Posted by: locaphile | March 29, 2012

Biking the Lochside Trail to Victoria, BC

Living in Maple Ridge makes it really easy to enjoy biking but after a while the routes can become not as interesting as they once were.  This past Sunday we decided to set out to southern Vancouver Island to test some new bikes.  We had heard good things about the Lochside Trail that joins Schwartz Bay to Victoria.  After some research we realized just how easy this was going to be.  We were dropped off in the bike zone at Tsawassen ferry  terminal for our 11 o clock ferry to Schwartz Bay.  Bikes have to cycle back to pay where vehicles do, but it is quite easy to get on board.  You wait with the passengers and then you either board first or last depending on the layout of your ferry.  There is a zone for bikes and multiple places where you can lock them up.

After a pleasant journey to the island we were directed off the ferry with the rest of the passengers and bikers.  This is where the fun really began. Finding the Lochside Trail was straightforward.  You stay in the bike lane that is offered and once you come out of the terminal you will see a sign that clearly shows the beginning of the trail.  In the beginning you will have to follow alongside highways and roads, but for the most part it is a separate bike lane that offered ease of mind.  Initially we were a little disappointed as the trail travelled to the seaside town of Sidney where we had been before.  However, there were some beautiful beaches and where we stopped and looked around.  Halfway along the trail we realized why it is so celebrated.  We has moved more off road and  into the rural farm land of Vancouver Island.  There were large fields, and we even went by a herd of deer.  The scenery was truly fantastic!

The trail took us around three hours, with frequent stops.  At one point we came across a model airplane flying club, and stopped to watch the planes fly around us.  I found that the most frightening part of the trip was the last little segment, and I would definitely suggest walking it.  You come out onto a fairly narrow and busy road in Victoria, where cars are not supposed to pass cyclists.  This added a lot of pressure, and most cars narrowly passed us.  We were staying at the Hosteling International Victoria Youth Hostel, which was right around the corner.  We hadn’t realized this at the time of our booking, however it really was a stroke of luck as we were all tired.

On the way back we grabbed sandwiches at a little grocery store.  We were planning to catch the one o clock ferry, however, halfway through I began to panic because I didn’t know if we would make it.  We pushed through with a little time to spare and managed to catch the ferry.  The new bikes and equipment worked out wonderfully.  After a long ride home we were happy to be back in Maple Ridge.

Overall I would say the Lochside Trail is a fantastic option for people of all biking abilities.  It is, for the most part, quite flat and manageable.  The way it is set up makes it quite family friendly and Victoria is a fantastic city to explore.  I would suggest carrying on along the Galloping Goose trail if you feel up to it.  It is an older trail, but it is supposed to be quite beautiful as well.  Just like in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Port Coquitlam on the dykes and other trails, it is a pleasure to see the countryside without worrying about being run off the road by cars and trucks.

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Responses

  1. Wow this looks fantastic! I will definitely be checking it out!

  2. I agree, maybe we can do the trip together?

  3. Great description of the Lochside Trail. May try it if spring ever comes. Sounds much easier than the route I had to take about 10 yrs ago which had endless long hills and was all highway.


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