Island Joy Rides: In the Beginning....
If you were asked to write down 10 things that make you "come alive" what would you write? Try it!
We did! We wrote our thoughts on scrap pieces of paper......biking, hiking, meaningful travel, great food, delicious wine, unique experiences, bringing people together around common interests, appreciating the small things......
As we read our lists to each other we had to laugh at the similarities. It was as if an active travel company jumped off the page. We could combine the whole list and share our enthusiasm and love of Vancouver Island with others at the same time. There is nothing like this available in our area....this would be unique! Maybe one day we could offer travel experiences everywhere! When we talked to Chris and John about this crazy idea, they were equally as excited and willing to join our team. Our journey was about to begin.
We can't wait to see what the future brings!
Laurel and Kim: Co-Owners
"We cannot reach new horizons if we fear to leave the shore."
Island Joy Rides Team
Kim Barry: Partner/Co-Owner
Kim BarryKim has a degree in Kinesiology and has a background as a fitness leader, marketing manager and events organizer. She’s an organizational genius and has a gift for taking care of details!
Laurel Cronk: Partner/Co-Owner
Laurel CronkLaurel is a teacher, fitness instructor and a coach with the Rapids triathlon club. She has boundless energy and limitless ideas and her passion for cycling has been the motivation for Island Joy Rides.
John Elson: Guide
John ElsonJohn’s outdoor passions include hiking, cross country skiing, running – and, of course, cycling! As for his indoor interests, check out johnelson.ca.
Chris Round: Guide
Chris RoundChris is devoted to joyful bicycle exploration – and much else in the outdoors! She has had extensive bicycle touring experience around the globe and knows how much our Island has to offer.
Sonja Schum: Guide
Sonja SchumSonja is a teacher, mom, wife and athlete. She loves anything outdoors. Sonja's smile is contagious and her positive attitude is a joy to be around.
Richard Cronk: Guide/Support
Richard CronkRichard is a chiropractor and Laurel's hubby. He helps guide, loads bikes, maintains bikes and even makes treats for Island Joy Rides. Richard is an avid cycler and also one of our poster boys.
"If I can bicycle, I bicycle." – David Attenborough
Our Area: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Vancouver Island, the largest island on the Pacific coast of North America, is situated opposite the mainland of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is approximately 300 miles long and varies from 40 to 80 miles wide. You can reach Vancouver Island by a network of provincial ferries that arrive in either Victoria or Nanaimo. Most cities on Vancouver Island have their own airport with quite a few being recognized as international destinations.
Our corner of Vancouver Island abounds with amazing things to do – that’s why we live here. The Comox Valley and Campbell River feature many of the amenities of larger cities without sacrificing friendly small-town character. The areas have grown into multi-faceted travel destinations, bounded by water and mountains, surrounded by wilderness, and blessed with mild weather. Legendary salmon fishing, freshwater fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing and golf are just a few of the activities available in and around the cities. Arts and culture are part of the scene, along with shopping, and there is a wide array of business services to complete the picture. Find out more about our local treasures at the Campbell River Tourist Centre, the Comox Valley Tourist Centre or Quadra Island Tourism.
Forty minutes north of Campbell River is the Sayward Valley, which hugs the banks of the Salmon River. This beautiful and sparsely populated area provides a great stopping place on your way to exploring points north. Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Telegraph Cove, all synonymous with whale watching, are some of many small communities located in the northern reaches of Vancouver Island. On the northern-most tip of the island is the extremely rugged Cape Scott Trail to the west coast, where you can see evidence of the hardships some of our earliest settlers endured.
Back on Highway #19 heading north you pass through the relaxed east coast communities of Qualicum Beach and Parksville; havens for retirees and families alike. With its temperate, sunny climate this area is known as the 'banana belt' of Vancouver Island, and the endless sandy beaches, golf courses and shopping make it a premier holiday spot.
Picturesque lakes peak out from between the mighty Douglas Firs that line the highway as you continue along this winding serpentine trail to the coast. The raw beauty of Long Beach, found near Tofino on Vancouver Island, leaves all who visit it breathless. Surfing is world class here and the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet find themselves playing host to adventure lovers of all types.
Going north from Nanaimo to Campbell River you have a choice of two highways to travel. The Vancouver Island Oceanside Highway follows the coastline of Vancouver Island and affords you breath-taking views of small islands dotting the deep blue waters of Georgia Strait and of the Coastal Mountain range as you pass through quaint seaside towns. The other route is a high- speed four-lane highway that cuts a swath through the centre of Vancouver Island. Just north of Nanaimo, Highway #4 takes you west to the rugged communities of Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Alberni. You will pass through stands of enormous virgin timber in MacMillan Park, commonly known as Cathedral Grove. Island Joy Rides does its best to avoid all these highways by finding the quiet, scenic route.
