Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bike Tour

Are we ready for Yukon/Alaska?

I promised to write about the tour I took last weekend with my girlfriend. It was my first totally self supported ride. I had done one other trip, but we stayed in a cabin, instead of camping. That was another nice trip, but I will save that for another time.

Ominous but very true
We left from Cumberland mid morning on Saturday, and drove to Lake Cowichan, about two and a half hours away. Neither us had been there before, and it is a nice community. Its much larger than I expected. Stopping at the Visitor Info we were informed that we could leave the car in their parking lot. That was great news. I was concerned with the car getting towed if we parked somewhere we were not welcome. After getting changed and  loading our bikes, and with me almost forgetting half of the food(yikes) we set off. Five kilometers down the road we went through a small community called Mesachie Lake. It was neat, the road was lined by some beautiful deciduous trees. I wish they were leaved out, but nice just the same. We made a left hand turn and we were on to the road to Port Renfrew.

Full Load on
The road to Port Renfrew is a logging road that was covered by chipseal to create another way out of Sooke, and to also bring tourism to the region. We talked to a pair of motorcyclists who said the loop from Victoria and back is about 280k. This road, in my opinion, is a cyclist paradise. It is wide, clean, and has very low traffic. We were able to ride side by side much of the time. There is some big hills, we found them to be quite long, but not very steep, so spinning up them was possible and not at all torturous. One particular switch back was intimidating, thinking about going back up it after we bombed down. It was not nearly that bad. We both slowly made our way up, without having to get off and walk.

Harris Creek Spruce
We got into Port Renfrew at about 6, after stopping at a big old giant of a Spruce tree, and taking a break at Harris creek for a snack. Harris creek is a picturesque stream to ride beside. There is some great canyons, and the water is so clear. I even saw a pair of nice steelhead in it. What a treat for me. We were going to try to camp in Renfrew, but decided not to as we realized that the two First Nation campsites were occupied by some loud parties. That was not in the plan for us that night, so after a brief stop at the beach to see the ocean, and watch two Osprey fish, we left town. Shortly out of Renfrew, we were lucky enough to see 12 Roosevelt Elk on the San Juan River estuary. They are beautiful animals. So big and graceful. We made it out to Fairy lake where we found a quiet campsite, set up camp, had a quick dinner, and hit the hay.

Looking back at Port Renfrew
We awoke to cloud cover and spitting rain. Camp was packed quickly and we set off. The ride home wasn't nearly a bad as we thought it was. I found a wallet on the road, and brought it out with us. We were wearing raingear for a good part of the trip home. By the time we got back to the vehicle we were tired, hungry and cold, but still feeling great from doing 130k in two days. We had to stop for a pub lunch and drop off the wallet with the police before leaving back to Cumberland.

Harris Creek Canyon

It was really great to try out all the new gear I have acquired in the past few months in preparation for our trip to the Yukon. Even our tent was new. Sometimes I felt like a poser. Instead, we had nothing but encouraging words from folks. Lots of waves and honks from motorist. One driver actually slowed down and said "Way to go" out of his window, with a thumbs up. It was a very heartwarming for all the people giving us good wishes. My Icebreaker gear was fantastic. I wore my new Velocity Zip on the way out, when it was sunny, and my Pace Zip under a Tech Top which kept me warm and out of my raincoat until we started down the hills. My sleeping bag was very toast and the Hubba Hubba tent was easy to pitch and had plenty enough room for us. The Ortlieb panniers were indeed waterproof and easy to pack.

Only seven weeks until we fly up north, I can't wait for more touring. Thanks for having a read, get out there and enjoy the road.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Looong Weekend

That was an amazing weekend. 4 days off of school, lots of cycling related activities, my first foray into bicycle touring, and a new steed to my stable. Plus my daughter is getting so close to riding on her own. Stoked.

I took her out on Friday morning to try to ride. I brought her and her wheels down to the neighbourhood park. My plan was to get her to coast down a bit of a grassy incline, hopefully gathering enough monentum that she could get her feet on the pedals and start turning them. It work a little bit. She got in a couple of rotations before she was frightened about tipping and put her feet down. She did crash and get really frustrated, but kept at it. I was really proud of her for trying so hard.

