We said our goodbyes, hugs were given and received, and we were on the road at 6:05am. About 300m from our house is a nice little downhill roll that caused my bike to shim almost uncontrollably and send panic waves to my brain. I had been working on the weight distribution and obviously this latest attempt was not up to par. I remember thinking “holy shit, this could be a trip stopper”, but of course it wasn’t the case. When we got to the ferry landing, the boat had already pulled out and on it’s first run of the morning. I was originally thinking that I would take the heavy stuff to lighten Tai’s load, but he manned up and took on the extra weight. He had 2 Swift Industries panniers filled with his clothes, food and sleeping bag, an Ortlieb handlebar bag, and a pair of shoes, mandolin and Thermarest strapped on top. The rear end was HEAVY. On my bike I had my sleeping bag and a couple of light things in the front right pannier, the cooking and camp essentials were in the front left pannier. My load was lightened in the rear end and it made a remarkable difference. The bike is a classic randonneur design and was made to cover long distances with a light load. Now with it loaded, spreading the weight was an important issue that had to be considered carefully. No matter how carefully you plan and prepare, there is always something that catches you and turns a trip into a journey.
Other than having to be at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, Oregon on July 18th, the rest of the trip was up in the air. This was my element! I love being out there without a watch and open to whatever comes. Seeing new places, brief encounters with people that can carry so much, the food and weather, and of course music … all of this and so much more were to be an important part of the trip to come. With that being said, a bicycle is a perfect vehicle to navigate an adventure like this, and while doing so, becomes so centrally ingrained within the story that it may sometimes be taken for granted with the telling of the tale. To the rider on a journey of this distance and length, there is a connection with the bike that can pick up and notice the smallest details that may change over the course of time and distance. This blog will have pictures and stories from the places we came upon while pedalling our bikes to get to there. It’s green and slow enough to allows you to notice and absorb your surroundings much more intimately than a faster moving vehicle, while also letting you put in a good distance at the end of the day. Bike touring (and cycling in general) makes perfect sense to me.
We headed south from Buckley Bay on highway 19A towards Parksville. I had originally thought that the leg of Vancouver Island was just a distance to get covered before being down in the states ~ I was wrong. The early morning sun and coolness in the air made everything so beautiful and fresh. Perfect cycling weather! I knew when we got to Parksville that any doubt had vanished that Tai could do this. He was keeping up and riding at a good steady pace and feeling strong. This was something I had to carefully consider before the trip. Was he ready for something this size? He rode a lot this spring and also completed the 100km Cowichan Populaire with the BC Randonneurs, so we both felt comfortable that he could handle it, but also knowing our limits and respecting them. By the end of the day, it was 120.42kms. The afternoon was HOT and we spent a lot of time on highway. Traffic was pretty good and there was plenty of shoulder in most places. We had already established a routine of stopping every 15kms/hour and having a short break at the side of the road. When 5pm rolled around we were pulling into Ladysmith and stopped at a grocery store for a couple of things to go along with tonight’s dinner at Transfer Beach Park.
Of course Tai had to go swimming and we spent the rest of the evening having dinner, journal writing and hanging out. Around 9pm a nice lady who looks after the park came by and told us a good place to sleep. We chatted for about 15 minutes then headed up to the place she recommended. Night’s accommodation found!
I used a Garmin Edge 500 to record all the riding data and I’ll include a link to each day’s file so you can check out a map of the area we rode, weather, graphs, distances and a whole bunch of other cool stuff about the day. Here it is.
It was a good ride. But it was HOT!!!!! But it was good. I sweated so much and dad had to pour water on we. Dad tried to stop every 1hour. If we stop at a store we would get a chocolate bar or a frezzy. When we got to the park in Ladysmith’ dad told me to take my shoos off. It felt nice!!! I went swimming and rote in my journal. we rode 120kms today. We slept in the bake of the park under some trees. We didn’t used the tent.