For Vancouver Island cyclists and visitors with a penchant for two-wheel touring, a new book is catching eyes.
Colleen MacDonald has just published her third biking route book Let’s Go Biking, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast.
MacDonald says she created the book she wanted to buy, suitable for all abilities, with a simple colour-coded layout that includes multiple route options and information on one page so it can easily be displayed in a map case.
Always been an avid cyclist, MacDonald’s explorations truly began after she retired and she began to explore maps – another passion.
Curiosity took over — “How can I get there? What does it look like?” — and she would plan routes to explore by bike.
Her blog “Let’s Go Biking” turned into her first book, Let’s Go Biking, Vancouver, followed shortly after by an Okanagan title.
The Vancouver resident expected to need a few weeks to cover Vancouver Island while researching routes. In the end she needed six full weeks.
And while her chosen routes may not be the most direct or the fastest way to get from A to B, they are designed to encourage exploration and sightseeing. She describes them as “little toodles” with time to “stop and smell the roses” or to check out a great café along the way.
The approach makes the guide a fantastic introduction for those new to the sport or looking for some guidance before starting out.
Among the best routes, MacDonald said while in Tofino for a book signing, is the new ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) multi-use path connecting Tofino and Ucluelet through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
MacDonald was thrilled to see cyclists, rollerbladers, wheelchair users, entire families and surfers with their board strapped to their bike, all sharing this path. The route design gets people off the highway and opens up a safe corridor to travel in – a “game changer” for the region. A few years ago she never would have considered bringing her bike to the coast with her; now it’s a must-do.
The community involvement with producing Let’s Go Biking, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast was an important part of its design. Biking advocacy groups up and down Vancouver Island have provided suggestions and revisions to make sure each route is as safe and enjoyable as possible.
“People were not hesitant to share,” MacDonald says. “They wanted others to come explore and find these bike routes.”
Learn more at letsgobiking.net
—Marcie Callewaert Special to the Westerly
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