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Seattleites bike tour Salt Spring Island

The Tsawwassen ferry approaches.
The Tsawwassen ferry approaches.Doug Early

Seattle bicyclists have many options for exploring whether by day rides, a quick afternoon or a weekend away. What better way to visit our neighbor to the North than a long weekend bike tour! Five bicyclists from Different Spokes and OutVentures did that recently with a short trip up to Canada’s Gulf Islands. In less than 3 hours, all were at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, where they found ample parking, and were soon boarding the Queen of Nanimo.

Kam Lee bicycles through the Salt Spring Island pastoral landscape
Kam Lee bicycles through the Salt Spring Island pastoral landscapeDoug Early

The Tsawwassen Ferry, a spacious vessel has a capacity for 129 vehicles and nearly a thousand passengers and crew. Clearly, bicycling the islands is quite popular. Numerous bicyclists boarded for the 10:20 am sailing. Shortly, the ferry was plying the waters of the Strait of Georgia among the magical green forested islands. After stops at Galiano, Mayne and Pender, the ferry arrived at Long Harbor on Salt Spring Island at 1:35 in the afternoon.

On Salt Spring Island, the cyclists pedaled to Ganges Campground, a private facility near the village of Ganges. In preparation for camping, they had loaded bikes with panniers, sleeping bags and tents. However, with an array of remarkable restaurants, meals could be in Ganges eliminating the need to load bikes with food and cooking supplies. After setting up their tents in the large meadow of the campground, the five took off to explore the village where they wandered in and out of shops and galleries that displayed works by local artists. Though Doug Early, the trip organizer was quite taken by one of the paintings, traveling by bicycle lent itself more to admiring than purchasing so the friends merely gazed at, mulled over, and critiqued art.

With shops closing around 5, the group chose to reconvene at Moby’s Pub after a return to the campground to freshen up for the evening. Ganges Campground offers free showers as well as wifi. At Moby’s Pub, located on the water overlooking Captain Passage, the weekend cyclists took advantage of the outside deck. The pub is casual with a deliciously diverse menu ranging from pub snacks to entrees such as their 18-hr BBQ brisket with their own house chipotle sauce and an accommodating and engaging staff. Relaxing over local IPA’s and other brews rounded out the introduction to the island’s charm.

Read more: Exploring Salt Spring Island continues

Important oversight should be noted: Salt Spring Island has a full-service bike shop. OutSpokin' Bike Shop has new and used bikes for sale as well as offering repairs. Helpful, knowledgeable and personable, Different Spokes and OutVentures' cyclists highly recommend the service.