For Cyclists, Canada's Comox Valley Rolling Over Other Areas
(Comox Valley, British Columbia) – Locals are saying “move over Portland, Oregon; Copenhagen and hello Comox Valley.” The area halfway up Vancouver Island's eastern coast is quickly gaining quite the rep among cycling enthusiasts.
Sinuous singletrack trails wind through silent forests and down mountainsides, along meandering rivers and around sun-washed islands. Chairlifts whisk you to the top of technical drops and smooth fast flowing descents that will get the heart pumping and the camera shutter clicking with glacier and ocean views. Quiet country and seaside roads unfold as you embark on an exploration of farmland, vineyards, lush river valleys and secluded beaches.
Cycling here has become a kind of religion, along with the region's rivers, beaches and its increasingly famous locally-grown and harvested foods. Local tourist entities are quick to claim the area is best seen from a bike, in fact.
Among them are the owners of Island Joy Rides (www.islandjoyrides.com), which offers day, weekend and five-day road riding adventures that showcase the best of the Comox Valley and surrounding islands. Take the Tour de Spa; which is all about spinning by day and relaxing by night at the Kingfisher Seaside Resort and Spa (www.kingfisherspa.com) and Old House Village Hotel and Spa (www.oldhousevillage.com). Or for the naturally curious, the Edge of the Island tour reveals the wild beauty and photogenic side of the Comox Valley under the guidance of a local photographer and naturalist.
Foodies will dig into the the gastronomic cycling adventures, which include organic fruit farms and award-winning vineyards such as Blue Moon Winery (www.bluemoonwinery.ca) and Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery (www.beaufortwines.ca).
Every August is the Comox Valley Farm Cycle Tour, which allows cyclists to get up close to some of the characters who make their living from the soil and sell their products at the bustling Comox Valley Farmers' Market (comoxvalleyfarmersmarket.com) and restaurants like Titas (www.titas.ca) and Locals Restaurant (www.localscomoxvalley.com) where chef Ronald St Pierre showcases regional ingredients with characteristic creative flare.
Several hotels in the area partner with the tours and offer tempting weekend packages. There are also several self-guided routes which offer top shelf cheeses, wines, organic blueberries and heritage vegetables. With over 450 farms in the Comox Valley, the diverse offerings will make for an enticing 2013 event.
Numerous other parts of the Comox Valley offer other environments as well, including major forest paths, the Comox Lake area, basalt bluffs and snowy coastal mountains.
For more information about riding in the Comox Valley as well as accommodation, packages, events and transportation including BC Ferries, contact the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre at 1-855-400-2882 or www.discovercomoxvalley.com.