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Need help planning a tour on Vancouver Island.

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Need help planning a tour on Vancouver Island.

Old 12-08-14, 06:48 PM
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socalpedalpushr
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Need help planning a tour on Vancouver Island.

Have always wanted to explore Vancouver Island by cycling and camping. The problem is I need maps and a tour book. There doesn't seem to be a lot out on the web, so thought I'd hit this forum up. Anyone have knowledge of recent guide books for Vancouver Island? Thanks,

~Hugh
Los Angeles, CA
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Old 12-08-14, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by socalpedalpushr View Post
Have always wanted to explore Vancouver Island by cycling and camping. The problem is I need maps and a tour book. There doesn't seem to be a lot out on the web, so thought I'd hit this forum up. Anyone have knowledge of recent guide books for Vancouver Island? Thanks,

~Hugh
Los Angeles, CA
Why do you need guide books? Just get off the ferry at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, cycle down to Brentwood Bay, catch the ferry across to Mill Bay, and start cycling north.

Stop in Duncan and have a look at all the totems.

Stop in Chemainus to see the murals.

On the way north, stay close to the coast and off Hwy 1 as much as possible. You will have to ride Hwy 1 a bit as you get closer to Nanaimo, but it's not too bad.

You may be able to pick up maps at the Ferry Terminal ... or if you spend your first day in Victoria, go to the Victoria Tourist Information Centre.
Tourism Victoria Visitor Centre | Visitor Services and Community Info

More about Tourist Information Centres on Vancouver Island.
Visitor Centres | Victoria, BC | Destination BC - Official Site

And some other Vancouver Island info.
Vancouver Island's Official Tourism Vacation Guide, British Columbia, CanadaVancouver Island Vacation Guide
Victoria BC Tourism Information Guide | Info Victoria


If you're an Amercian Automobile Association member, you should be able to pick up some maps and maybe some other tourist info ... enough to get you started. Or at least, the Canadian Automobile Association has maps and tourist info for all over North America, so I'm assuming the AAA does too.


And ... these are photos our most recent trip to Vancouver Island. It was a short credit card tour. One day I'd like to do a longer tour there ...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7627943421118/
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Old 12-08-14, 08:47 PM
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My wife and I have toured in the Puget Sound area several times, and have enjoyed all the trips. It is such a neat place we introduced our daughters to bike touring in that area. It is hard to go wrong.

There is a camp ground within a short ride of Victoria. It makes bike management and security easier when you go into the city without all the gear.

Depending on how much time you have, you might also want to explore the San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands. If you are driving, the ferry terminal at Anacortes, WA is a secure area to leave your car. There is also a motel there that allows car parking if you stay there. The ferry will take you to Sidney, but you can get off in the San Juans and explore. If you are interested, my wife can dig through the Journals, and we can come up with the names, and locations of campgrounds that we used.

One book that we have: Bicycling Southwest British Columbia and the Sunshine Coast by Simon Priest seems to have a lot of detail. Actually, we've never used it; it is really easy to navigate and get around all the Islands with just paper maps. If you have a smart phone or GPS you don't need much more info.

If you travel by train, you can easily get to Vancouver, BC. From there you can make a great loop up the Sunshine Coast, Ferry to Vancouver Island at Powell River, and ride down the Island. Take the Ferry from Sidney back to Anacortes, and ride the short way, 15 miles, to Mt. Vernon Amtrak station.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-08-14 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 12-09-14, 01:56 AM
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Thanks for the info...enjoying the pictures.

I was hoping for some dirt road touring off the beaten path sort of tour. That's why I was looking for a guide book. It seems the West side of the Island has limited options versus the East side.

I found this on an old post within the touring forum.


Map

Seems like a reasonable route to see the best sights.

Thanks for your suggestions.

~Hugh
Los Angeles, CA
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Old 12-09-14, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
My wife and I have toured in the Puget Sound area several times, and have enjoyed all the trips. It is such a neat place we introduced our daughters to bike touring in that area. It is hard to go wrong.

