Sunshine Coast Bike Tour, Pender Harbour to Powell River

By Jane Mountain | April 30, 2015

Last night, just before leaving my cozy spot by the gas fire to go to bed, I discovered a newish-looking wool blanket inside a box of supplies. Needless to say, I absconded with it for the night and attribute that extra bit of coverage to getting me through the night relatively unfrozen.

More Downs Than Ups

There was a warming sun peeping through the trees when I unzipped the tent flaps this morning, so I made the most of it by trying to remove some of the grime that has accumulated on my bike during the last few days.

Incidentally, I’ve decided that my bike finally needs a name, since he’s the best conversationalist I’ve met on this trip so far. Initially, I thought Daisy or Rover would be good, but soon realized that the level of badassery and strength my bike has displayed during the past couple of years deserves a feistier name.

Bike, I dub thee Skaar. For today at least.

Leaving Pender Harbour, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the hills didn’t seem so bad this morning and that there were more downs than ups.

Garden Bay Lake looking lovely in the morning sun.

Garden Bay Lake looking lovely in the morning sun.

I briefly attempted to join the Suncoaster Trail, which I discovered yesterday runs from Halfmoon Bay all the way to the ferry at Earl’s Cove.

At the entrance to the path, I was welcomed by two large, aggressive dogs, who did their best to intimidate me back the way I had come. I persisted and headed down the trail, but I only got about 25m before I realized the state of the path – lumpy rocks wedged into half-dried mud – wasn’t suitable for a loaded bike.

The only part of the Suncoaster Trail I saw.

The only part of the Suncoaster Trail I saw.

I turned around, ran the gauntlet of the fierce dogs again, and returned to the highway.

The good news is that I had the highway almost to myself. Aside from one burst of ferry traffic coming from the other direction, only a handful of cars and trucks passed me along the route.

Another nice surprise was that there were a few flat sections to the road, and the ups weren’t so arduous as they had been yesterday. One gigantic downhill had me seeing speeds of around 45km, which is about as fast as I can go without putting on the brakes in fear.

At the bottom of the hill, Ruby Lake spread out before me, and I had to slam on the brakes because the view was so stunning I risked running off the road if I didn’t stop.

Sunshine Coast Bike Tour Powell River

Ruby Lake Restaurant and Resort is here, and if it had been open for the season, I would have made it a priority to enjoy a coffee in this amazing spot.

Climbing Up That Hill

The highway becomes a ferry at Earl’s Cove and so I got my favourite kind of lunch break – I stop and rest while the journey progresses. This ferry was too quick though; I had to scarf down my lunch and barely had time for pictures. It wasn’t until I got off the ferry that I realize I hadn’t paid anything for the ride.

I’m not sure how many ocean views I can post before everyone clicks away in boredom, so here are a bunch all in one lump.

There is a stonker of a hill just off the ferry at Saltery Bay.

It goes on for at least 30 minutes, but my body handled it with surprisingly little complaint. Still, I was glad to see a pullout at the top where you’re supposed to stop and enjoy the view. It would have provided a much-needed rest but no sooner had I stopped than I was swarmed by black flies which drove me back to the saddle as quickly as I could get there.

With my alarming downhill speed, I quickly outpaced the swarm.

Treat Night

After checking into a dorm room at the Powell River Harbour Guesthouse, a cute little hostel spitting distance from the ferry terminal, I discovered I was to be bunking with a man who was a little… off…

I was already considering moving to a private room when I learned that my roommate had some serious sinus issues. I pictured myself lying awake all night listening to the thunder of his snores and that decided it.

What’s the point of being a lone female traveller if the gods won’t cross my path with a well-groomed Swedish outdoorsman, I ask you?

Since I was already splurging on my own private room, I decided to dine in style this evening.

Coastal Cookery is a casual West Coast restaurant with panoramic views of Texada Island and the surrounding waters. The menu is very light on vegetarian options and totally bereft of anything vegan – it seems that the Sunshine Coast has not got the memo about vegan food yet.

I did manage to overstuff myself nonetheless.

My cocktail, a Texada Mule, was a little light on the vodka and a bit flavourless. The Coconut Curry Lentil Soup was thick, rich, and creamy, while the Quinoa Sliders were some of the best quinoa-based burgers I’ve ever eaten. I tried for the almost vegan-sounding coconut milk chocolate mousse for dessert, but they were sold out. Instead, I opted for the Bourbon Pecan Galette, which was rich, crispy, and almost did me in.

After all that dairy product, and despite my tired limbs, I had to take an after-dinner walk to help me digest. Powell River is equipped with a picturesque SeaWalk where you can take a lazy stroll while watching the sun setting over the marinas lining the waterfront.

More on Powell River when I’ve had a chance to explore her tomorrow.  

A quick share will really help us out.


  1. Comment by Diane

    Diane May 1, 2015 at 8:38 am

    PS Looking forward to Sweden !

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane May 1, 2015 at 10:16 am

      They all look like that there, but then the women are gorgeous too, so there’s more competition!

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