Friday, May 16, 2014

Cycling from Sidney to Liz's to Victoria

I'm not sure if I wrote about this - for a while, I haven't really been able to bike. My ankle twisted a few months ago and it was a pretty gnarly one causing me still to feel pretty uncertain on my feet.

Not only has walking been a challenge, but biking. I thought I was good and could easily do 16 miles in Seattle, but that was 16 flat miles. I came to Lopez and learned that my ankle would get very angry if I tried to do something as simple as just biking into town.

It's been frustrating. I feel guilty each time I drive Tobbit and wish I was biking. Lately, I've been trying to get back into the rhythm of biking, seeing if I could do it. I did a test run on Shaw and that went great and I did seven miles (with hills) on Lopez two days ago.

Today was to see if I could do a more decent distance.
It was time to visit Liz.

Liz is the wonderful human I met at L'Abri earlier this year - we were roommates and I'm very fond of her. She lives on Vancouver Island. Here's a map of my bike route that also shows where Vancouver Island is in relation to Lopez Island.

That line shows the boundary between Canada and the United States of America.

At 6:50 AM I caught the slow ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. 1-2 hours later, I caught a second ferry that took me to Vancouver Island in about an hour and a half. It was $30 round trip for a human and a bicycle - I think it's around $20 roundtrip for just a human, not bad at all.

When I'd talked of visiting Liz back in March, she said she had friends that had biked from Sidney to Victoria. With the beautiful weather we've been having, I decided to give it a try. A quick Google search introduced me to the Lochside Regional Trail which would take me all the way from Sidney to near where Liz lives.

At 11:25 AM, we arrived in Sidney. I hopped off the boat and was directed to bike through where the cars normally go. I had one of the smoothest border crossings yet! I was faster than the folks on foot and cars. As soon as I left the parking lot, there was a sign for the Lochside Trail and I was set to go on my way.

It was a beautiful day and the route was pretty idyllic - a bit more varied than the Burke Gilman but not so much water. I only had 18 miles to bike, something I knew I was capable of. When I was younger, I used to do 24 miles before church on Sundays. The only thing I was worried about was my ankle.

Around half way it started to ache, but all tolerable and nothing that worried me. By the end, it was absolutely fine with no pains at all. I just felt jolly and sunburnt.

Canadians are a bit peculiar when they pass you. In Seattle, I was raised to say, "On your left," when passing someone. Here, I got all sorts of phrases.

"Howww.... you doin'?" said a man with a smirk.

"Looks like you're going to work," said one man and then he proceeded into a dialogue.
My reply was just, "I'm going to a friend's house."
"Thank you," said he.

There's one point where Lochside Trail meets the Galloping Goose Trail which I can't help but call the Galloping Gertie. Galloping Gertie is a legendary bridge in Washington history. At the meeting point, there was a bike shop, Recylistas.

Silas had his shift cable changed a month ago and it was getting loose. I thought it was maybe the shifter but then man told me that was impossible.

"These shifters," he told me, "will last forever."
It's impossible for them to break.

Then he commented on my bike, "Is that a Stonejumper?" he asked me.
"I think it's a Rockhopper," I replied.

"That is one of the best bikes you'll ever rode. I rode one since I was fourteen up until a week ago. If you're ever going to get rid of it, come to me and I'll buy it from you," he told me.

I believe Silas (the Rockhopper) was built in '86. Lovely steel guy that still rides great. It was one of the first time I'd heard a positive affirmation about him from a mechanic.

For $5, they tightened the cable.

I hopped back on Silas and rode him the rest of the way to Liz's house with only one misturn (one road wasn't labeled as it ought to have been -- GoogleMaps, you got that wrong).

And that was that!

After dinner, Liz asked me what I wanted to do.

"I really just want to ride my bike..." I said. It made me happy.

She was down for a bike ride and we set off to downtown Victoria. I was pretty blissed out having Liz there to bike with - I don't frequently have someone to bike with. She kept up a consistent, comfortable pace - I think we made a good biking duo.

Victoria felt really bike friendly. There were plenty of bike lanes and people gave us space.

Liz says my hat is dorky. I think it's kinda cool. I hadn't worn a baseball hat in years but then I saw the fishermen wearing them the other day. The sun kept getting in my eyes but not theirs. I decided it was time to get myself one. I have a few straw hats but they don't do as great when on a bike. This one stays on when biking and keeps the sun out of my eyes. I've got weird eyes that don't dilate right so I get a pounding headache if I'm in the direct sun for a bit more than an hour. I'd rather have the cap then a headache.

This is my tourist picture. Full cheesey-smile, baseball-cap and all.

We wandered around town looking for a girl named Anna. Liz treated me to frozen yoghurt which was so, so good. She pointed out different places she likes to go and I was chipper as ever.

We got a spectacular sunset and all was well.

I think this is a pretty sweet town.

It was the night riding at the end of the night which really topped off my day. Two ferry rides and a few bike rides after being bike-deprived was sort of like a Christmas feast after a famine.

Night-riding is one of my favourites. It feels peaceful and sort of like you're on a misson. Having Liz's company was great. I really like that human.

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