International Loop


The plan was to ride from home to Port Angeles, take the ferry to Victoria, ride to Swartz Bay and take the ferry to Tsawwassen, ride down to Bellingham, then to La Conner, then home.

We’d trained for this trip by riding the tandem a lot during the spring – basically 500 miles by the weekend before Memorial Day, compared to our average of about 500 miles in a whole season. I got the tandem tuned up at R+R with a new chain, new cassette and new tires.  The first ride we took after the tune-up, the chain skipped badly so we took it back in and got a new middle chain ring.  They worked on the stoker seat post and got the piston in the shock absorber to move again – we just have to make sure the rod doesn’t pop out of the dimple.

I bought a waterproof iPhone case for Odette and downloaded the Cyclemeter apps for both of us (which is why I’ve been able to post maps on my rides log this spring.)  The GPS functionality seems to work in Canada with data roaming turned off, but the emails with the links to maps require wireless.  I have learned that the app drains our batteries so I bought a couple of external battery packs and I used them –  Odette’s iPhone 4 didn’t ever run low.

The weather looked cool and showery – typical for Memorial Day in Seattle.  I put the lowrider rack on the front so that we could take all four panniers and have room for some extra fleece.  (I’d put new calipers on since the last time I’d mounted the rack and I had to improvise…) The total in the panniers ended up at about 44 pounds including the lock and cable.  We also had six pounds of stuff between my handlebar bag and Odette’s frame pack (we weighed everything when we got home.)  Just so you know, the bike with pedals and seats and tool kit and tail-light weighs 52 pounds.  Odette and I together weigh 340 pounds.  That means we had 440 pounds with the wind resistance of a single cyclist!  But I digress…. I could have lived with fewer zip-neck T’s, fewer socks, one less jersey and one less pair of tights.  (Truth is I could have gotten by with two jerseys and one pair of shorts.)  I need a pair of sneakers or something that weighs less that the hiking boots I took for time off the bike.  Odette dressed for the arctic and we carried her extra gloves and helmet liner and multiple insulation layers for the whole trip.

On Friday as I was struggling to get work done so I could take off my head stuffed up and my nose started to run.  By Saturday morning I was really sick and the 60 mile day was really tough.  I had to stop a couple of times to rest and when we got to the Sequim Bay Inn I took a nap.  We went to the casino for dinner and I just had a bowl of clam chowder that I couldn’t finish.  By the next day I was starting to feel better and by the time we got to Sidney I was over it.  That was about the time Odette got sick – and was up all night the next couple of nights coughing.

One other struggle – ten days before we departed I broke my glasses.  I had just gotten a prescription for contacts and I had a trial pair so I didn’t have any excuse for not trying them.  I did go to get a new pair of bifocals made and I rushed to the store to pick them up the day before we left.  I ended up carrying my new glasses, a pair of subscription sunglasses (my previous prescription,)  a pair of reading classes, a pair of non-prescription sunglasses, and my contacts.  I struggled every morning trying to get the contacts in my eyes.  As I coughed and as my nose ran I worried about loosing a contact.  I struggled to read menus and stuff without my bifocals – but it all worked well enough.

So, basically the trip went really well – the riding was not too strenuous with such short days and flat terrain, we got rained on for less than an hour, the bike was heavy but manageable and we got a lot of attention.  Most of the route was new to us and the  navigation was fun (we laminated the Google Maps queue sheets and pinned them to my back for Odette to work from.)

Here are the Cyclemeter maps (from Odette’s phone) of our trip.

day 1 (5/28) – Seattle to Sequim Bay – 55.2 miles (not counting the Edmunds – Kingston Ferry)  The ride began on the Seattle Interurban trail and ended on the Olympic Discovery trail.  Stayed at the Sequim Bay Inn – ate at Seven Cedars Casino.

day 2 (5/29) – Sequim Bay to Port Angeles to Victoria – 26.9 miles (not counting the Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria)  Entire ride was on the Olympic discovery trail. Stayed at Pan Pacific Hotel right on the waterfront.  Ate at the Bengal Lounge at the Empress

day 3 (5/30) – layover in Victoria.  ate at Kim’s Vietnamese restaruant.

day 4 (5/31) – Victoria to Sidney – 18.4 miles.  Entire ride was on the Galloping Goose / Lochside trail.  Stayed at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa, ate at Haro’s in the hotel

day 5 (6/1) – Sidney to Fairhaven – 59.6 miles (not counting the Swartz Bay – Tsawwassen ferry) A large part of the ride was on the dyke trail along Boundary Bay; it ended on the Bellingham Inurban trail.  Stayed at the Fairhaven Village Inn, ate at Colophon.

day 6 (6/2) – Fairhaven to La Conner – 29.2 miles.  Skipped the Bellingham Interurban trail in favor of Chuckanut Drive. Stayed at La Conner Country Inn, ate at Kerstin’s.

day 7 (6/3) – La Conner to Seattle – 71.8 miles.  Last 25 miles was on the Seattle Interurban trail.

Total mileage – 261.3 miles (average of 43.6 over the six days we biked.)

Here’s a link to the outbound route on Google maps (here’s a PDF of the queue sheet.)

Here’s a link to the return route (here’s a PDF of the queue sheet)

Here’s a gallery of photos.

Here’s a link to the stats from Odette’s iPhone app.

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