I've taken the road from Victoria to Port Renfrew several times, but have always returned that same route. Today I finally got around to riding the 'loop' that passes through Duncan and Lake Cowichan, and was pleased with it.
This road is typical highway heading north from Victoria all the way to Lake Cowichan (about 80 minutes). However, I found the road from Lake Cowichan to Port Renfrew to be quite pleasant. This is an unmarked
wide single lane of chip seal. Even on a working Friday, there was only an occasional logging truck or pickup. There is some nice scenery to look at, though perhaps nothing spectacular. The road surface was generally decent, with an occasional pothole or ripple to watch for. The road is rarely straight, with lots of gentle curves. I was worried that it might not be a good road surface, but any streetbike with a full tank of gas and decent tires can cope with this section.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with the section from Port Renfrew to Sooke. Particularly west of Jordan River, the road is badly potholed in sections, with lots of cracks, tar snakes, ripples and dips. I rode it a couple of times last summer, and I don't remember it being this bad, but we had a lot of rain this winter, so perhaps that's caused some settling of the road foundation.
This southern section does have some nice views of the ocean, but you really can't appreciate them because all of your attention will be focused on the crappy pavement here!
Once I reached Sooke, it was the usual Friday commuter/work traffic to be suffered with until I reached home in Victoria.
I enjoyed the ride over all, but I think next time I will stick to an early weekend morning to reduce the traffic to be dealt with.
Leaving Downtown Sooke, you proceed west bound on westcoast road. Spectacular coastal views. Two parks, French Beach and China Beach, are along this stretch to get off the bike and enjoy the scenic ocean. Once at Port Renfrew, the Coastal Kitchen Cafe offers the best local produce and food. When you leave Port Renfrew towards Cowichan, you might see elk, deer and the odd Black bear. Some clear cut logging does ruin the pristine wilderness but there is a lot of beauty and clear streams to see. not many places to pull over to take pics. Once through Cowichan,you proceed to DUncan, the city of totems, then down the #1 highway to Goldstream to possibly see the salmon run. then through Langford and if you want, back to Sooke. Total distance is about244 Kms. There is no gas supply in Port Renfrew so plan ahead