TEPE AND TACOS ALBUM IS HERE

Bikepacking on Texada Island

bike packing rig on texada island bc

Is there ever never any real required reason for a trip like this? Probably more often then not now that i think of it and in this case we certainly had plenty, although time (2 days) and good weather we did not (15cm of rain).  Our Texada Island bike packing mission was as much an exercise in work as it was in exercise and BLISS – work because we were creating the launch media for Landyachtz Bikes’ new Play Bike ^ ,  exercise because we were to climb almost a kilometre in one day and bliss because of reasons I’m sure I need not list right here as thats the point of this rest of this rant.  It’s maybe the 5th trip I’ve taken with George Lucas and probably the most chilled one yet but still challenging in the sense of weather – which is something you just live with up here… In Australia I’d be postponing anything at 30% chance of rain or higher, up here you postpone only when there’s a flash flood warning, otherwise you’re stuck indoors for 5 months… Nothing some decent Goretex can’t fix (except for my bank account). 

The goal was to cut Miles’ Ridge Runner route into a shorter 1.5/2 day affair.  We planned on catching an early ferry over to Texada, as they can be sparse, to then bang straight up the main Forest Service Road (or FSR, for my non BC pals) to Bob’s Lake, then a bit of bush-bashing through some decommissioned logging zones (pictured above) to get back down to the coast and onto some single-track before hitting the road back to Blubber Bay ferry.

dreamteam

p.s. you can click most photos in this blog for a closer look.

George

George Bailey and his custom playbike – George designed the Play Bike for Landyachtz but his version was kitted out with the premium parts I’ve come to expect/demand. He made that frame bag too!

Lucas

Lucas Greenough knows how to pack light, among countless other things… His bike was closer to the stock but with different front forks, dropper post & extra teeth on the rear (among other things) – not really sure why etc but I’m sure he can tell you.  One day I hope to know how to pack this light.

me

Yours truly, overpacked as usual and the first time I’d ran my Apidura bags – was a learning curve but I fit enough to stay dry, shoot vids/stills & 3 extra days worth of food, for no reason.  I’m riding a stock Play bike. Portrait by George.

The transit out to Powell River - 2 of the 3 ferry legs.

Just as we were leaving the city, the Ti cup gang...
My kinda nomads - hopefully this still exists in 35 years.
Saltery Bay - Egmont Ferry. Shot from the Egmont side
nelson island bc
and my kinda sky 💋
nelson island bc
Nelson Island, I think?! there are tonnes.
Visiting Miles before we set off - thanks for the hospitality & guide!

Our route

Blubber Bay - Van Anda - Bob's Lake (camp) - X - Shelter Point - Gillies Bay

Our route

Blubber Bay
Van Anda
Bob's Lake (camp)
X
Shelter Point
Gillies Bay

We were capped on time (in general) but we had a set deadline to be back in Vancouver so had to work with what we got – enough time to do the biggest climb on the mountain and basically turn around.  Our route pretty much followed the bikepacking.com route except we did a yewie at the Bob’s lake camp site. We weren’t sure the route was clear, as we were trying to backtrack through private logging zones and fields of stinging nettle – which are apparently a delicacy but all I know for sure is they feasted on George’s sandaled feet. 

Day 1

pt1 Townsite Brewing - Powell River to Texada

I’m pretty sure all good adventures start at the brewery, at least in BC where breweries reign supreme and bad beer is a distant nightmare.  Well that’s what we were preaching after our 5 hour commute got us into Powell River with about 10 minutes less time then we needed to get the early ferry..  Lucky for us the local Powell River brewery, Townsite, is right up there and it’s right next to Miles’ place – it was a late start none of us were really that qualmed by.

townsite brewing cat
getting blemmd by the Townsite Brewing Cat
lucas enjoying a crisp jar in the townsite brewing patio
preworkout juice
the beer definitely helped lucas' climbing technique..
steam donkey in powell river forestry museum
Steam Donkey - these things powered the deforestation industry (among many others) for decades. One of it's main job was to drag felled trees through the woods, often clearing a path in the log's wake.
priority boarding, obviously.
look! an eagle.

pt2 - Blubber Bay, Van Anda & the climb up to Bob's Lake

After at least half a day of transit we finally got to pedal some at around 4, or maybe 5, I’m not sure if my camera can factor for daylight savings but it really doesn’t at all matter, all I’m actually doing is highlighting the fact it took us 12 hours to get riding on Texada…  Oh how I excited I was to get in the saddle, especially with the fact we were about to climb almost 1km of vertical to our campsite and most likely get there in the dark!  That sentence started as sarcasm but as I was writing it didn’t actually sound that bad, and really once I’m out the front-door nothing is a problem anymore.

texada island welcome sign
thanks for having us 🤜
the town of van anda
Van Anda
van anda gas station
Van Anda gas station - it's liberating to not be reliant on gas to tour!!!
the caravan park avenue
Van Anda RV park driveway - appropriately Canadian.
we can thank the first proper climb for our false sense of security....
we reached a plateau and the scenes immediately changed - the quarries gave way to farmland.
Lucas getting the shot on his video camera - i've seen more advanced looking toys...
humans was here

