Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria - 60k Ride Report
Every August the Tour de Victoria rides through Victoria and the Saanich peninsula (and even Metchosin). This event is a ride, not a race and with the tagline, “a ride for everyone” the Tour de Victoria is open to all cyclists, casual commuters and anyone else who wants ride.
Offering distances between 15 and 160 kilometres, everyone can take part in the event from kids to people on cruisers, to sponsored teams with bikes that weigh less than a water bottle.
My brother purchased my entry for my birthday, and my Dad decided to join us. We rode the 60-kilometre option because I’ve been neglecting all my bikes for months. It was a good distance for us to ride comfortably without training, and still get a good ride in. The longer distances had more serious riders participating. It was a bit hard on the ego when a pack (swarm) of riders doing the 140k or 160k distances would buzz past us like we were standing still (they had been riding for an extra two hours). But we made up for that by spending more time at the aid stations eating candy.
The 60k option is a relaxed ride with a good mix of riders. Some people are clipped in and wearing full kit, while others are wearing t-shirts and are riding old steel frame bikes -- it's a ride for everyone.
The Tour de Victoria does an excellent job mapping the course. Starting from the Legislature building right down in Victoria’s inner harbour, the ride claims an entire lane of traffic. The designated lane allows the thousands of riders to all have space to ride a safe distance from each other and traffic.
The 60k route flows through downtown Victoria and winds around to Saanich. The route crosses the Pat Bay highway just above Elk Lake and then begins its oceanside descent into Caddy Bay and along Dallas Road back to the Legislature.
The route has three aid stations — all equipped with fancy gels and electrolytes as well as peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
From the secluded farmland on the peninsula to cruising stretches through Mount Doug Park and the seaside riding, the 60-kilometre route is perfect for anyone looking for a fun Saturday ride.
The inclusivity of this ride is what makes it so fun. From old clunkers to bikes worth more than most cars, this ride is for everyone. It ends with a barbeque and beer garden at the Legislature, where there’s also massage stations and a bouncy castle (depending on what kind of recovery you need). Victoria is known for being a cycling town, and I think this event is a pillar in that cycling community.
And most importantly, the t-shirts for this event are great. This year the swag also included socks and a water bottle (all of excellent quality).
It’s a great ride and a great community event. Next year we’ll put some work in and register for the 100k.