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  1. #1
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    Nanaimo, BC to Victoria, BC?

    I'm moving to Nanaimo, BC shortly (start of March), but I have a conference in Seattle at the end of March. I am toying with the idea of biking from Nanaimo, BC down to Victoria, and then taking the ferry to Seattle. I used google maps to try and get a bike route between the two cities, but a lot of the route would have me on the Island Highway, and I'm not sure how good an idea that is?

    Anyone have any thoughts or comments? Other suggestions?

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    If you're willing to take a ferry for part of the distance you can get from Nanaimo to Victoria with very little travel on the Island Highway.

    From the south end of Nanaimo follow the Cassidy road until it connects to the Island Highway just north of Ladysmith. Follow the Island Highway to just south of Ladysmith and turn left at the mall, following the old road to Chemainus. Continue through Chemainus to Crofton and stay on the marked bicycle route (I think it's sponsered by the Rotary Club) to just north of Mill Bay. Another short bit on the Island Highway and follow the signs to the Mill Bay ferry which takes you to Brentwood Bay. Back roads (mostly West Saanich Road) into Victoria.

    There's a map of the route here: http://www.rotaryroute.org/docs/detailed_map.pdf

    An alternate is to take the ferry from Crofton to Saltspring Island, cross the island and take another ferry to Sidney, then follow the Lochside Trail to Victoria.

  3. #3
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    I have cycled the Island Hwy many times and don't find it to be a problem. The shoulder of the road is plenty wide enough to cycle on, the only issue I would see is that it is a busy road, so if you are not comfortable with traffic driving by at 100km/hr, then that may be an issue. I have completely enjoyed cycling that route and will be doing it again this summer as I will be cycling back from the Olympic Pennisula in Washington State.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickL View Post
    If you're willing to take a ferry for part of the distance you can get from Nanaimo to Victoria with very little travel on the Island Highway.

    From the south end of Nanaimo follow the Cassidy road until it connects to the Island Highway just north of Ladysmith. Follow the Island Highway to just south of Ladysmith and turn left at the mall, following the old road to Chemainus. Continue through Chemainus to Crofton and stay on the marked bicycle route (I think it's sponsered by the Rotary Club) to just north of Mill Bay. Another short bit on the Island Highway and follow the signs to the Mill Bay ferry which takes you to Brentwood Bay. Back roads (mostly West Saanich Road) into Victoria.

    There's a map of the route here: http://www.rotaryroute.org/docs/detailed_map.pdf

    An alternate is to take the ferry from Crofton to Saltspring Island, cross the island and take another ferry to Sidney, then follow the Lochside Trail to Victoria.
    That is totally awesome! That seems like a lot of fun- two great routes. Thanks a lot! Now I just need to convince my wife it's a good idea!

    Brad

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trikin''s Avatar
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    Hello....I've been on the highway from Nanimo several times, I've had only 1 incident in all those rides and a minor one at that. Last summer we rode from Nanimo thru to Saltspring island then Swartz Bay to Sooke thru Victoria. We used the Lochside Trail from Swartz and hooked up with Galloping Goose trail along the way to Sooke.....I've found most motorists on the islands are courteous and fair.
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  6. #6
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    The advantage to taking the ferry (Mill Bay in particular) is that you avoid climbing the Malahat. It's not a bad climb; in fact, it's quite gentle and not that high. But you're doing it with a lot of traffic. If you do decide to go up the Malahat, you can avoid doing the uphill section in traffic by taking the uphill side road from Shawnigan Lake. It meets Hwy 1 just after the summit, so from the junction it's downhill all the way to Langford. And when you come to the park near the bottom, do not, I repeat, do not ride up Finlayson Arm!

    L.

  7. #7
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    Now you've got my curousity piqued about Finlayson Arm, though I won't ride up it!

  8. #8
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    Now you've got my curousity piqued about Finlayson Arm, though I won't ride up it!
    Finlayson Arm, riding eastbound, is probably the mother of all climbs on southern Vancouver Island! If you want to go up a challenging hill, do it eastbound. It's bad enough going the other way on a fixie, trying to avoid nosing over on the descent!

    L.

  9. #9
    touring roadie islandboy's Avatar
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    You may want to check the Mill Bay ferry schedule as it will be out of service this year for a dock upgrade.

    http://www.bcferries.com/bcfservicenotice?id=371601

    You can always do the hop from Crofton to Saltspring and then Swartz Bay

  10. #10
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    Thanks islandboy!

    Well, we've arrived! We're living in Nanaimo now- we've got a bit of unpacking left to do, and I've still gotta assemble my bikes, but hopefully I'll be able to go for a ride this weekend. I'm stoked!

  11. #11
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    Bikes are assembled! Well, mostly- I lost the nut on the front wheel's skewer, so I need to go buy that today, plus I need to buy a saddle back for my new bike (Giant TCR Advanced 2). The one I bought doesn't fit well, so I'll have to get another one that fits better. Hopefully I'll be able to go for a ride later today or tomorrow, but I'm definitely going to bike commute to work on Monday, even if it means walking in with the bike on my back!

  12. #12
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    I just did the Rotary Route today. I would recommend just taking the trans canada, as the rotary route added about 2.5 hours to what it should have taken on the trans can. Also much more hilly.

  13. #13
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    Heading up this summer from washington. Looking into doing the rotary route. Most likely we will be using road bikes. Is this ride manageable on Size 23 tires or is something else recommended? Also, any suggestions for lodging. The route looks short so we will probably just take our time and explore. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks

  14. #14
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    No problem on 23's. I've ridden it many times on a fixie with 700x23 wheels.

    I would suggest making a stop in Chemainus, it's probably the funkiest of the towns along the route. They've got lots of murals painted on the buildings, plus nice restaurants, even a community theatre. Cowichan Bay is quite scenic. I would also recommend taking the ferry from Crofton and doing a side trip to Saltspring Island. Book something in Ganges, another funky town. Be aware that Saltspring is a pretty hilly island, though. But the side roads are pretty quiet.

    Luis

  15. #15
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    For those looking for a more scenic route between these locations, I toured through Salt Spring Island last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. It added plenty of distance. But if you're in it for the scenery, I would stay off the hiway.

    The hiway sections we did take had plenty of shoulder and were well marked. Kudos to BC.

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