The Velominati’s Rules are a mixed bag; most of them are either very silly, really only applicable to serious carbon-fibre roadie types, or both.
Some of them, however, really are universally applicable. Being a year-around bike commuter I’m especially fond of Rule #9, If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
We’ve had an unusually snowy winter here in Victoria. I usually put the bike away during snow and let transit do the driving, but during our first snowfall before Christmas I was moved to try out snow-riding to get to work. It worked out OK, although my usual 15 minute commute took just over an hour in the snow!
Potholes Campground is gloriously easy to get to – just get on the Galloping Goose or Lochside Trail and head west! No navigation concerns, no vehicle traffic except at road crossings. Kid and nervous cyclist friendly to a fault, barring the distance.
Note that Google Maps will try to route you through central Langford and onto Sooke Road (Hwy 14) by default. I do not recommend following these routing suggestions, unless you want to detour into Langford to get groceries, alcohol, or other last-minute shopping. Stay on the Goose trail the whole way for maximum ride comfort!
Speaking of shopping, Langford’s Westshore Town Centre mall is immediately off the Goose where the trail crosses Kelly Road/Veteran’s Memorial Parkway intersection; there’s groceries, a liquor store, coffee, bank machines, and a pharmacy all there if you realize you’ve forgotten something en route or need a refreshment break. There’s other options further out in Metchosin and Sooke, but Westshore Town Centre Mall is the last shopping centre directly off the trail.
The Goose is entirely gravel past Langford but generally in excellent shape, easy to ride on.
The Campground proper is directly off the Galloping Goose Trail; there’s a short side trail (signposted) that drops directly into the top part of the campground from the trail.
Hiker and biker campers are welcome to use any of the regular campsites, but there is also the car-free group spot set up specifically for them! There’s a big picnic shelter, a shared fire ring, four large tent pads, and even a bike rack to lock your ride to! There’s a water tap, drop toilets, and garbage/recycling/compost bins just up the slope from the group site.
Note that unlike most other provincial or federal (National Park) campgrounds, the staff don’t come around to make sure camp fees are collected; if you come in the back way off the Galloping Goose you need to walk down to the gatehouse at some point and let them know you’re around and pay your fee. Fee is cash only — hope you remembered to hit that ATM in Langford!
Things To Do
The remains of Leechtown (a briefly-inhabited gold mining ghost town) are just up the Goose from the campground, on the other side of the river. I have to confess that I haven’t been over to Leechtown myself, not yet, but apparently there’s a few traces of roads and foundations to explore.
The Goose itself ends a few kilometres north of the campground at a very large gate blocking access to the CRD’s Sooke Water District lands. Some of us keep hoping the Goose will one day be extended all the way through the Water District lands to connect to Cowichan District trails up by Shawnigan Lake, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
The swimming in the Sooke River is great, either right at the campground or downstream a bit at the official Potholes swimming area. There’s also a variety of hiking trails aside from the Goose itself, if you want to get your dayhike on.
Note that there is no cell reception at Potholes Campground itself, and very limited reception further south until you get a lot closer to Sooke Road. Whether this is a feature or a bug depends on you!
Starting to look at the several dozen photos I took at the Saanich Bike Festival back on April 19th. I’ve been given a Canon 50D DSLR by my father, who has upgraded himself to a very, very shiny 7D, so I took the new-to-me camera out to the Festival to fire off a few shots. I’ve never used RAW before, it’s been years since I handled an SLR, and I’ve never really used a DSLR, so the learning curve is fairly steep. It’s nice having a full-size camera again, though, and even though I’m still at the “no idea what I’m doing” stage the difference in photo quality is pretty obvious.
The Saanich Bike Festival itself was a lot of fun. The weather was gorgeous, I only dealt with a couple of dumb aggro drivers while I was being a volunteer road marshal (ie, human road barricade) during the bike parade up Shelbourne Street, there was a great turnout, and it was just nice to see so many people enjoying bikes!
Here’s a couple of photos; there’s a lot more waiting to be processed on my computer as I get to them and figure out RAW file processing. I still don’t have the colour and contrast quite right, and I’m honestly not sure if that’s because of the camera settings or the RAW processing settings I’m using. Further experimentation will have to take place.
I should also actually read the 50D’s manual sometime…