Victoria’s John Crouch reads from new book in Sidney

Victoria author releases Cycling the Islands: A Guide to scenic routes on the San Juan and Gulf Islands.

Author John Crouch with his newest book, Cycling the Islands, outside of Tanner’s Books in Sidney.

For author and avid cyclist John Crouch, writing about the outdoors comes naturally for him.

The first cycling article he wrote was after he had ridden his bike from Williams Lake to Bella Coola through the coast mountains.

Crouch later submitted the article to the Globe and Mail and had it published.

“It got me thinking that perhaps I could write more,” he said.

Crouch then began writing guide books, the first one — which came out in 2003 — was titled Walk Victoria. As his first published book, he said it still sells incredibly well.

He then went on to write Bike Victoria, a guide to bicycling in and around Victoria and includes the Saanich Peninsula and further up Island.

His newest book is called Cycling the Islands: a guide to scenic routes on the San Juan and Gulf Islands.

The books come second nature to Crouch as he leads an active lifestyle every day.

“I’m very active still and I do an awful lot of cycling and I tour usually two or three times a year, either on my own or with one or two friends,” he said. “I like to share with people, particularly my friends first of all and my wife, the places that I’ve discovered  and personally find enjoyable.”

His current book, Cycling the Islands, is in full colour with lots of photos and maps.

Crouch has been over to the San Juans and Gulf Islands a few times in the last several years and said when he goes he’s always taking his bike or is riding it there.

“So it seemed a very natural thing for me to do since I was writing guide books to the area that I live in and I’ve become very, very familiar with the islands, so that was one of the reasons for doing it,” he said.

Crouch, although not a photographer by trade, took all the photos in his new book.

“I’m not a big photographer and I like to be on my bike. I don’t like to be stopping all the time but when a bear starts to walk in front of you and cross the road, that’s a photo op right there,” he laughed, talking about the time when he was travelling from Whitehorse to Victoria and a bear walked right across from him in northern B.C.

Crouch will be reading from Cycling the Islands at the next fundraising event for the Sidney Literary Festival on June 22 at the Red Brick Cafe at 7 p.m.

Also reading will be author Briony Penn who recently won the Roderick Haig Brown Regional Prize for her new book The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan, from which she will be reading.

Tickets are $10 and are available from Tanner’s Books and online at sidneyliteraryfestival.ca.

Proceeds go to support the Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival.

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