Friday, December 23, 2011

Ahh Christmas..

Yes, it's almost here.
I don't really want to write too much today, but I do want to show you pictures!  Pictures of what I've been up to with cycling during these days leading up to Christmas.  All these pictures have been within the last few weeks when it hasn't been raining and I was able to ride my bikes.

I'll start off with a picture of Santa's Workshop.  Here hundreds of people line up to ride the Christmas sleigh and skate on the frozen pond.

Followed by a beautiful view from the mountains overlooking the city of Vancouver. 

My Singlespeed bike rides through Green Timbers in Surrey.


Some of my favourite locations for taking pictures in Downtown Eastside Vancouver.

Of course I have to throw in a picture of me riding my friend's Tallbike...


And LOL, a hilarious Christmas greeting e-card sent to me by a friend...

Seasons Greetings to All!  And Have Yourselves a Wonderful and Joyous Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grey Cup Meets Mountains - Help Find some Memory Cards

Ok, this will be my last posting regarding the BC Lions winning the Grey Cup.  I thought I would pass this along to help in finding some memory SD cards that were lost containing most of the footage of the movie they are trying to make.
It is an amazing video and I would love to see it completed.  Here is the Youtube clip

Each November, the CFL awards the Grey Cup to the winners of the Championship game.
Every player of the winning team gets a day with the Cup.
December 5, 2011, James Yurichuk of the BC Lions got his day...
As a good Canadian kid, he did something special.
Then...
The pilot did something dumb.
On the eve December 5th, I lost 2 of the 3 small memory cards containing the best footage of our lives. 
Help complete the story. Help get the word out and let whoever found them know where they can return them...
They were 2, Blue, 16 GB SD Memory cards. The small square ones used in most digital cameras.
Thanks for your help!

greycupcards@gmail.com
@bradleyfriesen

Please help spread the word!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ride of My Life: The Story of the Bicycle


This one hour documentary funded by the BBC is probably one of the best bicycle related documentary I have ever seen.  It follows the journey of Rob Penn, a writer who once rode around the world for three years pedaling 40,000 kilometers, in the quest to build his dream bike going from continent to continent picking up components for his bike build.  Along the way, he tells the story of the bicycle from its humble beginnings to where it is now.  
Rob Penn on his 40,000Km journey around the planet
Ride of My Life:  The Story of the Bicycle, can be seen on Youtube in its entirety here;
A better quality of the movie may be available for download on the internet and I would highly recommend it as the Youtube version is quite degraded.


So if you are a cyclist and simply love bicycles, this is a documentary that you can not miss.  If you are new to cycling, this is a great way to learn about the social history of the bicycle, one of mankind's greatest inventions.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Video Embedding

I have just been made aware that there are some of you who follow my blogs via email subscription that you do not see the videos that are embedded in my posts through email.  I guess this is how blogger.com works, and unfortunately, I do not have control over this.  So, to those who are reading my blogs in your email programs and think my blogs seem incomplete or simply don't make sense, click on the direct link of the posts and view them using a browser, there you will see all the embedded videos and the blogs won't look 'weird' anymore.
Happy reading!

Riding the Tallbike

I have something to admit to...  I am a dork.  A bike dork.  In the short period of time that I have been a 'born-again cyclist', I have collected and built 5 bicycles.  5 that I am willing to admit to that is.  I have bicycles ranging from full suspension XC bikes, to touring bikes and to a beautiful 65 year old vintage English roadster.  But having said that, I am truly not in the class of true Bicycle Dorks until I have acquired/built my very own Tallbike.  The 'dorkdom' is magnified compoundly with a tallbike!
Well, my friend has one and I am truly jealous.  I think my next bicycle project will be building my own tallbike this coming spring when it starts warming up.

I have never been on a bike ride where everyone has stared at us, honking and giving us thumbs ups and being cheered on by total strangers.  How cool is that?!


ps. This is a tallbike T-shirt that another friend of mine has.  He picked it up at The Gap in Calgary.  Now, we've searched through our local Old Navy and Gap stores here in the Greater Vancouver area and we could not find this shirt anywhere!  If you know of any places where we can pick this shirt up, or something similar, please leave me a note!

Cheers and ride on!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Grey Cup Celebrations

I just thought I'd post these pictures and video from our outing at BC Place tonight to celebrate the Lion's Grey Cup win over the weekend.  Go Lions Go!  Let's do it again next year!

Brent Johnson


Travis Lulay - MVP

The Grey Cup.  Woohoo!




Cycling content will now commence shortly... I promise.  LOL!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BC Lions - 2011 Grey Cup Champions!


