Newsletter - 2008 Archive

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Getting a Ride on the Coastal Renaissance
by Harold Bridge

          The things I had to go through to get on board this magnificent Ferry! It obviously required going to Vancouver Island and I needed an excuse to do that. It came in the form of an invitation to visit someone I knew in Britain 40 years, or more, ago who had since moved to Victoria.

          But my conscience said that environmental and financial considerations made it necessary to find something else to do while there. What better than the Victoria Populaire? I knew the route, the terrain was comfortable for early season and it was only 105 kms. I pre-entered. Murphy thinks that is a risk, but on the other hand I had less excuse to chicken out.

          With little idea what sort of line up there would be, I arrived at Tsawwassen about 90 minutes before the 13:00 sailing. If I was going to be at Swartz Bay at about 15:00 then I had plenty of time to investigate the new bits of the revised route. They looked nice.

          At about 17:00 I arrived and soon settled in before being taken out for dinner. Old people have more to reminise about than to look forward to, and we had a pleasant evening talking of past deeds & people as well as catching up on current affairs.

          With the Vic Pop not starting until 10:00 I had time to get lost & recover & still get to Beacon Hill Park in plenty of time to join the 50 or more starters. On a steep bit of camber I put my foot down, the other foot hit the saddle rather than get over it & I landed on the deck. Soon after my elbow felt wet but I was on my way & left it to dry. Everyone, including Jack Sharkey, was going far too fast and I soon took my established position.

          I had some concern for the safety of Vancisle residents due to the obvious tectonic activity taking place; the hills were much longer and steeper than they used to be.

          Apart from confirming we didn't need to BR onto Lochside Drive I had a non-stop ride to Island View where hunger knock forced me to walk up to East Saanich Rd while chewing a Clif.

          After making the immediate BR onto Central Saanich I saw a group pass Central Saanich having missed the 2nd turn & gone round 2 sides of the triangle.

          At the Sidney 7-11 I was visualizing the ride back to Victoria down Lochside Trail etc. But thought I would like to ride those new roads, Wain, Tatlow, Chalet & Birch before heading back to Victoria. Once I did that and arrived at West Saanich Rd I realized there was no point in quitting. The only thing I could cut out was the Ardmore loop. So it looked like I had got to finish whether I liked it or not.

          Tiredness probably enhanced my feelings of frustration over the last few kms. Not being too familiar with the road convolutions I was looking fwd to getting back to Beacon Hill Park. Then, while heading for Quadra Street, per my route sheet, a shout from Alex Whitfield instructed me to turn down Vancouver Street instead. I stopped to read the official route sheet & found an unannounced change about 600 metres from the finish. We were clocked in at 16:55, five minutes inside limit.

          With the whining sort of voice the elderly use with good effect, I was able to convince Carol and Stephen that it wouldn't be good for me to get to Tsawwassen at about 22:00 & then drive 50kms to PoCo half asleep I was invited to Naniamo. Probably just as far, but in daylight. To ensure I got there Stephen rode shot gun in my Ford Focus while Carol drove someone else to Shawinigan Lake.

          Monday morning dawned bright & the 10:30 ferry would be soon enough & allow me to miss Naniamo's rush hour. The BCF website claimed the Coastal Renaissance was on the 10:30 run to Horseshoe Bay.

          What a toodo, just for a boat ride eh?

Harold on the 2008 Victoria Populaire


March 31, 2008