Parksville – Coombs return on electric bike

It’s our new distance record. About 19km return from my Dad’s house.

The battery was well over 50% on my return. Range might be as high as 60km on a single charge.

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Photographer’s TOP 10 places in Norway

I really want to get to Senja as an alternative to Lofoten.

I’d bikepack carrying an inflatable kayak.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

my Dad’s electric Trike

Dad boughtPedego Trike for running around Parksville B.C.

Joyriding and doing the shopping.

You only pedal in case of emergencies. Dead battery, for example.

It tops out at about 20km / hour … unless you are riding downhill. Downhill I’ve got it up to 30km / hour.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

SUMMING UP – my Pacific NW cycling tour

My major project of summer 2019, I finished a month long trip on August 3rd.

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One excellent adventure.

The Pacific Northwest  is gorgeous. I had fantastic weather. Very few biting insects.

The theme was rails to trails. I tried to ride as many railway lines converted to non-motorized transport as I could.

Kinsol Trestle, Vancouver Island
  • at least 2700 km (1675 miles)
  • BC, Washington State, north Idaho, back to BC
  • 24 days on the bike
  • 2 days off in Port Townsend hosted by the Tumbl Trak crew
  • 8 days off in Coeur d’Alene hosted by the Adlards
  • one night motel

HIGHLIGHTS

Dave and Jeni
  • 5 bears
  • Cowichan Valley Trail on Vancouver Island
  • Iron Horse rail trail in Washington State
  • Kettle Valley rail trail in central B.C.
  • the Relive app for mapping my rides on Google Earth
  • after many repairs en route, my Ghost hybrid bike is running better than new
  • trestles, tunnels, bridges, fantastic wilderness
old Kettle River rail bridge
Othello Tunnels, Hope BC
Myra Canyon Trestles near Kelowna

Click PLAY or watch a 6 minute highlights video on YouTube.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • non-motorized rail trails make for excellent cycling
  • some surfaces are MUCH better than others
Issaquah-Preston trail, Seattle
  • highways are dangerous
  • The Great American Rail-Trail is more of a concept than a thing. There is no signage at all, for example. Current maps on the TrailLink appsuck.
  • Canada’s Great Trail app is better, but still sucks
  • I love the free maps.me app … but it’s lacking in North America as not many people use it here. It steered me wrong a number of times.
  • Google maps offline is not much help as it only shows automobile routes.
  • a British cyclist recommended the free ridewithgps app. I’ll try it next.
  • Canada’s Great Trail (formerly called the Trans Canada Trail) was better than I expected. B.C. includes many of the best sections.
  • I hiked less than anticipated
Sweet Creek Falls, Idaho
  • I had too much weight on the back. Next time I’ll use saddlebags mounted in front and (possibly) mid-frame
  • bikes need a lot of maintenance. And I’m the worst at bicycle maintenance. En route I fixed one flat. Had 4 broken spokes. Visited 4 bike shops. Had both tires upgraded.
  • Dave had his guys replace the chain and some other hardware. That helped immensely.

I started in Nanaimo wanting to get to Lake Cowichan as quickly as possible.

Lake Cowichan is the western terminus of the Great Trail.

  1. Lake Cowichan to Victoria on the Cowichan Valley Trail

2. Islands to Port Townsend WA

After visiting friends in Victoria, I took the most direct route to visit friends in Port Townsend via the American San Juan Islands.

3. Port Townsend WA to Rattlesnake Lake WA

To avoid some highway miles, Doug & Diana delivered me to the Bainbridge ferry. I cycled the Burke-Gilman rail to trail and others connected to get to the fantastic Iron Horse Trail out of Rattlesnake Lake.

4. Rattlesnake Lake WA to Tekoa WA on the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

5. Eastern Washington

Just past Ellensburg I was forced off the semi-official GART on to secondary highways and alternative trails that took me through Spokane.

I found this section of GART to be too soft and sandy for my tires. Also it was too disconnected.

I finally stopped at Plummer, Idaho. Dave Adlard picked me up. We dropped the bike at a shop for repair as I’d broken 3 spokes the previous evening. And then took an indulgent 8 days off in Couer d’Alene.

6. North to Castlegar

Dave and Jeni rode with me away from the Adlard log cabin in Athol. We headed towards Sandpoint on back roads and I later rejoined the route shown in the map below. Dave had suggested I cross the border close to pretty Metaline Falls.

6. Castlegar to Hope 

For decades I’d wanted to ride the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail. It’s totally wonderful. And obviously one of the great cycling routes of the world.

Hope to Vancouver and on to Parksville on the Island was problematic. There is no excellent route yet available. Cyclists I met took a number of different roads.

