Stage 1 - Victoria to Shirley



Distance: 73 km
Riding Time: 2 hrs





Overview
The Vancouver Island Grand Loop begins in Victoria, the capital city of beautiful British Columbia. Starting from the top of Beacon Hill, you can see Olympic National Park in Washington off in the distance. After you leave the tourists behind in downtown Victoria, you'll ride by the Esquimalt Lagoon Bird Sanctuary and a popular local beach with water on both sides of the road. Next is the road circling East Sooke, which is popular among sport bike riders looking to scrape their pegs on some twisty roads. After Sooke and Otter Point, it's a short ride to Shirley.

Special Note
It's recommended to get gas in Sooke, however as of November 2017 there is now gas in Port Renfrew

Meetup Location
The best starting point for this stage is right at the top of Beacon Hill. There is plenty of parking and it offers a great view of the ocean and the Olympic Peninsula.

Food and Coffee
Lots of options for food and coffee in Victoria. At the end of this stage, Shirley Delicious is a popular spot for a small lunch or a quick coffee and snack.

Scenery3 / 5 
The Esquimalt Lagoon is a beautiful stretch of road with the ocean on one side and the lagoon on the other. East Sooke is full of large trees and glimpses of marinas. 

Traffic2 / 5 
Downtown Victoria is great for the tourists, but will be a slow pace for riders. Once you're outsite of the downtown core and into Metchosin, the traffic subsides and you can enjoy the road. Traffic pics up again in Sooke, but Otter Point is usually free of many vehicles.

Difficulty1 / 5
Traditional paved roads offering some twisties in East Sooke, but nothing to be concerned about.

Road Conditions5 / 5 
Well paved along the entire route. Leaving Victoria, the Blue Bridge is currently under construction, which at times may be closed  or may be lifted up to allow for ships to pass - use Gorge Road or Bay Street Bridge as a detour.


 Points of Interest
1. The Olympic Peninsula
You can view Northern Washington just across the straight of Juan de Fuca. A short ferry ride is also available from downdown Victoria to Port Angeles to connect to Highway 101.
 
2. Ogden Point
Victoria receives hundreds of cruise ships each year that dock at Ogden Point. There's also a local market and a 750m walk along the breakwater to a small lighthouse. 

3. Esquimalt Lagoon
A saltwater lagoon located at the base of the Royal Roads property, next to the Fort Rodd Hill / Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites and a view across Esquimalt Harbour at Dockyard.

4. Lombard Drive
A quaint little road with tall trees on both sides framing the single lane road. Excellent spot for a photograph of your motorcycle.

5. Spirit Bay
Just before Spirit Bay, there's a pullout at the side of the road which is a good spot for another photograph of your motorcycle with the ocean and the marina in the background.