A lot of people say they wish they could bike more, but they’re afraid of the traffic. I myself get a bit nervous in Nanaimo, but I’m not familiar with those roads. Still, I will ride in Nanaimo if I have business there.
I’m not nervous on Gabriola. The hot patch repairs can be a pain, the gravel can be a problem, but the traffic? Not really a worrying thing. Most of it is folks who live here, and they watch out for bikes same as they watch for deer: that is, more or less well, but all in all, not so badly.
As for Nanaimo, it’s really easy right now to get there by bike. Coast down the hill, walk onto the ferry (hooray for the Quinsam!), kick back for about twenty minutes, and there you are, in Nanaimo, all rested and ready to do the rounds.
Coming back, you do have to get up that hill, yeah, but the thing about islanders is, we like it when the land is higher than high tide. Also, we don’t expect everything to change just to suit the whims of the moment.