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Return to the Garden City, part 3

May 26, 2011
Victoria's Chinatown gate

Victoria's Chinatown gate is on Fisgard St at the intersection of Government St (Orin O'Neill photos)

It had rained overnight, just as the weather forecast said it would. The rain had tapered off by the time Safety Ed and I went for breakfast, just like the weather forecast said it would. We were in no hurry today.

While the itinerary showed a 10:30 am ride, that one’s usually a mad dash through the hills. Not on the GTS, thanks very much. Been there, done that for Safety Ed, too. We decided to spend a few hours wandering through downtown Victoria.

VPD Dodge Charger

Like other police departments, Victoria is transitioning away from the discontinued Ford Crown Victoria. Their new Dodge Chargers sport a “traditional” black & white color scheme. We strolled over for a closer look; Safety Ed looked into the driver’s side window and discovered the driver’s seat was occupied!

Luckily, the constable didn’t taze him. We spent a few minutes chatting about the differences between different cars (she called the Crown Vic a “boat”) and went on our way.

Safety Ed, hipster

Walking south on Government Street takes you into Victoria’s retail core. You get the impression this place is oriented more for tourists than locals, but if shopping’s your thing, you should find plenty of opportunities to give your credit cards a workout.

So, what do you think of the hipster shades? He didn’t buy them, thankfully.

My quest was for a Vancouver Canucks flag. Even in Victoria, many vehicles had Canucks flags attached, and I wanted to root for the (more or less) home team.

We poked our noses into many hole-in-the-wall gift shops, but none had any Canucks gear. And apparently t-shirts saying “My parents went to Victoria and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” have fallen out of vogue.

Canucks flag

Finally, my quest was successful! A 7-Eleven had a complete selection of Canucks gear, including a flag on a wooden stick that was exactly what I was looking for. $6.99 plus HST later, we headed back to get the bikes and go to the Causeway for the afternoon ride.

The itinerary said there’d be two rides: a cemetery tour/poker run, and an ice cream run. Safety Ed and I had decided on the latter, since we can go to a cemetery tour in October. But there wasn’t anything like an announcement; engines started, scooters pulled out and we just ended up following the herd. Which turned out to be the cemetery tour. Well, the rally was called the “Zombie Run.”

On Government Street

Every Victoria rally ride leaves from the Causeway and heads north on Government Street. Which makes sense from the standpoint of getting a big group funneled down into two lines. And which is a lot of fun, watching tourists grinning from ear to ear and whipping out their cameras and phones.


Every Victoria rally ride also immediately stops for gas at the Petro-Canada station at Government and Douglas. If there was a gas station on Vancouver Island that wasn’t selling regular for $1.319/liter ($4.99/U.S. gallon CDN), I sure don’t know where it was.

All gassed up, the group headed north. Urban became suburban, which soon became rural. Oddly enough, I recognized some of the places we passed through from my last visit in 2007. But unlike last time, my steed was relaxed, running at a fraction of its total power output. The ride leaders were setting a comfortable, reasonable pace. But where are we going?

Arriving at the church

Well, the first stop was a church parking lot. I didn’t notice a cemetery (and as it turned out, I forgot to get a card). Our next stop was a cemetery—one so small we had to make a loop in and get our card on the way out. I got two, because I forgot. Then we went to the airport.

Arriving at the airport

Upon getting more cards, we headed back to town. As it turned out, the same way we rode from the ferry. I remember seeing street signs that said “W Saanich” and “Interurban.” As I said, once I figure out where we went I’ll add a map to the Maps page.

We made another gas stop, then headed for the Ross Bay Pub, the evening gathering spot. People from Seattle and Bellingham made the scene on this day, arriving the previous night or early in the morning. Among other things, this was the coming-out party for Doc’s newly-restored 150 Sprint Veloce.

Doc's 150 Sprint V.

Try not to drool too much. Favicon

  1. May 26, 2011 8:52 am


    We have lots of time to discover cemeteries, so we went on the ice cream ride which left at 2pm. Easy ride through urban roads up to Matticks Farm, which is just East of the Airport. Stopped for an hour or so then down to Ross Bay Pub for dinner. Our ride left South of the Causeway and looped around the scenic water drive via: Dallas Road.

    gas is cheaper in Victoria. Vancouver has higher taxes. Today it is $1.389 / ltr for regular

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. May 26, 2011 5:28 pm

    Thanks for taking time out to post Orin as well as for the excellent pics.

  3. mark morris permalink
    May 30, 2011 12:08 pm


    So, are the hockey fans out in Washington primarily Canucks supporters?

  4. May 30, 2011 12:53 pm

    mark, hockey fans in this neck of the woods have several minor-league teams to follow: the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Everett Silvertips, the Portland Winterhawks and the Spokane Chiefs (there might be others, but those are the ones that come to mind). But at the moment, in Bellingham anyway, there are a lot of Canucks fans, probably because CBC and CTV are available on cable, so you can see NHL games whenever you want.

    Bellingham has minor-league baseball, minor-league basketball and flat-track roller derby. Tickets for all are cheap!

  5. mark morris permalink
    May 30, 2011 6:35 pm

    That is an embarassment of riches, Orin. All we have here is University of Illinois sports, including hockey.

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