In my first three weeks in Victoria – it will be three weeks on Friday – I have been out riding about 8 times including one leisurely Sunday when I rode down to James Bay to see some houses for rent, and a couple of mail runs. I have had a couple of 30 k+ rides and a 51 k ride too.
Day light has been a limiting factor. I bought a red (rear) flasher that mounts on the back of my helmet and dug out my other lights and I have started to ride in the evening, and the days are getting longer. The other limiting factor is setting up my bike for every ride. It’s locked to the back of my car. Every time I ride I have to unlock it, put the seat in, put the rack pack on, check my tools and lights, put away the locks, cables and bungie cords, which adds 10 minutes to the start and end of every ride. That should get easier after this weekend when I get the keys to my house.
The Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails are good trails, useful for comuters and for avoiding traffic on major roads, but not good for sustained hard riding. I found that riding on Dallas/Beach allows for long clear runs, subject to watching for traffic. I will be living a block off Dallas so that should make it easy to launch myself. The roads are in good shape – few potholes and cracks in the pavement.
One way of telling that cycling is important is in the space it gets in the papers. Last week I say a full page ad on the back page of an inside section of the Times-Colonist, for Rider’s Cycle on Cloverdale (the store is in this list but its own site seems to be dead at this moment) advertising road bikes, including the Trek 5000. There have been a couple of stories on the front page of the local section. One story was about a guy in a hurry (an older middle-aged man with his grandson, driving a box van) who had trouble passing a couple of cyclists and then got in a finger waving match with them. He lost them but ran the next cyclist he saw into the ditch. The story I was that he had fought his case in Court and had just been convicted of dangerous driving. There was another story was about a man who used to ride the Galloping Goose regularly. There is a downhill curve, to Camden Road, then an uphill. He said in the story that he never saw cars on the crossing, and got used to coasting downhill and getting a good running start on the climb. Well one day … He has started to ride again after recovering from his injuries. Cautionary stories, but cycling is news here.
The story about the man nailed at the Camden Avenue crossing led to an op-ed in the Times-Colonist today, and several letters to the editor including (if the links stay alive) these three. (1, 2, 3).
The Times-Colonist had a story today that made the front page about a blessing of the bikes. The story in the paper focuses on the motorcycles. I saw some posters and it seems more aimed at non-motorized bikes. Only the Unitarians, once a denomination of rational Deists, now a New Age fringe sect, could sanction blessing bikes. But bless them and let them smell my sweaty cycling shorts.