Spring Break week was awesome! We’re all exhausted, sunburned, and happy to be back home. What better indicators of a successful vacation?
Following is a quick-ish recap of the week, with miles and bikes tallied for 30 Days of Biking at the bottom. See all the pictures in the Flickr album–warning, mostly kids (the human kind) and kids (the goat kind), but also lots of bikes.
Saturday, April 11
The only biking the first day of Spring Break was a trip with the kids on the bike to the grocery store to stock-up on snacks for our camping trip. Despite Alyssa carrying lots of our gear to the campground in her van, we still had quite a bit of stuff to bring with. I loaded the bike Saturday night since we had to hit the road at 6am. Clockwise from upper right: rollie bag of raingear, two backpacks of kid clothing, Ikea bag of snacks, the sleeping pad I couldn’t find the day before, and blue bag of my clothing.
Sunday, April 12
Kids and messenger backpack added to bike and we were out the door, just 20 minutes behind schedule. The Victoria Clipper was great and uneventful. It’s not cheap, but it’s amazingly convenient!
Once in Victoria, much of the 22-kilometer ride to Goldstream Provincial Park Campground was along the Galloping Goose Trail. The highlight of the ride was probably getting to watch a guy training his dog to ride a skateboard. It was only the dog’s second attempt and we thought he did a pretty good job, considering.
Our route took us along the south side of Langford Lake on the Ed Nixon Trail which was all gravel and on a Sunday, filled with dog walkers and joggers–and one guy on a cyclocross bike. Two spots were a bit too steep and as I lost momentum, my overloaded bike tipped to the side. The kids opted to walk after the second toppling and while there were no steep spots after that, it certainly was a lot easier to ride minus 90 pounds of weight. I’ll soon post a more detailed post about the routing to the campground.
It was a long trip, more slightly uphill than down-, but soon enough we arrived to the park, met the camp host, and found the playground where we hung out for a mere 30 minutes before our friends arrived by van via two ferries and a bit of driving. And with them came our bikes, tent, and sleeping bags! My mountain bike ended up being merely my “campsite bike” but it was still fun to tool around on a sub-75-pound bike as much as possible.
Monday, April 13
On Monday I hung with the kids at the campground for four hours while Alyssa and Dave biked into Victoria to shop for supplies at Canadian Tire (I’d never heard of this place before, sounds awesome!) and MEC (I like to call MEC “The Canadian REI”). The kids and I filled our time with a lot of bike riding, ball playing, slug finding, and picture drawing. It was fairly cold and drizzly so we ate lunch in the large heated bathroom and hung out in the van before it felt too small and Thunderdome-like.
That evening, Dave discovered the trick of using his bike floor pump as a bellows for the campfire. Brilliant! And the kids loved patiently waiting in line to take turns. They plan to always camp with a floor pump now.
Tuesday, April 14
We rode back into Victoria, this time along the north side of Langford Lake for more busy roads, but passable gravel to meet up with Eunice of Growing up Bike on her Xtracycle FreeRadical and Amanda on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner. We had arranged to meet at the Switch Bridge, where the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trails meet. We were a bit early and checked out Recyclistas Community Bike Shop right there and fell in love with the place.
We biked to the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary to check out the various creatures indoors and the walk the trail and feed ducks outdoors.
After we biked more and lunched together, the kids and I braved the shopping mall by the Switch Bridge and I entered a Wal-Mart for the third time ever for the essentials: s’mores supplies, potato chips, tortilla chips, gummy bears, drawing paper, scented markers, and 10 minutes of free wifi. The American Dream…courtesy of our friendly neighbor to the north.
Shortly after we arrived back to the campground, we were joined by our third family of family bikers, Brad and two kids, who also came by van with normal-sized bikes while cargo bike stayed at home in Seattle. This brought our numbers up to four adults, six kids, 12.5 bikes (the half bike is a Burley Piccolo trailer bike).
We were low on a couple staples so I borrowed Alyssa’s Surly Cross Check to ride up the hill out of the park to the grocery and liquor stores. She just swapped her drop bars for Surly Open Bars (same as I have on the Big Dummy) so it felt like a sprightly Big Dummy. Adults got beer and kids got Kinder Surprise (illegal in the US, A-OK in Canada!) and order was restored. And I got to add another bike to my monthly bike tally.
Wednesday, April 15
Wednesday saw we 10 campers on 9.5 bikes for a short ride to one of the trailheads.
Then the kids and I rode bikes around the bigger, closed-for-the-off-season, campground loop. I got to do a bit of a loop alone with my newly eight-year old during which we took a pleasant snack break and discussed slugs, salmon, and bears.
Later we hitched a ride in one of the vans (I’m a bit disappointed to not have kept the trip car-free, but it was nice to be a passenger!) into Langford to play at a playground, have birthday sushi dinner, and pick up a birthday cake.
Thursday, April 16
Thursday marked four days of sleeping in a tent. This was a record because previously I’d only camped one night at a time since having kids. Woo hoo! But we ditched the tent for the last night in favor of a hotel in Victoria.
All this went home in one of the vans. Now I understand supported bike touring!
Our light load consisted of a big bag of snacks and our three backpacks containing our remaining clean clothes.
We met up with Brad and kids at Recyclistas where I bought stickers for the kids–5 stickers for $5!–and they looked in vain for the big shy fish in the fish tank. We biked to Beacon Hill Park where we hung at the petting zoo long enough to see the goat stampede. It was amazing!
