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Cycling the Goose Spinning My Wheels on Vancouver Island Story by Michael Wicks

I

was talking to a friend recently about playing hooky from work and going on a full-day cycle trip - something that would take us away from the daily grind and give us a mini-adventure. We discussed many great places, most however involved an hour or so in the car before reaching the start point. It was then I remembered we had something on our doorstep that fit the bill perfectly. Isn’t it funny how easy it is to forget adventures that are available right on your doorstep?

40

The heartbeat of Cascadia

Photo by John Espley

The complete Galloping Goose rails-to-trails route runs from downtown Victoria to Leechtown, an old gold mining town, the ghost of which is hidden beneath a covering of Scotch Broom. According to the official guide published by Capital Regional District Parks, the trail is 34 miles long but some websites peg it at 37 - perhaps it just feels that long if you’re not wearing padded cycling shorts! Although every part of the Goose, as it’s affectionately called, has much to offer, Laurie and I chose to cycle the section from Glen Lake, a small suburb of Langford (just a mile from my front door), to the stunningly beautiful Sooke Basin and Cooper’s Cove in East Sooke. Every kilometer of the trail is marked and our miniadventure took us from kilometer marker 18 to 42 and back, a 30-mile round trip. Riding the trail, it’s not hard to imagine how it was back in 1922 when the Galloping Goose gas powered passenger train car first trundled along, making its way to Leechtown. It ran twice a day and carried 30 passengers and mail, but once the gold rush became a bust, its days were numbered. Today, if you listen really hard on the quieter, lonelier stretches of the trail you might just hear it whooshing along, or is that just the wind in the trees? The Goose is paved closer to Victoria, but the section we’re riding, which travels through historical Metchosin farmland then skirts Matheson Lake and Roche Cove before heading to the Sooke Basin, is packed gravel and cinder. One benefit of routes created from abandoned rail tracks is that the gradient was built to accommodate trains and is therefore quite gentle - an asset for part-time adventurers like us

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Profile for John  DOnofrio

Adventures NW Magazine Spring 2016  

Celebrating our 10th year, Adventures NW is the region’s favorite outdoor recreation, sports and lifestyle magazine, focusing on all the ar...

Adventures NW Magazine Spring 2016  

Celebrating our 10th year, Adventures NW is the region’s favorite outdoor recreation, sports and lifestyle magazine, focusing on all the ar...