Join us for a loop tour of southeast Vancouver Island including the Gulf Islands. September is traditionally a dry time of year in these parts and dissipating holiday traffic will leave the winding, scenic roads to cyclists.
This is an ebike friendly event with shared hotels (2/room), luggage shuttle, ferries, and water taxis included in the registration fee. Daily distances vary between 40-70 km per day with an option to pedal further if desired. The roads include some short, steep hills so low gears will be appreciated by most.
We depart Victoria Airport (Sidney) on Vancouver Island, taking the Mill Bay ferry the first day and end the ride at “Cow Bay”. On a hill behind our motel overlooking the wharf of the picturesque seaside village of Cowichan Bay, sits a grove of tall, willowy alder trees. Atop of those trees are 93 large nests that seem to defy gravity. The nests are home to endangered great blue herons making this rookery the most successful one on Vancouver Island.
The village is also home to the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, which is a museum on a wharf (and very educational). It’s next door to the Rock Cod Café, a must visit for seafood aficionados.
After day trip to loop Shawnigan Lake and cross the Kinsol Trestle, we depart Cowichan Bay and head for Duncan, exploring the Mt Tzouhalem area including the remains of the Butter Church, the village of Maple Bay and perhaps the Northwest Raptor Centre en route.
While in Duncan, the planned outing is a day trip up to Cowichan Lake to visit the western terminus of the Trans Canada Trail and back. Several restored trestles are accessible along the Trans Canada Trail from the lake, though riding the TCT for any distance requires sturdy tires due to the large gravel used to construct the trail.
Leaving Duncan, we visit the town of Chemainus, the town of murals on our way to Crofton and the ferry to Saltspring Island. We cycle across the island to the town of Ganges where we stay for the next 5 nights. April-October, Ganges hosts the Saturday Market—a farmers market and craft fair.
We’ll use Ganges as home base for a series of island hops via water taxi to explore, Galiano, North and South Pender, Saltspring and Mayne Islands.
On the last day of the tour, we depart Ganges and ride to Fulford Harbour for the last ferry ride back to Swartz Bay followed by a ride around the north end of Saanich Peninsula, arriving back at the airport by 3 PM.
All participants will need to show evidence of their second vaccination 2 weeks before Sept 10. While area restaurants and accommodations have had to close during the pandemic due to staff shortages etc, I’m told that many are now open and eager to get back to business.
All of EVCC’s Covid 19 procedures will be in effect and may include wearing masks while on the water taxi and on ferries (subject to B.C. regulations).
The tour departs at 10 AM from Victoria Airport (Sidney) on Friday Sept 10 and arrives back in time to prep bikes for a late afternoon flight back to Calgary Sunday September 19. Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Victoria.
A gear shuttle van will carry baggage between airport and from one accommodation to the next. A bike shuttle from Calgary to Victoria (return) is available for those who would like to fly. Lockers are available at Victoria Airport to stow bicycle airline shipping cases.
A solo accommodation rate is available for those singles desiring their own rooms.
If you’d like more details, please phone or email Don Hollingshead 403-289-7061. donhol at nucleus dot com.
A non-refundable deposit of $25 is required to register for this event. The balance is $2100. Payable by etransfer or credit card. (3% payment processing fee returned if paid by etransfer)
Registrants will receive an emailed invoice for the balance owing with a payment deadline and instructions on how to pay by e-transfer or credit card.
If the event is cancelled by EVCC, $2125 will be refunded to participants (-3% payment processing fee if paid by credit card). If the event goes ahead, the participant cancellation policy is as below:
· From now until 45 days prior to tour departure: $2125
· From 44 - 30 days prior to tour departure: $1000.
· Less than 30 days prior to tour departure: no refund.
· If a wait listed replacement is available to take your place, then you will receive $2100
· solo accommodation fees are fully refunded subject to the non-refundable 3% credit card policy
Costs such as air-line tickets, expenses incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations or illness and related costs incurred by a member but not included in the EVCC trip fee are not refundable by the EVCC. Members are advised to purchase their own travel cancellation insurance.
Event surplus refund policy
Even a perfectly budgeted event can endure some surprises. EVCC events are planned as closely as is reasonably possible with the information at hand. Our policy is to charge a small contingency in excess of the projected expenses then return the surplus (if in excess of $25/participant) via e-transfers after reconciling the event finances.