Two of the reasons I moved to Victoria were a better cycling environment and to be close to the ocean. It was really hot here today and my office became uncomfortable due my computers putting out lots of BTUs.
So I loaded up my Surly Big Dummy and stand up paddle board [SUP]. I live 4 blocks from the water and if I take a nearby mega-MUP I get a car free downhill ride right to a kayak/rowing club.
The MUP route is a bit longer, but the ride is quite pleasant [old rail grade I think] and the bike parking at the paddle club is really secure so it’s worth it.
You have to pay to launch at the paddle club, but the small dock in the background of the pic above is free so naturally I carried my SUP over there.
I was hoping to have so pics to share from the water, but I forgot my camera in my bike’s frame bag….doh! So it will have to wait until next time. SUPing the Gorge is pretty awesome. The water way is protected from ocean waves and a lot of the wind. For the most part the current was minor with one major exception. The Gorge really narrows under one bridge to the west of my launch point accelerating the water 10x+ normal. I went through the easy way without much problem other than a few nervous moments with turbulence trying to flip my board! On the way back I nearly gave up as I was paddling 110% without making much progress against the current – especially as the turbulent water required lots of steering strokes on top of trying to drop the hammer. I was ready to stop paddling and carry my board around this obstacle when I realized I had pushed past the worst of it and was finally getting somewhere. As soon as I was 10′ beyond the bridge the water was slow moving again and I could make normal progress.
I won’t be taking Sharon past that bridge unless she is looking for some interval training! If you go east from the paddle club you reach the inner harbour which is quite scenic.
Right next to the paddle club is a nice restaurant. So I can see a paddle “date” coming on…=-) Definitely a great way to cool off on a hot day and since it never gets really cold here I imagine I’ll be SUping in winter as well.
The ride home was uphill, but since the MUP appears to be an old railway line the grade is very easy even with a load. Overall it was a great bike/paddle mission that I will be repeating a couple times a week.