Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Bikes: Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
Technically, the Goose starts in downtown Victoria and goes west, out towards Sooke and then along gravel roads past the Western Communities. I've only gone as far as about Royal Roads, just past Colwood, as I prefer riding on paved roads around Metchosin. From Victoria to Colwood, the Goose is mostly paved. There is a gravel section just west of the Hospital, but most riders avoid this by going out the Hospital parking lot and then rejoining the path at the next intersection to the west. If you do take this gravel section, just be aware that westbound, there is a fast downhill turn that you want to be careful around...
From the Swartz Bay ferry to Victoria, the path is call the Lochside Trail. It reminds me of Paris-Roubaix, as there are lots of gravel sections (not 22, but more than several, including some bumpy wooden bridges that are as slick as cobbles when wet), one of which actually runs right thru a farmer's field! Complete with tractor marks! You can count yourself an expert on riding in Saanich if you can navigate along the Lochside and adjoining roads and avoid all the gravel parts. Actually, I (and I would imagine a lot of other riders) would avoid a narrow, blind (very poor sight distances) gravel section along the Indian Reservation by going thru the reservation, but the First Nations folks evidently didn't like this. However, they have paved this stretch of the Lochside, so it's now the preferred way to go (rather than the reservation detour).
I got to know the Goose/Lochside back in 2010 when I worked in Victoria for six months. I find it highly overrated. It has a few awkward intersection crossings, and it is not lit at night. I once almost ran down a couple walking along one of the wooden trestles, in pitch dark, both wearing black leather coats! They were hard to see in the 2W headlight beam until I was just about on top of them. The reason the Goose is not lit, as I understand it, is because they don't want any additional light pollution near the Dominion Observatory nearby.