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Newbie touring Vancouver Island and mainland coast

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Newbie touring Vancouver Island and mainland coast

Old 10-07-13, 05:35 PM
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clg
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Newbie touring Vancouver Island and mainland coast

I planing a tour of Vancouver Island, mainland coast, and perhaps Washington too in late June and July next summer. I plan to do it by myself and it's just occurred to me to ask is it wise to travel alone? I see some advantages in doing it alone but I also realize traveling with a companion does have it's benefits. Opinions, I know they'er out there. I'm a newbie to touring not to the bicycle, I've been comuting by bike for some years. TIA
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Old 10-07-13, 05:59 PM
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The only time I have toured with an other was on a tandem with my wife, once.

Otherwise, I like to tour solo. I start, end, eat lunch, take photos, and sleep where and when I want. Adding another person might add some companionship, but also adds another person's need and wants, which on a bike tour could lead to some unpleasant times.

You have to make that call.
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Old 10-07-13, 07:13 PM
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Yeah...I'm doing Edmonton-Vancouver next Summer and I was going to find a Buddy but after reading so many Solo Tour Journals I'm going solo.
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Old 10-07-13, 07:41 PM
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I just did my first tour, and was glad I was by myself. To some extent it depends on your enjoyment of your own company - but I like having my own schedule (or lack of one), and not making compromises on where to eat / sleep / sight see / stop, etc...

There's several forum members that live in the area if you're looking for specific information.

-Darcy
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Old 10-07-13, 08:17 PM
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I've toured solo on most of my rides throughout British Columbia and The Yukon. If you're concerned with safety issues related to other people, don't be, it is very safe. If you might need someone as a companion to help you get through the rough days, carefully choose one...otherwise going solo gives you tremendous freedom to go your own pace and see sights you choose etc.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:13 AM
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I almost always tour alone, but I often meet people along the way and "fall in with" them for awhile. The one time I went with a group (I met via the internet) it didn't go well. Most of the group was great, but there was one gal.... Also, I wanted to take a rest day when my knee was hurting and the rest of the group had other ideas and we didn't. I like making my own decisions without worrying about whether someone else will agree. However, I toured with my son last summer and that went great. We didn't have too many decisions to make, but the process was easy and not at all contentious.

I spent half my life in northwest Washington. If you want to maximize your chance of good weather, I'd recommend mid-July through August. June can be pretty rainy. My 2 cents.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:55 AM
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The Elbow Valley Cycle Club based in Calgary does multi-day tours on Vancouver Island and surrounding area ... check out the Tulip Tour and the Spring Fling

https://www.elbowvalleycc.org/events/...FiltDifficulty=


You might also look up clubs in Vancouver or Victoria and see if there are any day rides or tours in the area you're travelling through, when you're travelling through. Sometimes if you contact a club, there might be members who would be interested in riding with you for a day or so outside of their organised events.

Arranging to do part of an organised tour or a day ride or two, means that you wouldn't be committed to riding your whole tour with another person, but you would have company for bits of it.
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Old 10-08-13, 12:42 PM
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I've done several long solo tours, but I was younger, and did not stop very often to "smell the roses". It was just a matter of getting from point A to point B. However, I enjoyed the rides and once in awhile did look around at some beautiful country. It is probably just me, but I really would not stop very often when riding solo. The challenge for me then was the daily mileage and covering ground. I was already planning the next tour instead of really being into the one I was doing. I think solo tours are self centered, selfish endeavours; and I don't mean that in a negative way. There is nothing wrong with that. Long solo tours take more mental discipline than when riding with a partner, and that has some value in itself.

That all changed when I got married. I was fortunate to find one of the most enthusiastic and compatible touring partners that I could have imagined. My wife and I have been riding together for almost 3 decades. We try to get in at least one tour a year with several of them being multi-month tours. Sure, it requires making compromises, and working on reaching consensus about routes etc., but I do not consider this a negative aspect of touring with a partner. A good team can help bouy each other up when one member is having a rough day. On a three- month tour where we had 35 days of rain, it would have been easy to just pull the plug and go home. As partners we decided that we were going to have fun and finished what we started out to do. It would have been more difficult for me if I was going solo to reach that point.

I believe the efort to find a compatible touring partner is well worth the effort. Sharing the challenges, the adventure and the hard times is a very important part of the journey for me.

