Posted by: Silver | October 8, 2010

Duncan to Saanich

This was another ride that ended up shorter than originally expected, but for a completely different reason. There are basically only two ways to get onto the Saanich peninsula from the rest of Vancouver Island: down the trans-Canada highway, or across the Saanich inlet on the ferry. Having spent a fair bit of time on ferries already, and mindful of my budget, I definitely preferred the former option: even though the route would be around twice as long (80 km instead of 40 km), it would still count as a reasonably ‘short’ day (I generally aim for around 100 km in a day), so having the chance to see a bit more passing scenery was sounding pretty good to me. Until, that is, I mentioned my proposed route to my current and upcoming hosts…

It’s at times like these that my access to local knowledge is truly invaluable: “You really don’t want to cycle the Malahat on your trike” was pretty much the opinion from all concerned. The Malahat, it turns out, is much like The Hump that I traversed on my way to Port Alberni, only worse. It wasn’t so much the fact that it’s a big hill that worried everyone, but the fact that the descent is a narrow, winding, busy single lane highway with a sheer rock face on one side, and a steep drop-off on the other. Apparently, there is a shoulder, but people weren’t at all convinced it would always be wide enough for Ranger (especially as there were once again reports of rumble strips…) and, putting it bluntly, the prospect of a Rock ‘n’ Ranger sandwich could not be discounted. As I’ve mentioned before, drivers have so far been extremely courteous towards me on the roads, even waiting behind me until it was safe to pass if necessary, but if they didn’t actually see me until they came round a corner right on top of me, there genuinely probably wouldn’t be much either of us could do about it.

So I took the ferry.

(PS A tip for any fellow cash-strapped travellers on this route: buy your ferry ticket at the Thrifty Foods store in Mill Bay before heading to the terminal (where there are no waiting or toilet facilities, btw!). Not only can you pay by card, but the tickets are 30% cheaper too)

The mountain I didn't climb: The Malahat, as seen from the ferry on a rather uninspiringly grey day

At least the sun came out eventually, sort of...



  1. Yay for discount tickets, bathroom facilities & swift ferries!

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