Date: Saturday September 7th, 2013
The ride starts opposite the Shell gas station at 2712 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach. There is plenty of parking on the waterfront and this is where the start/finish control will be set up.
Riding out of Qualicum Beach, you are heading north on the old island highway (19A). You stay on this road for 100.7kms, turn around and head back to where you started. That is the easy description. There are a couple of turns in Courtenay/Comox, but it is a simple route to follow. The course is mainly flat with a few rollers thrown in here and there, but nothing too serious to get concerned about. When I rode the course there was very little traffic between Qualicum Beach and Royston. When you get into Courtenay/Comox the traffic is fairly steady until you get through and are on you way north of the city. The shoulder is narrow in a number of places between Qualicum Beach and Union Bay, but is clean. Watch out for the disappearing shoulder on a few bridges between this stretch as well. In this stretch as well are 3 railroad crossings. Be careful!
From Union Bay to Courtenay there is a nice big shoulder that is fairly clean to ride on. Once you get into Courtenay/Comox, you are riding on city streets until you cross the 17th street bridge. From there to Campbell River you have a nice clean shoulder to ride on.
There are toilets in Rosewall Provincial Park just before Fanny Bay and also at the rest area just past Buckley Bay (40km mark). There are a number of shops/gas stations along the way if you need them. In Courtenay at 26th Street there is a Tim Horton’s/Wendy’s/White Spot. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are a number of places between there and the outskirts of town. There is a general store in Merville and another in Black Creek. From Black Creek it’s only 18kms to the 7~11 in Campbell River (also the turn around point). Across from 7~11 there is a nice stretch of grass to have lunch on and check out the wood carvings as they are quite impressive.
Following the directions on the route sheet are simple and the roads are all well marked. It’s a good course to either enjoy and poke along, or try for a PR. There are some nice stretches along the ocean with nice views. It’s a great way to see some of the mid-island and you’ll find it very cycle friendly, other than the narrow shoulder between Qualicum Beach and Union Bay. With that said, traffic is light at this time of year and I had no problems.
Enjoy the ride and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday September 15th, at 8:00am.