Having said all that, my wife and I would last about 10 minutes on a tandem before the word divorce came into the conversation

We have done several tours that included the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and along the Sunshine Coast. A nice loop is Vancouver, BC-Lund-Comox-Victoria-Port Angeles, US-Anacortes-Vancouver. Side trips can include the Canadian Gulf Islands or the U.S. San Juan Islands. The area is close to our home, and we have driven up to Wahsington or took the train up to Mt. Vernon, WA or Vancouver, BC and started tours from there. We also like the area, and it is a great place to ride.

We completed a short tour this summer with our 2 daughters in the Washington-San Juans-Vancouver Island area; and despite doing things " by committee", it turned out to be a great trip. Most of our trips in that area have been after Labor Day. This August was the earliest we've toured in the area. We did get several days of rain on the trip. I'm not sure, but it seems like we had rain on almost every tour in that area.

Last edited by Doug64; 10-09-13 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 10-08-13, 03:07 PM
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We toured up the Island on our tandem this summer. Absolutely delightful. Loved it. Rode with a tourist for a while who was doing the counter-clockwise loop who said the mainland side was no fun for him. Steep climbs, debris on the road, and difficult traffic. He was a strong rider. YMMV.
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Old 10-08-13, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
We toured up the Island on our tandem this summer. Absolutely delightful. Loved it. Rode with a tourist for a while who was doing the counter-clockwise loop who said the mainland side was no fun for him. Steep climbs, debris on the road, and difficult traffic. He was a strong rider. YMMV.
Is this the guy who road a Trek Madone 3.1 carbon bike along the Malahat highway? Just wondering?
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Old 10-08-13, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by clg View Post
I planing a tour of Vancouver Island, mainland coast, and perhaps Washington too in late June and July next summer. I plan to do it by myself and it's just occurred to me to ask is it wise to travel alone? I see some advantages in doing it alone but I also realize traveling with a companion does have it's benefits. Opinions, I know they'er out there. I'm a newbie to touring not to the bicycle, I've been comuting by bike for some years. TIA
I'm from Vancouver and I've toured quite a bit of the island as well as the interior. I have toured solo as well as with groups (all men and all ladies). There are certainly plus and minuses to both. With solo, you're all alone until you meet another tourist, but for me I get to all the places I want and smell the roses to speak. Safety is not an issue on the island, but traffic safety is especially nasty along the Malahat highway. It's not the best to travel along with a bike, so the bypass would be a ferry ride between Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay. The ride gets more interesting as you go up north into Qualicum Beach and then to Buckley Bay where you can catch a ride to Denman Island and then onwards to Hornby Island.

As you go further north into Campbell River and then into Port Alberni, the traffic becomes even less and it becomes an enjoyable ride.

Riding with riding buddies is great if you're starting out, but can get quite daunting as some riders in meetup groups are strong and fast riders. Sometimes loaded, they can average a little more than 23km/h. So keep that in mind if you are riding with strong tourers and that it can make you feel like you're trying to catch up and ruin a rather nice tour in the process. Also touring in groups can involve politics. I have had several instances where it's clear some people weren't not meant to be on a tour, insisted and basically slowed the group down making us pitch the tent like 11PM at night every day! And then you have instances where someone who is a diabetic and forget the medicine and ended up us helping her search a pharmacy to get medication. And all those unexpected things because you have to deal with someone elses problem in a group tour and it will always become your own. If you are cool with this, then touring with groups is a good way to get into touring. If you're not, solo is the way to go.

I started solo myself, then went with groups of people for awhile and then back to solo because of the unnecessary politics plus leading my group tours of close friends for a meetup group.

If you are touring with a girlfriend or female/male companion, then there will always be compromises you have to make along the way. If you're not the type A personality type, then I guess it can be fine.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 10-08-13 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 10-08-13, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
Is this the guy who road a Trek Madone 3.1 carbon bike along the Malahat highway? Just wondering?
I don't remember the make. Ordinary steel touring bike, rear panniers.
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Old 10-09-13, 06:16 PM
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I notice you are from Courtenay, I lived and went to school there back in the late sixties, loved it there. I went back for a visit in 2012. As I said in another post driving in a car didn't do it for me and that and visiting friends is why I'm returning. I'll take you up on the further info as I will be planning my route this winter.
later,
Charles
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