Day One: Victoria to Sidney - Grampies Go Lochside (Again) - CycleBlaze

July 11, 2017

Day One: Victoria to Sidney

Once kids are able to ride their own bikes, cycling trips with them are a whole other matter. But up to that point, parents are immersed in the world of trailers, Trail a Bikes, Follow Mes, and Wee Hoos.

For the littlest ones, trailers work well, though the child is sealed away and might not notice that the thing is not actually a car. We have seen name brand trailers at quite fabulous prices, but in our experience even the cheapest ones are quite wonderful. Typically they can fold flat, have good protection from rain and sun, and include a trunk that can hold lots of gear.

Our mainstay for kid trips has been the WeeHoo. This is a recumbent addition that gives the child a comfortable seat in which they might sleep, but hopefully from which they can pedal and help the expedition move forward.

In previous blogs we discussed the WeeHoo and other choices a bit more. For this trip, now with three kids, we considered the new double WeeHoo, but instead we recruited Joshua, who will use a trailer to carry three year old Joseph. The problem then was to fit the kids, with their carseats/booster seats, three adults, trailer, WeeHoos, and three bikes all into one VW van.

The secret to this was the fact that the WeeHoos can fit behind the back seat if tipped on end. In fact, we even had room for two giant suitcases that had little to do with this trip at all!

The WeeHoos fit nicely in the back of a VW van.
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Pulling the stuff out and setting up in Victoria was easy, given that we are very familiar with all aspects of the equipment. It still took a while, though, meaning that at least one adult was needed to watch over the kids while it all happened. Soon enough, we were ready to go!

With the equipment assembled, we are ready to go.
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Evee the Explorer - able to tackle even the toughest routes in pyjamas!
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Dodie rides again (Amelia too).
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Joshua and Joe bring up the rear
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The Lochside presents a rapid fire kalideoscope of city and country scenes. These began to come one after another in short order. With blue skies, fine weather, and lots of other friendly riders on the trail, it was really a fun experience. Except that first:

Sidewalk Rage

My thinking this morning was coloured by the news report and Youtube video of a cyclst struck on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  The  cyclist behind the one that was struck had a GoPro camera running, so there is an unbiased record of what happened. This is in contrast to the inane and self serving comments of the driver who asserted that the cyclist 'threw the bike at him'.

The abuse of cyclists by motorists, road planners, construction crews, and even pedestrians is a source of unending dismay for me.

So that is my excuse for what I must admit was a poor response from me when a situation arose shortly after we set off on the Lochside. The trail passes through a couple of busy intersections within Victoria. Near one of these the cycle way was closed for a block by some sort of construction crew. So we were obliged to cross the street and take to the sidewalk.  On the sidewalk ahead of us were two pedestrians walking abreast. I followed them slowly for a while, expecting them to make way. When they did not, I sweetly (I thought) said "Excuse me".

The result was a tirade from the male half of the couple, to the effect that bicycles did not belong on the sidewalk. "You belong there", he said, indicating the busy city street.

In restrospect I rather wish I had questioned him on whether he was really recommending putting a four year old out on a city street. Or maybe I should have addressed his possible fear of injury from us, bearing down on him at 3 kph. Perhaps he was genuinely afraid of a bicycle on the sidewallk with him.

Instead I dismounted and said "Fine then, now I'm a pedestrian, so GET OUT OF MY WAY. What ensued was a very gentle shoving match. Not a big deal - maybe. Now three hours later, typing this,  it is still clearly on my mind.

Back to the ride:

The evocative statue of a local farmer graces a bridge in the swamp area.
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There are always ducks here
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Trestle bridges are fun, and car free, of course!
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Typical houses in this upscale neighbourhood, in this case including a standard North American camper truck.
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The most anticipated stop on the Lochside is Mattick's Farm. We are old enough to remember when this was still at least partially a real farm, but for thepast many decades it has been reknowned for housing a Tea Room. The Tea Room, in turn, has become less an elegant tea establishment and more a snack bar and especially an ice cream stop. In time, anything can become a tradition, and in the short lives of Amelia, Evee, and Joe it is the ice cream that counts. Two years ago, to kick off what has become the tradition, we snapped a photo of little Amelia by the ice cream sign. By the next year she had grown in relation to the sign. So how about now?

Amelia is now joined by her two siblings in sign -land
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Things have changed since 2014!
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As with most human activity, there is continual research and development. Here Amelia has discovered that the sign has a reverse side, picturing an even more exciting flavour.
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Ice cream prices at Mattick's are roughly equivalent to those in France. And just as our German friends have pointed out, the scoops are quite large.
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This is even bigger than the 5cm estimated by our German friends.
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Today's news in the local paper at Mattick's. There is a state of emergency due to wild fires east of here. Also, someone has drowned on the river near our house. The river is popular for rafting, but almost every year someone drowns in a difficult canyon section.
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Some years ago we bought a fistful of zippered bags at a dollar store in Missoula Montana. Since then we call them "Missoula Bags". Missoula Bags are a secret of a happy bike trip for children. Each child's bag contains favourite small toys that become their lifeline to familiar fun in strange surroundings. Steve also has a Missoula bag which has the same effect for him, except that it is filled with electronics.
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Our expedition uses up 30 feet of parking space!
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After Mattick's Farm, intrepd cyclists can look forward to Mitchell's Farm. Mitchell's does not have a tea room, but they always have some farm produce, like corn, raspberries, or hay. In addition they have recently added a section that makes hot dogs and burgers and fries using small scale methods.

At Mitchell's Farm, unique soft drinks.
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The snack stop at Mitchell's has lots of space for cyclists, and high quality junk food.
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The scene around Mitchell's farm snack stop.
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High quality junk food.
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We are here - at least half way to Sidney!
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Grampies ride with the Paxman's! You can see that Erika and Marvin now also have DaBrim sun shades. Marvin has the fluorescent yellow, same as us, while Erika chose an elegant white.
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Left turn!
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More upscale housing along the Lochside.
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Entering Sidney there are beautiful sea views and nice landscaping.
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Despite the amazing ease of the route, and all the exciting stops, all three kids were totally zonked before we reached the Cedarwood. They did revive well once we were in our room, which was truly ideal for this crew. The Cedarwood had for us a small suite with kitchenette, bedroom, and sitting room. Filled with all you need for cooking and sleeping, it also lacked any knick knacks, musical instruments, electronics, or other vulnerable points when it comes to kid tending.

Amelia does not see our glorious entry to Sidney. Like the other two, she is totally zonked!
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Our room in Sidney is ideal for managing the kids.
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Not only are there these two beds, but also a big fold out.
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With this kitchen and the nearby grocery, we are set!
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I was soon able to go off on one bike into the town of Sidney, and to quickly return with several meals worth of groceries. It was just a little like my ideal for a European town, where things are quickly at hand just using a silent and efficient bicycle and with no parking issues.

Tomorrow we will take those bikes and explore the town, hitting the aquarium and other high points, like the seaside playground. This day had been really idyllic, with sun, sea, and really pleasant cycling. And yes, I have (almost) forgotten that jerk on the sidewalk!

Today's ride: 23 km (14 miles)
Total: 23 km (14 miles)

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