Arrive in Victoria, capital of British Columbia. Once a
Hudson's Bay Company fort, Victoria is now a pretty city that revels in
its Englishness. Stroll along the quaint streets, enjoy afternoon tea
at the Empress Hotel, and visit the Royal British Columbia Museum to
learn about the history of British Columbia.
Two rides tempt you today. Admire the view from Fisherman's Dock as you
head out along the coast, stop to visit the birthplace of Emily Carr,
one of Canada's most famous artists, then continue to Craigdarroch
Castle, built in 1889 by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir. Or pedal along the
scenic Galloping Goose trail, an old railbed transformed into a bike
path, out of the city to the magnificent Butchart Gardens, once a quarry
and now one of British Columbia's main attractions. You'll spend
tonight in Victoria.
Distance: 22 km, elevation gain 154 m or 34 km, gain 275 m. **
Today you cycle out of Victoria to Swartz Bay. There you'll hop on the ferry that will take you to Salt Spring Island,
the largest of the Gulf Islands, and famous for its scenery, sunshine,
and warm hospitality. It's also a haven for artists and everywhere you
go you'll find galleries and studios. This could be where you find that
perfect souvenir. Stroll through Ganges, the island's main town, then
ride north in a loop taking you through the hills to the shore of
Trincomali Channel and back to Ganges.
Distance: 49 km, elevation gain 379 m. **
Today explore the southern end of Salt Spring Island. Wind through the
hills to Ruckle Provincial Park, named after the family who came to farm
here in 1872. The family's ornate Victorian house still stands and some
of the park is still a working farm. Watch for the sheep wandering in
the orchards, explore hiking trails among huge old trees, and enjoy a
picnic on the beach. Pause at Fulford Harbour set deep in narrow inlet,
then climb over the shoulder of Mount Maxwell on your way back to your
Distance: 39 km, elevation gain 733 m or north end 31 km, gain 400 m. **
You'll be transferred to Long Harbour ferry dock, where you'll catch the ferry back to Swartz Bay. Depart for home or onward to your next adventure.
**Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.
"Randonnée offered what we wanted, where we wanted, when we wanted" and "Tour was excellent. Organization good (riding instructions were almost too detailed). Island hosts and managers were all great."
- R & D Foster