2022 Duncan Hub & Spoke #2

2022 Duncan Hub & Spoke #2 Report: June 6th – June 11th led by Deanna Simmons and Dawn Minett

Report by Annemieke and Howard Quinn – June 12, 2022

The Duncan H&S #2 consisted of 17 riders: coming from various areas, Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, West Vancouver, Surrey, Langley and me from Kelowna. We arrived on Monday, and after a quick meet & greet we walked over to the Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives. Our ride leader, Deanna, had arranged for a volunteer to open the museum so we could walk through and discover things about Duncan and the surrounding area.   Right after, we walked the Self-Guided Totem Tour.

During Happy hour, we found out more about our fellow cyclists and had a chance to sign up for rides. Afterwards we walked to Romeo’s for the best pizza in town. The selection was great & there were copious amounts of pizza with some leftovers for doggie bags. They made a great lunch the following day

The rides were well designed to feature the highlights of the Cowichan Valley. Some of the highlights were: Around Shawnigan Lake and the Kinsol Trestle, Lake Cowichan, and the Cowichan Valley Trail (CVT); Chemainus and the murals; the winery tour.

The Kinsol Trestle ride brought us through Cowichan Bay, with lots of funky stores & restaurants. Then we faced a climb up to Cobble Hill, onto Shawnigan Lake where we stopped at Oma’s for coffee and chocolate. A highly recommended stop! The ride around Shawnigan lake was lovely with lots of views of the lake. We stopped for a picnic lunch at the Kinsol Trestle, which is one of eight trestles along the Cowichan Valley Trail route and by far the largest and most spectacular. It stands 44 metres above the salmon bearing Koksilah River, it is an incredible structure. Riding a down-hill grade, we followed the CVT into Glenora, and onto Duncan.

The ride to Lake Cowichan followed the old Cowichan Lake highway, which was quiet but windy. It had a few hills, we liked it so much we went down one, just to go up it again! There was a lovely park in town where we stopped for our picnic lunch. We didn’t linger long as the wind came up the lake. We followed the CVT all the way back to Duncan except for two small detours due to washouts. The trail is hard-packed, easy to ride, and very scenic. The 160 m elevation drop makes it downhill all the way!

After 2 days of lovely weather, we woke up on Thursday to another atmospheric river. Alternative activities were discussed. Some people went home; two hardy souls did go for a ride; a couple went to the forestry museum; one went to a flying demonstration with many spectacular raptors; a quartet went bowling. Fun was had by all! We shared our experiences over a Group Dinner at Craig Street Brew Pub/Just Jakes Restaurant, which was excellent. The two leaders were presented with some wine; one cannot leave the valley without buying some of their fabulous wines.

We woke up to sunny weather on our last day and rode to Chemainus.  It led us through Crofton, where the ferry leaves for Saltspring. The ferry terminal offers dramatic views and panoramic vistas. Just before Chemainus we followed the CVT again for a while before we turned back to see the murals in town. Currently there are 36 murals, which are painted on downtown business walls. The paintings are images of real people and life in the early years. The last one, which shows a beautiful ocean scene, was added in 2020. Lots of opportunities for lunch or coffee.

At the end of each day, everyone gathered for a happy hour at the Duncan Motel. We chatted about our day and told stories of rides gone by. It was very enjoyable.

We really enjoyed our hub & spoke in Duncan. We met lots of nice people and created some lovely memories. We like to acknowledge the effort and time Deanna and Dawn put into this hub & spoke. As the tour leader, Deanna had the furthest by far to travel. Deanna and Dawn came down a couple of weeks prior to check the area out to become familiar with the roads & rides. All their hard work paid off to make it a memorable time.