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Old 04-30-19, 02:07 PM
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Bikes: Specialized Diverge E5 Comp, Specialized AWOL Comp, Scott Solace 10

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I've ridden this route in reverse order. It's mostly a gorgeous ride, but the roads between Sooke and Port Renfrew are narrow in spots with no shoulder and plenty of blind corners. It's not much of a big deal unless there's active logging going on.

But if there is, those trucks are enormous and they haul some massive loads. The good thing is that you would be encountering empty trucks on your side of the road given the direction you are planning on riding, but they are still substantially wider than a normal vehicle. Heck they are substantially wider than a bus, definitely something to be aware of.

There are plenty of black bears in southern Vancouver Island, though it's very rare to have any issues with them. As mentioned, plenty of cougars too, those scare me though I've never encountered one.

Are you staying at Fairy Lake by any chance? That's past Port Renfrew, but I thought it was pretty decent when I stayed there last.

The Galloping Goose is a nice way to get from Victoria to Sooke and I definitely prefer it to riding on the roads though it is slower. If you are camping at Sooke Potholes the trail will take you right there. If you are going on to say, French Beach to camp the trail will just take to you the outskirts of Sooke and you'll have to ride through the town, continuing on west to the campground. One bonus is that you'd get a portion of the narrow roads over with on that leg.

I haven't ridden the Cowichan Valley trail so I really don't have any comment. I thought the roads were all very good except for portions west of Sooke that I mentioned where you lose the shoulder and there are plenty of blind spots. Still, it's an exhilarating ride.

One other thing: when I ride anywhere towards Cowichan on the highway side I prefer to take the Mill Bay - Brentwood Bay ferry over riding the Malahat highway. The Malahat climb isn't so bad, but the highway shoulder is strewn with debris, vehicles are flying by and to me it's just unpleasant. The ferry is a much nicer way to get across if you are not in a great rush.
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