A relaxing drive north of Victoria offers spectacular views of the Gulf of Georgia and its myriad islands. From Duncan to the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo to Telegraph Cove there is a patchwork of serene rural areas, majestic coastline and the bustling city of Nanaimo. Lumbering, sawmills, pulp manufacturing and specialized farming support the growing population of Vancouver Island.
The largest city and provincial capital of British Columbia is Victoria, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island about a three hour drive south of Campbell River. The world-renowned Butchart Gardens began as a hobby in 1904 and is a must-see for any visitor to Victoria. The British Columbia Provincial museum is situated in Victoria and is a source of pride to all British Columbians. The Empress Hotel and Craigdarroch Castle are just part of the quaint Victorian atmosphere found in architecture, shops and gardens.
Come prepared for a good time!
Map of Comox Valley & Campbell River Area
View Island Joy Rides Map in a larger map
Travelling north on Highway 19 takes approximately 2 hours (153 kilometres / 95 miles) from Nanaimo or 3.5 hours (264 kilometres / 165 miles) from Victoria. When the Inland Island Highway was completed in 2001, it reduced driving time to Campbell River by an hour. See the most of Campbell River by exiting Highway 19 at the Miracle Beach exit, then continue north along Oceanside Route Highway 19A. (Motorcoach travel to Campbell River is available through Island Coach Lines.)
If you prefer a fully serviced highway route, follow the starfish along the scenic Oceanside Route, Highway 19A. Look for the official "starfish" signs south of Parksville and at other exits along Highway 19.
Bringing a vehicle to Vancouver Island means an easy journey by ferry from either British Columbia's Mainland or Washington State. Victoria Clipper (passengers only), MV Coho, and Washington State Ferries-operate from Washington. In British Columbia, BC Ferries runs scheduled trips between the following ports and many others on the British Columbia coast. Crossing times are approximate.
BC Ferries Information
Route and fare information
Reservations are available, and recommended, on select Mainland - Vancouver Island routes. You'll need a credit card handy when you call.
If you're heading north toward Campbell River
Tsawwassen (Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (Victoria) - 1 hour 35 minutes
Tsawwassen (Vancouver) and Duke Point (Nanaimo) - 2 hours
Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) and Departure Bay (Nanaimo) - 1 hour 35 minutes
Powell River-Westview (Sunshine Coast) and Little River (Comox) - 1 hour 15 minutes
Soar over islands, sea, and mountains en route to Campbell River. Daily scheduled flights arrive at Campbell River and District Regional Airport (YBL) from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and other areas. (Car rentals are available.)
Direct flights are now available with WestJet from Calgary, Alberta, to Comox, just a short 45 minute drive from Campbell River. Rent a car or take a shuttle from the airport.
Kenmore Air Express - Approved Association Member
Complimentary shuttle service for connecting passengers between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Boeing Field (BFI) in downtown Seattle.
Central Mountain Air Ltd.
Pacific Coastal Airlines
You can get to Campbell River by motorcoach, too. Island Coach Lines (Laidlaw) serves Victoria to Port Hardy, and points in between, including Campbell River. Connect to Island Coach Lines from Vancouver aboard Greyhound or Pacific Coach Lines.
Island Coach Lines
Greyhound travels (by ferry) between Vancouver and Nanaimo
Pacific Coach Lines travels (by ferry) between Vancouver and Victoria.
If you're heading south toward Campbell River
Prince Rupert and Port Hardy (Inside Passage route) - approximately 15 hours
Bella Coola and Port Hardy (Discovery Coast Passage route) - approximately 12 hours
Ferry service between Washington State and Vancouver Island
Passenger-only high-speed catamaran ferry service between Seattle WA and Victoria BC.
Tel: (206) 448-5000
The MV Coho ferry carries vehicles and passengers between Port Angeles WA and Victoria BC.
Tel: (360) 457-4491
Washington State Ferries
Washington State Ferries operates service for vehicles and passengers between Anacortes WA and Sidney (Victoria) BC.
Tel: (206) 464-6400
Campbell River is a boaters' haven with a range of services and facilities, including moorage, for you and your craft. Before heading to sea, consult up-to-date tide tables and marine charts (such as Canadian Hydrographic Service chart #3540 Approaches to Campbell River) to familiarize yourself with the waterways around Campbell River. For a list of marinas and marine charter companies, telephone the Campbell River Visitor Information Centre at 250-287-4636, or toll-free 1-800-463-4386.