I have the Accuweather (short for “accursed weather”) widget on my phone, with Victoria set as the default location. When I tap on the temperature display, I can swipe left to view the current conditions in my old home city of Montréal. Around this time of the year, this action is supposed to validate my decision to run away from the frozen wasteland that surrounds the Saint Lawrence River.
Instead, it was Montréal that got to enjoy a month of balminess while I found myself sealed inside my waterproof breathable jacket for the entirety of September, all while on vacation!
On the 14th, Yann and I welcomed a Briton to British Columbia. Before his arrival, I told our guest, Ed, that Victoria was a lot like London. Victoria has double-decker buses, English pubs, fish n’ chips, and the Union Jack waving everywhere. You can’t walk 50 metres without seeing the Queen’s portrait somewhere.
“You’ve never been to London, how would you know?” Ed asked.
I grew up watching Mr. Bean, which obviously makes me an expert of all things London! But, let’s not focus on my misconceptions of London: Ed was about to have his preconceived ideas of Victoria ripped apart.
The first one being: Victoria in close proximity to Vancouver. This is only true if you’re able to shell out the $200+ it costs for a one-way flight with Harbour Air (seaplane). Ed had to pull an overnighter at Vancouver International Airport and then catch a charter bus to the ferries. I got live updates from Ed throughout his journey to Victoria. When his ferry passed through the narrow passage between the Southern Gulf Islands, he exclaimed, “TREES!” A few minutes later, he added, “Why did you ever leave BC, you twisted fucker?”
Additional Ed Scoble quotes include:
“YOU GUYS HAVE TOUCHLESS CAR WASH?”
“You guys are more obsessed with our queen than we are.”
“So many white fences.”
“Why do you guys have Elizabeth May all over the place?”
“So many trees.”
It was clear he was going to be an easy-to-entertain guest, which was a good thing considering how soggy it was going to be for the duration of his stay.
He had come prepared for a solid two-weeks touring the island by bike. We started him off with an overnighter on Salt Spring Island. The forecast given by Accursed Weather was looking iffy, but we decided to do it anyway. I needed to experience cycle touring in rainy weather at least once. Yes, up until the Salt Spring Island overnighter, I had never really travelled by bike in heavy rain!
No big deal for Ed, but problematic for me as I have Raynaud Syndrome which causes me to be hypersensitive to cold weather. Coasting downhill at 40+ km/h on a fully loaded bike while barely being able to see through the wet lenses of my fogged up eyeglasses, all while relying on rim brakes was unnerving.
Ed was relying on weather forecasts from different sources: DarkSky and WeatherPro. On day two of our Salt Spring Island tour, WeatherPro suggested that there would be a short period of heavy showers in the morning. Immediately after exiting Ruckle Park, we ducked underneath a BC Parks shelter to wait for the heavy rain to pass.
Tragically, the more pessimistic forecast given by Accursed Weather was more accurate. Rain trickled down the back of my calves and into my cycling shoes. We were trying to get from Ruckle Park to Long Harbour where a hot meal cooked up by Ed’s relatives awaited us. 23km of pushing down on the pedals in squishy shoes.
This 3½ minute montage by Ed will give you an idea of whether this trip was worthwhile:
Salt Spring Island Overnighter from edscoble on Vimeo. No captions because there’s no dialogue: just heavy breathing and raindrops, probably.
If you didn’t have 3½ minutes to spare to watch the above video: Yes. Yes, it was worth it.
To be continued…