cycle hiking Gulf & San Juan Islands

7 islands. 10 days on the bike. Perhaps 1000km in the saddle.

I tented for free every night aside my rest day in Port Townsend.


I picked up my new bike at MEC in North Vancouver. Took the train to the ferry at Tsawwassen.

First up was Galiano Island. Then over to Pender. And on to Mayne.

BC Ferries Discovery Pass gives a discount on routes not connecting major cities.

I rode excellent dedicated bike trails from Swartz Bay to the terminal in Victoria Harbour. The Black Ball Ferry got me to Port Angeles.

My toughest day was riding P.A. to Port Townsend. There is supposed to be a route, but it’s very confusing.

Cycle trip 1

I took a much enjoyed rest day in P.T. Then caught the short ferry over to Whidbey. The next island is connected by bridge – Fidalgo.

From Antecortes I sailed to Orcas and then San Juan.

my first cycle touring trip

The ferry Friday Harbor to Sidney BC departs only once a day in the morning.  Many times ferry schedules determine your days.

Once back to Sidney CANADA, I cycled to Swartz Bay and rode the big ferry back to Tsawwassen.

Some say you cannot ride out of Tsawwassen because bikes are not allowed in the tunnel. Just in case I put my bike on the front of a bus.

A local on that same bus recommended we ride together downtown from the River Rock Casino. That’s not bad. You spend a lot of time on a street called Ontario.

Cycle trip 2

The best hiking was on Orcas. The best riding perhaps Galiano and Whidbey.

I’d love to go back to Orcas too for mountain biking.

It’s easier to carry gear by bike than on your back. But hills are murder. I’ll definitely lighten the load next time.

full hiking pack in addition to panniers
full hiking pack in addition to panniers

I’m planning a future short loop from Whidbey to the mainland and back to Port Townsend by road. Perhaps in winter when traffic is lighter. And – of course – I’ve many of the Canadian Gulf Islands yet to explore. 🙂



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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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