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 7, 2016
We were up and at ‘em insanely early in Powell River to catch the early morning ferry that separates the North Sunshine Coast with the South Sunshine Coast. This would provide us with a nice rest in the scenic town of Gibsons, before the chaos of riding through Vancouver the next day.
It may have been a short distance to Gibsons on paper, but we were in the coastal mountains, so it sure was not flat, although I did not mind those climbs since I was driving a support vehicle! Ironically enough, climbing the mountains by bicycle was perhaps the main reason I rode in BC ride ten years ago!
This seemed like a pretty good place to hang out and wait for the cyclists to show up! We encountered a number of independent bicyclists during this morning and we were more than happy to provide water and food for them, but more importantly, encouraging smiles and a little friendly conversation as well. The Sunshine Coast between Powell River and Gibsons seems to be a popular route among cyclists, and I can’t blame them: challenging climbs, thrilling descents, fabulous scenery, pretty towns, and delicious baked goodies!
There are many terrific waterfronts on the BC coast, but three of my favourites are in Sooke, Powell River, and in Gibsons.
In Gibsons, we had some downtime so off we went to the waterfront. And I’m hard-pressed to recall such an abundance of incredible blue tones! Gibsons is perched somewhat precariously on very steep hills, and most of them lead (straight) down to the ocean – some roads are 20% grades! I had read that the bakeries of the Sunshine Coast were not to be missed. And I can happily testify that idea to be true. Just look at this carrot cake!
Out of all the groups that I have participated in, this particular group had as strong a bond as any that I’ve ever been in, even more remarkable given its size (roughly four dozen people). I think that the defining moment, as a group, had come on Tuesday night in Courtenay as we gathered in the sanctuary of the host United Church. That was the second century mile day in a row for the riders. And while there was a fraction of the amount of vertical climbing compared to Monday’s century mile journey over the interior mountains, the weather was hot, and there was no refueling stop for the first 60 km or so. (A scheduled rest stop in Nanaimo was mixed up, which was a supernatural coincidence – see the Nanaimo blog).
Anyway, the scene above was a special moment, because it was near the end of an eventful, emotional, but ultimately very successful Bike for Bibles event. Nico had us sit in the circle, and we were to say something positive about another person whose name we had drawn from a hat earlier in the week. Among the many nice moments were some very special, heartfelt ones, including one that I was involved in.
Chemistry is a difficult thing to describe, involving personalities, beliefs, and other things. And it can be thrown off balance very easily. So when it really works, it is a wonderful thing.
The final night of camp, or a bicycling tour, or a church retreat, is always bittersweet, and this last night was no exception. It was a time to blow off steam, like the goofy young women below, for heartfelt conversation, for thanking God for such fellowship, and for reminiscing about the adventures, mostly good, and the favourite legs of the ride. Had I ridden I think mine would have been the challenge of the climbs-especially if I had conquered them-which is why I rode with the same organization across the Rockies ten years ago.
About the Author:
Dan lives in Kitchener, ON. As a true outdoor 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.