Myself and Stuie rode the second day route of the AAA yesterday. We have an event weekend!
It will be no casual outing. Not suitable for Sunday group riders. This is Vancouver Island frontier voyaging on a motorbike as adventuresome as you could wish...
The two days will have a bit of everything, intended for solo and pairs riders wanting to ride the roads less travelled. All on Crown Highways, Richta Timing Points along the routes, all doable (as demonstrated by my own fat/old self on aDR650).
You will recall the Saturday route was set last weekend covering some of the roads over the mountains between the Alberni Inlet and Sproat Lake.
Yesterday we turned our attention to the Sunday route between the Alberni Inlet and Nitnat lake.
All these roads are Crown Highways, no gates, licence/insurance/registration required. We are confined to public roads as it is pointless to seek permission to ride over private land - it absolutely would not be forthcoming!
Over the course of 160km, the route has three crux sections, one of which has a bypass which will make the going easier but remove riders from the Time Speed Distance element of the weekend.
I will make no secret of the fact that the only way into and out of the "Inlet - Nitnat lake" hinterland is down the Bamfield Main highway. The condition of this road continues to be worked on by The Province and their contractors. The road that used to be potholed but firm has now had (probably) millions of tonnes of graded gravel spread along its length. The marbles are (or were of yesterday) ankle-deep along long sections of the road, requiring moderate riding speeds and care picking lines through corners. The gravel is under constant grading as a result of increased traffic volumes due to the intermittent closure of Highway 4 while the consequences of the Cameron Lake Bluffs wildfire are being dealt with - the detour route for Hwy 4 includes the upper Bamfield Main.
For information please see this: https://www.ladysmithchronicle.com/news/chip-seal-work-begins-on-bamfield-main-in-final-phase-of-surfacing-project/?fbclid=IwAR2vQzJGaz82fkgJ4Zo2ZzjzoaywG6du0yZpoFEMV-E63_W4jut7ga6Gz8k_aem_AUQPmfTGbIa1CHUVwcgb2J_Y2kgG1nmrY-oVwZ-qyHL_G9uck1ix9I3H6UbNkSfSNAU
I don't anticipate the riding conditions will be any different in October and so will set the average speed along this road to enable cautious riding. No point in wiping out on a known tricky surface. These are two of the three crux sections.
If, however, chipsealing of the road surface is completed before the event I will adjust the section average speeds accordingly.
The third crux section is a very old forest road that is still passable but probably won't be in another year or two. It is an example of how nature reclaims the road once woman, man and machine have ceased travelling it.
This section has a bypass. Take the bypass and you will miss Control Points and not figure in the event results other than as a DNF participant.
The section is passable, at slow speed, it is about 8km of jungle, and the perfect environment in which to use your Adventure bike. The photo montage above might give an indication of how it is. There is a large, rotting fallen tree at about the 6.5km mark that helpfully has be cleared sufficiently to make a sinuous path for motorcycles. Bushy jungle and rotting log slaloms aside, this route is reasonably easy with no steep inclines or difficult surfaces under your knobbly tyres. Don't try this on road tyres though, will you?
Get beyond this and it is all (reasonably) plain sailing until you get back to the Bamfield marbles for the final return to civilisation. Ther are some steep gravelly climbs and some close attention needed to take the right roads at the junctions, but it will be, and it was on Saturday, a Jolly Good Day Out!
A microadventure and home in time for tea!
Saturday will be 130km, Sunday 160km, call it 300km in two days, all gravel, no gates and back to work on Monday. I can't guarantee no aches though!
Also entries for Saturday only and Sunday only. I hope to see you in October!
More to come.....
From Huu ay Aht First Nation: "the chip seal is due to be completed by the end of September"
I will set the speeds on the "Bamfield Highway" accordingly!