Monthly Archives: June 2013

Pre-tour Tour – Sunshine Coast and East Coast of Vancouver Island

Touring the Sunshine Coast, a Pre-Tour Tour

Amazement!  That seemed to be the prevailing reaction from people to whom we explained our intentions of cycling across Canada.  Then, bewilderment seemed to be the prevailing reaction when they learned that Joyce and I were prefixing a week’s tour up the Sunshine Coast.

Good friends, Doug and Ann Oliver, delivered us to our airport motel, but not before a pit stop for supper at Tuckers Marketplace, the perfect venue to pre-load for our impending tour.  The following morning, Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, our Air Canada flight got us to Vancouver without any problems.  Gage Residence at UBC allowed us great accommodations for the night, convenient eateries, and a place to re-assemble our bikes.  UBC has expanded since we were last here in 2009 and is continuing to expand although the concrete structures, which dominate add nothing to a once pretty campus.  Jet lag and a busy day “forced” us into bed by 8:00 pm.  We did manage to get everything in order for next day’s departure.


Pictured above:  Joyce and Dan sated and ready to go

After breakfast the next morning and a re-check of supplies and bikes, we departed for Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.  The Lions Gate bridge sure is high.  My propensity for taking pictures had us concerned about getting to the ferry docks over hilly terrain on time.  We barely made it, then enjoyed a hundred minute rest.

Our undulating ride before the ferry was only a taste of what was to come.  My first mistake was going into Gibsons instead of following the main highway.   We had to climb a hill out of Gibsons which dwarfs anything in Muskoka.   Our doctor and cardiologist should be relieved to know that our hearts were equal to the task.  Once we pulled up the corsettes to support our rib cages, our hearts remained in place.  The balance of the day to our Madeira Park B&B was hilly, also, but fine, scenic riding.DSC_0034_01

Pictured above: Joyce sucessfully ascended the hill from Gibsons


Pictured above:  Dan northbound on the Sunshine Coast

The morning of Friday, 14 June, a breakfast of good food and conversation fuelled our ride to  Earl’s Cove ferry docks with time to spare taking no chances again.  After that forty minute crossing, we were back on the bikes to Powell River, a pleasant ride.  We were a couple hours early for our 5 o’clock ferry crossing to Comox, a time to vegetate over coffee and munchies.

The reason, primarily, for our Sunshine Coast tour was to meet with good friends, Stu and Heather Mackenzie.  We didn’t see them at the pre-arranged assembly spot at the Comox ferry docks, so we pushed on.  Not five minutes of riding and a van passed us slowly with Stu’s beaming face framed by the van’s open window.  Stu and Heather had arrived.

For two nights, we relaxed in their beautiful abode overlooking the water.  The comfort of their well designed and finely appointed home, a credit to Stu’s craftsmanship, was only outdone by their great hospitality.  One evening’s supper was a fresh catch of salmon and halibut, a fine meal.


Pictured above:  Dan , Joyce, Stu, and Heather; terrific view behind is what you see from the living area of their house

Sunday, it was mighty tough to leave the comfort and hospitality, but we had to leave to maintain our schedule and arrive in Victoria to meet up with our summer, cycling group on Tuesday, 18 June.  We started by playing tourist at the Qualicum Beach classic car show.  Awesome!  The following, two day’s ride on route to Victoria were not great along the Island Parkway, very 401-esque.  We rested well during our B&B stays in Nanaimo and Mill Bay on route.


Pictured above:  ’66 Mustang which would look good in my driveway

Tuesday, a cycling-friendly bike ride into Victoria followed the short Mill Bay to Brentwood ferry ride.  Our motel was convenient and comfortable.  The evening meal at Don Mee’s Chinese Restaurant in, wherelse, but Chinatown, served up a great meal both in quality and quantity to end a great day.  A special treat was meeting Karen and Kevin Martin from our 2009 tour.

At 8:30 am., Wednesday, 19 June, our cycling group congregated at “Mile’0’” in Victoria.  The cameras clicked feverishly, everybody wanting a momento of the beginning of a classic, arduous journey.  We did the wheel dip close by, then headed eastbound for good.  The ferry and bike shuttle navigated those barriers, the Georgia Strait and the George Massey tunnel, in succession.


Pictured above:  “Mile’0′” group ready to head for Vancouver


Pictured above:  Joyce and Dan performng the traditional wheel dip, front wheel Atlantic-bound

The Wednesday evening supper at Mahoney’s Pub on campus helped to further connect the group.  Orientation the following day familiarized us with what would become the summer’s routine.  In spite of the day’s length, sleep did not come easily likely due to anxiety overload.

By 6:00 am., we had arisen for final preparations and a breakfast of cold cereal and eggs at the truck.  Then, off to the Museum of Anthropology the group proceeded where the traditional group photograph was taken.  Once done, like disturbed bees from a hive, we Tour du Canada cyclists were on our way.


Pictured above:  our riding group for the summer with Dan and Joyce front row right

Introduction Tour du Canada 2013

When Joyce and I tried the cross-Canada trek in 2009, I opened our blog as you see italicized below.  Other than being four years further along, little has changed in the 2009 preface.  An “over the bars” accident prematurely ended our tour in ’09, which happened to be progressing so well.  The resultant, broken, right clavicle has healed well.  St. John’s, Newfoundland is again our objective, of course with added incentive.  We’ll do it this time!  Upon completing this trek, I’ll have satisfied my “bucket list” since in July 2010, I enjoyed a terrific, memorable canoe venture down the South Nahanni River in the NWT in a group of eight guided by good friend, Bill Lawson.

Our Grandchildren now number five, Chris’ two boys, Jack and Noah, and Robert’s two girls, Mackenzie and Mya, and one boy, Myles.  Besides being blessed with a great family, we didn’t want to delay our trip any longer since we continue to be blessed with good health.

“For the past ten weeks, Joyce and I have been training using a training programme from a book, the Complete Guide of Long Distance Cycling by Dr. E. BURKE and E. PAVELKA.  The programme is “heart rate” based, and seems to be of the theme “work smart, not hard”.  That suited me just fine since I had no idea how I should prepare for such a rigorous adventure.  In the end, our preparation racked up about 2500 kilometres, the longest ride being about 140 kilometres.

The obvious question would be, “why?”. The obvious, simple answer, “Why not?”

When I was a wee lad in the late fifties, the thing that I wanted most in life was a bicycle.  My parents resisted my desire, due to the traffic, in the 50s no less, for quite a while.  But, I was in the hospital for an unknown malady (likely tonsils since I’ve had them out), and my parents must have missed me.  When I arrived home, a brand new, red, 1-speed CCM two-wheeler was at the foot of my bed. I was ecstatic, and frustrated.  Another week’s bed rest was ordered by the doctor.  For a whole week, I had to look at my new mount.   I eventually got out, and onto the bike.  It didn’t take long for me to “spread my wings”, and enlarge my “sphere of influence”.  Days of riding to places like Rest Acres, west of Brantford, for a day of swimming, and lunch with a couple friends became the norm.  There were few places I went without my bike.  I even went so far as to suggest to my Dad that I was going to ride to the cottage some 310 kilometres distant.  That suggestion elicited a quick, profound “No!” from my Dad.  So ended my thoughts of cyclo-touring, at least, temporarily.  My teen years, my fascination with cars, and wanting to be with the “in-crowd” in highschool diminished my interest in bicycling.  My parents even sold my trusty steed pretty much purging my life of the bicycle.

In 1980, the Ontario Provincial Police moved me and my family to Huntsville where I embarked on a career in policing.  The government replaced our  decrepit detachment in 1983 with a modern, well-equipped building, including locker room and showers.  Being a new family and having a new career, we made do as a “one-car” family.  Joyce, being the compassionate woman she is, advised me to “suck it up, and get riding” when she left with the Boys for a visit to Brantford in the mid-eighties.  That set the precedent.  For the remainder of my career, the next quarter century, I normally rode my bike, walked, or ran to work, the short distance of five kilometres.

