Old Hilliers Road to the German Deli24 Km. 213 metre climb. About 1.5 hours. I tracked my ride with the Trailforks app and noticed it looked like a familiar shape. Even the eyeball (marsh). Being on the Bark Echo eBikes Team, and being surrounded by furry four legged associates, the imaginary jump was easy. Not Fast and Furious but Furry and Frivolous. Have a look at it below. You could even put a leash on the dog, if you ride your eBike from Qualicum Beach! So, OK, not all the red lines were drawn on a real road. So we have to adapt the drawing to the reality of the roads. Have a look at my actual ride circuit here: I started at the base of the back foot and made my way clockwise, up and over and down, a few times for each paw, the horizontal belly line is Grafton Road, the paw roads are Station road, Ward Road, McLean Road and Pratt Road. I eyeballed the distance for the dog legs, that last one is a bit long. Pratt is the one that draws the front leg and chest of the dog all the way up towards the deli.
Hilliers shopsA little 10 metre detour off the Alberni highway, onto Van Horn brings you to Albert’s Hilliers Gourmet Foods, with a presence on Facebook. Check before you go, Albert is wise — he and his staff do take holidays. On the same little sidestreet, Van Horn, there’s a fish market HUB CITY Fish Market (bring a cooler and ice!) and a cool t-shirt shop, tshirts that talk. Pretty busy tiny street! The nice ambling part of this ride starts just a few hundred metres past Tshirts That Talk, when you turn right onto Hilliers Road South. You are then going slightly downhill, drawing the Dog’s head and shoulders. Once you cross onto the abandoned Coombs road, you will draw the back, all the way to the Goats on the Roof.
Coombs shopsLoads to do in Coombs, starting with the Old Country Market with the Goats on the Roof. Don’t miss the stores behind the grass roofed building as well as across the bridge. Lock your bike and bring the battery key with you. If we keep on drawing the Bark Echo Dog ride, head onto the gravel railside trail towards Parksville, for just a bit, then turn left on Virginia/Shawn road, the tip of the dog tail pulls a U turn at the Bamboozle Boutique. Worth a peek inside. After your return towards the Coombs shops, it’s a matter of closing the loop to your starting point! Left on Station road. Of course, you can start your ride at any point in the circuit. Fun. Furry and Frivolous Fun. Show us your accomplishment — if you post your ride circuit and photos on Instagram do tag them #barkechoebikes You’ve got bragging rights as a “cycling artist” now!
TrailforksYou can access the ride through BlueBuddha’s ride on the Trailforks app, or scan the QR code below if you want instant access to the ride, it will open in your Trailforks app! Cheers! The Bark Echo eBikes Team
A few tips on how to ride an eBike
There are quite a few things to think about before your first time on an electric bike, an eBike.
An eBike comes with a electric motor as a pedalling assist and you’ve also got a throttle. It rides pretty much the same as a regular bike, but it’s still a different experience and responsibility. The system works by sensing a turn of your pedal, the sensor tells the motor to kick in. Thus, even one single turn of your pedal will activate the assist, and can be surprising if you don’t expect it. Know your bike.
Your best bet, is to start off riding it like a Regular bike. No assist. Get comfortable with the geometry, gears and how they work, gearing up and gearing down, disc brakes if you’re not used to them, the mirror adjustment, bell location, turning your lights on and off.
Start slow before you turn on your assist. If it’s your first time, you might be surprised at a sudden burst of pedal help. Especially if you’re going slow.
Test the throttle too. It can help you cross the street faster. Or breeze past your biking buddy with a big grin on your face.
One to three assist is usually enough to ride your bike comfortably on moderate hills and flats. Assist four and five will help you on really long and steep climbs. But there are few of those climbs in Oceanside.
If you approach a group of people or a traffic light, any kind of barriers, bring it back to zero assist. Keep riding it like a normal bike till the obstacles are past. Nothing worse than a sudden burst of assist to send you forward into some obstacle.
