Last Sunday I participated in my first cycle tour. Now I use this term lightly because in the world of cycle tours this was really a bike ride but I have the brochure that says “Fraser Valley Cycle Tour” and because that sounds a lot more impressive, I am going with that. The “tour” was only 25 km and flat so for me that sounded challenging, but for a cyclist, I get it, it’s a warm up.
Back in March a friend of mine signed us all up for this “tour” and being keen for most things I didn’t ask any questions. Here are the 5 things I clearly did not understand about my cycle tour.
1. I was first sold on this idea when I was told it was a “Wine Tour” and we would be cycling from winery to winery. Once we were signed up we decided to read the web site. It was pretty clear we were dreaming and that this was a farm tour and we were riding from farm to farm. Close, but not quite the same.
2. Bike tours go rain or shine. We had been in a heat wave so as the date approached we were all more worried about sun stroke than bad weather but true to the Wet Coast the rains arrived in time for our tour. The night prior was a torrential mess but after checking the web site, it was clear, cyclists stop for nothing. So that night we packed up prepared to head out and face whatever Mother Nature sent our way.
3. Bike seats are not comfortable: it doesn’t matter the size, softness, hardness, gel pack, not gel pack, they all hurt and by the end all our butts were tender.
4. When the brochure suggests bringing a bike pump it means bring a bike pump: of the 8 of us 2 of us ended up with flat tires on the trip, myself being one of them. Now biking 25 km was going to be hard enough for me but I did the first 12 on a low tire without realizing it. It was not until my husband switched me bikes, due to my burning legs, that we realized my back tire was almost flat. Fortunately of the 200 people on the tour I think we were the only 8 without a pump so it was easy to borrow one
5. 25 km Farm Tour takes a lot longer than you might think. When were planning our trip we thought (a 10 km run takes an hour, you bike way faster than you run) a 25 km ride should take around an hour as well, not. This tour also included stops, tours, samples and shopping opportunities of the local farms so we started out at 9:00 am but didn’t finish until 3:00. Yes that’s what the web site indicated but again, we are not great at reading provided information.
All kidding aside this was a wonderful day and one that I would recommend to anyone. 25 km was a great distance for a beginner and the fact that it was basically flat was an added bonus. The tour took us on farm roads we otherwise would never have seen, it included short cuts through farmers fields with views that you only find on post cards and allowed us to breath in air and smells that only the country can provide.
We were treated to a tour of a local dairy farm that surprised us on how technical this trade is. Following that we toured Gold Eagle Farm which farms coho salmon. We were able to sample some of their farmed barbecued salmon, it was fabulous. We toured one of the community gardens, followed by a stop at the Agassiz Harrison Museum. We had lunch at a grain fed farm,Tasty Chicken Farm, where we purchased a fabulous sandwich and enjoyed lunch on their porch. From there we went to a Farm House Natural Cheeses for samples and the final stop was at a farm house with a bakery and coffee house.
I joked about the weather but we couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was overcast for most of our ride but the temperatures were perfect and the rain held off making the entire ride pleasant.
If you have never done a cycling tour, get on the Internet and search one. Select an area you have always wanted to see or a topic you have always wanted to learn about. You won’t be disappointed and if you are like us you might learn something in the process.
Thanks Aggasi Farm Tours, for setting up a great day