The Carter family is back from its bike trip on Vancouver Island, and after almost 800km of road cycled, they say they would do it all over again.
Karen and Travis Carter left on their vacation from Prince Rupert with their three children in tow – literally – as the family of five hooked up in two three-piece bike convoys to make the trip.
The route was from Port Hardy to Victoria and then back up to Courtenay, where they finished the trip by van, taking a ferry back to Prince Rupert.
The unusual set-up had Karen on her bike with 10-year-old Aidan attached to the back and four-year-old Ben attached behind him in a pull-along trailer.
Travis was attached to six-year-old Seth and the two of them pulled another trailer filled with camping gear.
But despite some adjustments in the beginning, Travis said it all worked out pretty well.
“I was pleasantly surprised with how well the kids travelled,” Travis said.
And Karen agreed with him 100 per cent.
“They were amazing,” Karen said. “[They were] better on the bikes than at home.”
She explained there was so much time on the open road that the children made up games to amuse themselves, and all five had plenty of time for discussions.
“It was the best family time we have ever had,” Karen said.
She added that as soon as they took off, they knew they wanted to change the initial plan of biking down the island and back up, to biking one way with a lot more detours.
“We realized we wanted to do more exploring,” Karen explained.
And explore the Carters did, as they cycled off the main road, riding beside ocean and rivers, even detouring to check out a few islands and stopping for some cave exploration along the way.
They managed about 50 km a day, and camped almost the entire trip, barring six nights the family spent visiting friends in Duncan.
Karen said after one day of particularly hard rain, everyone was thoroughly soaked, and it was hard to keep spirits up. However, as soon as the children were dry and warm in the tent, it was like nothing had happened, as they played and joked around.
“They just rolled with it. It was pretty cool,” Karen said.
She feels that through the trip her kids really taught her to live for the moment.
This happened progressively as the Carters made their way south on the island, and came to a head just outside of Victoria.
Karen and Travis both say one of the worst parts of the trip was a 6 km stretch before Victoria where they had no option but to stay on the main road, and deal with a high volume of traffic.
“It was nerve-racking,” Karen said.
But in general she said cars were very accommodating, giving plenty of space while driving by.
In fact, some drivers were curious about what the Carters were doing, and pulled over to ask questions and take pictures.
One group of passersby was so impressed by the family’s efforts that after speaking with the Carters, they drove off and bought cinnamon buns, which they drove back to give to the Carters on the road.
And Karen said food is a big priority when you are on bikes for that long each day.
She said they would snack on something about every half hour to keep energy levels up.
This was the longest bike trip the Carters have ever taken and they say the definitely plan on doing more.
Karen said later on they would like to look at making a six month to one year trip down through the west coast of North America.
“We would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.