In Vancouver!

Yup! As of late last night, Shawn and I have arrived in Vancouver B.C., just in time for some absolutely gorgeous weather. It’s warm and sunny and just wonderful.

Oh man, I wish I could remember all the things I wanted to post. Most of it is little things, like the teenage girl we met riding a Kona Africabike, who knew all about the bike ’cause she’d written a school paper on it. Or the cycle tourists we met here and there. Or the great hosts we’ve had on the road. Or how on our way into Seattle, Shawn and I met up with snarkypup of Ride Blog and we biked a bit of the Inter-Urban trail together, and saw probably hundreds of bunnies. BUNNIES. OMG. Or the goats and llamas (possibly alpacas, I can never tell) we saw while going through farmland on various days.

So far I’ve had one flat tire, which I am proud to say I fixed myself, outside the co-op grocery store in Bellingham, and it was easy to find the hole and I’ll patch the tube at some point.

I’ve also had issues with one of my knees, but I’m pretty sure it’s just from going straight from light around-town riding, to 50-mile days with a fully loaded bicycle. But we’re in Vancouver now, so I have a chance to rest a bit and do some gentler riding.

Shawn’s currently leading a touring workshop and then going on a ride that’s part of Velopalooza. I haven’t decided if I want to do anything today, I was thinking of attending the tall bike jousting, but to be perfectly honest…I’m still tired! I’m drinking some tea right now, so we’ll see how I’m feeling later. The jousting goes on all day, so I can always just show up later if I’m feeling like it.

I am already getting tired of answering people’s questions about our trip. Not our friends, or fellow bicycle tourists, though. Just the people who see us and want to know where we’re going or want to make jokes about our loaded bikes, and who can’t believe anyone rides fifty miles in a day. I know they mean well, they’re just curious, and I do my best to answer politely. I’m trying to not let it irritate me, but at the end of the day when I’m really tired and sore and hungry and somebody sees us and starts asking questions, it can be hard to be nice.

On the Skytrain last night (yeah, we cheated a little bit at the very end) I had two different passengers try to convince me that I never needed to leave British Columbia. Yes, I agree, B.C. and Washington and Oregon are some of the most beautiful places on Earth, and yes, we do love it here, but there’s so much else to explore!

There is a certain irony, though, in that we get tired of “Where are you going? Where did you come from? How many miles/kilometers are you riding today?” when we know damn well that those are the exact questions we love asking/getting asked by people who do bicycle touring. But the context is different, y’know?

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5 Responses to In Vancouver!

  1. Jennifer says:

    I think maybe a way to look at answering questions for the idle passerby is that to another bicycle tourist, you’re just doing something normal, but for a regular person your answers and your very existence has the potential to revolutionize your life. Out of the hundreds of people you meet on this journey, you might end up inspiring one or two of those people to follow in your footsteps one day, or to dream their own dream. So when you’re answering the question from the “normz” remember that you, too, were once a norm and something or someone sparked your interest in cycling and that now you can fulfill that function for someone else.

    I get asked a lot of inane questions repeatedly too over here in Korea because I am a foreigner and this country still doesn’t have too many people who are different in any way, let alone tall and blond and from another country. I get sick of answering them myself, but I know that the way I answer these questions may inform someone’s entire opinion of my country/foreigners in general. I try to present my best face to questioners. Cause there’s real power in being the one person in some category that someone questions, even though there shouldn’t be.

    Anyway, congrats on making it to Vancouver! And you made me rather nostalgic referencing the food co-op in Bellingham. I practically lived there when I lived in Bellingham. I wish I’d told you to try the sesame noodles there, they are the best sesame noodles known to man. If you’re ever there again, have some. And enjoy B.C.! Resting is good, I agree! Or do touristy shit! You can see bike-jousting many a time, but you don’t see Vancouver every day!

    Lots of Love from Korea!

    – Jen

    • I do see your point. Once upon a time I heard of bicycle touring, after I’d started biking, and I thought, how is that fun? Don’t you get tired? Who would want to carry all their stuff like that?

      But the difference was, I was already using my bicycle for transportation, even if only of short distances and not carrying much. It was when I started doing group rides of longer distances, and realizing it wasn’t that hard or tiring, that it started to sound appealing.

      And most of the people who comment on Shawn and I, truly will likely never bike tour. They’re the kind of people who think riding five miles is a long way. They’re the kind of people who just have to comment on something unusual, whether cycle tourists or a little person or a woman with an unflattering outfit. There’s a huge difference between someone who finds what we do interesting (and I have no problem talking to those folks, even if I am tired, I’ve done it repeatedly), and people who have the mindset of “look at those freaks on bicycles with all that stuff!”

      And I’m never out-right rude to people, but I give shorter answers to some folks. For instance, there’s the question, “where are you going?” Sometimes I’ll just say, “East.” Or I’ll name that night’s destination.

  2. I know what you mean about the bike questions; I get the same re commuting and get just as tired of them – especially the “concerned” questions.

    Happy travels, I am following along vicariously!

    • Oh gosh, I remember those: “How do you carry your stuff? Don’t you get cold/hot?” Or my absolute least favorite: “Aren’t you afraid of getting hit by a car?” I had a coworker who asked the questions in an accusing tone of voice, no less. And this is a guy who didn’t drive, he took the bus everywhere.

      I’ll never forget one interaction I had, early on in my bike-commuting era. I had a coworker who asked, “Aren’t you afraid at night?” And I replied that oh, I have a bright headlight and taillight, etc etc., and she said, “No, I mean, aren’t you afraid of getting raped?” Wait, what?! Before I got on a bike, I walked and rode the bus everywhere. Which, if you’re afraid of being randomly attacked by a stranger, is far more dangerous. But also….no, as a matter of fact, that’s not something I worry much about. Portland is rather safe in general, even the “bad” parts of town aren’t that bad.

  3. Todd says:

    Congrats! On reaching the other Vancouver! It is always best to get your ride troubles over early on.

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