Once the winter weather on Vancouver Island breaks, people will be getting their bikes back out on the road and onto local trails.
Helping direct them to some of the region’s more popular routes is a new map drawn up by Daniel Cammiade, president of the South Island Mountain Biking Society. He’s also a cartographer and owner of FreakMaps in Victoria.
His cycling maps — one each of the Greater Victoria area (including the Galloping Goose Regional Trail) and the Saanich Peninsula — are designed to fit into a typical rider’s gear. It’s small, outlines main routes and roads, provides waypoints such as coffee shops, pubs and restaurants and can be used to draw out your own paths.
“I set out to do something more compact with enough information on the main routes used by most cyclists,” he explained.
An avid cyclist himself, Cammiade said many people are looking for an excellent riding experience — from longer routes along the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, to local loops and remote trails.
When the bikes come out of winter storage, Cammiade said riders look for resources to help find new routes. In his talks with Greater Victoria cycling guides and bike shops, they have told him people are looking for easy-to-use maps, updated with local information and larger text for older riders. He has also included notes on route obstacles and challenges — such as the Mctavish and Mackenzie road interchanges along the Lochside Trail.
The maps will be a little lighter in colouring as well. Cammiade said this is to allow people to draw on their own routes, or for businesses to point out suggested paths to their customers.
The maps will have a variety of the more popular regional trails outlined, as well as some local routes. On the Saanich Peninsula, those include the Lands End route for the advanced cyclist looking keep their heart rate up (think lots of hills), the scenic rural route along East Saanich Road and the new Flight Path trail around the Victoria International Airport.
Keeping details on the map to only the essentials also allows riders to share local knowledge by drawing it onto the map itself.
Cammiade said that in his own experience, he looks for a variety of routes to explore and having a cycling map is one resource to get him there. Other sources of information are the other 260-plus members of the mountain biking society. It has been around for 21 years, he said, working to develop trails in the Mt. Work Regional Park and in the Hartland area.
“We advocate for mountain biking opportunities on the south Island,” explained Cammiade. “We facilitate trail maintenance and building activities and help with developing riders’ skills.”
Many of the members, including himself, ride road bikes as well as the off road bicycles, so the map will be handy to just about any rider, of any skill level.
Cammiade said the map will be made available to all the local bike shops in Greater Victoria, as well as through cycling guide outfits.
With Sidney becoming a major destination for riding groups, thanks to its location on the Lochside Regional Trail, Cammiade said the Sidney Visitor Information Centre on Beacon Avenue has asked for the maps as well.
They are free to the riding public and will soon be available as a free download online at victoriacyclemap.com.
Cammiade is also pleased to be involved with the Bikes for Birthdays initiative being started by the Saanich Peninsula Secret Santas/Toys for Tots organizers. He said he’ll be working with his contacts to help find donations and deliver bike safety information to kids in the community.
New biking area to be announced
There’s a new area in the south Island for mountain biking in the works.
Daniel Cammiade, president of the South Island Mountain Biking Society says he will announce at their Jan. 22 annual general meeting that they have made an agreement with the provincial government to expand trails from the Mt. Work/Hartland Regional Park into Gowlland-Tod Provincial Park.
Cammiade said the Society will be able to create trails that tie into current mountain biking trends (gentler, less technical trails) for tourist up to intermediate riders.
The two parks are right next to each other and the addition of new trails will better connect them, Cammiade said.