Car-less Cortes excursions: a trek with a local public transit enthusiast

A woman stands with her bike, equipped with panniers.
Carmen Mills has traveled between Cortes Island and Vancouver for the past 12 years, without a car. Photo by Loni Taylor.
Loni Taylor - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 01-09-2022
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Traveling to and from a rural, isolated community like Cortes may seem like a daunting task. According to Carmen Mills, it is less stressful if you remove a personal motor vehicle from the equation. Mills is one of the founders of Car-Free Vancouver, an event that began in 2005.

Mills happily rides her bike and utilizes public transit—the Island Link, Vancouver Island Connector, and BC Ferries—in order to travel without a car. She recently detailed all the options to roll from Cortes to Vancouver, Courtenay, Nanaimo, or Victoria in a post on the Tideline. Mills spoke with CKTZ about  her inspiration for the post.

"I was so tired of people saying it's impossible to get to Cortes Island from anywhere without a car…. it must be possible because I've been going back, and sometimes many times a year, for the last 12 years…. And I don't really feel like I've suffered for it. In fact, quite the opposite," Mills said. "So I wrote out the steps: how you can do it, the different options—there's different options for different people."

The bike enthusiast notes that there's one gap in the public transit between Courtenay and Nanaimo.

“You can almost get to Nanaimo… If you have your bike, you're cool. There's like a 10 kilometer gap. it's too complicated to get into. But the fact is you cannot public transit all the way to Nanaimo yet. There's that little tiny gap.”

Mills blogs about her car-less lifestyle on She notes that the best thing about riding her bike is that it is fun, and there's freedom in it.

To find out more about car-less Cortes excursions, listen to the CKTZ News Update below: