Bicycle Touring Victoria Islands

Over the labor day long weekend I did 3 day cycling tour in Victoria Islands with a good friend of mine. Given the ease of getting from Seattle, good camping and amazing riding – I would say this is a great tour to partake!

The first day we biked about 10km out to a park from the Victoria ferry terminal but then did a 20km round trip to Victoria to get dinner! On the second day we biked about 75km from Fort Victoria to Sooke Potholes park and then onward to French Beach Provincial Park and on the third day we make the journey back to Victoria covering about 65km.

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Fig 1. The Three Day Route

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Bicycle touring with me !

With Miyar Adventures I’m hoping to offer some guided bike rides this summer through early fall.

Currently  three trips are on the dock with flexible dates.

  • Seattle to Vancouver Bike Ride (3 days):
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  • San Francisco to LA (6 days):
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  • Banff to Jasper (6 days):
    cycle-ride-jasper

I would love to gauge interest on this – please drop me a note if you would like to join.

I’m also game to host a seminar to go through the biking prep for long rides.

Seattle to Vancouver Bike Ride

imageOff late I have not been posting as much on the blog, I have pending blog post for sister’s visit, bike trip and burning man. But for now I want to make sure I blog about my recent bike trip to Vancouver.

With advent of summer and good weather there is nothing like ride a pretty country side. I have been trying to ride to Vancouver for past few years, but one thing or other led to not getting across the border. Well I guess third time is the charm!

Day 1: We started mid-day (2:30pm) on Friday (July 8th) from Redmond and got to Mt. Vernon covering about 65 miles. For this day I used the directions from recently release Google bike maps and validated them with the Cascades.org’s RSVP ride!

Day 2: We started bright and early on Sat, around 7am and took a straight shot at border after a yummy breakfast in Bellingham and some shopping for forgotten garments.. I must say every time I stop by in Bellingham I feel this place has a calling for me, very relaxing and no frills town! As always the Canadian border folks quizzed me on why I want to go to Canada and yea, do you remember the time when you where sent back from the border since you didn’t have a valid visa – look. Anyways, the ride in to Canada was not as scenic but definitely involved a lot of route finding! We tried to cut up straight and go past Hwy.1 so that we can get on Hwy 7A which is more bike friendly. I loved the water view ride on Barnett (Hwy 7A). Covering about 95 miles we arrived just in time to get a good dinner in Vancouver downtown!! And Congratulations to the real Canadian (Heidi) for making it to her home country on a bike!

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Fig 2. Great food & the scenic ride!

Unlike other bike rides this one had a relaxing day in Vancouver where we went over the downtown, and indulged in arts, crafts, and foods like all Canadians too at the Granville island! May be one of these days I should start a Ten thousand villages franchise in Seattle.

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Fig 3. Granville Island!

On the way back we took a scenic Amtrak ride back to Seattle, and in addition to views saw an interesting design weirdness on the restroom locks, you get extra points if you point out the defect in the comments..

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Fig 4. Views on train ride from Vancouver to Seattle

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Fig 5. The restroom lock puzzle

Please note I have posted a detailed bike route, feel free to compare notes. Next time I think w’ll take the direct Frazer Hwy in to Vancouver.

Day 14: Bhatkal to Gokarna!

Today I arrived in bhatkal at about 11:30am and started to ride to Gokarna. Soon I was great by Western Ghats and the terrain was a a bit hilly than we had encountered so far. But Karnataka seemed more like north India with less but aggressive traffic.

With the heat and windy roady I landed in Gokarna at about 5pm! I did love the ride just hoped the sun was a bit mellow :).

In Gokarna check out the Mahabali and Parvati temple and witnessed another awesome sunset! With a bit of backpacker touch to this holy town I’m loving an interesting western and eastern tourist mix!

Tomorrow its about 100km to Canacona or Mashen, Hopefully I’ll start birght and early and not bake in sun!

Day 13: Allepey to Ernakulam

We started at about 9:30am after getting off the houseboat to Cochin. Since the sun was up and the ride a bit long (about 83km) we got in to Ernakulam at 1pm.

I helped Tullika and Rahul get on their 7pm train to Bangalore from Ernakulam and also made a friend at the railway station.

Since my train was at 11pm i decided to do a bit of more night riding and go check out Fort Cochin. It was awesome to see the spirit of Christmas and New year in this old part of Cochin. It was lighted and had a huge Chrismas tree!!

My train started at about 11:20 pm (on time) to go to Bhatkal. I had a 90km ride the next day!!

Day 12: Amrita Puri to Allepey

We again started bright and early to cover about 80km to Allepey from Amrita puri.

I got to Allepey at about 9:00pm with a 5:30am start and then started scouting houseboats. By 10:30am we had one and after a bit of discussion we settle on it and i got a bunch of beer for us!

Houseboating in Allepey

This might require a post by itself, I’ll add pictures later but this was an amazing experience. Relaxing to the extent that I recovered from my soar throat which had been troubling me for last couple of days!

We had a captain, a navigator and a cook all to ourselves!! It was nice to sit and order food and look at the open water. We saw amazing sunset from the houseboat!

Next on our stop after 21 hours on the houseboat was Cochin aka Ernakulam!

Day 11: Varkala to Kollam to Amrita Puri

We started bright and early (5am) from Varkala to reach Kollam at 7:30am.  We covered about 67km in a swiff, well done team! Opprutunitstically we got tatkal tickets for our train travel on 27th, I decide to train from Cochin to Bhatkal giving me an extra day in Kerala!

We took the 10:30am ferry to Amritapuri and arrived at Amma’s Ashram at 2pm!

Amma’s Ashram

We ha a great welcome by helpful volunteers at the Ashram. We also got to see the dedication and devotion of a couple of western followers we had conversation with! Core to Amma’s teaching seems Love and Service, I liked the idea of service especially her initiative to clean India 2kms at a time! Anyways we didnt have luck getting a hug from her because we couldnt get the tokens neither had foreign passports :(.

A tad bit dissapointment was that the Ashram was not quiet and it didnt portray the theme of love and service that well.

After the day at Ashram we had another early day, this time to go to Allepey!

Day 10: Varkala

The rest day at Varkala was amazing! I woke up late caught and then ate a lazy breakfast lunch and then went for a Keralan Ayurvedic Massage!

Ayurvedic Massage:
I’ll write more about the naunces but my massage was essentially being marinated in oil! It was alrite.

The rest day just flew and we were ready to hit Kollam for going to Amma’s Ashram in Amritapuri.

Day 9: Kovalam to Varkala

After the epic ride to Kovalam, we took wanted to take the next day a bit slow. But we started early but the route to Varkala was long turned out to be good 80km with a varied terrain.

We got to Varkala at about 4pm and then synced with my friends and decided to stay in the same abode. We hit the beach and enjoyed awesome long dinner at Gamma.

After a bit discussion we decided to take the next day as a day off given it was Christmas eve and Varkala had great beach, good friends and hey we needed some well-deserved rest!

Day 8: Kanyakumari to Kovalam

I’ll keep today’s post really short but want to let you guys know it was epic! We did almost 130km starting to go on highway NH47 but later decided to take the coast. The traffic on highway was horrible and the coast had bad roads, but it was amazing biking day. We ended up biking an hour in dark and reached Kovalam at 8pm, got an amazing Keralan dinner at the beach and for a change there are no loudspeakers or horns around our dwelling!!

In Kerala the first thing i noticed is Mamooty replacing Rajnikant on the hoarding and CPM replacing BJP in the rally fliers competition!!

More to come as I get time!! Looking forward to pleasant, commotion less beach now that my pilgrimage is over!