In my first blog last month I introduced myself as a beer writer and event producer who loves to go on bike rides for exercise. After completing the Tour de Victoria’s 45-km ride for the past few years, I am making the jump to the new Christie-Phoenix 60-km ride this summer — a challenge for me since the longest ride I’ve done in recent memory is 50 km.
I find it’s good to have incentive when I go on a training ride. Sometimes it’s as easy as setting myself a challenge or designing a new route I’ve never done before. I don’t like to double back so usually I try to do a loop of some sort. Here in Victoria, the geography naturally leads to some great circle routes. One ride I often do follows the waterfront from downtown around James Bay, along Dallas Road, through Oak Bay and Cadboro Bay and then up to Mount Douglas. From there, I take the Lochside Trail to the Galloping Goose Trail, which returns me downtown. All told, it is a 30- to 35-km ride depending on the route I take.
During May, my Strava app tells me I rode about 170 km, which works out to about 42 km per week, including two rides longer than 30 km. (I would have done more, but I was out of town for a week over the May long weekend.)
This route from May 12 is a good example of the circle route I described above. A highlight was the forced break I had to take when the new Johnson Street Bridge went up as I arrived there. I was impressed by how silent its mechanism was as it went up and down (watch my video here) — and by how pleasant and safe it is to cross compared to the old Blue Bridge with no bike lanes and its not-very-bike-friendly steel grating. I jokingly titled this ride “Long way round to Vessel” because I finished up at my local liquor store, Vessel, to buy myself a post-ride reward.
Speaking of rewarding oneself on a longer ride, my other long ride in May was a new route I tried with the goal of riding past as many of Victoria’s brewpubs and breweries as possible. I rode out to Esquimalt past Swans and Spinnakers. I could have gone past Lighthouse Brewing using the E&N Rail Trail, but since that bike trail isn’t complete yet, I chose to stay on the roads. When Lighthouse opens its new tasting room later this summer, however, that trail will definitely be a more attractive option. Then I took the Old Island Highway through View Royal. It was my first time cycling on that road — although busy with car traffic, it does have a painted bike lane so I felt safe enough.
One potential stop for refreshment was the Four Mile Brewpub about 10 km into my ride. As it is situated on a relatively steep hill it would have been nice to stop there, but apart from pausing to take a photo, I wanted to keep riding. At the Trans-Canada Highway I joined the Galloping Goose and continued along it to Colwood. At that point, I decided not to try to make it all the way to the Axe & Barrel Brewhouse in Langford since that would have added another 8 km round trip to my total ride and also would have involved some non-bike-friendly road travel.
So I returned along the Galloping Goose and detoured into Rock Bay past Hoyne Brewing, Driftwood Brewery and the Moon Under Water Brewpub. I rode past Vancouver Island Brewing and finally stopped for refreshment at the 28-km mark of my ride at Phillips Brewing’s new tasting room. There I rewarded myself with a glass of Phillips’ delicious Tiger Shark Citra Pale Ale — okay, actually two glasses of it — the first one disappeared very quickly!
Looking ahead to June I plan on ramping up my training considerably including some longer rides in the 40- to 50-km range. Since I definitely like to include a reward (i.e. craft beer), one ride I am considering is a visit to Category 12 Brewing in Saanichton, which is a 44-km round trip along the Lochside Trail for me. I’ll report back in a month’s time. Cheers!
Joe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.