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Haida Gwaii

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

Written by: Rose Lee

In June 2019 my partner and I checked two bike trips off our bucket list: cycling from our home in Victoria to the northern tip of Vancouver Island AND cycling the beautiful beaches of Haida Gwaii! We combined both of these trips into one amazing adventure.

We cycled from our home in Victoria, BC north to Port Hardy, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. We then spent about 30 hours travelling on 2 ferries to reach Skidegate on Graham Island. Graham Island is one of two large islands, plus numerous smaller islands, that are collectively known as Haida Gwaii, the heartland of Haida territory. It is a magical, primordial archipelago, about 90 km off the north coast of BC. Travelling by mountain bikes enriched our experience: we were vulnerable to the weather, the wind, and the tides. The locals we met appreciated the effort we were making to absorb and explore this special place. Over our 8 days exploring Graham Island we cycled (and sometimes pushed our mountain bikes) over trails, beaches and quiet paved roads. Then we ferried and pedalled home, happier humans for the experience. 20 days, 4 ferries, 2 laundry-mats, 1440 kms cycled, and 32,426 ft climbed.

One technique that helps me enjoy any bike trip is packing light. My goal is to carry what I need so I can enjoy the staggering beauty around me rather than fret about whether I am carry too much gear, or worse, the wrong gear. I take care to pack clothes that are functional and stylish. SPVC items are an integral part of my bike-packing gear and they help lighten my load without sacrificing function or style. I took both my Classic Jersey and my SPVC 80 Road Jersey to Haida Gwaii. I love these for a few reasons: incredible body temperature management over a wide range of weather, I am not the smelly cyclist at the mid-day cafe stop or the end-of-day beer stop, they look and feel great, and they do not need to be washed every night. When I do wash them, usually by hand in a hotel room, they are dry the next morning. They have seen their fair share of questionable washing machines over my travels, they have been hand washed countless times, and they have withstood the abuse over and over. I absolutely love them.

I also took my Classic Cap, which was as practical on hot and sunny days, as it was on rainy days. The HI-5 Merino Wool Socks stood up to multiple days of wear in all weather. To round out my SPVC kit I packed my Primo Strata LS and SS base layers. These were used on and off the bike every single day. On cold and wet days on the bike, the Long Sleeve was an essential base layer. Off the bike, the discreet logo on the sleeve meant I could wear either the LS or SS as a simple, classic black top. Like the jerseys they wore very well day after day, with infrequent washings.

The Spandex Panda Collection is truly Style Designed For Adventure. I don't leave home without them.

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