No Sailing Wait…Pick a Pedego!
By Ruby Berry
It was the best invitation – a lovely weekend on Bowen Island, with great friends, great food, swimming, lazing around in the meadow, camping under the stars. Idyllic, right? I love camping, but I’m a comfort bunny. I bring my thick foamie, good bedding, my own tent, etc.
As I consider my options, the journey becomes more daunting and I question whether it’s worth either dragging a load of luggage on and off two ferries each way, or sitting in hot parking lots through 2 sailing waits. You would think the answer would be obvious, since I spend as much time as possible on my Pedego, but sometimes the obvious takes me awhile. We have a Stretch! A cargo bike that will carry 400 lbs. Even my camping gear isn’t that heavy. And it’s fun to ride!
What a delight to arrive at the ferry terminal in Nanaimo. Bicycles are first on and first off! There are secret (to me, till now) gates for bikes and wheelchairs and maybe strollers – the wheeled set; and bike racks on the ferries. The cost is $2.00 per bike per ride, rather than $50+ for a car. I saved over $150 taking my bike instead.
Upon arrival in Horseshoe Bay, it was easy-peasy going from my arrival berth to the next one over to wait a few minutes for the ferry to Bowen Island, after purchasing my ticket on the first boat. The ferry service has made it super simple for bikes to ride, as it turns out, but it wasn’t easy finding out how to do it before leaving. Communication about bikes on board by BC Ferries could be improved.
First off the boat, along with fellow cyclists, I flew up the steep hill that seems ubiquitous to ferry arrivals on the islands. No problem. I even made it to my destination before my car-bound friends (no traffic for me). The bike unloaded became an extra weekend entertainment, as well as getting a couple of us to the beach and back each day, and I had all the luxurious camping gear I wanted.
Homeward bound, I was a bit disappointed to learn that I would have a 2 hour wait in Horseshoe Bay between ferries. I could eat of course, and wander the beautiful shore, but 2 hours? Riding out of the terminal, I realized – duh – I’m on a bike! I can go anywhere. I spent a wonderful hour or so exploring the heights and backroads of Horseshoe Bay, periodically catching glimpses of the (very) long traffic lines waiting for the ferry after the one I would be on.
Back on the big island, I hopped on my bike and rode to north Nanaimo on the wonderful E & N trail, connecting to the Parkway trail. Bike fully loaded, passing sauntering roadbikes, exhilarated that the journey was as much fun as the destination. The weekend with my friends was fantastic, as expected. The bonus was how great, and easy it was to travel by Pedego Stretch! How to have the most fun getting to where you’re going? Pick a Pedego!