Day two of our cycling trip from Vancouver to San Francisco started off with a quick breakfast at the Travelodge in Sidney, Vancouver Island, before assembling the panniers on the bikes. It was a beautiful May morning, and although we were pretty weary from our first day riding, we were in good spirits. A brief check on Google maps revealed our ride for the day would be on the mostly off-road bicycle path ‘Lochside Trail’ (check out our pre-planned route – we didn’t’ quite follow it exactly as we got a little lost towards Victoria but it gives you an idea!).
Lochside Trail was a beautiful finale to our brief time spent cycling in Canada. Originally a railway, Lochside now hosts boundless cyclists, runners, skateboarders and walkers along the beach, farmland and lush woods, before meandering past admirable architecture of the upper-class neighbourhoods and finishing in the city of Victoria.
So far, our tour just felt like a succession of long casual Sunday rides. The terrain was flat, sun shining, friendly faces zooming by, and cycling-friendly routes. Spontaneous stops for fun in the playground helped break up the day for our four-year old, but the varying views and people were enough to keep us all interested. As we got closer to Victoria (the capital city of British Columbia), the signage on Lochside Trail became a little vague. As we were map-less and winging it in our usual style, we meandered off track and found our way to a supermarket to grab some lunch. Getting back on the trail was another story! After a 16km detour, we eventually made it back on track and guided straight in to Victoria by a friendly local couple enjoying their own Sunday ride.
Cycling the busy city streets of Victoria was incredible. A huge portion of the road is dedicated to cyclists, and it was obvious that there is a higher level of respect for those on two wheels – not surprising as Vancouver Island and its neighbouring islands are world-renowned as being a cycling mecca. It was Victoria Day (a public holiday celebrated throughout most provinces in Canada), and being in the city of Victoria highlighted its beauty. Grand buildings, tons of tourists, horse-drawn carts by the bay and big bands combined to create a stately yet vibrant atmosphere.
Although we had intended on catching the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washington that very afternoon, our little unplanned detour had set us back. We decided to motel it for the night and catch the ferry in the morning. Easing into the tour was a good idea! In hindsight we wished we’d allowed a little more time to explore and enjoy Vancouver Island, but it’s a good excuse to come back!