There is a camp ground within a short ride of Victoria. It makes bike management and security easier when you go into the city without all the gear.

Depending on how much time you have, you might also want to explore the San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands. If you are driving, the ferry terminal at Anacortes, WA is a secure area to leave your car. There is also a motel there that allows car parking if you stay there. The ferry will take you to Sidney, but you can get off in the San Juans and explore. If you are interested, my wife can dig through the Journals, and we can come up with the names, and locations of campgrounds that we used. That would be greatly appreciated.

One book that we have: Bicycling Southwest British Columbia and the Sunshine Coast by Simon Priest seems to have a lot of detail. Actually, we've never used it; it is really easy to navigate and get around all the Islands with just paper maps. If you have a smart phone or GPS you don't need much more info. I'll have a look into his book. As I replied to Machka I'd sort of hoped for some off the beaten path sort of tour dirt roads and semi remote camping but that seems like it could be difficult.

If you travel by train, you can easily get to Vancouver, BC. From there you can make a great loop up the Sunshine Coast, Ferry to Vancouver Island at Powell River, and ride down the Island. Take the Ferry from Sidney back to Anacortes, and ride the short way, 15 miles, to Mt. Vernon Amtrak station.
My buddy and I plan on using Amtrak to get to Anacortes then the ferry to the San Juans. This map seems to be a decent idea.

Map

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Cheers,

~Hugh
Los Angeles, CA
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Old 12-09-14, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by socalpedalpushr View Post
I was hoping for some dirt road touring off the beaten path sort of tour. That's why I was looking for a guide book. It seems the West side of the Island has limited options versus the East side.
Go north and west for off the beaten path stuff.

The east side is reasonably populated and paved.
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Old 12-09-14, 10:04 AM
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I did a trip from Victoria to Port Renfrew then had my bike carried by boat to Bamfield while I hiked the West Coast Trail. There's a road connecting the two towns but I've been told it was off limits because it's on a reserve. I'm not convinced it's true though. The Cowichan Lake road looks nice and quiet. From Bamfield, I took a naval shuttle to Port Alberny, then rode to Tofino and Ucluelet and took the shuttle again to Port Alberny. Then I rode east and north to Courtenay, across to Powell River and down the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver. It's a beautiful trip. The eastern part of the island was the least interesting part IMO. I'm pretty you can ride from Port Alberny to Courtenay via Comox Lake.

Riding on Long Beach was awesome! Pacific rim park has some nice hiker/biker sites. Another highlight was a little trail about 35-40km east of the island's west coast. I wanted to take a break from the raod noise so I walked the trail. Then I found a spot with Sockeye salmon in the river. I was waiting out a storm under a tree when a bear came out of the woods to fish. Another great spot was Porpoise Bay park on the Sunshine Coast They had cheaper biker sites with bear boxes and a little creek teaming with salmon and a couple of bears fishing. I couldn't get a picture though. Great spot to stay at before getting back into Vancouver.



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Old 12-09-14, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Why do you need guide books? Just get off the ferry at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, cycle down to Brentwood Bay, catch the ferry across to Mill Bay, and start cycling north.
I don't understand why you are so dismissive of guidebooks or advanced planning. Guidebooks can be very useful for planning purposes, getting the big picture, and learning about must-see (or must-avoid) places. They can also facilitate online research.

I'm not sure if the OP is looking for book suggestions specific to bike touring or more general tourism books. For the latter, there are many recent books. I often look at reader feedback on sites like Amazon or look at them in a bookshop.

I've toured some on Vancouver island, the Gulf Islands, and the San Juans. For bike touring, there are some old books out there which you can buy very cheaply from AbeBooks - Used Books, Rare Books, New Books & Textbooks or Amazon. One such old book is: Touring the Islands: Bicycling in the San Juan, Gulf, and Vancouver Islands. I believe it has topo maps and route information which would probably still be useful for a present-day tour. The islands are not flat, and you can get much better info about terrain from an old cycling-related guidebook than you're likely to get from a tourist office. I have also found crazyguy a great resource for recent information about specific roads and routes.
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Old 12-09-14, 04:16 PM
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Axolotl,

Thanks, that is exactly why I'd like a guide book specific to the San Juan's, Vancouver Island et al. Elevations are super important along with camp info, off the beaten path road access, ferry info ect.

