Cycling with a kid

Cycling has always been an important part of our lives. Before Oliver, Tanya and I would ride a lot. This all started to change when Tanya was pregnant. With Oli on the way, riding a bicycle became more difficult for her and long multi-day rides were out of the question. This was our summer of 2012.

In 2013 we hardly cycled, and we knew this would happen. You can’t really cycle with an infant and we didn’t. In the fall of 2013, my parents bought him a Bobike City Mini (handle bar mounted bike seat) which we tried a few times, but ultimately Oliver still needed to grow into it.

One of our first rides in 2014.

2014 is the year we took to our bicycles. Oli was the perfect size for the Bobike seat. In the spring we started to take small trips around town. Then I started to pick up Oliver from daycare on the bike. We were hooked, a way to ride to work, pick up Oli and get exercise. We then tried cyclo-camping and we were having a blast.

On the ride home from daycare.

The Bobike City Mini

Oli lives to ride. Sitting on the front of the bike he likes to point out the things that he sees. He get excited about cars, trucks, bikes and dogs. Although a little uncomfortable for the me, the handlebar mounted seat does an amazing job at keep Oli in the action. The trick with riding a bike with a handlebar mounted seat is to slow down and enjoy the ride. Lower your seat and submit to the scenery, take your time and ride a little bow-legged.

Riding on the Galloping Goose trail headed downtown.

The one issue with the front mounted seat is naps. There isn’t the support that the trailer has, so you have ride with a floppy kid in front of you. This happened for the first time this weekend, he would flop around, first off my right forearms, then head back on my chest, off to the left and finally forward. If a kid needs sleep, he get it, as uncomfortable as it might look.

Oliver, fast asleep while on a ride.

Bicycle trailer

For cyclo-camping, we bought a used chariot to tow behind us. It works great for longer trips, you can store gear in the trailer, keep Oliver out of direct sun light and let your child have a somewhat normal nap (at least compared to the handlebar mounted seat). I think Oliver likes the front mounted seat the best, but for longer trips, the trailer is the best.

Stopping for a photo at Langford on our way to Goldstream.

One of the great advantages of the trailer is that you can ride a bicycle normally. There is no Bobike seat to hit your knees on and you can push yourself to catch a ferry or to get home as quickly as possible.

Back on the saddle

It is nice to have a focus on the cycling again, I am hoping that we will continue to focus on our bicycles in the future. As Oliver grows from a toddler to the next stage, our needs from our bicycle will change and I am looking forward to it.

Posted from New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
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Camping on Sidney Island

Sidney Island is an amazing place to visit, with many beaches and a spit, the island is definitely worth a visit. The northern part of the island is protected by the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Walking around Sidney Spit

Getting there

From the boat on the way to the island. It looks like it is going to be a good weekend.

The Apline group runs a water taxi that takes passengers to the island. There are no roads or cars but there is a well developed network of hard packed pathways. There are a lot of sandy beaches, a day use area with picnic tables, a campground with pit toilets and a forested section. The water taxi is about $20 per person for a return trip. Since there are no cars on the island, you can only what you can carry. I would imagine the lack of car access and the cost of ferry limits the number of visitors that are willing to make the trip.The low numbers makes for a very enjoyable, chilled out experience, especially if you are camping.

I was glad to see these wheel barrow here. I was expecting smaller one with one wheel.

Luckily, there are a few large wheel barrows to help move your gear from the dock to the campsite. You can pack a lot of stuff into these wheel barrows and I wish I knew that before we left Sidney. We packed light thinking that the transportation situation would be worse on Sidney Island, you could easily bring a cooler.

Oliver loves things with wheels, cars, bikes, trucks and wheel barrows.

The beaches

There are many beaches on Sidney island. We did go to every beach, but the beaches that we did go were covered in sand and were really enjoyable. Oliver had fun with buckets and shovels and we enjoyed watching him play.

What happens if I cover mom with sand?

The spit itself is nothing short of amazing. During low tide you can walk the full length of the spit, which is longer than a kilometre. The weather was great and we enjoyed walking down the spit.

Walking down the spit at low tide, feels like you go walk forever.

Peaceful Evenings, beautiful mornings

The evenings at the campground were very quiet. There are about 10 campsites and everyone that was camping there was quiet. After Oliver was asleep, Tanya and I enjoyed the peacefulness and watched the sun going down.

The boats moored in the distance.

In the morning we did our usual camping routine and then we headed to a nearby beach to eat breakfast and enjoy our coffee in the morning sun while Oliver played in the sand.

Oliver doing his thing.

Great place to camp

We enjoyed camping on Sidney Island. The close proximity to beaches and the beauty of the island make this a wonderful place to camp.

