Training, Camping, Riding and Saltspring Island.

Bike route 530389 – powered by Bikemap
Bike route 524709 – powered by Bikemap

Training km’s: 90km
Training time: 2:00 (50km to ferry) est. 2:00? (33km on Saltspring)
Week 5 total to date: 162km (8:00)
Week 5 goal: 200km
Total training to date: 554km (24:16)

Patricia and I rode out the the ferry on Saturday to meet up with our friends Mark and Pascale on Saltspring for a night of camping at Ruckle park. There are two separate bikemap links for the ride, the first, 530389 is the route to the ferry from East Van. The second, 524709, is the extent of the riding we did on Saltspring.

If you’ve never ridden to the ferry from Vancouver by bike before, be warned that the only way to bike all the way to the Tsawassen ferry is via the Alex Fraser Bridge because the George Massey tunnel is prohibited by bike. Trust me, don’t ride through the tunnel, I’ve tried …twice in fact, and both times swore I would never do it again. It’s really not safe. The only way to get through the tunnel is either by bus (translink public bus – $2.50/$5.00) or by shuttle which is free, but inconvenient, infrequent and unreliable. I’ve actually never used the shuttle although trying about half a dozen times, because it’s never running when I wish to use it/expect it.

***Edit: I’m feeling a little guilty today, that yesterday I wrote the above comment that the free tunnel shuttle is “inconvenient, infrequent and unreliable.” If you check the link, it seems the service is substantial and quite regular, running 7 days a week. However, I have had no success using the service in the past, so I never really consider it as an option. Additionally, it is about 14km to the tunnel from the ferry and if the shuttle is not available, it’s really a piss-off. Lastly, our ferry arrived at 6:00pm, and most weekend trips seem to end around that time or later. The final shuttle runs at 6:30pm which makes it really tough to find useful for us, although perhaps there is merit in calling ahead and informing the shuttle that 30 bikes are on the ferry and we could use the service. Maybe next time.***

The ride to the ferry via the Alex Fraser Bridge is not bad, but it is long (50km from East Van) and takes some time (~2 hours) so if you leave late and get a flat like we did, you’ll miss your ferry, like we did. Plan extra time and enjoy the ride, it has some nice sections along the river.

Camping at Ruckle Park on Saltspring Island is quite nice as it’s a beautiful spot, and affordable at $16 per party, with good access for bike and close proximity to both ferries (10km from Fulford Harbour, 20km from Long Harbour) and there is a market at both Fulford and plenty in Ganges to buy supplies. The day was hot and the night was wet, but overall very pleasant with scenic, low-traffic and very hilly riding. I’ll give $10 to the person who can find a flat 1km on Saltspring because we didn’t see it.

For our training, this was a good mix of workout and leisure and being laden with camping supplies really gets the legs burning on many of those hills. The weather seems to be coming around so hopefully we can get back to getting some serious km’s in. 162km with a hilly weekend and a Cypress mountain climb was quite satisfying for us this week.


3 thoughts on “Training, Camping, Riding and Saltspring Island.

  1. Good haul. Did you guys lug your own stuff, too? I did a ride out to the Sunshine Coast with about 50lbs of shit in a trailer this weekend. About 130km round trip.

    1. Andrew,

      That’s a great ride yourself, 50lbs! wow. We had gear, but it was pretty light. 2 person tent, sleeping bags, mats, clothes and extras loaded in my panniers and then Patricia had the jersey pockets full and shared backpack duties with Pascale. Mark and Pascale were with backpacks, and we loaded up the jersey pockets. All told, I had nearly all the stuff for Patricia and I, and I’d estimate is was 15-20lbs… if that. Any more than that, and I would have needed a double chain ring bike, which I don’t have in Vancouver.

  2. Truth be told, I eyeball-weighed the load. And that estimation includes the 14lb trailer. But 20lbs? Nicely done. Next over-nighter, I’ll learn to live with less. And not try to bring leftover beer back with me.

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