Because your eBike is heavier, it takes a longer time and distance to slow down and stop.
If you’re walking your bike, set it on zero, it can be scary having the bike take off all by itself, if you inadvertently rotate the handle grip throttle. If your assist is set to zero, the throttle does not work.
If the throttle does not work and you do have the assist turned on, try pushing the throttle on/off toggle button at your right thumb.
On the flats, if you keep it in assist-one or two it will kick-in only if you seem to slow down. You might not even notice that it is helping. If you’re in a hurry, assist-three and a higher gear will get you there faster.
It’s fun to figure out your best settings as you roll around; your cadence (that perfect rhythm to each individual), your gear (1-7) and your assist-#, (if you need, 1-5).
Once you get used to the assists, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.
Follow all BC biking regulations
Where can you cycle? Cyclists are allowed on all highways except designated freeways, such as Inland Island Highway 19 on Vancouver Island, BC. There are more enjoyable places to ride anyhow, check out all our posted rides!
For more information on biking regulations in BC, do visit their cycling rules page: gov.bc.ca/cyclingrules
ICBC list some pertinent info as well.
Here’s a quick overview:
- must wear a bike helmet
- “… a person operating a cycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle.”
- “must not ride on a sidewalk…”
- “… ride as near as practicable to the right side of the highway”
- must not ride side-by-side, but in single file
- no passengers
- don’t ride on Inland Island Highway 19
- I’m not sure if distracted driving charges could apply to eBikes, probably, let’s not test it
- good to keep your front and rear lights turned on all the time
- remain at the scene of an accident and render all possible assistance
- indicate a left turn by extending your left hand and arm horizontally
- indicate a right turn by extending your your hand and arm horizontally, or your left arm out and upwards at a 90 degree angle
- indicate a stop or decrease in speed by extending the person’s left hand and arm out and down from the cycle
- respect all railway crossing indications
- on trails, pedestrians and equestrians have the right-of-way
- follow all motor vehicle laws, all signage
- 32 km/h on level ground is the set maximum speed, about the speed of a sprinting soccer player!
- No driver’s licence is needed to ride an eBike, but you must be at least 16 years old, we prefer 19 years old, here at Bark Echo eBikes
- and lastly, “… a person must not open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.” But some drivers seem to forget this when it comes to bicycles. Be careful out there. Keep at least a metre and a half away from cars and their doors.
Go farther, go longer, have fun.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Wear your brain bucket!
The Bark Echo eBikes Team,
Post your pics on Instagram and tag them #barkechoebikes
We used to call this ride “The Triangle”. A link between Parksville, Coombs, Qualicum Beach, and back to Parksville. Because of the nice bike path in French Creek, we would bypass it without really noticing. Might also be that there is no town centre there, more of a residential suburb. But there it is on the map, French Creek, and it’s not a triangle, so we’ll just call it the Full Circuit. It has remained our ride of choice. Three to four hours, with lots to see and do on the way.
26 Km. 250 metre climb. About 2.5 hours. (But you need to add your off-spurs and loafing time!)
You can access the Full Circuit from anywhere you happen to be. Where you’re living or where you’re staying on holidays. It took us a while to piece the whole thing together. I’ve written about most of this circuit in a series of posts, section by section.
Clockwise from Parksville:
- Parksville to Coombs
- Qualicum Beach to Coombs (in reverse direction)
- Parksville to Qualicum Beach (in reverse direction)
- Back to the trailhead if you want by the link up explained below
Counterclockwise from Qualicum:
- Qualicum Beach to Coombs
- Parksville to Coombs (reverse direction)
- The link from Despard to Wembley (see below)
- Parksville to Qualicum Beach
The only link-up missing is from the Wembley Mall (in the area close to the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks off-spur), to the trailhead behind the Springwood dog-park on Despard. Seeing as some of us learn with words, the list of roads is below. For those of us that learn better with images, the detailed map is below too! If you learn best with sound, have your biking buddy read it out loud to you as you fall asleep the night before!
