Cycling road races will pop up across the West Shore this spring.
While a loop in Highlands, along Millstream and Caleb Pike roads, has been in use for more than a decade, other cycling loops have been proposed in both Metchosin and Langford.
John Luton, Capital Bike and Walk Society executive director and Vancouver Island Cycle Tourism Alliance director, has mapped out a proposed route in Metchosin, at council’s request.
The loop travels along Happy Valley, Rocky Point, Kangaroo and Lindholm roads. It is about nine kilometres long.
“Happy Valley is relatively flat while Kangaroo is hilly, and there is a tricky decent onto Lindholm,” Luton said. “It’s a good course to hone your skills on if you are into competitive cycling.”
Luton suggested the idea of six to eight races a season. Luton would not host the events, but has a designed the loop so cycling groups could host events.
In Langford, Russ Hay’s Bicycle Club is launching a road race in the Happy Valley area. The circuit runs along Klahanie Drive, Dicker Road, Happy Valley Road and Latoria Road. Langford council has approved the club to host one race a month from March to July.
“The Latoria route is an appealing loop for cyclists,” said Shailie Sanbrooks, RHBC race organizer. “Latoria Road is a false flat, the right hand turn onto (Klahanie Drive), has a short hill that will become more and more of a challenge, followed by a fast downhill section giving chase riders a chance to catch up to the lead pack.”
The loop is 2.4 kilometres long and during a race cyclists will complete about 15 to 20 laps.
When it comes to hosting cycling races, the O2 Cycling Club, formerly the Schwalbe cycling club, are old pros. Its members have been racing on a 2.5-kilometre loop in Highlands for 10 years.
“It’s quite picturesque (in Highlands) and the residents are very accommodating to us,” said Ian Phillips, club president.
This year Highlands council has approved six races.
“It seems to be a situation that works quite well,” said Highlands administrator Chris Coates. “When they do it on Wednesday nights … they miss most of the commuters. And when they are racing they only take up part of the lane.”
Coates said the District has never received complaints from residents about the cyclists. The O2 cycling club does not pay to race in the district, Coates said, and the District doesn’t spend any money to host the club.
“We have a road contacts to keep the roads relatively clear of debris,” said Coates adding the cyclists has never asked the District to clean the roads prior to a race.
The loop starts at the Caleb Pike homestead on Millstream Road, the cyclists ride north on Millstream and turn onto Caleb Pike Road which circles around and intersects back at Millstream Road.
“The club is grateful and tries to have minimal impact,” Coates said.
While presenting his route to Metchosin council, Luton, who is also a Victoria city councillor, discussed ideas on how to enhance the roads for cyclists.
Ideally, he would like to establish bike lanes, repave roads, sweep roads of debris and gravel and pave driveway aprons.
In the 1970s, Luton said there were a number of cycling races held in Metchosin and he is a veteran of many of them.
“We had no problem racing here back then,” he said.
It is not uncommon before races for volunteers to sweep driveway entrances and corners for safety.
“Racing bicycles have skinnier tires and a rock or a little pothole can cause damage to a rim or tire,” Luton said.
In Highlands, the O2 Cycling Club manually sweeps out driveway aprons and corners of the road for safety, Phillips said.
“We sweep the corners and take a vehicle around the loop before the race (to look for debris).”
-O2 Cycling’s first road race of the year is March 20, 10:30 a.m., starting near Caleb Pike Homestead. Contact Ian Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cycles West at 250-474-2477.
-The first Russ Hay’s race of the year is March 27, 10:30 a.m., starting at Latoria Road. Call 250-384-4722 for information.
Check out www.schwalbecycling.com/race-calendar-results for the full calendar of races for the O2 Cycling Club and for Russ Hay’s Cycling Club.