After she had enough, we decided to go to the LBS to check out new wheels for her. Had a look, got her to sit on a few. Now I know about how much cash it will be to get her one. I should probably go with Craigslist, I will have to keep my eyes peeled. So I see this Marin East Peak sitting there. Its got the Quad Link 2 suspension system, Rock Shock Pike fork, Fox RP23 shock, 8 inch brakes, plus custom wheels, brake levers, and lots of aftermarket parts. So I ask the guy at the shop about it. They are asking $1200 bones for it. Its worth $3500 new. The bike is clean, it has paint rubs on it, but is very nice shape. DCC built the bike and has been servicing it. The guys working there know the previous owner and ride with him. So I take it out. Got it dirty, and couldn't pass up a sweet deal. I was going to be buying a FS bike this year sometime anyways, but how could I not do this. It is over half the price I would have paid for the other bike I was looking at, and has way more features. So I am stoked about this, I didn't get to ride it out on the trails this weekend, except for the test ride, so I will have to get some more time in the saddle in the weeks to come.

I will be writing about the bike tour in the next post. Have a night.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beautiful Sunday

Hello. Today I went for a ride on the Cumberland trails with my girlfriend and another friend, oh and of course the dog. It was fantastic. Is great to have a few rides under my belt to get more confidence on the trail. I went down something that I didn't think that I would go down. It made my heart race. How fun. The dog was good, and my girlfriend had a fun ride. She is getting into the swing of things, after not riding a mountain bike for quite some years. It wasn't raining this week either. The sun was actually shining. A day to remember.

Last night we decided to go for a ride on the road bikes. It was decided that we would ride down to Royston for dinner and then come back. The we thought that riding down to Buckley Bay first, then coming to Royston to eat. It was perfect. I love riding along the inland Island highway. The shoulder is huge. We could ride two abreast all the way, and not feel nervous about traffic. Being Saturday evening the traffic was really light, no big trucks, so that made it much better. We stopped at the Backstreet Pub for dinner. A plate full of halibut and chips really hit the spot, and I was still able to ride up the hill back to Dodge. All told it was about 45k round trip, and we got to see beautiful colors of the sun setting behind Mount Washington.

I finally got the front rack figured out for my Sydney. My big Axiom panniers will work on it too. I am glad I don't need to worry about getting other bags for it. I also got my new Icebreaker shirt. Its a SS Velocity Zip. What a fantastic shirt. I will really like the zip on it in the summer when I can open the collar and let more air in. Its a great blue colour that will be quite visible for riding on the street.

Next weekend will be the trial ride for us before our trip up north. We will be camping somewhere, with all our stuff. I can't wait. Short week at school.

Go Canucks! Have a good one

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Wow, I never thought it would happen. 100 views. That is incredible. Thanks to everyone who has checked it out. Hopefully its not been just my mom, sister and girlfriend. Haha. I wish I had something to give away, but I don't except for more words of wisdom.

I went down to North Park Bikes, in Victoria, today. My girlfriend bought her Surly from them 18 months ago. I went down looking for a Pletscher two legged kickstand. They didn't have any there, so I will order one online. It should be great for holding up the Sydney when she is fully loaded during this summers tour. I look forward to having this new piece of gear. It was nice to talk to a different bike shop. They told me some information about bike manufactures that I have been wondering about for a while. All the Canadian companys are building there frames overseas. I think the bikeshop is most important than the brand of wheels. If it feels good, then its good. Its too bad that everything has to get made over seas. So many jobs gone, just so prices can be lower. Its a bad cycle.

I don't feel like ranting tonight so I will change the subject. It is so great to see how many people commute down here by bike. There is one cross walk on Quadra ave, mostly for cyclist who are riding the Lochside trail. Today I saw about six cyclists using the cross walk, stopping traffic. It is fantastic. Courtenay should learn from this city in bicycle planning. There is lots of bike lanes, some end at random times, at least the thought is there. I am going to ride down to MEC tomorrow on the Lochside and the Galloping Goose trail. It should be a great ride. I hope the weather is decent.

