There are all sorts of ways to navigate our cycle route this year, all conditional on each rider’s interests, energy levels and whether they want to tackle it all or proceed at a more relaxed pace with a selective strategy.
Our most relaxing, low key loop incorporates the 2012 map’s first five stops, encompassing about 12 km of riding in total and all within an easy pedal of our start/finish line at Edward Milne Community School. Combining these locations with the exciting buzz of activity at the school will add up to a pleasantly full and stimulating day by many measures.
After leaving EMCS, head east for about 1km, turn right onto Kaltasin Rd. at the Sassenos Elementary and follow our trademark white snail road markings to the whimsical oceanfront Blue Raven Gallery. The food and flower gardens here have been established and artfully decorated with recycled finds by homeowner Edith Newman with help from gardner Marlene Barry. Add plenty of elbow grease and imagination, and the result is a truly lovely refuge sited perfectly by the sea. Details count here, including a twig fence, compost system, inspiring touches, a carved portico (pictured here) and other elements that are functional, eye-catching and rooted in the natural environment.
A little further down the road at 2019 Kaltasin, folks who have pre-booked harbour tours at EMCS registration can park their bikes and enjoy a paddle out to sea in replicas of 18th century Spanish longboats with the Sooke Classical Boat Society. Limited to participants aged 14 or older. Learn more in our previous blog entry.
Once back on dry land, return to EMCS and pedal another 3.9 km to the Charters Rivers Salmon Interpretive Centre (via Sooke River Road and short detours on Kirby and Dixon Streets to the Galloping Goose trail). A tranquil forested ride over a trestle bridge leads to a staging area manned by two of our volunteers. Leave your bikes here and stroll down a winding trail to the centre. Visit the salt water aquarium to meet the hatchery smolts, then enter the impressive centre itself to learn about fish habitats and the building of Sooke’s fresh water flowline, constructed in 1911-15. Without the flowline’s liquid gold, local food production would not only be slow, it would be effectively impossible (rainwater collection systems aside). Please note: This stop is open until 12:30 p.m. only.
Retracing your path back to to the West Coast Road, hang a right and cross the bridge en route to the nearby Sooke Region Museum. Here executive director Lee Boyko and Sooke council member Maja Tait will be serving pioneer-style biscuits from a stone oven built by those same flowline workers a century ago. While you’re here, step into the museum (admission’s free) to view local archival treasures, displays and colorful exhibits focusing on the T’Sou-ke First Nation, early pioneer life and Sooke’s 20th century history as a fishing, logging and farming centre.
The final stop on this gentle ride is Sooke’s celebrated community green space, the Sunriver Community Garden. With many of its members dedicated to the evening’s harvest feast (now sold out), riders will be able to pick up a handout and conduct self-guided walkarounds. Volunteers will be on hand at stations dotted around the garden to chat about the garden’s alotment plots, compost station, orchard and more. While there, enjoy a slice of pizza from the cob oven.
From here, head back to the EMCS Collective Transition and marvel at the range of possibilities ahead of us as the values and practices of the Transition Town movement slowly but surely take hold in many of our lives at a grassroots level.
Voila and presto: A full and happy day trip on two wheels for individuals and family groups.