The Cycle of Life Tour 2017

Yesterday and today were the days that I sometimes felt would never come: the two days of the Cycle of Life Tour. 200 km over two days on the bike with 80 other people who helped raise money to support Vancouver Island Hospices.

We needed to be at the start/finish line between 7:30 and 8:15 for an 8:30 start. Dad and Ian came down to see me off. Dad drove the Tiguan. The idea had been that my bike could go on the back, but everything was soaked from overnight rain that only stopped at 6:00. We put my bike in the back instead.

Dad and I

Things were starting to dry up, and we were off.

The view as we set out on the Galloping Goose

We rode to Brentwood Bay, where we got onto the ferry to Mill Bay. That was the first of three ferries we rode over the two days. It is a bit of a to-do to get 80 riders on the ferry without obstructing the cars. Generally we were let on first, and then we were the last off.

On the ferry from Saltspring Island

They had refreshment stations set up at each ferry wait, and also in Cowichan Bay and in Saanich, at the mid points of the longest ride legs. The first day was the most disjointed. With two ferry waits and the long leg from Mill Bay to Crofton, there was a three-hour wait for me there. That having been said, the last rider only made it to Crofton about 45 minutes before sailing. That’s some measure of the varying riding abilities of the participants on the Tour. For some, the ride was a fun outing while for others it was pushing them to their limits.

The weather closed in during the ride from Mill Bay to Crofton. At its worst, it was a heavy Scotch mist, dampening everything. I wasn’t happy: I imagined having to camp with everything wet. But the sun broke through while we were waiting for the Crofton ferry. We had the group photo there. At some point there will be a flood of photos of the event on the Cycle of Life Tour website, and I will link to them or share some when they are posted.

Refreshment station at Crofton

At this point, I need to talk about another adventure that was happening on Saturday. After Dad and Ian dropped me off, they took the Tiguan back to Langford and then set out for Swartz Bay in the Subaru. They were going to go to Saltspring Island, and then take the ferry to Crofton and then come back home over the Malahat.

They were lucky, being the last car onto the ferry to Saltspring.

Dad and Ian on the Skeena Queen

They drove into Ganges and found that it was a major farmer’s market day and there wasn’t room to park or breathe. They continued to Vesuvius where they had some lunch. They could watch the ferry going back and forth to Crofton.

When the 2:00 ferry arrived without any green-jerseyed cyclists aboard, they hopped on the ferry and cruised across the water.

I could see from the GPS location of Dad’s phone that he was on the ferry and I watched it approach. I spotted Dad and Ian standing at the front, waving. I waved back and waited for them to offload.

The ferry with Dad and Ian aboard

Dad honked his horn as he drove up the ramp and I moved and gave Ian a high five out the car window as he went by. It was a hit with the rest of the riders. Some thought I was reaching out to an enthusiastic onlooker, while others recognized Dad and Ian from the sendoff in the morning and wanted to know the story why they were on the ferry. It was a great moment, probably the best of the whole Tour.

We got on the ferry, and when we disembarked, we had a choice of a long route or short route to the campsite. I took the long route, which was a rollercoaster or a road for 24 km. At one point, I was starting to be unsure of the route. I hadn’t seen another rider in a while and I was starting to get close to Ganges. It turned out that I was on course, but when I pulled out my phone to get a look at the map, it’s battery was dead. I found that when I use my bike computer with the live connection to the phone, the battery of the phone suffers.

When I got to the camp, my tent was already set up and people were starting to line up for the four showers. The major problem with my tent was that I’d borrowed it from Stephanie, and I didn’t know what it looked like. 🙂 They volunteers were able to tell me where it was on the grid in the field.

My borrowed tent

I showered, and had a drink and then dinner was served. The food was excellent with enough variety that there wasn’t enough room on my plate.

Salmon, chicken, curry, you name it!

The weather was continuing to cooperate, so the meal was lovely. It was followed by the ceremonies and speeches and awards, and then a three-piece blues band hit the stage for the rest of the night. The musical highlight of the night though was when Giuc, the support mechanic, got up on stage and covered some Police songs. He sings in a Police cover band and does a wicked imitation of Sting.

Dining in the great outdoors

Camping is not my forte, but it worked out more or less. At least six solid hours of sleep, but I was up at 5:30. My big win was my Anker battery charger, which did an amazing job of charging my dead phone, bike computer and watch. My big fail was failing to remember to inflate the Thermarest I borrowed from Debbie at work. I was wondering why it wasn’t very comfortable. My first thought in the morning was: “You idiot, you forgot to open the valve to inflate it.” Oh well.

Breakfast, and packing up and then a yoga session and we were on our way.

Getting ready to leave the Saltspring Island Farmer’s Institute

Again, there was a choice of a long or short route. This time it was to the ferry at Fulford Harbour. I took the long route for 42 km, compared to the short route of 20 km. It was a good workout and I felt strong. Crazy rough roads. Stopped at the lake where some people went for a swim, but I chose not to. I made it to the ferry terminal with plenty of time for a sandwich and a drink.

Refreshment station on the dock

We were on the ferry at 11:50 and then it was a winding 45 km along Land’s End Road, West Saanich, Mt. Newton X Road, Wallace Drive and Interurban before getting back onto the Galloping Goose for the last few kilometers. I was riding with a strong group, and we made excellent time. So good in fact that Dad misjudged when we would get to the finish. I rolled in and Dad drove up with Ian a few minutes later. 🙂

We milled around a bit and had a snack and congratulated the riders as they came in, but I was tired and wanted a shower. We got the tent and my bag and left.

Signing out my bag

Then I remembered that I forgot to get my bad weather bag with my raincoat in it. So Dad drove back to the waterfront to get it while I washed up. Thanks Dad… 😌

Thanks to everyone who supported me. The Cycle of Life Tour has raised $133,000 this year and we all helped to achieve that.


The photos from the tour have been posted!

I’m in several. Probably the best one of me is this.

Waiting for the Crofton-Vesuvius ferry

5 thoughts on “The Cycle of Life Tour 2017

  1. Excellent write up, It was an enjoyable day all around. Ian and I had a good trip, he got to see and ride some different ferries. Making contact at Crofton was a bonus. Enjoyed your company these last few days, all is quiet now.

  2. What about the shower? You mentioned it so cryptically in our conversation earlier. I was expecting to hear about a makeshift teepee latrine with a bucket à la MASH. 🤣
    Like I told you before, I’m so proud you did this. It was a very selfless act. I’m glad you had fun and an adventure of sorts. ❤️
    Thank you Dave for taking Ian on his adventure. You really made his weekend.
    I hope the journey home isn’t too fraught with anything. There will be fresh raspberry muffins and a chocolate chip banana bread waiting.

    • The showers were simple: four adjacent doors like changing rooms at a department store. Step inside and there was a shower stall and a place to stand and robe/disrobe and pegs to hang clothes and towel. No shower curtain: the floor was wet and had a drain. Reasonably civilized! Not for the faint of heart, though. Had to stand in line for about 15 minutes before I had a turn.

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