A Saanich man has nearly completed his 2019 mission to cycle every street in Victoria.
Richard Boxhall is filling a map of the city street by street, with intersecting lines of varying colours – organized by neighbourhoods and areas – creating a web of the ground as he covers it.
The soon-to-be father of two sets a goal for himself every year and this year’s mission is not just about cycling the city, but about really seeing it. That’s why he uses rental city bikes instead of his own, faster bicycle.
Boxhall has covered most of Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Saanich and parts of View Royal.
“There’s no one particular thing [that was my favourite], it was just seeing the things I didn’t know were on my doorstep,” Boxhall says, standing with a rented U-bicycle near a shadowy forest mural at the corner of Quadra Street and Reynolds Road. “I’ve been living within 50 metres of [the mural] for four years and I didn’t know it was there.”
Boxhall’s challenge came with rules; he has to cycle every street with a sign post. He estimates he has about five trips left before he’s met his goal, and most of the routes are downtown. He points out that Fan Tan Alley – the narrowest street in Canada – has a sign post. With the alley locked up at night time, Boxhall has to figure out the best time he can sneakily – and safely – make his way through the popular tourist attraction.
|A map of Saanich cyclist Richard Boxhall’s progress cycling down every street with a sign post in Greater Victoria. (Courtesy of Richard Boxhall)|
Boxhall has pedaled past people, public art and hundreds of little library boxes, but his favourite discovery is the area’s vast array of public parks.
“There are so many amazing little parks in the city that I never knew existed,” he says. “The parks are the amazing bit, I wish I’d just gone to all the parks, almost.”
The cyclist says it is discovering all the little hidden parts of Victoria that really blows him away, although he admits that it doesn’t take cycling every single street to find them.
“There’s no big hidden things, but there’s lots of little hidden things,” he says. “I wouldn’t recommend to do the whole of Victoria, it’s driving me crazy. But if it was easy it wouldn’t be a challenge.”
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