Daniel Loucks loves the outdoors and often blogs about his adventures. He joined the Bike for Bibles (B4B) Centennial Ride in 2006 (which took cyclists from Vancouver, BC to St John’s, NL) but only went as far as Canmore, Alberta. In 2015, Daniel returned to B4B, this time as a roadie and photographer. In this blog series, Daniel gives us a glimpse of what transpires during a week-long ride, through the eyes of a roadie.
August 2, 2015
Sunday dawned bright and warm on the southeast corner of Vancouver Island. After the wonderful hospitality of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, the route for the day would take three dozen cyclists through Saanich into Victoria for lunch at the Spit on the Pacific Ocean, and into Sooke, on the extreme southwest corner of the Island – a short 85 kms or so through a rather scenic country. Of course, if you are in the province of British Columbia, you are in a scenic spot! Hence, the old provincial license plate motto, “Super. Natural. British Columbia.
We had lunch on Ocean Boulevard, opposite the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt. On the other side of the Boulevard is the Esquimalt Lagoon Migratory Bird Sanctuary. I spotted the first of many bald eagles here, soaring over the lagoon. And in the shallows in front of the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse, several great blue herons of the vulnerable west coast race. We also saw one or two large ships, likely ferries plying the Port Angeles, WA-Victoria Route.
Going through Victoria was pretty cool. I spent a day in this city 10 years ago as a member of the B4B Centennial Ride. We had a day off before the start of the ride, so I rode up one of the steepest hills in the city with a couple of other Centennial riders.
The cyclists were split into four groups to ride through the city. They used a trail called the Galloping Goose Trail. There was a nice bridge on this trail that I tried to get to for a vantage point, but the riders were upon it before I was able to photograph.
Crash on the road
After lunch on the Victoria coastal Spit, the cyclists tackled a huge and very steep hill (with full bellies!). I was slightly jealous because I love the challenge of climbing.
We headed west along the southern edge of Vancouver Island, and Andrew, my roadie partner, dropped me off in the middle of nowhere with my camera, water bottle, and a sign to direct the riders. (He continued about 5 kms up the road to the next corner; I would get a lift with Chris in the sweep vehicle for the rest of the day.) I think the ocean was over the proverbial next hill because, from where I stood, there was a bald eagle flying around and a sign for a nearby harbour. There were also a number of trucks towing fishing boats. I was at the bottom of this hill at a tight curve where I was able to get some pretty good shots of the riders as they sped past. A couple of the younger ones flew by at a very high speed, taking the curve at perhaps 40-45 kms per hour.
Just after this curve, the road became a series of tight curves and short, steep hills. It was on one of these that one of our cyclists went down hard, breaking a collarbone and suffering some pretty serious road rash. Two other roadies – Chris and Maris – and I came over the hill to see Barry, one of the cyclists, waving his arms like a windmill on the hilltop in the middle of the two-lane road to slow drivers down. We parked below the scene. I figured that the only useful thing that I could do was take one of our roadie signs and hike up past Barry to do the same thing he was doing; I thought two people cautioning traffic would be better than one.
The group of riders who were with the injured cyclist was an experienced group and seemed to have everything under control – to the limited extent of the situation. Thankfully, a young woman named Bonnie came by after a few minutes and took the injured cyclist to her house at a nearby marina where a landline was available (cell phone reception is unreliable in that area). Bonnie and her colleagues were very kind and hospitable. They opened their facility to the injured cyclist, several riders and three roadies while waiting for the fire and ambulance crews. They quickly and efficiently treated the injured cyclist until the volunteer fire and ambulance crews arrived to take over.
Everyone was wonderful. Chris parked the big sweep van down below in the marina, which is in a narrow bay surrounded by cliffs and a small fjord. The place was very busy with salmon sport fishing boats coming and going. I overheard one exchange between a group going out and one returning:
“Oh, just a couple of 18-pounders (salmon).”
That’s a ho-hum day of fishing in BC, I guess — just a couple of 18-pound fish!
About the Author:
Dan lives in Kitchener, ON. As a true outdoors enthusiast, Dan does not miss an opportunity to visit new places and see new things. He shares about his experiences on his blog site, The Lily Dipper.