Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Bacchetta Strada, Rodriguez Tandem, Wheeler MTB
Victoria to Port Hardy
In May I'm planning a tour from Victoria, BC to Port Hardy. Anyone have a route suggestion. Is it possible to take side roads that parallel the main highway ( which looks busy ). Any other suggestions? Rain gear of course
You don't say if you're coming off the Ferry. Most of the roads leaving Victoria are busy. I've used the Craigflower Bay road to #14 to #1a to #1, although going straight to #1 is shorter. If coming off the Swartz Bay Ferry, take a right onto West Sannich Rd. (17A), turn right onto Finlayson Arm Rd. just before Millstream. Several kms. north, just past the small village of Malahat, you can turn left onto Shawnigan Lake Rd. Turn left at the end of Shawnigan Lake, keeping to the right of a railroad grade and then follow Cobblehill Rd. to the left and rejoin Hwy #1 (Island Hwy.) On the north side of Duncan, turn right onto Narcross Rd. and then very soon after, turn onto Bell Mckinnon Rd. which parallels the Island Hwy. (#1). Turn right onto #1A. Several kms along, take the Old Victoria Rd. off the right, returning to Hwy #1 (Island Hwy) at Ladysmith Bay. By now the traffic should be better, so stay on #1 (Island Hwy). As you approach Namino, ir might be better to take the bypass to the left (across from Cedar Fielding Rd.) because the traffic on the congested streets in downtown Nanimo is nasty. If you are in a hurry, stay on the Island Hwy all the way north, but if, like me, you want to experience all the varied towns along the waterway, take Hwy 1A. Most to the tour is easy. There is a long steep grade just north of Sayward, otherwise the grades aren't that bad.
It avoids the Malahat (long climb and lots of traffic) and most of the main highway.
I'd take the bypass around Nanaimo (there's a bike path that parallels the road), although the route through Nanaimo isn't too bad and part of it is on a bike path too. You can avoid some of the highway just north of Nanaimo by detouring through Lantzville and again through Nanoose Bay just south of Parksville. Highway 1A is much nicer than the main highway from Parksville north to Campbell River and I don't think you'll save much time by taking the main road. Virtually all of the services are on 1A including hotels and camping.
North of Campbell River there aren't too many services. Roberts Lake has (had?) a little store, there's a store, motel and camping at the Sayward junction , a store, motel and camping at Woss, then nothing until Port McNeill.
Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
Originally Posted by Big Lew
If coming off the Swartz Bay Ferry, take a right onto West Sannich Rd. (17A), turn right onto Finlayson Arm Rd. just before Millstream.
Uh, this is kind of confusing, because neither Finlayson nor Millstream intersect with 17A. To get to West Saanich Rd off the Swartz Bay ferry, you need to turn right onto Wain Rd, which is the first intersection off the ferry. Wain will take you to West Saanich Rd. You take this south to a right at Wallace, then a right at Willis Pt Rd. At the top of the hill, you make a left onto Ross/Durrance Rd, which becomes Millstream Lk Rd, which intersects with Millstream Rd. where you follow the road left. Finally you get to the right turn at Finlayson Arm. But after all this, be advised that this is a very hilly route, and Finlayson Arm is a crazy steep descent!
But since you're coming off the Port Angeles ferry, you will be landing at Victoria's Inner Harbour. Just get on the Galloping Goose (an off-street path) and watch for signs for Hwy 1 north. This will take you over the Malahat, which is not a difficult climb, and the left turn to Shawnigan Lk Rd is just before the summit. The alternative to the Malahat is the Mill Bay ferry out of Brentwood. Just get on Interurban (from the Goose), left where it ends, another left onto Wallace, then look for signs for the ferry when you reach civilization (just after the signs to Buchart Gardens - but don't turn left into the Gardens! Unless you want to see it, of course!).
I cycled from Victoria to Port Hardy last summer. Can't really add anything that hasn't already been said, with one exception. At the top of the hill coming out of Campbell River (maybe 10 miles) there is a great little restaurant called Sue's Kitchen (maybe Sue's Cafe). We didn't see any signs for it and it came out of nowhere but it was a wonderful surprise after climbing in the rain out of Campbell River. We didn't notice anything at Roberts Lake, although the locals said there were services there. Other than services at Sayward Junction (great little motel and camp ground) and Woss, there is nothing until Port McNeil.