This past weekend, our very own BC Lions has captured this year's Grey Cup CFL Championship!
An unthinkable feat starting with an 0 and 5 record and going all the way to winning the Grey Cup.  It was also sweet in winning right here at home at our very own, newly renovated BC Place! Congratulations Lions!

And this is how we celebrate the Lions' win!  My friend Matt on a tallbike and me on a shortbike LOL!
I am also proud to say that the city was well behaved this time around and no riots were to be had as what we seem to have become famous for lately.  Good job Vancouver!

Friday, November 25, 2011

First Ski Day of the Season and a Test of my Ankle

Last March, a bad skiing injury ended my season and kept me off my bike for a few months.  Ligament damage was the diagnosis from a failed landing off a big jump on icy conditions.  The injury has limited my ankle strength and has affected my cycling for almost 8 months.  I am glad to say that on my first day of skiing this season, my ankle feels fully healed.  I had no lingering pains or signs of weaknesses.  I believe all the cycling through the summer helped with the rehabilitation.  Now I just have to play smart and not kill myself again this time around.  I don't want any more excuses that would get in the way of my cycling plans for next year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cycling Therapy

In the time of my born-again cycling life, one discovery that I have made about cycling stands out above others...  And that is using cycling as a form of therapy.  We all know the benefits that cycling can have over our level of fitness, physical strength and conditioning, and weight loss.  But for me, the effects on my mental health and state of mind and to a certain degree my spiritual being is where I find cycling to be most apparent.  This is probably the biggest reason why I am so hooked on cycling now and for the better part of nearly 2 years.  Cycling, simply put, makes me feel better.  And now more than ever, this will be put to a test.
Bad news seem to come in bunches.  Having been given some recent bad news of my uncle passing away a few days ago and an aunt being given days in her remaining life by her doctors, one can not help but fall into a sudden case of depression hitting like a tonne of bricks.  It is in tough times like these where I search for that haven, that refuge where I can get away from it all...  my escape...  my escape from the gloom, the unhappiness and sadness that looms over my family.
'Lest We Forget'
On the eve of Remembrance Day and in memory of my uncle who served in the war and has now passed, this seemed very appropriate.



Today the sun finally came out. The lone sunny day of a week filled with nothing but cold rain and dark clouds.  I finished my work early, hopped on my bike and rode.  I rode for miles and miles with a lot of things on my mind and a heavy heart.  Breathing cold air and experiencing all the brown, yellow, red and orange colours of the autumn leaves all around me.  Searching for that instance, that one instance when I can forget all the troubles of the world and be in that 'happy place'.  Unfortunately, this time it was difficult in coming.  Mourning a death in the family or someone close to you is a different kind of depression and I think only time can heal it.  But riding my bike did clear my mind of everything else, the added stress of daily struggles, the looming financial worries, and the seemingly petty thoughts of 'will I get this project done in time' or 'will I be able to pay my upcoming bills' etc.  Cycling is an aid but not a cure.  But it is certainly a great aid and a much better alternative to being a couch potato and drowning yourself in sorrow.  The feeling of freedom while riding my bike, even for that short moment, is a medication that can not be replaced.


Today's bike route as tracked by GPS.



ps. I am hesitating publishing this blog entry as it seems overly too personal for the public to see... but whatever.. here it is.


.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vancouver Bike Lanes - Reported by a 9 year old

Just thought I'd share this for today's blog.

Kid reporter - 9yr old Tia.  Good job!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Updates

Well it's the end of October and my blogs have been...  well...  non-existent lately.  Did you miss me? ;)
It's not to say that there hasn't been anything going on with my cycling life, in fact, there has been a lot going on.  Life is busy, life is good, life is happy.  It's just that I work with computers daily and sitting in front of a computer can get very tiring, this is where the blog writing has been affected.  I simply can't seem to find the time for it to be more enjoyable.  Having said that, I often check my blog stats and realize that it gets quite a number of hits on a daily basis, especially with Google searches, so I know there are a lot of readers out there checking out my blogs!  So instead of giving up on this, I will actually try to be a little more active this time around, but with a little change starting today.
When I read other people's blogs, I am often envious of how creative these people can be, how well they write, how they can write about different topics in well-written and well-presented ways, AND how they can consistently keep writing on a day to day basis!  I'm still unsure of how some can do this and still have the time to achieve and do the things they write about. Bravo to those bloggers!  Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury and time to keep blogging like other bloggers do and I realize that I just need to change my way of writing to keep things... interesting.
From now on, I will try to post little updates here and there that take no time to write about.  They don't need to be lengthy and artistic or even well-presented as I have been doing in the past.  I will be posting Twitter-esque types of blogs but with more than 140 characters capability or ala Facebook style status updates.  I may even try video blogging or v-blogs aka Vlogs in the future to keep things more active.  And hopefully, as winter time comes in full effect, there will be more time to sit down and more time to write.

