Day One – Vancouver, BC, CA to Duncan, BC, CA

Posted: May 10, 2015 in Cycling, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Downtown Vancouver to Duncan, Vancouver Island

Day One – Downtown Vancouver, CA to Duncan, Vancouver Island, CA

Day 1 Date 09th May 2015
Total Distance
Weather Blue Skys, Dry, 20°C, No Wind
Moving Time
Total Time
Terrain Hilly
Total Climbing
Ferry vancouver to Nanaimo 18.85 CA
Water 2.25 Cad
Average Speed 15.0k/h Sleeping Wild Camping
Max Speed 53.3k/h  Difficulty  Tough!

Loin’s Gate Bridge – Leaving Vancouver

Today is day one of my road trip from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico.  I loaded up the bike this morning at 6:30am at my Airbnb located in Marpole, a district just south of downtown Vancouver.  I’m pretty sure I brought way more stuff with me than i’ll ever need and at that condensing down my belongings to what I brought was a pretty tough task.  I didn’t get to weigh my stuff before leaving but I guess i’m carrying 30Kg worth, a lot of it is excess food that built up during my week long stay in Vancouver.  Lets just say the bike feels heavy, as in I can’t lift it with 1 hand and 2 is even a struggle, time, muscle pain and dumpsters will sort out my excess load pretty quickly.

IMG 1584

I have never cycled a bike with a load before, I didn’t even do a practise run with a load before I set out this morning, so let me try to describe my thoughts on cycling a bicycle with an ass load of stuff.  First off I have read a few blogs previously about people saying how the bike is totally different and you need to try it out first before your trip to get a feel for it, my reaction to this was bla bla bla, it can’t be that different, i’ll figure it out on route.  My bike is a 10Kg road bike not really designed for touring so it’s not as rigid as it should be for the load I have burdened it with.  I have never found my bike to not be rigid in the past, i’ve been cycling it for 3 years now so I know it well and its pretty solid, well today for the first leg of my trip from Marpole to Horseshoe Bay, my bike perception has gone from pretty rigid to being down right flexible.  When you get caught in a wobble it feels like its flexing like Rolf Harris fiddling with his Wobble Board.

Lets talk about the brakes…., before the load I had decent brakes, either front or back would get you to stop pretty easy, in a couple of meters let’s say, now both front and back brakes when pulled together, sort of look at you as if to say “are you kidding me?” while the ass load at the back is grinning as it pushes you past the amber light into the junction you were supposed to stop at.  I think my brake pads are going to take the beating of their life on this trip.

My easiest gear, small cog on front, largest cog on the back, I never really had much use for this scenario before but now I can’t seem to leave it and even at that I’m wondering why I don’t have another range of even easier gears to choose from, this is going to be a problem along the way if I don’t shed some more weight.  The route today was pretty hilly but not a patch on what it could be.  I managed pretty good and even enjoyed it but if the hills get any steeper i’ll be off and walking.  Going downhill is a lot more fun, as soon as you get past the crest the bike just wants to take off with about just as much effort and enthusiasm as you need to inject when you are trying to pull it uphill.

Riding through an unforeseen bump in the road (a ghost bump) is tense, its kinda like the face you make when you grind the gears in your car, you think, shit, that sounded nasty, I hope it’s not broke.  Well riding through a bump is like that except I’m wondering what shape my back wheel contorted into as it happened.  Letting air out of the back tyre so it’s not rock hard helps here so you float through the bump instead of a donkey kick in the ass.

I’ve only done 32km so far and now i’m riding the ferry between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo.  I think I have a good handle on the bike now and it really isn’t that difficult once you take it easy at the start.  I also didn’t do any cycle training to build up my muscles before this trip and I found the first leg (:-P) pretty easy.

IMG 1578

The second half of the days riding was more difficult than earlier, my original intention was to hightail it to Tofino on Vancouver island which is close to 200km from Nanaimo and its out of my way but it’s supposed to be beautiful there.  I had cycled 8km in the direction and decided to scrap this idea as my pace was much slower than I wanted and I’m time limited to make it to Olympia in the US on Friday to spend the weekend with my cousin.  It was also 400km roundtrip out of my way which wasn’t doing anything for my enthuasiam so I turned around and headed for Victoria, my ultimate destination on Vancouver Island.

The route from Nanaimo to where I set up camp for the night was horrible, my mistake here was following the Trans Canada Highway which is not scenic and I was riding the hard shoulder of what we would call a dual carriage way for a few hours.  Shitty scenery combined with long climbs and a poor supply of water made this ride a struggle.  The last few km I came off the highway and took a secondary road, this was way nicer, this is what i’m going to do for the rest of the trip, stay off the highways and take secondary roads, they may add a few km to the trip but there way more enjoyable.

I started looking for a campsite from about 7pm as I’d had enough cycling and I figured there was another 2 hours worth of good sunlight left.  It took me about half an hour to find something I was happy with between the road I was cycling and a railway track.  The area is quite residential but I figured this spot was out of the way and I wouldn’t be seen.  Here I cooked some food, had my first coffee of the day and setup camp for the night.

Camping, Vancouver Island

Camping, Vancouver Island

Camping, Vancouver Island

After my early start this morning I was wrecked and didn’t hang about in getting some sleep.  Went to sleep at 9:30, it got pretty cold at night so I put on a jumper, other than that I slept pretty good.  I didn’t get up until 8am and 2 hours of faffing later I was back on the road.  I was rumbled by a dog walker at about 9am as I was packing to go, he didn’t care, we had a chat for a few minutes and he was on his way!

  1. Clare says:

    Wow great update , glad it’s started off goof for you -even if it’s a bit slower than expected


  2. Kathy Kitchen says:

    Hey, Tony! It was nice meeting you yesterday! Wishing you happy trails, and a safe, amazing trip! Come back and visit us at the farm one day to tell us all about your adventure! Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat says:

    Best of luck Tony. Have a link to keep an eye on progress Tony 3000kM calling it T3K for short!

    Liked by 2 people

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