Thanks again for the book suggestion.

cheers,

~Hugh
Los Angeles, CA
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Old 12-09-14, 04:58 PM
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The ride from Victoria, Sooke, Port Renfrew, Cowichan Bay has been on my list for some time. Here is a link to the ride with many photos.

BC: Victoria - Port Renfrew - Cowichan - Victoria - ADVrider
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Old 12-09-14, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by socalpedalpushr View Post
... I'd like a guide book specific to the San Juan's, Vancouver Island et al. Elevations are super important along with camp info, off the beaten path road access, ferry info ect.
Precisely why I suggested checking the tourist information centres and posted all those links in my first post. Check them out ... contact them if you can't find the information you're looking for. Those links should be able to, at least, point you in the direction of maps, guide books, etc. etc. Most tourist information centres have a free section where you can acquire basic guides, accommodation guides, campground guides and tourist maps ... and a section where you can buy more detailed maps and guides.

And don't forget to check your AAA. If you're not a member, find someone who is and see what they've got. They should be able to get you started with maps and campground guides.
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Old 12-09-14, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by socalpedalpushr View Post
Axolotl,

Thanks, that is exactly why I'd like a guide book specific to the San Juan's, Vancouver Island et al. Elevations are super important along with camp info, off the beaten path road access, ferry info ect.

Thanks again for the book suggestion.
You're welcome. Glad I could help.
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Old 12-09-14, 06:41 PM
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If you want to get out in the complete wilderness and are prepared to carry all tlhe food you'd need for yourself, you should get a copy of the Backroad Mapbook for Vancouver Island. It is not bike-specific, but it shows all the logging roads and 4x4 tracks and hiking trails and natural features and attractions in much more detail than any other map. You can also purchase all of that same map data for your Garmin GPS from the same company. You can see a journal of a short backroad bike trip I did here.
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Old 01-09-15, 02:06 AM
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Despite the hideous cover and dated info, I found this book very helpful for planning our Vancouver island bike tour in 2013.

Island Cycling: A Cycle Camper's Guide to Vancouver Island Paperback – by David Payne, 1996


Highlights for us were:
- Camping at Ruckle Provincial Park
- Cycling Salt Spring Island
- Camping at Newcastle Island Provincial Park

NOTE: the road to Tofino (a great place to visit) is terribly dangerous for cyclists. Very narrow, no shoulder, very steep. There is an awesome passenger ferry from Port Alberni that bypasses the dangerous road and gets you to Ucluelet, most of the way to Tofino.
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Old 01-09-15, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
NOTE: the road to Tofino (a great place to visit) is terribly dangerous for cyclists. Very narrow, no shoulder, very steep. There is an awesome passenger ferry from Port Alberni that bypasses the dangerous road and gets you to Ucluelet, most of the way to Tofino.
Not to mention that there is almost nothing to see, except for trees and rock faces that go right to the edge of the roadway.
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Old 01-09-15, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
Not to mention that there is almost nothing to see, except for trees and rock faces that go right to the edge of the roadway.
You mean giant trees, rivers with crystal clear water teaming with salmons and snow capped mountains? There are some narrow bits on that road but I enjoyed it very much.
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Old 01-18-15, 12:05 PM
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on the road into Victoria when you get off the ferry you will pass a small town called Sidney- do yourself a treat and stay there one night at the Beacon Inn bed and breakfast- it was just rated one of the top ten b&b's in the area- the town of Sidney is very friendly and they have lots of great restaurants.
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Old 01-18-15, 12:13 PM
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Bears have very good noses , So Don't eat in your tent.
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Old 01-18-15, 12:29 PM
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There are some places that have one road, so guidebooks and maps are slightly less needed. Isn't that whay South Park said about Canada. One road, only issue when you get there is whether to turn left or right. At either end, you don't even have that complication.
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