Another view of the spit and the algae that grows on parts of the beach.

Posted from Sidney, British Columbia, Canada
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Cyclo-camping at Lopez Island

After successfully cyclo-camping twice, we wanted to to try something a little more challenging and a little more interesting. So we decided to Lopez Island a try. Lopez island is part of the San Juan Islands in Washington State. I always enjoy visiting America, excellent beer, slightly different culture and always a new experience.

Getting there

The San Juan islands are serviced by the state ferry system, which has a ferry terminal in Sidney. We boarded on Saturday morning and starred into the grey horizon. The weather was forecasted to improved day by day, and Saturday was pretty ugly.

 

Second thoughts? The view from the ferry, luckily this was the last of the horrible weather for the weekend.

Unfortunately there is no direct ferry to Lopez from Sidney, we had a three hour lay-over in Anacortes. We went into Anacortes while waiting for the ferry to pick up some lunch (Anacortes is about a 30 minute ride from the ferry).

Awkward lunch in the parking lot, the weather wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either.

We boarded the Ferry to Lopez at 5pm and we were at our campsite by 6:30, which is typically when we start putting Oliver to bed.

Arriving at Lopez Island

Walk in site at Odlin

We booked the site about a month before going, and there were only 3 site available for our stay, they were all walk-in sites (which was great, we had our bikes). The website said they we’re private with views of the ocean. The site was private, there were people on either side and we barely noticed them.

Our campsite, private with views of the ocean.

The private nature of the of this site meant that trees blocked a lot of the sun. And being close to the ocean, this was a cold place to camp.

Mornings at the private campsite. It never got warm here, look how many steamy pots we have on the go.

On our second last day we moved to an open site right on the ocean, which was much warmer (due to exposure to the sun) but far less private. Life is full of tradeoffs, and this is no different.

Our campsite on the beach. More sun, more heat, more light. Much better

 

The Odlin campsite was decent. With 3 out-houses and a few taps for water, this campsite is more on the rugged side. There are no showers or sinks but there are nice fire pits and picnic tables. If you frequent BC Parks, you will soon realize just how spoiled we are. Overall, I would be happy to stay here again but I would try to get a beach campsite for more sun exposure and easy access to the beach.

Riding on Lopez island

A great experience!

There aren’t bike lanes or paths, but you don’t need them, the locals are friendly and give cyclists a lot of room on the road. The island is flatter than other island I have been on and can find a few areas with consistent tail winds. I can’t think of the last time of have seen so many bicycles, seriously, there are a ton of bicycles here, but I think most if the riders are tourists.

Tanya and Oliver eating lunch in the village.

The village is a pleasant place with a couple grocery stores, a few coffee shops, and a bakery. The people of Lopez seem to have chosen a chilled out lifestyle which emphasizes local food and bicycle riding instead of chain stores and cell service.

A serious focus on cycling, all over the island.

I love it here, if they had a good disc golf course, I just might move here.

Another success

This trip was another success, we can enjoy a car-less multi-day camping trip. I wouldn’t call this touring though, we had a base camp, and we would do day trips from the base camp.

Oliver, do you want to go cyclo-camping?

Touring with a toddler presents two challenges.

  1. The distance you can cover is limited (kids don’t want to be in the chariot for hours and hours).
  2. The combined task of packing up a campsite and looking after a toddler is really hard, we want to minimize this part as much as possible.

Having fun at sunset, the pyjamas tells you we had at least one failed attempt to put him to sleep.

I think this home base style of cyclo-camping is the best way to go for us with a toddler. When Oliver is able to help pack up a campsite and can be more apart of the experience (instead of Being in a chariot) we will likely have more success with touring.

Oli is asleep, fire is lit, I have a beer and we are enjoying the sunset.

I am looking forward to our next camping trip.

Posted from Lopez Island, Washington, United States
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Shamping

Yes, we shamped:

Camping where any inconvenience is rectified by driving to the nearest store and purchasing whatever will make yo[u] more comfortable.

From Urban Dictionary

Calling delivery for Boston Pizza while at a provincial campground doesn’t make me proud, it did allow us to have a great dinner though, and at the moment, that made sense.

Have you have ever done this?

Posted from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Look up

Arriving at the camp site and looking up. Goldstream is pretty nice and in the shade the temperature is perfect.

Posted from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Even Tanya agrees

Tanya isn’t one for black coffee, but she found to make a coffee suitable to her tastes. Not bitter but very rich.

Posted from
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Having fun in the woods

Oli loves being outside and camping is a great to be outside a lot. Here he was having fun in the woods.

Posted from British Columbia, Canada
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