The Pender Islands Tandem Tour

IMG_20140803_102911283_HDRPender tandem ride

Every summer, in the recent history  of our tandem, we like to go for a little Gulf Island tour.  The Pender Islands were this year’s destination for a day…

IMG_20140803_102925309Scenic beaches are the reward for endless steep hills–a feature all the Gulf Islands have in common. (Pender’s hills were the steepest yet; in 32 miles of riding we did 3,847ft of climbing!)

It’s always good to find a beach and sack out for a bit on hot pebbles just above the water’s edge…

IMG_20140803_104439224_HDR    And in the resting to find a few souvenirs…


No cycling trip is complete for me without a little walk-about as well…IMG_20140803_110628039IMG_20140803_110650604





IMG_20140803_111211313Islands have such beautiful vistas… Pender’s were no exception.









Essential to every island tour is finding a place to swim… We took a little hike off-road and found Roe Lake—a quiet little gem, though a little murkier than our ideal.

It was just the place for napping (Jim) or sitting and staring into space under dragonfly surveillance…while lily pads, like slow-motion bumper cars, jostled in the light breeze and a fisher bird dived with a splash onto the lake’s placid surface.

IMG_20140803_145435395_HDRdragonflyroe lake

And of course, eventually we overlooked the possibility of leaches and slime and scary ‘what if’s’ and took a refreshing and rejuvenating dip!




Then upward and onward to complete our island circuit…

IMG_20140803_163212585_HDRcabin by the bay



A 40-minute ferry ride carried us back at day’s end to Vancouver Island…where we grabbed a bite to eat, and drove nearly downtown to park and  pedal to the 25th annual Symphony Splash in Victoria’s inner harbor…

It is a sight to see, as daylight wanes and thousands merge to fill the streets and plaza around the water, in which a barge hosts the Victoria symphony for an evening of music.  IMG_20140803_201345145_HDRIMG_20140803_201527111_HDRIMG_20140803_204721873

The 1812 Overture is the grand finale, complete with canon fire and climaxing in fireworks.  It is a spectacular event.


The final thrill is to make our way through the dispersing crowds and pedal off into the night at high speeds to our parked van.  It is a great thing to have a strong and brave Captain to take me on such adventures!

And because I trust his judgment, I am talked into climbing the Malahat the following day!


Up and over we go!  The high-speed ride down doesn’t last nearly long enough to make up for the sweat and muscle power required for the way up!  But I can say I’ve done it!


We take the loop by way of the Mill Bay ferry back around and into Victoria the ‘easy’ way…with of course stops for lunch and snacks and water… and even a murky swim!  It is a long day.


But because I have a great Captain committed to my well-being,  I remain…

A happy stoker,

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. I John 3:1






















He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom.8:32

Looking back at Three Hundred Miles…

Well, it has been quite the vacation…a fitness vacation for sure.  We logged just over 300 miles in just over a week’s time and are now on the ferry home…Today, some clips from the journey in which we found not only beautiful wide open spaces but also the joy of touring them in the company of like-minded others…

Bellingham and beyond…

Every once in a long while you must stop by the road and consider another point of view…

cow noseP1110432

This was a long day for me, my longest to date—72 miles of pedaling across hill and dale, with and without company—P1110433P1110449P1110458P1110460P1110464



It concluded in an unexpectedly beautiful way,  huddled with 3 other tandem teams in an upper room of one of their homes overlooking Bellingham Bay, watching fireworks across the water…having shared not only a ride, but wonderful hospitality, a summer’s supper and a long walk getting to know each other. Such was the delightful day #2 of our tandem vacation!

Then off to Portland and surrounds…


There’s this amazing feature of cycling that enhances any food eaten, making even a 7-11 hotdog something worth raving about!  When you need food it tastes so good!




We passed many farmland miles.  I couldn’t get enough of snapping photos on the go…



And then we found this great bike shop…


…and spiffed up our ‘kit’ with memento jerseys and matching helmets…


…before heading back to Canada-land.

Heading home via Victoria…



One last ride around town…


…before packing it in to head home.


It’s been quite a vacation!


Oh LORD my God, you have accomplished many things; you have done amazing things and carried out your purposes for us.  No one can thwart you!  I want to declare them and talk about them, but they are too numerous to recount! Ps.40:5



It was magical (as in surprisingly wonderful and unexpected!)–What better way to end a day of pedaling up and down hill and vale than with a refreshing dip into a warm lake to freshen up, followed by an easy ride down a fine bike path in the cool of the day…into the heart of Victoria, the inner harbor.  We rolled into place, our tandem bars making a handy roost in a standing room only crowd, just minutes before the stirring anthem began…O CANADA, of course.



We were about to be treated to our first experience of Victoria Symphony SPLASH!, an annual event put on for the people of Victoria, and hapless cyclists passing through!


The custom-composed “Inner Harbor Overture” opened the concert utilizing horns of boats big and small throughout the inner harbor.  Delightful!


Day faded slowly into night as the symphony wound its way through classical and popular works—Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Liszt, a John Williams tribute, and Star Wars music—to the grand finale, the 1812 Overture complete with a real live cannon and concluding with spectacular fireworks!


What could be more magical than that?  How about walking back through the throng to an open space, mounting our tandem and pedaling off at high speed into the inky darkness, down a smooth windy trail, (finding ourselves following another tandem stoked by ‘old people’. How likely is that!)  back over the little wood harbor bridge…and back to our waiting vehicle (after a little detour, a little getting lost trying to find the right street, a little of the less ‘magical’ nitty-gritty of real life)…

And what sweet summer’s night would be complete without a soft-serve cone at McDonald’s?!

The day was a splashing success and lives on in our memories to buoy up the ones where you wake with a stiff neck, devoid of enthusiasm even for having fun…(like today?)  Thanks for joining me for this re-lived memory of last week’s adventures.