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.
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.
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 accommodation.
Today, hop on the ferry to Sturdies Bay on the southeast tip of Galiano Island.
Named for the Spanish sea captain who explored the surrounding waters in
1792, Galiano Island is home to more than 130 species of birds and a
haven for naturalists. Enjoy quiet roads and Douglas fir forests. Ride to the northern part of the island, where the wind and the sea have carved and
pocked the sandstone rocks of the beach. Watch for the many eagles that
glide overhead. 17km.
You have many options today. You could walk or ride on Galiano Island or go to Mayne Island, the smallest of the inhabited southern Gulf Islands, for a day trip. On Mayne Island, browse in the shops of Miners Bay and learn about the history of the area in the museum, which was once the jail. Bike along meandering roads to tree-lined shores, picnic at Georgina Point Lighthouse, which has overlooked Active Pass since 1885, and watch seals and orca whales gambol in the waves while seabirds glide overhead. Take some time to hike through the forests of Mount Parke Regional Park, the highest point on the island. Return to Galiano Island in the evening.
You'll be transferred to the ferry dock, where you'll catch the ferry back to Swartz Bay. Depart for home or onward to your next adventure.
"Randonnée offered what we wanted, where we wanted, when we wanted; it was excellent."
- R & D Foster