Victoria's Galloping Goose Trail just what the doctor ordered

by Janet Greidanis, freelance, article for The Edmonton Journal 2008

Who could be more excited and enthusiastic about going to Victoria, B.C., in spring than an Edmontonian? While people are cycling, gardening and golfing in many other Canadian cities, Edmontonians can expect to be hauling out snow shovels, cross-country skis, inner tubes and toboggans.

Just a 90-minute flight west lies an opportunity to experience spring in all its finest -- walking on green grass, inhaling the wonderful mixed fragrance of sea air and hyacinths, and cycling unimpeded by ice and snow.

"I've never heard of the Galloping Goose," my friend said as we walked towards the bike rental place on a floating dock at the bottom of Swift Street. Neither have many others, I discovered, as I later told the tales of our delightful overnight cycling trip from downtown Victoria to rural Sooke.

Cyclists travel along the Galloping Goose Trail.View Larger Image View Larger Image

Cyclists travel along the Galloping Goose Trail.

Bruce Stotesbury/ Times Colonist
The Galloping Goose would be a great trip for a group of friends or would make a great family outing. I'm already thinking how much my two young grandchildren in Vancouver would enjoy biking "the Goose" this summer.

The Galloping Goose was the name given to an ungainly gas-powered rail car that noisily transported mail and 30 passengers twice daily between Victoria and Sooke during the 1920s. After nine years, the route was discontinued.

Since 1989, the abandoned rail bed has been transformed into a picturesque, non-motorized bike and pedestrian route, sometimes shared with horse riders, that covers 55 kilometres. By combining the Galloping Goose with the Lochside Trail, it's possible to ride the length of south Vancouver Island from Sooke to Swartz Bay.

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