Day 1: Cobble Hill to Vancouver - Grampies' Road to Ruins - CycleBlaze

January 4, 2018

Day 1: Cobble Hill to Vancouver

Some of our cycling ideas seem good and logical until we actually do them. That's how it was when we decided to cycle the Pacific Coast in December, a few years ago. At that time, after running through our usual fruitless mental search for a warm place to cycle, we decided to pedal out of our driveway and head South. Gotta be warm in the South, right? The result was several weeks in continual cold rains with the temperatures near freezing. Shell shocked Grampies did make it to sunny California, but it was not fun. In future, we'll stay out of freezing rain, we told ourselves.

This morning was not totally comparable to weeks of freezing rain, but it was  close, or I would not be thinking about it. But hey, it was not even raining, just freezing. Plus, in another of our logical decisions we got up at 5 a.m. and left in the pitch dark, 6 a.m. That part was just mathematics - so long to get from our house to the Mill Bay ferry, so long from that ferry to the next ferry - at Swartz bay, and all in aid of getting to an airport hotel in Vancouver in time to grab 5 hours sleep and leave at 3 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight.

Cold and dark on the Road to Ruins
Heart 4 Comment 0

It was all logical, but we began by somehow pedalling too fast, so we arrived at the first ferry and hour early. That earned us the chance to stand in the cold for an hour rather than cycling in the cold. Cycling is actually better. On the way I was glad when we came to the nice warming hills!


Dawn comes to the Finlayson Arm (ferry crossing)
Heart 3 Comment 0

Crossing the Saanich peninsula, between the ferry docks, we got colder and colder. That was another logical decision - you can not really bring your down parka on the bike when your destination is tropical Mexico. Same with heavy boots. But by the time we reached Sidney we not only could not feel our sandaled feet,  but they were sending us "watch out for frostbite" signals. So we stopped at McDonald's. Result: we just barely made the ferry to Vancouver.

The ferry is  where we are right now, looking out at the beautiful but wintry Gulf Islands. It's the same every time we leave on a trip. We look at the beautiful islands and wonder why we are going.  This time there is an easy answer, supplied by the tingling in my toes as they continue to recover  from our little morning ride.

Welcome to Vancouver
Heart 0 Comment 0

After the rough start things definitely went our way. At the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen the bus was waiting, and with its up front bike rack vacant. After the bus, we rode quite easily to the Accent Inn, where the desk clerk was very welcoming. She invited us to roll the bikes into the lobby, had no problem about storing our backpack for a month, and verified that the hotel has a shuttle every 1/2 hour, with room to carry our bikes. Plus, our room was big enough to swallow a whole fleet of bikes. Not only that, it had a bathtub - best for rewarming frozen cyclists.

It all meant that we could prepare the bikes to fly (turn bars, remove pedals, change brake lever angles, remove lights and mirrors) very calmly in the hotel room. Around 3 a.m. we will bundle them into the shuttle and soon see if the airline really just roll them on, as promised. With any luck, we will be able to next report from warm Cancun, in bright sunshine!


In Europe, Knoppers are our #1 anti-bonk food. Our friends in Leipzig know that and sent these as part of a Christmas package. We might have to eat these right now, though, in case they would melt in Mexico.
Heart 4 Comment 0

Today's ride: 38 km (24 miles)
Total: 38 km (24 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Sue PriceGlad to see you made it! So far so good!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Bill ShaneyfeltLooking forward to your warm adventures as I sit inside with today's high hovering around 11F here in Dayton, OH.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago