Hello Canada: Vancouver City & Island

After a last night in Seattle, we took the train to Vancouver. And this one was very comfortable and the best, it even had free Wifi. Only the speed wasn’t that great… However, we made it to Vancouver and after a bit lengthy immigration procedure, we also made it into town.

We only had around a day to spend in Vancouver and therefor decided to go to the Grouse Mountain. The journey with the cable car almost felt like at home; maybe because it was constructed by Garaventa, a Swiss company. Up there, we visited the two Grizzlies Grinder and Coola. They lost their mother around 10 years ago and were found by humans which brought them to this place. Ines saw them als babies but they got much bigger in the mean time. I hope that we won’t meet Grizzlies on our tour through northern Canada and Alaska…
In the evening, there was a cycling race going on in the city, which we had to see, of course. We also recognized, that it is really difficult to take good pictures of such an event.
On the next morning, we took the sky train and bus to the ferry terminal for going to Vancouver Island. First, we planned to cycle to the terminal. However, we recognized that this would be around 35 miles and figured out, that we wouldn’t make it till Vancouver Island in one day. Luckily the public transport system in Vancouver and also Seattle is really great for transporting bicycles. You can bring your bike on most trains and buses and it’s free (no additional cost for the bike). We reached the terminal without any problem and took the ferry to the island.

Vancouver Island
Originally, we planned to camp near the ferry terminal. However, because it was still early and the weather was good, we kept cycling straight to Victoria. For that, we used the great bike path system. Unfortunately, this one ended just north of the city (or we just didn’t find it) and we had to cycle further on a very busy and pretty narrow highway. We were very happy, when we finally could leave it again… However, the issue with the traffic stayed for a longer part of the journey and we had to leave several time the road and drive of the shoulder because trucks and cars were passing us so fast and closely… The island wasn’t as idyllic as we expected. Or at least the main road wasn’t and we didn’t have the time to drive off it that often. In the north, it finally got better and we had a great time at the Discovery Passage/Browns Bay (where they have a hot tube with a gorgeous view) and also at the almost wild campsite at Nimpkish Lake. Before reaching the north end of the Island, we made a small detour to Telegraph Bay for watching whales. This was recommended to us by an older local motorcyclist and he was right. On our Whale watching tour, we saw several Orcas, also a Humpback whale and a wonderful rainbow. And then there was also a bear.
We knew that there are Black Bears and also Grizzlies on the island. We therefor always paid attention, where and how we stored our food. This was not always easy because a lot of campgrounds are not really prepared for visitors without a metal vehicle, e.g. most places do not have bear boxes for storing the food safely. However, at this day, we were cycling pretty relaxed because it was our last day cycling on the Island. Ines was already a bit a head, when I cycled up a small hill and suddenly saw a smaller black thing at the right edge of the street. First, I thought it was a cat. But for this, it was too big. A bear! What should I do now? First taking a picture because it was not that big and not really aggressive. However, I had a hard time to take a picture because I was so nervous. Shortly after, it was gone. And then I got aware of Ines. She passed by the Black Bear by only around 10 feet when it was peacefully eating berries next to the street… That’s why the bear is bigger at her pictures…

That was Vancouver Island for us. Now we are taking the ferry to Prince Rupert and from there further to Juneau and Haines. So we are making a lot of miles by ship for speeding up things a bit. However, till Anchorage, it will still be around 900 miles. And those will be much wilder than what we had till now. Hopefully without any Grizzly interaction…

All the best from Prince Rupert,


PS: Check also the Gallery with a lot of new pictures.

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About Stefan

I'm a telecommunication engineer by profession and like to discover the world by bike. I think, that it is the perfect speed to move but still be in touch with the world and the people which live there. And I'm very happy, that my wife Susanna is joining me now on those adventures. If you are interested in other journeys we did so far, please also check my website www.biketravel.net. Stefan, Switzerland

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