- Going south from Wembley,
- right on Church,
- at the traffic circle go three-quarters of the way around onto Humphrey,
- and follow the bike path signs, right onto Renz,
- which curves left onto Hirst,
- turn right onto Chestnut,
- at the T, turn left onto Despard,
- the sign for the trailhead should be visible a few hundred feet
Below is the map for this link-up to complete the FULL CIRCUIT ride.
Have fun. Take pics. Post them on Instagram using the hashtag #barkechoebikes
Electric bikes are not considered vehicles and are permitted in RDN Parks and Trails.
The official RAIL TRAIL map can be accessed from the RDN website (Regional District of Nanaimo)
The Bark Echo eBikes Team
A nice mix of separated bike path, wide paved shoulder, and an abandoned road, leads you from Qualicum Beach to Coombs.
12 Km. 214 metre climb. Under an hour.
You can choose to skip the Laburnum climb and access the ride up Memorial, from the traffic circle west of Qualicum, the Rupert and Memorial intersection, if you’re in a hurry.
Going by the first way, up Laburnum (that’s a plant) adds a long detour, but well worth it. A long climb to test your pedal assist levels. Love it! But don’t burn all your juice.
There’s a separate bike path along the road, no worries here. And of course the scenery is amazing.
The traffic circle is at the end of this pathway, a quarter of the circle sends you towards Coombs. Wide shoulders along the road make this section of the ride more bearable. You will bike under the four lane highway underpass.
Keep an eye out for Hilliers’ road. If you take the right, you will get to the German deli. That’s another post. To get to Coombs, take the left way, past the yellow barrier, onto the old abandoned Hillers road.
It’s nice quiet ride. You’ll need to walk your bike across the train tracks. Make sure to turn off the assist, as you should do whenever you stop of go through technical aspects of your ride.
You’ll end up at a T intersection, turn left, the Old country Market and all the shops, stores and eateries are just a few hundred metres away. Power off before the crowds. Have fun. Lock your bike. Bring the battery key with you.
There’s also an off-spur you can ride to the German deli, by way of the right turn at Hilliers’ road, rather than the left. A low traffic winding paved road with beautiful scenery. That’s another post coming soon.
The Bark Echo eBikes Team
A mix of paved bike paths, through residential neighbourhoods, forest pathways and low traffic roads.
16.7 Km. 157 metre climb. Maybe 90 minutes.
Leaving from the boardwalk at Parksville beach, at the west end (up Island), cross the main drag (Island Hwy) on McMillan street and take the first right on Morison Ave.
Head all the way to the end and turn right onto Pym. About 500 metres out, turn left onto Humphrey, then onto the traffic circle. Curve right down Church road, at the T, turn left onto Wembley Road. One kilometre after, there’s a left turn onto Roberton Blvd. The bike path from hereon is very well indicated.
A bit after this is your chance to take a one kilometre off-spur down Lowrys Road to Morningstar Farms and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. Mmmm cheese.
Once you’re back in the saddle, head back the same way and get back on track, left on Roberton towards Qualicum Beach. Then right on Morningstar Drive. Left on Lee Road West. Right on Barclay crescent. Across French Creek. Then left on Imperial Drive. And left again on Sunrise Drive. Just follow the bike path signage. All we want is to stay away from vehicle traffic. 😉 Bike on right ahead all the way to Bennett Road, which you will cross, through a small forest to reach Fern Road. Cross Hollywood Road.
Still on Fern road, keep pedalling (or not). More forest pathways once you cross Qualicum Road. At one point, the path splits left or right. Left goes into the Town of Qualicum Beach, shops, restaurants, galleries. If you veer right, then quickly left onto Veterans Way, the next right is Memorial Avenue, which winds its way down to the waterfront.
