Bike around on Vancouver Island with Island Joy Rides

See what up! editor Deb Cummings found when she went for a spin with her teenaged son

You want warm? We got warm. You want active? Consider it done. You want easy but a memorable adventure? Think about a bike ride for two. Not as in tandem but a four-day, fully-catered spin on Vancouver Island with Island Joy Rides.

  • Hot Chocolates

    The Comox-Courtenay area on Vancouver Island is laced with farmers markets, fruit stands, superb little restos run by passionate chefs and fantastically fresh chocolate shops, like Hot Chocolates. When you’re cycling with a 14-year-old boy like my son Quinn, it’s all about food—precisely why we began and ended at this shop of wonders in Comox.

  • Make your own trail mix

    The days began the same—hearty breakfasts were followed by a chance to build your own bag of trail mix and snacks, which we did on Day 1, just outside the Old House Hotel in Comox, B.C. Here, Quinn is loading up his stash with Smarties and Jube Jubes.

  • Chatting with guides from Island Joy Rides

    Quinn meets fellow cyclists and our two guides, Kim and Laurel, of Island Joy Rides on Day 1 (the start of a 53-km-long cycle) of our four-day bike trip on Vancouver Island. The route ran from Comox to Campbell River, over to Quadra Island and back again.

  • Cycling along Courtenay River Estuary

    Just moments outside of Comox, B.C., we cycled along the sprawling mud flats of the Courtenay estuary where we saw kayakers, birds and signs of a pre-historic First Nations fishery.

  • Seaview Game Farm

    After lunching at Becky’s on Day 1, we cycled along back roads and Seaview Road, where we stopped to beachcomb, on the skirts of Seaview Game Farm.

  • Marina by Campbell River

    On Day 2, we stopped at the busy marina in Campbell River—where there’s a great Maritime Heritage Centre (the boat inside once graced the back of the Cdn. $5 bill) and an ice cream joint.

  • Ocean Resort in Oyster Bay

    Day 1 ended with a walk amongst the 2,200 stumps that form a labyrinth on the shores of Ocean Resort in Oyster Bay. Great place to stay, have a spa treatment, sign up for a retreat or enjoy doing nothing but swing on the shores of the ocean.

  • Salmon Point Pub

    Just a short amble from Ocean Resort is the beachfront restaurant, Salmon Point Pub, where all of our group of cyclists feasted on the daily catch—salmon, of course.

  • Beaver Lodge Forest Lands

    On Day 2, we cycled 45 km to the north end of Campbell River. One of the highlights was a long, easy section through Beaver Lodge Forest Lands where we felt like we should leave bread crumbs behind—but Quinn wouldn’t part with his trail mix, despite the enchantment of this forest.

  • Feast on homemade snacks and pastries

    Island Joy Rides provides remarkable meals on their trips—from homemade snacks to locally-bought Thai chicken wraps and fresh-from-the-oven pastries which we feasted on in Campbell River.

  • Henderson carving shed in Campbell River

    One of the most fascinating cultural stops on the multi-day cycle was visiting Ernest Henderson and his carving shed in Campbell River. Standing amongst cedar shavings, we learned about totem poles while others from the Henderson clan were busy carving and sanding various figures on the poles. This is one of the totem poles in the Henderson carving shed in Campbell River.

  • Barbequing outside the carving shed

    Just outside the carving shed, the Henderson clan was barbequing fresh salmon fillets on cedar skewers.

  • April Point

    Day 2 ended at the exquisite property of April Point, a 12-minute ferry ride from Campbell River to Quadra Island. Set on beautiful lands, this fishing lodge has a lovely spa, great restaurant, and if you’re there on a Tuesday, you just might catch some live jazz—best savoured over a platter of uber-fresh sushi.

  • Linger on Quadra Island

    Plenty of Muskoka chairs dot the property at April Point, on Quadra Island, where Quinn just wanted to linger.

  • Aveda spa

    The Aveda spa at April Point is linked to the lodge by a little pathway so you’re actually surrounded by water while having an outdoor pedi, if you wish.

  • Whale watching tour

    On Day 4, we left the Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge (one of the few native-owned and run resorts in Canada) on Quadra Island, took a ferry to Campbell River where we hopped on a whale watching tour. From bears and seals to sea lions, bald eagles and Orcas, we covered more miles in a few hours than we had in almost four days. But, we missed the rhythm of cycling so we were happy to return to our saddles for the last leg of our trip, south to Comox.

More Articles