As time went on, I became more interested in riding my bike farther.  In ’96, I bought my first road bike, a Bertrand, which was “made to measure”.  With the road bike came an avid interest to cyclotour.  Books, magazines (Adventure Cycling, mainly), and general conversation with like-minded people convinced me to get going. I did.  It wasn’t long before Joyce started to question my interest.  I gently coddled her with some short, “credit card” tours increasingly taking bolder steps.  It wasn’t long before we were touring fully loaded, most notably the Erie Canal, and Quebec City to Ottawa, great tours both.

Leading up to my retirement, it became quite evident that there were two priorities on my “bucket list”, one being the “Tour du Canada”, a ten week bicycle tour of all ten provinces starting in late June.  Joyce just couldn’t comprehend being separated for two months.  Coupled with the fact that she’d talked to other female veterans of the tour, Joyce made the monumental decision to accompany me on this epic trek.  Her big concern was leaving her responsibilities at home, primarily being a Grandmother to her three Grandchildren. A tough decision! 

The training started in earnest in early April.”

kids scan










e-mail tour announcement

2013 TdC

Family and Friends:

Finally!  Joyce and I finished our training yesterday with a 150k ride.  Our training has improved our fitness level to smoothen Muskoka’s hilly terrain, eliminated pounds (Joyce has curves again), familiarized us again with the PB&J diet, and trained our bikes to turn into all ice cream joints.

So, it’s “do or die”.  Heavy on the “do”, please!  After ten weeks of training using a schedule from a reputable source, Joyce and I are confident that we are as ready as we can be short of “race ready”.  We’ve got 2000+ kilometers in our log, and we haven’t even started.  We appreciate our Families’ support.  Fred and Greg at Muskoka Bicycle Pro Shop have been instrumental in getting the bikes in top shape for a trouble free venture.  Krista MARWICK did a terrific job of massaging to keep our bodies supple.  And, Dan FINCH of Computer Tech improved my blogging proficiency so that family and friends could follow our quest.  Of course, we thank all who bid us “best wishes”.

We are travelling with the tour group, Tour du Canada, whose interesting website is .  Have a gander.

We leave Huntsville Tuesday, 11 June afternoon for our flight Wednesday morning.  I’ve organized a pre-tour tour following the Sunshine Coast to Powell River, across to Comox to visit a friend, then down the east coast of Vancouver Island to meet up with our tour group in Victoria on 18 June.  After congregating at “Mile 0” 19 June in Victoria for obligatory photographs, we proceed eastbound for a day’s orientation at UBC.  21 June, finally, it’s “game on” as we head eastbound for St. John’s, Newfoundland where we arrive 29 August.  The days begin with somewhat low kilometers (ie: 70 – 80), then by mid-trip, we are into bigger kilometers (150 – 180), regularly.  Gulp!

Attached here is the website address for our “blog”.  I got terrific help from the aforementioned Dan FINCH, who has an enviable grasp of the computer.  Once I get the hang of it, entries will be simple, and should be easier with practice.  Should there be any problems on my end, me being only superficially computer literate, Dan has generously invited me to seek his expertise.

It’s incredible the number of people who wanted to have the address to monitor our progress across this huge expanse of land called Canada.  So, here it is.

I’ll make entries when possible, likely rest days, which occur regularly.  There are a lot of variables involved daily, most notably the length of the day in the saddle, and my level of fatigue.  If anybody feels that we should be making entries daily after a 180 km. ride, I invite you to join us, then take dictation at the day’s conclusion.

It would be nice to have days of 20*C, cloudy bright, with tailwinds, most cyclist’s dream.  With our experience on bikes, we know that won’t happen, at least, not regularly.  So, we’d be happy with, and are looking forward to, a great experience with no or minimal, body breakdowns.

Have a safe, enjoyable summer.  As the song goes, “Oh, we’ll see you in September”.  With all our exercise, we hope that you’ll still be able to see us, too.


Joyce and Dan