouver this year as opposed to next.

Given my time constraints, can you suggest areas that I should not miss? Given moderate hills, I like to keep my mileage under 60 miles (100km) a day.
If you have 2 weeks and willing to fly and transfers, I would fly to Vancouver then transfer via Pacific Coastal to Port Hardy. Start from Port Hardy and then cycle all the way back to Comox little ferry terminal for Powell River. Then from Powell River along the Sunshine Coast hwy all the way pass Madiera Park, Sechelt, Gibson and then Langdale for the ferry to Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. Then a 23km cycle along Marine Drive and then a few kms cycle the new Spirit trail connects you to the sea bus terminal bound for downtown Vancouver. You can either stay in a fancy Four Season hotel for the night or the budget kind. For the Vancouver airport, you can catch the Canada Line train at the same sea bus terminal all the way to the airport with your loaded bike no problem.

Above is the most scenic and breath taking route. If you want something a bit shorter, cycle to Duke Point to catch the ferry to South Vancouver. You can then cycle about 26km flat as pancake ride all the way to the Massey shuttle bus (free) to take you to Richmond. You can cycle into Steveson if you want or directly to the airport.

Both of this can be done easily if you are doing about 100km/day plus some rest days.
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Old 01-20-13, 03:29 PM   #20
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Pacific Coastal is an airlines?

If I wanted to avoid the airlines, are there other options to get to Port Hardy?

If I wanted to avoid transfers altogether, would you recommend starting at say Duke Point then going to Point Hardy and back? Or just start in Victoria and go as far north as we can then come back to Duke Point for the ferry back to Vancouver?

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Old 01-20-13, 08:33 PM   #21
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Given those choices, I'd recommend starting in Victoria, spending a day or two seeing the city, then cycling as far north as you can, with perhaps a few little side detours, and then catch the ferry at Duke Point.
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Old 01-20-13, 09:46 PM   #22
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I'm looking at this for this summer: http://goo.gl/maps/elZUm

The missing part between Bamfield and Port Renfrew would be on foot on the West Coast Trail. Not much biking actually and lots of ferries. I like taking ferries.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:41 PM   #23
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Pacific Coastal is an airlines?

If I wanted to avoid the airlines, are there other options to get to Port Hardy?

If I wanted to avoid transfers altogether, would you recommend starting at say Duke Point then going to Point Hardy and back? Or just start in Victoria and go as far north as we can then come back to Duke Point for the ferry back to Vancouver?
Pacific Coastal is a regional airline. If airline is not your thing which I understand, then there are 2 options to get to Port Hardy. Option #1 would be through Greyhound. Your bike will need to be boxed and treated as oversized. Option #2 would be through IslandLinkBus (islandlinkbus.com) which you need to catch in Nanaimo (Departure Bay terminal) from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. Again, bike needs to be boxed, but unlike Greyhound the bus will only take 1 oversized bike so you need to pre-book this way in advance. If you are travelling in pairs, ask them for a special booking. I haven't dealt with them since 2004 after I closed my cycle touring business but then they were a lot more cycle friendly. I prefer IslandLinkBus rather than Greyhound because it's a smaller bus and it gets you there faster, plus the stop in Port Hardy is right in front of Glen Lyon Inn&Suites (glenlyoninn.com) which is a nice hotel plus a great launching point for your bike trip. With Greyhound, it's a little less convenient. The beauty of the Port Hardy trip is the bike ride through Nimpkish Valley, which may be boring to see in a bus but breath taking to view on the bike coming down. Coming down from Port Hardy down south is easier as it eliminates the nasty hill from Sayward, BC on going up in north direction, so I would suggest going the opposite direction instead or you'll be crossing the road often to view the valley if you are going from Victoria to Port Hardy.

You can certainly start from Victoria, BC and go as far north as you can and then turn back, but as I said earlier, the icing on the cake is the Nimpkish Valley and you don't get to appreciate that until you go pass Sayward, BC. But by then you might have time constraints with only 2 weeks as you double back to Duke Point. You might be doing mostly riding and not appreciating the spectacular views the valley has to offer!
Or talk to IslandLinkBus to see if they are willing to pick you up at Glen Lyon Inn & Suites when you are in Port Hardy with your bike boxed and take you back to Departure Bay in Nanaimo. This way, you can go all the way to Port Hardy from Victoria and then come back on the bus.

Hope this helps.

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Old 01-21-13, 01:49 PM   #24
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I agree that the 'hill' out of Sayward is a grind if you're heading north (which I did in the pouring rain), so if you're heading north, plan on stopping for the day in the good private campground at the junction at the foot of the hill so you can tackle it when fresh first thing in the morning. Not far along the side road to Sayward is the famous 'Cable Cafe' which is a must.
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Old 01-21-13, 06:00 PM   #25
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Here's another viewpoint. I didn't find Vancouver Island as fabulous for touring as most are portraying here, but it's not a bad destination by any means. To be fair, I have only toured on the southern part of the island, but I have also visited more northern parts of the island including Tofino on the west coast, Strathcona Park, and Campbell River further north. If you want to stick to paved roads, the road network isn't that extensive except in the more populated south. I imagine that if you wanted to ride on trails and unpaved roads, the island could be great.

Personally, I found the Gulf Islands in BC and the San Juan Islands in Washington better for biking, but the terrain on some of the islands can be challenging.
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