Day 1 – Ucluelet to Port Alberni: Eastward Ho!

  • Today’s Distance (miles): 64
  • Time in saddle: 5h 24
  • Max/min temp (°c): 35°/8°
  • Climb/descend (feet) : 3,572/3,592
  • Calories used: 2,950
  • Cafe time: 3h 36

After all this time spent planning and anticipating this day, I’ve finally started. I spent my last night as a nearly normal traveller having supper in the sun outside my motel room (the West Coast Motel, a great place with a gym and pool and highly recommended). The rest of the evening was quite strange, with so much on my mind I decided I needed a change of scene, so I put the tv on to find The Godfather, one of my favourite films, just starting on AMC. The next three hours flew by.

I got up at 5am to eat a big breakfast and drink a few cups of strong coffee, then I packed up the last few things and headed straight across town to Little Beach for the starting ceremony of dipping my back wheel in the Pacific Ocean. Everywhere was completely deserted, so the only witnesses are yourselves!


At 6am I set off, back through town and on to the Pacific Rim Highway. It was overcast, chilly, and as soon as I left town I entered what the locals told me they call a “falling fog”. I call it “falling rain”, but really it just drizzled. After the heat of the last day or so, I was actually quite relieved to have such familiar conditions for this day of long climbs and descents. I remembered to stop at the “Welcome to Ucluelet” cabin to get a vital uke pic! My new $10 bike helmet was great all day, a perfect fit and with a very useful visor in rain and hot sun.

As I made my way up through the mountains, I saw this sign, and thought “Gup Yaaah!”, which our Jacob, who is having a Gup Yaah of his own at the moment, has got all of us saying. I had to go in and investigate, and was glad I did. I met Kelly who lives up there with his wife from March to October running this Zip Line and Kayaking centre. He was so welcoming and let me have a peak around and pet his lovely dog, Hiccough. Should have asked how he got that name. If you’re out there Kelly, why not leave a comment and let us know!

The mountains were breathtaking, and once the sun was out, it was hard not to stop at every new stunning view:

It’s a Toblerone! Note the lack of cars. I hardly saw any all day, except when a slow RV went by, followed by a huge line of frustrated pick-up trucks. I got very welcome wide berths from pretty much everyone today.

Another shout-out to someone I met today, at a Rest Area by the river. Chris, who was driving to Tofino, and who told me he left the Army (stationed in Trondheim, Norway) for love. A great reason to do anything, I’m sure you’ll agree. Thanks for the company and all your interest Chris.

There are three entries for today’s Signs That Are Funny section (hurray!), the first two of which are connected:

To lose one shoe may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

And lastly:

“Jimmy, NOOO!!!”
And now a couple of “What Is It, Sam?”s. As before, open to all-comers, unless you’re just making up silly names thinking that we won’t know. YOU WILL BE DISCOVERED. Thanks to all of you that passed on suggestions yesterday. Things are hotting up. I think there will have to be a packet of Minstrels for the most I-Ds over the next 3 months.

Leaves like a Hosta, but smaller.

And finally this little chap whom I nearly ran over. The same thing happened later in the day, but I didn’t get to my iphone in time.

By the time I got over the last summit, it was roastingly hot. The range of temperatures today, as you can see in the stats at the top of the page, was crazy. I saw a sign for Sproat Lake beach, and I thought “this old sproat is going in”.

I’m now at my campsite, Arrowvale Campground and about to make some supper in the hot evening sun. ​It’s great to have got this first day done, and all through the most stunning scenery.

Today’s Tune Stuck in Head Whilst Cycling: The Narrow Winding Road, sung to the tune of The Long and Winding Road, after seeing this sign early in the day. 

24 thoughts on “Day 1 – Ucluelet to Port Alberni: Eastward Ho!

  1. What a fabulous first day! Thanks for sharing it with us. The bird is Stellar’s Jay, the BC provincial bird. I love their raucous call. And that might be a garter snake. Great photos and video.
    Have a great second day – we’ll have a hearty meal ready for you.

    Cheers, S

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful! I can tell Im going to immensely enjoy this bike ride from the comfort of my armchair! Don’t know how easy it would be for you add a screenshot of your daily route on a map? Great start! Oh well, back to those Wagner excerpts for me 😦 Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So exciting to wake up this morning and find your blog. What a day, and what a place to swim. I love the way you weave all the contacts you make into the story of your journey. A long chain across Canada. Sleep

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Was thinking of you on your first day yesterday Ben. Praying for safety and a marvelling at creation. From your photos I think we shall all be marvelling – it looks stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I bet that swim was good. I’m hopeless at identifying things so no comments there. Long and winding road could make you weep, almost like tap dancing (which I think you won’t be doing). Told Oriel your helmet story and she said how fortunate – visor very good and necessary. And I guess you’re finding that. Wake refreshed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, an amazing first day Ben! So glad all went well.
    I was wondering whether you’d mind if I tagged my uncle, Earl Banks, who lives in Nova Scotia, in your posts. I think he would be most interested to follow your trip.
    Sleep well!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ben – what’s the link to your charity please? I’m thinking of sharing it with some friends and suggesting they could donate to that instead of buying me a birthday present. Would you be happy for me to share on my Facebook page the video of you in the courtyard at school playing your ukulele? Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hoorah for you! Loving the calorie counter. I shall live through you, you will be getting (even more) fit for us all. Looks stunning. Loving your photos. Getting us very excited for seeing similar in August, though less arduously. If that’s a word.
    Helen xx

    Liked by 1 person

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