Shayne Khajehnoori
Pacific Coast
Vancouver, BC - Nanaimo, BC - Hornby Island, BC - Port Alberni, BC I wake up at the Canadian border, groggy, confused, last one off the Amtrak bus, last one through the customs process. The gentleman in front of me was carrying a pannier as well. I could hear him recounting his story to the customs officer. He had just completed a cycling tour to the Mexican border, and he was taking the train home. He told her all the highlights, the sunsets, the people, the hills. I’m next. “Um, I’m doing what he did,” I say half jokingly raising one of my panniers with my right arm, passport with my left. I’m in.


Due to a 5 hour delay on the train, I arrive in Vancouver around 5am. Building my bike outside the station in the company of the other cyclist who had just completed the pacific coast route from Vancouver to Mexico, I quiz him on his favorite stops along the way. The redwoods, Big Sur, the Oregon coast. My bike goes together painlessly despite the bike box arriving on its side beneath another giant bike box. Luckily, visions of bent rotors fade away quickly as the last adjustments are made. 


The next day I meet my friend Mikey, a fellow BMX rider I know from Vancouver, to join me for a few days on Vancouver Island. Arriving in Nanaimo, we make a last minute decision to head north toward Buckley Bay and visit Denman and Hornby Islands. After sixty miles of riding the undulating Eastern coastline, we arrive at the last ferry to cross the bay to Denman Island, and we are warned of the unlikelihood of being able to cycle across the island to catch the last ferry out to neighboring Hornby Island. We booked it. The weight of my bike became apparent, climbing sluggishly but storming downhill steadily. After a nightmarish climb to the top of Denman Island, we caught a slight downhill route straight to the last ferry off Denman, arriving just in time for nightfall on Hornby Island. 


We set up camp in the outskirts of Mount Geoffrey Nature Park, tucked stealthily off the main road. A light rain persisted throughout the night, and we woke to a snail and slug filled hardwood forest, carpeted in lush green moss. Firs, Pines, and cedars towered over the nearby dirt trail which later delivered us to the nearest beach, where we waded in crystal clear ocean water in a protected cove. Backtracking to Denman Island, we set up another stealth camp on the northeast coast. The 11pm sunsets became apparent as the first days of summer got near, smearing the sky with pastels. I finally had my first chance to fish, uneventfully catching a handful of small baitfish and a bit of kelp from the ocean. 


The third day a tailwind sent us sailing south where we parted ways in Qualicum Beach, and I hitchhiked west across the island to Port Alberni as a launching point for an upcoming sea kayak trip. Night approaching, I opted to try my luck thumbing instead of riding. Thumb out, I sing, I dance, I smile, I wave, a moving-truck stops. The driver seems mostly sane and normal. Minutes into the ride, I am instantly grateful I am in his vehicle and not riding my bike on this road. He’s scrolling through his phone, spending at least 30% of the time on the shoulder, recklessly winding through the mountain roads. I have a feeling had I been riding I would have been roadkill. Thankful to arrive in Port Alberni in one piece, I seek out a place to rest and set camp behind the local elementary school.  From one side of the island to the other, the next stop is the Broken Group Islands.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Shayne Khajehnoori

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- MY BIKE SPECS -

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Shayne Khajehnoori
  • The inspiration for my upcoming cycling and paddling adventure is rooted in my desire for exploration, both internally and externally. I am able to better fully understand myself and learn from others as well as my environment when I launch myself into the unknown. The excitement lies in every rotation of the cranks, every untraveled road, and every unexplored river and coast. Adventure is the currency that I barter in, and my bike, my trading post.

    Over the last four years, I have embarked on several multi-day bicycle and bike-rafting tours throughout the west coast including the Humboldt Redwoods, the Northern California coast, and the Olympic Peninsula. My personal highlight was bike-rafting from Seattle to Portland via the Olympic Peninsula. With my packraft carefully nestled atop my rear rack, restlessly waiting for inflation, I was able to mix adventure cycling with some hair-raising whitewater paddling on several rivers on my way through the Washington. This upcoming trip, I am excited to revisit these same waterways and explore more as I head south through Oregon and California.

    I have several goals for my trip, all challenging in their own way. As I disconnect from the habitual daily rituals that dictate my current life schedule, I gladly welcome the ability to set aside time and energy to focus on self-exploration and development through writing, photography, videography, breathing and meditation. My goal is not to log a hundred miles a day or climb 5000 feet a day, but to allow myself to stay open and seek out new experiences, people, thrills, and uncertainties.

    This coastal journey from Canada to Mexico will undoubtedly be a life altering event. Through my communion with my bike, packraft and the environment around me, I hope to learn something new every step of the way. My focus does not solely rest on what I can get out of this journey, but also on what I can give. A poem, a picture, a prayer, a smile, a hug, an inspirational glimpse at adventure. I hope to open myself up in a way where I am in a position to give as well as receive, to equitably exchange knowledge, joy and energy with people and my surroundings.
  • What’s in my bag? Packraft - This is the best way for me to get off the road and explore more remote areas.

    Cameras (Canon 60D & GoPro Hero 4 Black) - These are absolutely essential tools for documenting the adventure ahead.

    Fishing pole - I’m hoping to snag some surfperch and rockfish.

    Homemade, homegrown, organic healing salve - A combination of calendula, yarrow, comfrey, and plantain from my garden, infused in coconut oil with a bit of arnica oil and lavender essential oils. Great for cuts, abrasions, sun burn, sore muscles, or giving a massage.

    Recorder - A simple musical instrument. Nothing like busting out a Disney show-tune around the campfire.

- MUST HAVES -

- Pacific Coast Milestones -