You are now on the beach in Qualicum! The map shows the path all the way to the ice cream place, Shore Restaurant.
Have fun, send us your pics. Tag us on Instagram #barkechoebikes
If you’re going to do this ride, I suggest you rent for the day, there’s so much to do in Qualicum and on the seawall.
The Bark Echo eBikes Team
A favourite ride to the Old Country Market in Coombs, The Goats on the Roof. With a Bark Echo eBike, it’s a fun easy ride.
10.5 Km. 125 metre climb. Under an hour.
Taking off from the Parksville Bay boardwalk, northwest end, wiggle your way through the residential neighbourhood, close to the Middle School on Despard.
Past and up behind the dog park, is where you can spot the trailhead, follow it up and left, there’s a gravel ramp to cross the first of two train tracks. A few S turns and past the second barrier (remember to power-off in this technical part of your ride), on your right, is where the nice wide gravel trail to Coombs starts. All along the train tracks.
Keep an eye out for Mount Arrowsmith ahead to your left, snow covered year round at 1,818 metres up.
Bome Cheese is on the way. Artisan cheeses and a dining patio. You can spot their sign when riding up to the Goats, it’s across the road on your left. Worth the detour! (1876 Alberni Hwy)
A pleasant 10.5 kilometre ride to Coombs, up 125 metres (easy on an eBike!), it will take you about a hour to get there. Power-off before the crowds. So much to see and do there. Make sure to lock your bike and take the battery key with you.
Lots of APPs available to help you navigate while biking. We use Trailforks, there’s also MAP my RIDE, AllTrails, Bikemap …
Take photos and send them along. Post them on Instagram, using the hashtag #barkechoebikes
The Bark Echo eBikes Team
Short but super sweet!
9.6 Km only. 54 metre climb. Maybe an hour if you stop to take lots of photos.
Taking off from Resort Drive, or out behind Serious Coffee, (1209 East Island Hwy) head towards Parksville. On that last bump before the orange bridge turn right, to Rathtrevor Campground.
Zip on down the hill, and turn into the parking area on your right. Scoot over to the paths before the beach, and head left.
There’s a beautiful path along the shore, winding in and out of big trees, great place for camping. A few benches along the shoreline invite you for quiet contemplation and beautiful photo opportunities.
Eventually, the trail ends, and curves left; you will spot a frost fence gate to your right, take it and slip into San Pareil neighbourhood.
Follow Shorewood Drive, which turns into Mariner Way. As soon as you spot San Malo, at the edge of The Englishman River estuary, ahead and to your left, sneak between the park bench and the postal boxes then slip down towards the shore for a few hundred feet.
The trail then bounces back up along the river, some nice viewing platforms for birdwatching and photo shoots.
The trail winds back to a paved road, Plummer road, and after about a kilometre it reaches the orange bridge. Nice detour eh? I like that one too.
Take that berm ramp up right onto the bridge, power off on the bridge is a good idea.
Keep on the sidewalk just a short distance, to the next road and turn right onto Martindale road. You can either take Pioneer all the way to the end or follow Turner on the left then Shelley on your right. Head down the slope and turn left onto the grass path, another little detour.
Either way, you end up at the corner of Corfield and the main drag, the 19a, aka Island Highway. Turn right and head down the slope, the Parkville Community Beach sign will be on your left. I’m sure you will easily find the boardwalk.
Make sure to slow down on the boardwalk and turn off your pedal-assist. Take lots of photos! Tag #BarkechoeBikes on Instagram.
It can be deserted in the wintertime, as above, or slightly busy on a nice summer day, as below.
And sometimes stormy.
From the other end of the boardwalk, you can also head up to Coombs and the Goats on the Roof. That’s another page.
Or keep going up-Island to the next beach, Columbia. That’s another page.
Or do the “Triangle”, Parksville — Qualicum Beach — Coombs and back! Our signature ride.
The Bark Echo eBikes Team