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perto de Swartz Bay, British Columbia (Canada)
This track was the first of a two-stage "adventure" or cross-country cycling route from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, passing Shawnigan Lake, the Kinsol Trestle, and finishing at the small town of Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island. The total of the first stage is ~22 km and both stages together is 91 km.
This first stage exits the ferry at Swartz Bay, then joins the Lochside Trail at the first highway overpass. It continues to the Beacon St - Highway 17 junction at Sidney, then turns west onto the airport bicycle routes to Patricia Bay. Then it takes the West Saanich Road south to Brentwood Bay and a downhill to the ferry dock departing for Bamberton.
Stage-one is all paved roads and paved bicycle paths, suitable for road bikes. There are moderately steep hills, some fairly long, on West Saanich Road. There is a great panorama over the Victoria airport runways and Patricia Bay. The track into Brentwood Bay takes an indirect route, down a curved hill past a waterfront walking path and bistro area.
If proceeding to stage-two (to Bamberton, Shawnigan Lake, the Kinsol Trestle, and the CVRT to Lake Cowichan) there are route descriptions and suggestions in a separate Wikiloc starting from Bamberton. An isolated, long forest section of stage-two is suitable for big-tire adventure bikes, mountain bikes, or gravel/cross/touring bikes with fat, sturdy tires, and presents a range of challenges.
Disembark ferry and go along highway to the first overpass, then turn right onto Lochside Trail (its sign-posted). Alternatively, immediately after disembarking take an elevator up to the passenger area of the ferry terminal, then bicycle to the extreme SW end of the parking lots and find a short paved path leading to Lochside Trail at the highway overpass.
Get up onto the first highway overpass, a few hundred meters from the ferry, and join the Lochside Trail. The Lochside Trail is well sign-posted. Its a popular two-lane paved bike and pedestrian route that passes Sidney.
Alternatively, Highway 17 has wide marked shoulders and offers a quicker ride all the way to the Sidney junction turn-off. Wait for ferry traffic to dissipate and it should be a quiet and exhaust free ride.
Photos show the trail conditions and view over Tsehum Harbour.
Pedestrian crossing buttons eventually change the lights. Cross Route 17 and join the Victoria Airport Bicycle Trail loop. The saved track follows the northern branch of the Trail, which passes a panoramic view of the runways and Patricia Bay, with a few short easy hills.
Alternatively, the southern branch of the Airport bicycle path system joins up at Pat Bay. It is less hilly, passes the Blue Moon Cafe and an Aviation Museum, and then crosses interesting farm lands with interpretive posters.
The west end of the airport was a major WW2 air force base and training area. There is plenty of current airplane activity, including commercial 737 takeoffs and landings. There is an aviation history museum, vintage aircraft of all sorts, and the Spitfire Grill nearby has historical aviation theme photos, etc.
On a hilltop with panoramic views over Victoria Airport runways and Patricia Bay. A fountain and water bottle fill station located here.
A small church and pioneer cemetery at bottom of hill. there is a foot path along the shore of Pat Bay. The Institute of Ocean Sciences includes facilities of the Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources, and other Bureaus.
A wide two-lane paved road. Some sections have marked shoulders, some don't. Long moderately steep hills. Not much traffic.
Passing farming areas, long moderate climbs and descents.
There are several ways down to the Bamberton Ferry. This track takes a slightly longer, winding way down, with access to the shoreline walk and a bistro.
Departures for Bamberton on the Malahat approx every hour and 15 min. Suggest the 11AM or earlier departure if going to Lake Cowichan (assuming summer daylight hours, suitable bike, and readiness for hard steady chugging, also see other cautions about Stage 2 in the introduction section).