Bicycling in Sooke is one of the best ways to experience the full glory of Sooke’s supernatural beauty. From gnarly backwood trails, to the meandering miles of Galloping Goose bliss, cycling brings with it a meditative pace or an adrenaline rush. Sipping the ambrosial air and feasting the eyes with an ocean of green that greets you at every twist and turn is the stuff of dreams. Biking with our new mayor, Maja Tait, proved to be an outing made in heaven. Mayor Tait is a big fan of the recreational bliss that is one of Sooke’s major draws for locals and tourists alike.
“Sooke’s natural assets lend itself well to activities like cycling. The hills and the trails provide excellent training infrastructure to all abilities. Its wonderful to see the bike park land a permanent home at SEAPARC and to see programming options available for 2015”, she said.
Huffing up the trails past Harbourview Road proved to be a slippery business in the rain, but the views were epic and the scents sweet. Making our way back to the Goose, we restarted our ride at the parking spot midway up Sooke River Road. The gentle rising ride made it more amendable to having a friendly chat about the magic of Sooke and the manifold possibilities of cycling as a mode of transportation as well as adventure.
“For myself, I’m not comfortable riding on roads, so I enjoy our trail system and find one can move quickly throughout our town on our trails. I enjoy off-road biking as often as possible, as I love being in the forest with my friends. Mountain biking is a year-round activity in Sooke, every season brings a different element to the trails. And I enjoy it the most in the winter and spring when there is an abundance of rain and mud on the trails! I suppose this is why the best mountain bikers are from the West Coast, as we grow accustomed to ‘gnarly, technical trails’ that cause your bike to fish tail and slide” Tait stated.
Looming over the Todd Creek trestle, waters gushing far below, the ride took on a sense of peace and tranquility. The low-flowing fog blanketed the trees around a bend, and we shared the possibilities of further adventures in the deep green of the Sooke wilderness.
“In wildness is the preservation of the world”, said Henry David Thoreau some 150 years ago in his inspirational essay, “Walking”.
Imagining him riding alongside us on the Goose, I can envision that old lover of the the wild spirit of nature being right at home.
“It’s a great stress-reliever as one must clear the mind to focus on the trails, rather cathartic. It’s great exercise, and while it’s a solo sport it’s a group activity as we challenge each other and keep each other safe. I’m grateful to live in such a beautiful area with these natural assets”, Tait reflected.
Listening to the gentle cadence of the surrounding forests and creeks, our conversation melted into the landscape, matching our peaceful pace amidst the grandeur of the Sooke hills. Having a down-to-earth cycling companion with a deep appreciation of our wild places and recreational possibilities makes the ride home endure beyond the brief foray together. Sooke’s majestic wilderness is well-served by a fellow custodian, grateful cyclist and congenial mayor.
Thank you, Mayor Tait!