Stage 18 - Cowichan Bay to Victoria



Distance: 90 km
Riding Time: 2.5 hrs





Overview
Stage 18 covers some of the best roads that Victoria has to offer. The ride through Mill Bay is footsteps from the ocean. Riding up Finlayson Arm Rd is a fun switchback ride into the rural mountainside. Munn Rd to Prospect Lake Rd is a classic afternoon ride with twisties and bumps along the way. And then all of Beach Drive and Dallas Road just takes your mind away from anything but the beautiful scenery.

Special Note
None.

Meetup Location
In Cowichan Bay, a popular meetup spot is boat launch beside the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.  

Food and Coffee
Food and coffee are plentiful in Cowichan Bay and all over Victoria. Wheelies is a popular motorcycle garage and sandwhich shop, but a quick search on Yelp will turn up plenty more places to try.

Scenery5 / 5
This stage ranges from ocean-side roads, to high elevation rural roads. There's almost too much to describe what you'll see in a short paragraph - the ocean, forests, mountains, marinas, beaches, lighthouses, islands. If this is your first time in Victoria, you will be planning to move here by the end of this stage.

Traffic2 / 5
Traffic can be hit and miss depending on the time of day. The Malahat often gets backed up on Sunday afternoon when everyone is returning to Victoria from the weekend. Traffic within Victoria can also get backed up during rush hour, so avoid downtown between 3pm and 5pm.

Difficulty1 / 5
There's no challenge to be found here. Lean in and enjoy the ride.

Road Conditions4 / 5
Most of the roads are well paved, with the exception of Munn Rd and Prospect Lake Rd that have some minor rough sections that will shake you up if you're going too fast. 


 Points of Interest
1. Mount Douglas Viewpoint
At about 225m high, you can ride right to the top and see a 360 degree view of Victoria, including the Southern Gulf Islands, Washington, and Mt. Baker across the water. The gate on the road up is closed until noon, though.
 
2. Cowichan Bay
Really, all of Cowichan Bay is fun to walk around and peek into the shops. There's great food, unique stores, and an interesting marina to view boats. 

3. Ogden Point
This is where the cruise ships dock when they visit Victoria. There's a market running from June to September. You can also take a walk on the breakwater out to the small lighthouse.

4. Chairs by the Harling Point Chinese Cemetery
This is one of my favourite spots in all of Victoria and it's designated as a National Historic Site by the Government of Canada. In behind the cemetery, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca are two chairs that make for the perfect spot to eat lunch and read the newspaper.