Galiano Island: cycle touring with an infant – impossible or possible?


A comfortable Neil

Cycle touring with an infant: possible or impossible? We decided we’d find out the only way that makes sense: by trying it ourselves. The weekend before this trip we bought a used trailer on Craigslist. “Would he like it?” – this was a bit of a question mark for us, due to Neil’s obvious dislike of the stroller. Over the next week we took Neil for short rides in the city, to the beach and so on, and he seemed to enjoy it.


Bouncy riding down a forest trail

On the following weekend, we set out towards Dionisio Provincial Park on Galiano Island. The first ferry to Galiano leaves at 8:40am, which we deemed “impossible”, given our current late waking habits and instead caught the “possible” 1:50pm ferry. There were lots of other bikers on the ferry. It’s too bad that the ferries cater to and were designed solely for cars, and the bikes are an afterthought. Maybe this will change with time. Despite the late hour, we stopped for ice cream a short distance after getting off the ferry… It was too tempting.

Dionisio Provincial Park is at the opposite end of Galiano Island from the ferry terminal, and involves riding 35km of roller coaster riding, up and down the hilly coastline. The park is supposedly only accessible via the ocean, but based on our previous trip we knew that there are several ways to access it overland. On the way there, we stopped at Lover’s Leap, a beautiful viewpoint, and a rare opportunity to view the ocean from the road, which hugs the coastline but the views are generally obscured by trees. Neil slept soundly until this point, but woke up when we stopped. Maya observed what she called Rule Number One for Cycle Touring with Babies: “when the baby sleeps,  you ride”.


Our tent in the morning – everything was yellow due to the smoke from forest fires

Just to keep things spicy, we decided to take the adventurous way in, which involved a very steep gravel road, riding down a rooted and narrow forest trail, and pushing the trailer up some final steep inclines before reaching the coveted campground. There we discovered a small crowd, including an amusing group of courier bikers from Vancouver, all riding signature hipster bikes and sporting uncomfortable looking messenger bags, with various gear strapped on haphazardly, including a large hula hoop.


Riding out of Dionisio Provincial Park, on Bodega Beach Rd.

We set up our tent right by the ocean. Neil cried a bit before he went to bed, and I began to feel uncomfortable about having the odd five tents so nearby – surely the other people wouldn’t be too happy about it, but soon enough he calmed down. Sometime during the night I was banished from the tent due to some snoring and found a cozy spot overlooking the ocean, where I woke up to the view of a beautiful but ominously yellow sunrise. The sky remained yellow for most of the day, and later we found out that it was due to some huge forest fires.


Lots of bikes on the ferry back from Galiano Island

On our way out we met a group of families with kids who had cycled to Dionisio Provincial Park as well, each on a different type of setup, again proving the impossible to be possible. We broke Rule Number One when we stopped to put on sunscreen, not too far after leaving Dionisio Park. Soon after we zoomed back down to the coastal road on a fun and fast descent, and soon enough Neil was dreaming away, again. We spent a few hours at a beach close to the ferry terminal, before boarding the ferry with at least a hundred other bikers. There were no racks on the ferry, so instead the bicycles were stacked on the side, at least four deep, in order to fit everyone on the ferry. We cycled back to our car, which we had parked on a residential street in Tsawwassen, making sure to pick up an obligatory 10lb box of freshly picked blueberries from a farm stand, just to make sure we’d have a handy snack on the way home. Cycle touring with an infant? Definitely possible.


The view from Lover’s Leap

This entry was posted in British Columbia (and nearby), Cycling & Cycle Touring, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast, Trip Reports, Trips with Kids. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Galiano Island: cycle touring with an infant – impossible or possible?

  1. Peta Kaplan says:

    Looks like good fun! Beautiful view from Lovers Leap.

    When we were in Santa Cruz years back, visiting Oren, there had been forest fires and the resulting air pollution was awful, creating sore throats and runny eyes. Did you experience this as well?

    I particularly like the photo of Maya riding her bike alongside Neil, for road protection presumably. 🙂

    • Gili says:

      Actually, yes, but only on our return to Vancouver. In fact, there was a strong smell of smoke, so strong that we thought that surely the city was burning down… We had left our apartment completely open, so it was pretty smoky. Later I was told that the air quality had dropped so much, that it was equivalent to double the pollution in Beijing, reportedly the city with the most polluted air in the world. There are fires every summer here, but the number and size of fires this year has been way more than usual, due to the hot and dry summer – there are even water restrictions in effect (reminds me of Israel…).

      Yes, Maya often rides behind or alongside us, to protect Neil. Unfortunately, the practice of riding side by side is still illegal in BC, due to a much out-dated Motor Vehicle Act (yes, the motor act applies to bicycles too!).

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