Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quadra and Cortes Island bike adventure

Cortes Island is one of the archipelagos known as the Discovery Islands in British Columbia, Canada.  It lies beyond the northern end of the Gulf of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia Mainland.

Out of all the adventures we embark on throughout the year, the one I look forward to the most is our annual bike trip.  Part of the anticipation is the adventure of it but travelling across islands using our own power is what I love best.  Living on Vancouver Island makes island hopping by bike ideal with the numerous small surrounding Gulf Islands.  Laid back lifestyles, quiet country roads, and seeking out the character each island holds is a perfect fit for biking, especially as a family. 

Past multi day bike adventures have included Galiano Island, Denman Island and Hornby Island.  Next on our list was Quadra Island and Cortes Island.  The main focus of this trip was Cortes Island.  The attraction to the island was being able to swim in a fresh water lake beside the ocean and test for ourselves which is better to swim in.  That along with the beautiful lagoons, forests, white sandy beaches, plentiful shellfish, and get to know the self-sufficient people that live on Cortes Island. 
A tour of a working homestead and look at what life is like for the self sufficient people living on Cortes Island. Beautiful home built themselves from trees on the property that were hand milled and crafted to meet their needs.  Property also included large gardens, fruit trees, and animals.
Now, in order to access the ferry service to Cortes, you have to use the ferry service from Campbell River to Quadra then get across Quadra to another ferry that will take you to Cortes.  We chose to ride our bikes across Quadra instead of taking a vehicle, just for the challenge and adventure! Cortes Island did not disappoint! Aside from the relentless hills, we found everything we were looking for.  White sandy beaches, lush forests, decided freshwater swimming is better than ocean, and toured a working homestead.  We also found roadside veggie stands, visited museums and farmers markets, relentless hills (did I mention that?), hung out where the locals do, and had fun showing off our stuff at the island’s skate park. (By the way, every island we have toured on by bike has some of the best skate parks around but Cortes Island, HANDS DOWN, has the best setup!)
Cortes Island has THE best skateboard of any neighbouring islands surrounding Vancouver Island.  Numerous obstacles for bikes and skateboards and for all levels, fantastic graffiti art, an area for street hockey and basketball as well as a picnic area with beautiful natural surroundings.  Great place to kill time!
Some tips on planning a multi-day family bike adventure.
Gear – bikes for everyone (or combination of trailers and ride a long’s for young riders), helmets, and gloves along with extra tubes and the basic bike repair kit and tools.

Accommodation – Camp by using front +/– rear rack & panniers and/or trailer and backpacks for tent, sleeping bags, camping supplies, food, clothing and personal supplies.  Another option is staying  at B&B’s, guest suites, or cabins.

Location – Loop routes ideal, quiet roads, bike friendly trails, point of interest or destination as goal, and a reasonable distance to accommodate level of riders.

Extras – maps, trip itinerary, first aid kit, cash, water, rain gear, and of course, an adventurous spirit!
More photos from the adventure: Quadra and Cortes Island Photo Gallery
Previous blog posts on other bike adventures: Denman and Hornby Island & Galiano Island

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