I got out mountain biking on Sunday with 5 friends. It was raining like crazy, but we all had fun. There was lots of mud and puddles. There was only one crash and it wasn't too bad. We will be going again next weekend. I am still trying to decide about a full suspension bike. I am so excited about it.

Until next time.

Dirty Alberta

This is a great book about the tar sand industry in Alberta. Its a dirty, wasteful, non-sustainable industry thats filling shareholders pockets, and leaving Canada with a legacy of poisoned water, barren landscapes and contaminated tailing ponds that big oil hopes will become lakes. Its a great read for anyone who wants to learn about this disaster.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Check out the Sprocket Podcast. These guys are from Portland, and they talk about simple living, bikes, beer, and they have some interesting guests.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trek bikes

Trek bikes website has some great pro-cycling stuff on it. Heres a link to one of the pages

Enjoy C.C.

Here in Victoria

Howdy Howdy. What a day. Another reason why I don't like driving. Speeding ticket. $175 bucks out of my pocket. Terrible mistake. After this incident, I was stuck in rush hour, the Colwood crawl. There was half a dozen cyclists who passed me on there bikes, and I was so jealous. I am glad I don't have to drive as much anymore.

I do like how well Victoria is set up for cycling. There are clearly marked cycling lanes, even around busy intersections. There are many people who commute by bike here in the city. I am walking to school, I don't feel like changing my clothes when I get to the campus, and I can't stand riding in jeans. Not fun. There is a nice trail that takes me into the campus, so only half my walk is near traffic. Its very nice.

I got out on the hardtail yesterday. We took a trip out to Comox Lake on the Courtenay side. We rode a trail that we have walked many times, but we went in a reverse direction. There was some backtracking, trying to stay on the right trail. We did ride some nice, fast, flowy sections, and walked down some really steep rock faces. Such a different trail out there than Cumberland. Cumberland is really technical, rooty, with skinny and bridges, as well as downhill sections. The lake has many rocky bluffs, stuff thats to scary for me. It was really nice to get out to somewhere different though.

Gas is $1.29. I put $60 bucks in my car to fill from a quarter tank. It wouldn't bother me if I didn't have to drive down island. Its a drag. I had a great idea today. I think we need to start, as a country, taking money from the oil and gas we export to the U.S., to invest in green energy. I don't know how many people in Canada know that once we have sent a certain amount of oil down south, say 200k barrels a day, we cannot ever reduce that amount, every, even if we can't heat our own homes from our oil. This is because of NAFTA. I read this in a book, which I can't remember the title right now. I think it is called "Stupid to the last drop", about the oil and gas industry in Alberta. I wish the Federal government would tell the oil and gas lobbiest to shove it, and get on with the next generation of energy. Wind, solar, tidal, geo-thermal, plus infrastructure up grades to stop energy loss in transmission lines, and getting cars off the roads and investing in green transportation, local products and food production. Lets get on with this stuff, we will run out of oil, and then what. The world is going to crash, and nothing will have happened to prepare for it. The technology is here, and with some corporate investment, it will be more affordable as it goes mainstream.

Speaking about not figuring out options for the future, and clean energy, when I was out at Comox Lake yesterday, there was some fresh logging activity, close to Courtenay. The slash was cleaned up, and the left-over wood was piled up, like they normally do, but brought farthest away from the road as they could. So much nice clean wood that people could be cutting up and using to heat there homes. Instead the forestry company will burn these piles with diesel and tires, having huge, dirty piles that send massive amounts of GHG emissions and particles into the air, not 5 km from West Courtenay. What a shame. Wood stoves could burn that wood in a clean, responsible way, and using the energy of the wood for something, not just heating the earth. Bio-mass incinerators to create electricity in also a very feasible option that needs to happen.

I am worked up, and I think I am going to quite while I can. Have a nice day!