We got caught up in horse-drawn-carriage traffic on the way out, but that’s probaby par for the course in Victoria.
Brad and his kids headed home, Alyssa, Dave, and their kids headed farther north to camp one more night, and my kids and I hit the hotel swimming pool.
Friday, April 17
Friday was more proper eighth birthday celebrating. We started the day meeting up with local family bikers at a coffee shop and then all got a tour of the Victoria Police Department, courtesy of Community Mike (he has a Surly Big Dummy, too, which you can see half-way down my post from last summer, Victoria, BC with family bike).
He even arranged for his coworker to come by with his motorcycle, though we had to wait while he ticketed someone across the street on his way in. The kids found this awesome, of course.
And then an RCMP motorcycle officer happened to drive by and let the kids sit on his motorcycle, too! Very fun, though I’m worried the kids now prefer motorcycles to bicycles.
Once we learned everything there was to learn about policework, we rode bikes to Cook Street Park, where the zipline was sadly in for repair, but the kids still had a blast. This is Eunice on her Xtracycle FreeRadical, Amanda on her Xtracycle EdgeRunner, and Kristy on her Bullitt.
Amanda’s husband arrived a while later on his Xtracycle FreeRadical making five cargo bikes total!
We caught the Clipper home at 6pm and I enclosed the kids in the full Hooptie for the first time (oh, half-a-Hooptie blog post coming at some point soon), figuring they’d fall asleep on the way home.
We got home at 10:30 and they slept a bit on the way, but an accidental sleep headbutt led to some punching and crying so we’ll have to figure out sleeping positions if we expect to be out so late again.
Saturday, April 18
It was nice to come home on a Friday night and have what felt like a bonus weekend of Spring Break staycation. This meant we got to attend a friend’s fifth birthday party at the Olympic Sculpture Park beach and since they couldn’t carry all the party supplies on their mamachari, I got to help haul stuff, which is my favorite thing ever. We also carried what was left of the party back to our friend’s house and I was able to retrieve my road bike. I’d been lending it to a visiting Detroiter, but since I left town a day earlier than she, I arranged for her to drop it off with my friend. It seemed to all work seemlessly.
I hadn’t carried a big bike with both kids since swapping the Yepp Maxi seat for half-a-Hooptie and things are a little different now. My five-year old was very mad (as you can tell from the picture) about having his space invaded, so I’ll have to figure out a better system next time. I’ll probably have my eight-year old sit sidesaddle.
Sunday, April 19
And on the last gorgeous day of Spring Break, we hit our favorite beach, Golden Gardens. The kids rode their own bikes and just when I started thinking, “Wow, maybe I don’t need to bring the cargo bike because they can ride the whole way!” my five-year old stated he couldn’t manage any more pedaling and had to hitch a ride for the last little bit.
The beach was awesome and the bike rack was full. As was the parking lot, but I don’t find that as worth noting. Someone burned part of the jumping log which is a shame, but it still works fine.
Heading home we had about 20 swaps between “I want to ride on the mamabike!” and “I want to ride my own bike!” by the five-year old, but thankfully he wanted to hit the last hills home. And my eight-year old had learned about zig-zagging up a hill on the camping trip so he made it up more quickly than usual. The five-year old on his 16-inch single-speed bike is a much better hill climber than the eight-year old on his 20-inch seven-speed bike. And as you can tell from the vantage point of my picture, I am the slowest hill climber of the family.
30 Days of Biking stats
Miles biked Saturday, April 11: 1.6
Bikes biked Saturday, April 11: 1
Miles biked Sunday, April 12: 22.9
Bikes biked Sunday, April 12: 1
Miles biked Monday, April 13: 1
Bikes biked Monday, April 13: 1
Miles biked Tuesday, April 14: 29.9
Bikes biked Tuesday, April 14: 2
Miles biked Wednesday, April 15: 1
Bikes biked Wednesday, April 15: 1
Miles biked Thursday, April 16: 16.7
Bikes biked Thursday, April 16: 1
Miles biked Friday, April 17: 9.3
Bikes biked Friday, April 17: 1
Miles biked Saturday, April 18: 13.2
Bikes biked Saturday, April 18: 1
Miles biked Sunday, April 19: 13.8
Bikes biked Sunday, April 19: 1
Miles biked cumulative: 284.2
Bikes biked cumulative: 6
That looks like a fun trip! I’m intrigued by the half-a-Hooptie idea. My younger son is still in a Yepp seat on the back of our Edgerunner for now, but I’m all about collecting ideas for when he graduates to sitting on the deck.
I think Clever Cycles in Portland sells lots of bikes with half-a-Hooptie (and here I thought I’d invented the concept!). I think most buyers are saving money by not going for an extra set of U-tubes–the unused Hooptie rail works as a step to climb aboard. My reasons for wanting the rail off are so I can use the deck much like before: I can easily sit or stand on it myself, a kid can hop off quickly to run to the corner and push the walk button at intersections with no loop detector for bikes, and the kids can climb off and on as easily as before. So far, so good!
Sounds like you had an awesome Spring Break! Hope you enjoyed your whole trip up in the Great White North. It was awesome to meet you in real life!
Awesome to meet you, too, Lisa! I cannot wait to come back!
I want to go there so badly. One of these days…
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