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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.