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Alaska 2006

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Journal for 9-Sep : Ladysmith

Cooked the very last of my food for breakfast, packed up camp and cycled into town to wait for the supermarket to open at noon. When it finally did, I bought so much food it wouldn't all fit in my food pannier. Rolled down to the local park to eat as much of it as I could.

Yesterday had been nice and calm, but today things were back to normal: a blustery northerly headwind.

A mostly flat and basically pretty uninteresting ride to Sodankyla, but I was thankful for all the trees to take the edge off the wind.

Felt awful after my first break. Not sure why, but rode through it and 10ks later felt OK again.

Second break cut very short by swarms of mosquitoes.

Sodankyla a much bigger town than I expected. So much for nothing north of Kemijarvi.

Campground lady promised me cold and rain for tomorrow.

Slept really well. Woke naturally at the right time to make the early ferry to "lower sunshine coast".

Another listing ferry.

After all the ferry traffic left, I had the road to myself for two hours.
Started raining (harder).

Road very hilly, narrow, winding, quite challenging to ride - very physically demanding, very technically demanding in the wet. Occasional ocean glimpses, with the usual lakes and waterfalls etc.

Traffic picked up by halfmoon bay, and reached Italian proportions by Sechelt. Narrow or no shoulders, and lots of trucks, pickups and RVs screaming past my shoulder. Unfortunately a taste of what I might expect further down the coast.

Switched front and rear tyres at the tourist office in Sechelt. Then to save time so I could comfortably make the 3:05 ferry, had Subway for lunch (something I've been avoiding to date- quite wisely too). The rain even stopped.

Nightmare ride to Gibsons. Narrow crappy road with horrendous aggressive traffic. Got abused several times, and spent as much time run off the road as on it.

Grabbed some bakery snacks at Gibsons, and crested the last hill before the ferry to Vancouver to see it disappearing away from the dock. It's no longer summer timetable (from which I'd copied all the times), and the 3:05 left at 2:30 :-( .

Got later ferry. Glad to see the back of the "sunshine coast". On top of my other whinge, I thought this a most unfriendly place. The most common road sign by far was "keep out". My rights on the road (and that of the few other cyclists I saw) were not respected, frequently being cut off, turned out in front of, turned left through etc. And by Canada's lofty standards, it wasn't even all that pretty. Just the occasional glimps of black sand or (more likely) gravel surf free beach.

So overall I was very disappointed with the sunshine coast. Lots of people have recommend it to me, but it was nothing like I'd anticipated. Maybe I should have come 20 years ago. To sum it up, it was shit. Other parts of Canada can be shit too, but that is beautiful shit. This was just shit.

By some miracle I made the almost connecting ferries, and got to Naniamo at 6:45. No campgrounds, but was able to book a motel 25ks south. So just over an hours riding in the twilight/darkness.

While I quite enjoy riding at night, I don't see the point in traveling to the other side of the world to do it. Darkness looks the same the world over. But I've done this bit of road before, and darkness does it no harm at all. Like most roads in British Columbia, this freeway is lined with concrete barriers. At night these can be hard to see, so this road has another safety feature: lighthouses (to warn of the commencement of a concrete barrier).

Cycling became challenging, impossible to see all the debre in the shoulder. Mey 3 little LEDs no match for the lights of the oncomming traffic.

3000 (at least) dormant RVs parked outside Naniamo Airport.

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