I was in Sooke last week, staying at the always wonderful Sooke Harbour House. That's the start of the inaugural Sooke Slow Food Cycle (SSFC) on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 10-4. The Thanksgiving weekend self-guided tour takes bicyclists to 20+ farms, homes, business and green spaces. There are two discovery routes:
- Red Route - 33km, for mid-level and advanced riders. It winds through ocean front and country roads west of Sooke.
- Green Route - 18km, for casual cyclists, hikers and families. Travels mostly along little known, off-road trails that head east through Sooke to the Galloping Goose.
Although a few coffee shops and eateries will be open in Sooke on Sunday, cyclists are encouraged to pack a lunch, water and snacks. The Sooke Harbour House is extending its locals special to all cycle ticket holders, and the Stone Pipe Grill features Sooke-raised turkeys on its Thanksgiving menu. Following the cycle tour, fashion competition will take place at the T'Sou-ke First Nation at 4 PM, complete with a drum circle and awarding of prizes for best fashion ensemble. Leave the Spandex at home, and express yourself on your bike!
Tickets are $21 CAD per person, $42 CAD for family groups. They're available online at www.sookeslowfoodcycle.com or at The Stick in the Mud Cafe and Sooke Harbour House.
The cycle event is sanctioned by Slow Food Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, which is the regional branch of the international organization dedicated to "good, clean and fair" food. It's the first slow cycle on Vancouver Island, following the popular mainland rides in Agassiz, Chilliwack and Pemberton.
Meals at Sooke Harbour House feature locally raised and grown products, including the flowers from Sooke Harbour House's garden. Sue Frause photo.