Ferries and bikes

Trip Start Jan 09, 2004
Trip End Jul 14, 2004

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, February 22, 2004

After our unpleasant introduction to Vancouver Chelsie and I moved to the Global Village hostel which was a breath of fresh air. It was a great place with super friendly staff and most importantly no odour. I convinced Chellsie to tolerate a dorm room since we were in a less dodgy part of town, so we met two girls, Stacey, a fellow Australian, and Helen, a Brit, who were our roommates. Stacey has just arrived in Canada from Australia and so Chellsie and I were eager to share our advice and experiences. It was interesting listening to Chellsie, a self-confessed country girl, rave about Calgary and all it has to offer. And no, she wasn't talking about the Stampede.

After a couple of days of exploring together we decided to catch the ferry out to Vancouver Island to see what there is to see. So we all hopped on the boat and basked in the sunshine, something it's not easy to do outside of BC at this time of year. The whole point of going to Vancouver Island was to hit the wilderness, so on advice from the hostel staff we decided to rent some mountain bikes and ride around Sooke National Park. We rented the bikes for $25 a day from the Sooke cycle shop, which was well worthwhile. Let me mention something here - I am not a cyclist. The last time I got on a bike I was very small, and it was all pink with a basket on the front. Nor do I like bikes at all in general. Being a city person I prefer to keep intact, not risk being taken out by a truck. Everyone else however were keen cyclists and so horse riding got outvoted by the cheaper option.

I had a really, really fun day, and surely improved my fitness, but at some expense. When we first rented the bikes I couldn't even stay on the bloody thing let alone ride up a hill. Luckily after a bit of practice I got the hang of it somewhat, and everyone knew this wasn't exactly my thing and were very patient and understanding. Had Chellsie not been the caring and sensitive girl that she is I'm sure she would have laughed at a couple of my 'incidents'. That's if I weren't bleeding so much. Being the car-fearing city-folk that I am whenever we approached a traffic bridge I decided the best idea was to get off and walk across. Unfortunately my stopping skills weren't crash hot, so when a bridge came across us rather suddenly I decided I'd take my chances with the dirt and gravel rather than risk ending up under a car.

It really was a great experience though, and we got to cover a lot more territory than we would have on foot. We saw some waterfalls and a whole lot of forest, no bears or elk unfortunately. We stopped at 'the potholes,' a picturesque part of the river where mini waterfalls led to indentations in the riverbed, and had a picnic lunch. It was a beautiful day on a fantastic holiday, one of those memories I'll cherish forever.
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