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Starting the trip

Photograph of the fully loaded bike with trailer behind leaning against a wall.

I looked at my bike and took a deep breath. This is something I had been wanting to do for a very long time. The trailer was heaped with camping gear and clothing, disorganized from the quick packing job I had just barely completed. Besides the overloaded trailer, the back panniers were also stuffed full with rain and cooking gear, and my sleeping bag was piled on top of that. The front pack was completely covered by the bear can, full of food. I was glad to have the food in front, as it was the only thing holding the front tire to the ground.

The man from the storage company was staring at my gear, still amazed that someone was going to store the car and take the bike, rather than the other way around. They had been incredibly nice in accepting my car into an indoor storage unit though they hadn't accepted cars indoors for many years. Leaving me to ride away without an audience, for which I was very thankful, they left me with my bike, wishing me good luck and requesting that I call in to let them know my progress along the way.

I got on the bike and started down the driveway, the beginning of a short 15 mile pedal to the ferry that would take me to Vancouver Island for the first part of my trip. My legs were surprised at how easy it was to pedal all of the weight, this would be a piece of cake! My arms however were equally surprised, if not appalled, at how difficult it was to keep the bike upright. The tires all seemed to be wobbling in different directions, relying on a great deal of concentration just to keep the bike in line. I pedaled for about five miles before finally being able to look to the side at the beautiful farm fields unfolding ahead. This was not biking in the form that I was used to, but I was looking forward greatly to the strength I would build through the next few months.

I came to the ferry an hour and a half before departure, and used this time to use the solar panels to charge my phone and computer, while repacking my gear to fit onto the trailer without strapping extra items haphazardly on the top. Soon I was on the ferry, perusing the map store on board, my bike stored two stories below with the other passengers' cars. I went to the back to take photos and was met by a man who had biked by me on my way in and was curious where I was headed.

Photo of a ferry crossing to Vancouver Island Two hours later, the ferry arrived at Vancouver Island and my new friend offered to drive ahead in his car, find a campsite and split it with me to see me off the following morning. I agreed, happy to have some help on this first day, allowing me to worry only about keeping the bike upright. The next ten miles were very enjoyable, through fields of golden flowers sprinkled with purple lupines mixed with open pine forests.

This was the perfect first day, the car was safe, the route was short and flat, and I set up camp at a campsite near the beach at the edge of a pine forest, and I wasn't alone on my first night.