It was the most exhilarating riding I’ve experienced to date: rolling hills at every turn, challenging uphill routes followed by heart-pounding downhill speed — foggy side streets and misted faces, and wrong turns on the map that provided delightful coastal finds. Due to the travel constraints of the pandemic, with airlines grounded and ever-changing local restrictions, I was introduced to a new way of exploring—by bicycle.
On this particular weekend, my partner and I strapped our gravel bikes to the back of the 4Runner where we took a short ferry ride to British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, a beautiful coastal community tucked away in the Pacific Northwest. We had one goal in mind: spend a few days exploring on two wheels. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to invest the time, gear, and energy required for more strenuous bikepacking or long-distance touring trips, it’s now high on my list of future adventures.
“It was the most exhilarating riding I’ve experienced to date: rolling hills at every turn, challenging uphill routes followed by heart-pounding downhill speed — foggy side streets and misted faces, and wrong turns on the map that provided delightful coastal finds.”
Bike travel is surprisingly delicate. Adding any extra weight to your bike should be considered with care, or you may end up cursing yourself with each pedal stroke. It’s a balancing act of bringing just-enough-but-not-too-much water, snacks, spare parts, and warm clothing for the day. With apprehension, I opted to pack my heavy film camera. I kept it tucked in the zippered bike bag, at easy-access within arm’s reach.
Traveling on a bicycle slows everything down. The challenging physical aspect provides an opportunity to become present with the ups and downs. The views and unexpected adventures make up for tired legs. Time slows, you notice the subtleties of your surroundings, yet you can still travel great distances and access locations you might not have otherwise.
“Traveling on a bicycle slows everything down. The challenging physical aspect provides an opportunity to become present with the ups and downs.”
The photographs taken on this adventure are meaningful to me. I will admit, I spent a few years prior feeling the pull to travel away from home—a foolish sense that adventures are only accessible in far off destinations. These images represent the excitement that comes with exploring a place for the first time. Even the most mundane of sites or objects provide a sense of magic to the newly acquainted.
Bike travel isn’t easy. There are moments of frustration, struggle…and dehydration. You need to be patient and it takes longer to get from one place to another. But the benefits outweigh any negatives, like climbing to the top of a giant hill with ocean views forever. Stumbling on a coastal road lined with old cabins. Or, a day full of pedal strokes to new towns tasting the local fare. You don’t have to travel far—jump on your bike and see what you find along the way.