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Guest Blog Post form Gabe Levesque: We hope you are doing something you love today! We've got a great Valentine Day Bike Ride all mapped out for you. The best part, the route is shaped like a heart.

Well, maybe not this heart. Maybe a little more like this:

Heat-shaped map available on MapMyRide: Total distance is 16.26 km 16.26km on a cruiser bike on 2/14/2014 

Enjoy quiet streets, a great view of the city, and stop at a number of interesting local spots with your Valentine, a group of good friends, or the whole family!

Start at Little Ross Bay Park, which is at the very bottom of St Charles, where Dallas Road becomes Hollywood Crescent. This is a great spot to beachcomb, enjoy some big waves if it’s windy, or simply sit on a bench and enjoy the view. A water fountain here is good spot to fill water bottles and today is shaping up to be nice and bright.

Heading east to west along the route of the heart, there are the many great local shops to stop at and keep the ride interesting.

  • Knotty by nature - a good first stop to marvel at the many varieties of wool, they also offer classes as well. 
  • Abkhazi Gardens - if you’d like to stop and actually smell some roses

Oak Bay at Hampshire: 

  • Sweet delights - pick up the rare heart shaped ring pop for your little loved ones
  • Penny Farthing Liquor store - in case you need to stock up on Prosecco or Champagne for the evening’s toasting
  • Oak Bay flower shop - surely you haven’t forgotten to get some flowers for your sweetie?
  • Rogers chocolates - for your sweet tooth
  • Ottavio - in case you’re preparing a charcuterie and cheese platter for later or an espresso stop

While your cycling through Estevan village:

  • Citizen clothing - see if Patrick has some Etiquette boxers in stock with hearts on them
  • Crumsby’s Cupcake Cafe - if you have your little sweeties with you and they need a sweetie
  • Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen - if you didn’t stop at Ottavio, stop here, it’s a Dutch meca for yummie goodness
  • Fifth street bar and grill - if you need a spot for lunch, their fire wood pizza's are pretty nice.
  • Caffé Fantastico - if you need more fuel for the ride and a great place to stop for lunch and one of the best espresso you'll find (there are more great coffee shops).
  • Victoria’s Public Market - any number of scrumptious items here, the fishmonger is a great place to stop at to build your dinner menu.
  • North Park bicycle shop - get any bike issues fixed here.
  • Wildfire bakery - grab some bread to go with Fritata

This ride is not without a few climbs. Here they are:

  • Shotbolt Rd. to Mountjoy Ave. (a bit steep)
  • Thompson Ave. to Cadboro Bay Rd. (gradual climb)
  • Ryan St. to Cedar Hill Rd. (very steep)
  • Grosvenor Rd. to the Rise to Montrose (a bit steep)

This route does cross some major streets, but only for a very short period of time. Here they are:

  • Roslyn Rd. to the Centennial trail to Hampshire Rd. There are stairs here.
  • crossing Foul Bay Rd. at Neil St.
  • crossing Shelbourne at the end of Newton St.
  • Kiwanis Way at Vista Heights
  • Hillside at Quadra
  • use the crosswalk at Bay St and Dowler
  • Dowler to Blanshard to North Park: rest your backside and walk on the sidewalk in front of Save-on-Foods arena, as North Park cannot be accessed from the south bound lanes on Blanshard.

If you need a rest stop, one of the best is along Montrose Ave. You get sweeping views of downtown Victoria. If you travelled your wee ones, these are great spots for them:

  • Crumsby’s in Estevan Village - yummy treats and change tables
  • Allenby Park on Dean Ave. - basketball court and playground
  • Oaklands Park - washrooms, tennis courts, and fields
  • Wark St. Park - playground
  • Robert J. Park (by Sir James Douglas) - playground

We would love to hear how you spent your Valentine's Day today and if you do this route, send us photos and we'll post them here!

Happy cycling!

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