Last Canadian Port of Call – Sidney B.C.

Day 4 Parksville to Nanaimo 24.61 km

Day 5 Nanaimo to Chemainus 46.32 km

Day 6 Chemainus to Sidney 35.76 km

After a successful and happy camping experience, I cycled to the top of the campground enroute to Chemainus and my front deralier derailed (it kind of blew apart). Ian was able to set me up so that I could ride on the middle sprocket but that meant doing some hills without my granny gears and that and island traffic on the main highway made day 4 a challenge.

In Nanaimo we found a bike store (Arrowsmith Bikes) who sold us a derailer as well as a bottom bracket for Ian’s bike which he noticed was misbehaving around the same time as we arrived in Nanaimo. Their repair department was booked solid but they very kindly let Ian borrow tools and turn their patio into his own mini repair shop. Ian fixed his bike and then began to work on mine late afternoon and learned (very close to bike shop closing time) that we had the wrong derailer. Arrowsmith didn’t have the one we needed in stock. Ian cycled to another dealer close by and no luck. We were told about another shop downtown that we could try the next day and we were prepared to order the part and have it couriered from Victoria if necessary. A kind man, a customer of Arrowsmith Bikes, chatted with us and then volunteered to drive us downtown with our bikes in the back of his pickup (by this time my gearing system was in pieces). We spent a relatively luxurious night at the Dorchester, built in 1891 and bought by Best Western sometime in the last decade; despite the chain management the hotel still retains the charm of an older hotel and we both slept well. Next morning Ian found the right part at a bike co-op on Lois Lane downtown Nanaimo and we managed to get out of town in the afternoon.

Day 5 we cycled from Nanaimo to a campground close to Chemainus. Day 6 we cycled to the Crofton ferry and then onto Salt Spring Island where we cycled the length (Vesuvius where Crofton ferry lands) to Fulford Harbour (where ferry to Schwartz Bay/Victoria ferry departs). The Ganges hill on Salt Spring is as big as I remember…I had to walk part of it. After four days of cycling I was very happy to land in Sidney and take the bus into Victoria for the day to go shopping for bike bits and camping gear. I now have a skookum air mattress and a ton of handlebar tape to help me deal with sore hands I’ve been struggling with.

Friends of ours have a house in Sidney and we are staying with them, in the lap of queen-sized bed luxury, drinking the Garry Oaks wine we picked up at the vineyard on Salt Spring. We’re here until Sunday when we take the ferry to Anacortes WA and begin the trek south through the States.

I’m a bit nervous, hence the insomnia (I am writing this at 6:30 am), as I was surprised at how tired my legs and myself were after four days of cycling in a row and not a huge amount of mileage. However, the bikes are heavily loaded and we are just in the initial stages of getting ourselves into some semblance of cycling condition and I have to have faith that our pace will pick up.

My Kobo finally bit the dirt in a permanent crash the other night when I had just snuggled into my sleeping bag. I said very bad words. I’ve had to buy a new one as the warranty expired a year ago and the ipad is really not a replacement. I have lots of thoughts about Kobo crapping out…I will make sure I share them with as many of the Kobo management team as possible and will look into Open Media and what legislation exists to protect customers from a situation where they have a sizable investment in books but are constrained by digital rights management (DRM) locks on their content put in place by Kobo (and Kindle). It seems to me that if Kobo can’t get their act together to produce a reliable product, they should have to relinquish control over my purchased content when their device craps out. If corporations won’t govern themselves, we lobby for legislation to regulate them. I think forcing Kobo to give me my books without the content lock when their device craps out might force them to make a reliable device…

There are good days and bad days on the bike, and good and bad days off the bike. The trick is to accept the good and the bad, adapt where necessary and carry on. Derailer derailing, not so good. Sore muscles…par for the course Salt Spring Island…as lovely as ever. Good friends and fabulous weather…more thumbs up.

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