“Close the tent quickly!” It’s half 11 and we finally put up the tent in the park close to the ferry we’re planning to take tomorrow. It’s the park in the middle of the little town on Vancouver Island but we decided to take the risk as the ferry is leaving first thing in the morning. We didn’t quite take into account there are plants and flowers in the park and they need watering. Automatic watering!! So when these little stupid things came out of the ground and started splashing water on the bicycles and on the tent, Tom was right there to stop the stream with his shoe to prevent it going right into the tent opening :). Rest of the night was peaceful…
The airport odyssey
We’re on Vancouver Island and it’s been a week since we landed in Vancouver. The flight was superb, doggies behaved like never, the only flaw was that no cab driver wanted to take us on board with three bike boxes (2 bikes + the trailer) and 2 dogs without crates. So at 3 pm local time (midnight central european time) we started assembling all the gear to get to the city to our warmshowers host Tristan. It took us “only” 4 hours to put everything right, in that sleepy state of mind with no help of Tim Horton’s horrible coffee. (Sorry Tim Horton, we can’t help it). Prepared for horrible 20 km ride from the airport we took the cycling route!! (which city has got the cycling route from the airport??) and finally arrived in the evening to our nest for the next days of preparation.
I don’t have the words to tell you how amazing Vancouver is for the cyclist. We’ve cycled quite a few cities, including “cyclist’s paradise” Vienna and of course London but this was just surprising. Wide cycle lanes, millions of clearly signed cycle routes, kind drivers and chilled fellow cyclists. In London most of the cyclists are racers, it’s crowded and you feel squished between a truck and a bus. Vancouver cycling is different and we enjoyed it for 4 days before starting. But let the pictures talk.
We specifically enjoyed being in Stanley park that is a huge green area in downtown Vancouver. We cycled around, cycled on the trails and even hiked a little.
Community bike shops
Last day in Vancouver it rained constantly so we used it for shopping around and Tom went to community bike shop to improve his bike mechanic skills. There are at least two community bike shops that we know of in Vancouver where the volunteers will teach you how to repair your bike, you can use their tools and equipment and most importantly their experience. All of this for symbolic price.
And the day has come
31st May we picked as the day of departure. We left Vancouver and headed to Horseshoe Bay to get on the ferry to Vancouver Island. That was the first test of relationship between us and fully loaded bikes. I have to tell you, it for sure has been tense in places :). But we finally got on the ferry and within 1,5 hours arrived to the island. It was raining and didn’t stop till late night. Putting up the tent in rain is very exciting. Trying to dry your wet stuff in high humidity even more.
Lessons learnt from the first week
- Don’t be in a rush when packing – otherwise you’ll leave your brand new spare tyres in the garden.
- Don’t leave dismantling your bikes for the airport for the last day – otherwise you’ll end up going to the bike shop in the morning before leaving because your pedals are so stuck that no amount of WD40 will help.
- Don’t get a dynamic climbing rope for your Pacific Crest Trail hanging method otherwise you’ll end up with stretched out rope happily swinging but not high enough for the curious bear not to get to it.