Ibike USA/Canada Program
Rolling the Islands of the Salish Sea



Photo essay: Rolling the Islands of the Salish Sea: Orcas Island and Sydney

San Juan Is to SYDNEY, BC.  Morning to relax in the neighborhood or take a half-day trip to Orcas, then on to Canada

  Bicycling on Orcas Island
Orcas Island road
If you haven't had enough bicycling in paradise, haven't had enough island hoping or you are just aching for more bicycling, regardless, Orcas Island is a great destinations for a morning ride. It is considered the toughest cycling in the San Juan Islands.  It is not that the hills on the main roads are any bigger, they are just more continuous.  You are usually either going gradually up or gradually down.  There is not much that is flat for a very long distance.
  Bicycling up Mt. Constitution
Road winding up Mt. Constitution.
The trophy ride of Orcas Island is to ride to the top of Mt Constitution.  In the big picture it is not a terrible tough ride, but it is the most challenging that the San Juan Islands have to offer.  It is a rolling fifteen mile ride from the ferry dock to the base of the mountain, then it is a six mile ride up the mountain, generally a very consistent gentle grade, but long.  On a summer weekend the biggest challenge is the traffic.
Some place out here we cross from the United States to Canada
Back on the boat again and zipping between more islands and across international frontiers.  The boundary between the US and Canada in this area was set in 1862 by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, international arbitrator for the twelve year, Pig War.  Unfortunately the pig died.  Fortunately, the pig was the only casualty.  For the full story join the tour, or look it up "Pig War" on the Internet.
Sydney by the Sea, British Columbia
Sydney by the Sea, British Columbia, is a bright, clean, small town, on the Saanich Peninsula, forty kilometers north of Victoria.  On the south side of town there are the Washington State ferry docks.  To the west of town is the primary airport (Victoria) for Vancouver Island.  To the north of town are the docks for BC Ferries.  The later being the busiest terminal of the system.  The town itself is very quiet.
  The Saanich First Nation People live around Sydney.  They are spread out is separate reserves; Tsartlip (near Brentwood), Tsawout (south of Sydney), Pauquachin, and Tseycum. The Saanich are Sencoten language speakers. Their cultural was decimated by policies of sending children to distant residential schools that took the them away from their families and the embrace of the community. This alienation was exacerbated by sex abuse in the institutions. Now-a-days, reservation lands support limited economic activity, and in contrast to in the USA, casinos and gaming are prohibited
  Saanich, Tsawout sensitive habitat


Saanich, Tsawout sensitive habitatThe reservations were established by Douglas Treaty of 1852. In 1987, the Tsawout Band successfully obtained a permanent injunction restraining the construction of a marina in Saanichton Bay on the grounds that the proposed facility would interfere with fishing rights promised to them by their 1852 treaty.

Saanich, Tsawout sensitive habitatPart of the Tsawout's land is a protected sensitive habitat area that includes marine shorelines, estuaries and wetlands (right).

Saanich, Tsawout cemeteryViews of the Tsawout cemetery (left).


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