Texada is very unique in BC in that we humans don’t have any natural predators on the island – I figure the bears were probably hunted out during the early days of industry, or maybe to help facilitate deer population growth, or maybe the deer thrive cuz there’s no predators anymore?  Either way the back of my mind was stoked cuz it didn’t have to create contingency plans for a bear, or cougar, breaking into my tent for a lil slice of lamb tartare.  Predators, well land predators, aren’t something I’ve ever had to worry about in my Australian life but realistically I’d probably prefer to die from any number of venomous animals than get mauled alive in my tent by a bear or cougar – but I’d probably prefer the cougar above all, cuz if they’re anything like a house-cat they’re gonna be very effective at dispatching a defenceless human such as myself.

HOW WAS THE CLIMB?

george bailey landyachtz bike designer
bottom of the hill George
3/4s of the way up George
still climbing - alongside Pochohontas peak.
yep, still. nice FSR but.
there's a reason this route is called Ridge Runner
WE MADE IT!!! Lost about 50 litres of sweat but was worth a daylight arrival.
Very happy with the campsite, but the fire ban SUCKED.

A great campsite goes a long way, what goes even further is great camping gear – something I’m still working towards cuz ultralight shit aint at all cheap, if only they charged by weight…  I always overpack (99% of the time it’s food) but on this occasion I wasn’t qualmed by my overpacking because it meant I got to stay dry. 

 

My Texada bike packing setup was a 1 Man Ultralight Tent, Inflatable Mat (tall) R5, Travel Pillow, Silk Liner & 5ºc bag.  Lucas and George were both running a bivy + tarp setup which is definitely the way to do it if you’re chasing minimum payload.

Day 2

pt3 Bob's Lake & FSR out

I woke to pouring rain, which was expected but it’s never one of those things you look forward to – the trickiest bit is packing up in a way that means I’m not swimming the following night. We’d only planned one night bikepacking on Texada Island but it was likely we’d be camping somewhere on the way back to Vancouver the following night – which we did (Saltery Bay) – and yeah it was v wet in my tent.  Note to self: BUY A TARP.

The view from my tent.. bliss right?
clearly just frothing at the thought of a day's rain..
bobs lake texada island bikepacking
The day's water source - not sure if Newts are safe but there were thousands right where we filled up. (I'm still here)
Lucas departing the lake - getting back in the saddle is the best feeling, especially being dry at this point.
texada island rain bike packing
This, but for hours.
thats the fkn spirit!!!!!
yeah we got lost, even with 3 garmins and preloaded smartphones...
RRAAAINNN!!! Rarely driven gravel connecters for BC Hydro took us pretty much straight towards the coast.
was still pretty nice but

it was bliss, revelling in the decommissioned logging roads that riddle the island..  Often times it felt like the roads decided where we were going, I guess because we had few options.

stinging nettle texada island
I've never seen stinging nettle standing over 1 meter tall
perfect lil spot to wash the nettles off - and the last logging section.
chacho sandals and stinging nettle
no ragrets

pt4 Single Track, Shelter Point & Home.

Making it out of the logging zone, and the army of nettles took some commitment, and we definitely thought about opting for a long detour over hike-a-biking over logs and nettle but I’m stoked we did.  Mainly because we definitely would’ve missed the ferry but I’m not at all a fan of back tracking.  But, no matter how much i loved it, it’s only ever going to be a few km long and for me it was the last highlight of the ride – because once we popped out at Shelter Point, we just mashed the highway back to the Blubber Bay Ferry and with that the bike packing part of the trip was done.

texada island old growth
I'm never gonna get over handing out with century old friends - scale is not capturable.
stinging nettle texada island
the shelter point single track section was rad!! big trees, the ocean and some twisties were a definite highlight on the riding front for me.
shelter point bike packing texada camping spot
Great for getting warm again too. but got the worst bee sting of my life right on my nuckle - grabbing the bar hurt! Circulation was firing but haha.
shelter point, texada island, bikepacking bikes

Film

Filmed by Lucas and I, edited by Lucas

Armed with the worst video cameras we own between us, horrid weather and no rigs we made no excuses on the video front.  My tg6 is wateproof but Lucas’ turn-of-the-millenium kids toy/handycam was certainly not.   Honestly I’m stoked on this video in and of it’s self but when I think about our approach (we didn’t stop for shots, it was ride or die baby) and our camera gear (combined we had less value in gear than just one of my photo lenses) I’m extra stoked.  

chilli con carnage

Life in a post-covid world is poking the lamb from unforeseeable angles but for the most part definitely foreseen/able angles, making it a ride i’m

Read More »

Odyssey Ode

All journeys leave something behind, in favour of the hunt to attain some thing or feel and when the value of that thing is held

Read More »

Taiwan Tour Video