Psychologically finished at Hope, I managed a series of rides, buses, trains and ferries to cover the 240km in about 36 hours without sleeping.

related – compare my 23 days bikepacking Patagonia, Chile earlier this year

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Hope to Parksville B.C.

Aug 2, 2019 – day 24

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LAST DAY.

In the middle of the night — HOPE B.C. — I was awoken by rain.

Jumped out of the tent to put the fly which I’ve rarely used over the past month. The weather has been terrific.

It rained hard. The first hard rain of the month.

I packed up quickly in the morning when it let up briefly. But was soaked by the time I got to Tim Hortons and, later, McDonalds.

By about 9:30am the skies looked threatening … but I set out anyway with the vague dream of reaching Vancouver Island same day.

It looked unlikely as — shockingly — all these left coast Vancouver suburb cities have yet to organize a connected non-motorized trail through the big sleazy.

Least bad option was starting west on Laugheed Highway 7.

This was a big letdown after the Kettle Valley rail trail. 😕

Some of the bridges are quite dangerous for cyclists, as well.

Happily, the Golden Ears bridge (opened 2009) is a dream. It has bike-pedestrian protected lanes on each side.

On arrival in Langley I asked a bus driver the best public transit with bike to downtown Vancouver. That led to an intercity bus with bike rack. Cycling 6.5 km. The Sky Train. Ferry to Londsdale Quay. And two more local buses to Horseshoe Bay.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

And I made it to Horseshoe Bay in time for the 10:40pm last ferry. The last of the day.

Should I cross. Or wildcamp on the mainland?

I decided to take the ferry. It was 12:20am on arrival in Nanaimo.

Deciding not to wild camp, I decided to stay up all night in Tim Hortons and ride the final 30km or so at dawn.

Click PLAY or watch my 240km travel day on YouTube.

I went straight to bed on arrival at my parent’s place around 7am.

Great trip. But I’m very, very tired.

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cycling Thalia to Hope B.C.

Aug 1, 2019 – day 23

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Toughest day of the trip.

I was up before dawn anticipating a long day ahead. Then managed to get lost. Twice!

It cost me perhaps 3 hours.

Click PLAY or watch me getting lost on YouTube.

Oops. Seems I ALSO accidentally turned off the Relive app after only 65km. The day was actually at least twice as long.

My navigation skills are poor. But in this case the confusion was mostly due to missing roads on the Maps.me app.

There was nobody to ask.

Also, there are very few road direction signs in this remote area.

Merde.

Another problem. One of my saddle bags broke. Luckily I’m a mechanical genius and quickly hacked a fix.

On the bright side I did see a LOT of wildlife this day. Fox. Coyote. Skunk. Marmot. My 5th bear.

Fewer cyclists cover this section. Some trail is in rough shape. Some rockslides never cleared.

The Great Trail gets complicated when it reaches the Coquihala highway.

All the cyclists I spoke with took the highway when they couldn’t find the trail. As I did.

The Coquihala wasn’t as bad as I feared. And as I was cycling downhill, my average speed was probably 30km / hour.

Happily, whomever added these white painted arrows did a good job. These pointed the best route.

One excellent section of the Great Trail required sliding the bike under these barriers.

There was some superb scenery on the way to Hope.

A British cyclist reminded me how lucky we were to have the chance to cycle in paradise.

Wondering about the time all day, I was happy to reach the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park before it closed at dark. Fantastic. And I’d never been before.

In the Coquihalla Gorge – the river cut a 300 foot deep channel of solid granite. A straight line of tunnels were built through it which are known now as the Othello Tunnels. …

This park highlights the Kettle Valley Railway grade that passes through the canyon and 5 tunnels which were built in 1914.

I wild camped close the very end of the 450 km Kettle Valley rail trail on the outskirts of Hope.

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cycling Chain Lake to Thalia B.C.

July 31, 2019 – day 22

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Into the least populated area I’ve cycled, so far.

One of my best campsites so far. Chain Lake.

Perfect weather. No biting insects. Paradise.

There’s not much traffic. Aside from logging trucks.

More trestles, tunnels and bridges.

I’d increasingly been jumping back and forth between rail trail and quiet gravel roads.

I ran into a Chinese film crew doing some kind of documentary about cycling Canada’s Great Trail. They interviewed me.

Somebody painted cute stones and decorated the trail.

A great cycling day.

I was quite surprised how few people I’d seen.

There is no shortage of cows.

And there are plenty of these dumb ground birds. Dave calls them DUNDERHEADS. … Something like that.

I found a quiet spot to camp and enjoyed a peaceful evening.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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