Thrill of Living

A lifestyle blog from Canada's West coast

Category: Travel

TOL cycles the TCT: the beginning!

Irvin and I are embarking on an adventure of epic proportions this summer. When we’re done, you can officially call me thunder thighs and I won’t be offended!

Beginning on June 27th, we will be riding our bikes from our home in Victoria to my hometown of Fernie, BC.   Assuming all goes well, our wheels will tread over 1100 kilometres through mountain passes and valleys, pavement, gravel, dirt and sand. We’ll be traveling on the lower British Columbia section of the Trans Canada Trail as much as possible, changing course as necessary to finish before our vacation time runs out.

We are very excited. Three weeks off? During some of the best days of summer? Traveling at cycling speed through scenic mountains, valleys, even desert… Experiencing the majesty of this beautiful province at a pace we can take it all in – the sights, the sounds, the air! Pulling over to refresh in lakes and rivers. Sleeping while constellations spin overhead and the earth drums beneath.  Waking to bird songs and sunrises. I can only imagine that at times I will feel the most alive of my twenties. Oh, this is something to look forward to.

As excited as I am, I await the day we embark with considerable caution and fear. I don’t feel ready – not in a ‘did I remember my toothbrush’ kind of way but a ‘do I have what it takes – the knowledge, skills, luck, karma(!?) – that will get me through this no matter what we might face?’

I can imagine a slew of unpleasant scenarios, most of which I’ll never voice out of superstition. There might be bears, or worse, cougars, but we have bear spray and bear bangers, and I have a compulsion to sing while biking, which is bound to put the round-eared furry friends in a pleasant, non-threatened mood.

We could injure ourselves slowly – hour by hour, day by day, joints grinding, muscles tearing. We could injure ourselves quickly – a stick in a spoke, a surprise pothole, a trip head first, gravel biting into skin.

We have a first aid kit, we can hope we will know enough to patch ourselves up. We will, and we will do what we can to be careful. Our family will be on call should we need to be rescued… we are lucky! If we must stop, we will.

One by one we’ve checked off the gear on our packing list – just a few things left. We are prepping our bodies with more frequent and longer rides. We’re reading up on what to eat, where to camp, how to replace a spoke, remove a chain link.

We both know it won’t be easy, we won’t always be having fun, and there’s going to be opportunities for danger that we’ll need to be smart to get through.

I can’t know what will happen, but we will soon find out. I do know that it’s going to be one crazy adventure.  Take the journey with us here (subscribe if you like) and follow me on instagram @thrillofliving for frequent updates. I’m excited to share this experience with you!

Cycling the Sunshine Coast highway.

Cycling the Sunshine Coast highway.

5 West Coast beers to ease into Autumn

We had a wonderful (and busy) summer marked by day upon day of beautiful weather, fantastic friends, home improvements, time in the water and even a couple of memorable trips to Portland and LA.  It was the kind of summer I’ll compare future summers to for the rest of my life – a really, really good summer.

As the seasons change, so do my beer preferences. Through the summer months I tend to favour light, cold and refreshing beer, while in the fall and winter I prefer dark, bold and thicker beer.  This year, even though the weather hardly called for it, by September I found myself reaching for a darker beer – surely an indication of a full and satisfying summer. We’ve had some heavy rain this week, and I  am feeling quite ready for the onset of fall!

Here are five local-ish beers from Victoria (or nearby) to help you ease into the coming darkness, fog, and high visibility bike gear.

Ordered from light to dark:

Electric Unicorn White IPA by Phillips Brewery (Victoria, BC) – a light beer with a kick ass name and high-ish (6.5%) alcohol percentage.  A nice transition beer that would do well in the summer too.


Avatar Jasmine IPA by Elysian Brewing Company (Seattle, WA) – an elusive beer worth trying if you are a fan of IPA’s and the flowery flavour of a nice loose-leaf jasmine tea.


Fat Tug by Driftwood Brewery (Victoria, BC) – an islanders favourite.  Refreshing, filling, and very hoppy! Possibly the first IPA I ever tried – reminds me of grapefruit juice (which I love).


Dark Matter by Hoyne Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC)– for a grey evening reading a book by the fire, or doing crossword puzzles by yourself at your neighbourhood pub.  Yes, that happens here.  Any dark beer with caramel and coffee notes gets points when I’m keeping score.


PBC Dry Stout by Perspehone Brewing Company (Gibsons, BC) – my all time favourite stout hailing from one gem of a brewery! We discovered Persephone on our last trip to the Sunshine Coast.  On 11-acres, they grow their own hops and vegetables which they use on wood-fired pizza made to order.  They’re relatively new (about a year) so I’m still waiting for our local pubs and liquor stores to start carrying them. As they make such fantastic beer I am hopeful it will be available here soon!


I’d love to hear what your favourite craft brews are in the fall.  Any thoughts on which brewery does the best pumpkin beer?  Post in the comments below!

Until next time friends, cheers to the summer and happy Fall!



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