For the September long weekend, Emily and I decided to have car-free adventure on Salt Spring Island, using our bikes and public transport to get around. It was cheaper not having a car and a lot less stressful not having to worry about ferry reservations but it was hard work biking up all those damn hills.
We stayed at the bike-friendly Duck Creek Farm. We were planning on tenting, but we couldn’t resist the chance to stay in their cozy bus. We were able to travel lighter without camping gear and we stayed completely dry.
The bus was a unique experience. It took a bit of detective work to figure out where to “check in”. Once we finally found the owner Sue, she commented: “I should really give better directions, but I figure if people were meant to be here they’ll find their way”. Sue is a true hippy and a lovely lady. The bus didn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside was really comfortable – with a double bed, a well-stocked kitchen and gas stove, hot water for washing up, electricity, and mood lighting.
Biking around Salt Spring Island was ok. The hills can be a challenge, especially when you’re on heavy city bikes loaded with gear, but it’s manageable. The infrastructure on Salt Spring Island is really varied and inconsistent. There’s a few sections with bike lanes painted on the shoulder or separated gravel paths, but they never last for long. Most of the time you’re sharing the road with fast moving traffic. We logged over 50 km biking riding from Duck Creek to Ganges, out to Beddis Beach, and to the ferry terminal.
Ganges is a great little town. The Saturday market has lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared food, and local crafts. The whole town is compact and walkable, with lots of great restaurants and stores along the waterfront. We had good dinner at the Tree House Cafe. We wanted to try out The Gathering Place (a cool looking tapas place with a huge selection of board games) and Rawsome Living Foods, but both had really limited hours and were closed whenever we wanted to eat.
The hardest part of the trip was probably getting to/from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. It’s easy to take your bikes on the Canada Line to Bridgeport, but from there you’re competing with a lot of other cyclists for 2 bike spots on each infrequent 620 bus to Tsawwassen. We were lucky on the way down to have a bus driver allow us to carry our bikes onto the bus, as the front rack was already full. On the way back we had to wait an hour before we got our bikes onto the third bus.