Cheers to those reading this.  I'll see you shortly.

e

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cycle Touring: My First Multi-Day Bike Trip - Sunshine Coast, BC

I've finally done it, a multi-day cycling and camping trip...  destination - Sunshine Coast, BC.
The Sunshine Coast, BC - Planned route of my bike trip

I have been waiting a long time for a bike camping trip and I finally jumped into one a few weekends ago.  The planned trip was to go cycling along the Sunshine Coast, BC up to Powell River from my home in Burnaby and back.  This was to be a 3 day, 2 nights trip totaling 400Kms with return trip.  Well, it didn't quite go off as planned..

Day 0 - Packing and Preparation 
Being quite the boy-scout, I tend to over-pack. This is probably my first of many mistakes on this trip.  Seeing as it was going to be a 3 day trip, I wanted to make sure that I was completely self-sufficient and prepared for anything that could happen on the road.  I made sure I packed all the tools I needed in case I had to make roadside repairs. I made sure I had enough clothing for the duration of the trip, in cases of rain and cold nights as well. The obvious things such as my tent, sleeping bag, bike lock, food, water etc. were all packed.  The downfall of being all prepared for anything is that all that weight starts to add up.  All the gear I am bringing will be packed in my Maya Cycle bike trailer and with the 13lb trailer I am reaching 50lbs of total pulling weight.  This does not even include my bike which is nearing 30lbs in touring form.  This will become very evident through the course of the trip.
Pre-Planning and Packing
At this stage, I was very excited and could not wait for the coming morning.  I would need to get an early sleep (difficult for an insomniac) as I need to be on the road at 8am sharp. However, I have not been feeling well all day having stomach aches.  I just chalked this all up to pre-trip jitters and nerves. I knew that as soon as I got on the bike and started pedaling that all the nerves and 'sickness' would go away... 2nd mistake, stay tuned.

Day 1 - Bright and Early. Let's do this.
Breakfast, 1 hard boiled egg, a bagel and a banana. I made sure not to have anything that would not sit well in my stomach yet be enough to hold me down until lunch break which would put me 4 hours away on the Ferry.  Destination, Garden Bay BC, Hotel Lake Campsite. Total Kms for the day, 135.
8am sharp. Off I go. Extremely excited to get going. I had a big smile on my face all morning.  The first stage of my trip from Burnaby to Stanley Park/Lion's Gate Bridge would be a piece of cake as it is mostly downhill or flat.  I rode mostly on the Central Valley Greenway all the way to Downtown Vancouver which was very relaxing and a perfect start to get my legs all warmed up.  Riding through downtown was also a breeze with the separated bike lanes. Oh what a beautiful city to ride through and not have to worry about cars hitting you.  I made it to Stanley Park and Lion's Gate bridge in record time.
Reaching the Lion's Gate Bridge in record time.
From Lion's Gate Bridge to Horseshoe Bay.  I will call this my second stage of my trip.  I had to catch the 12pm Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale which meant I had to be there at least 30mins before sailing out for boarding. 3rd mistake, a scheduled deadline that must be met. I must pedal and pedal hard to get to a destination. This is when the hard work starts.  A big part of this mistake was taking Marine Drive from Lion's Gate all the way to Horseshoe Bay.  I had planned out that I wanted to avoid Hwy 1 at all costs and Marine Drive is the only option.  It turns out that Marine Drive is a longer route and full of rolling hills! This was indeed a mistake in planning as I now realize that I should have taken Hwy 1 to Horseshoe Bay.
Scenic Marine Drive from Lion's Gate to Horseshoe Bay

Granted, Marine Drive was a very scenic ride and very beautiful. Unfortunately, there was no time to enjoy it as I had to catch a ferry.  The rolling hills made it quite tough especially pulling nearly 70lbs of weight including bike and trailer.  But alas, I made it to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal with time to spare. 11am. 3hrs from when I started. There will be plenty of time to rest waiting for the ferry and the 1hr ferry ride itself.  Waiting at the ferry terminal, I couldn't help but laugh at myself at how exhausted I am and I still have 90kms to go! haha..
On the ferry, out of sheer luck, I ran into my brother-in-law, Ric, who I was to meet up with at the campsite for the evening.  The plan is to join my sister and her family at a campsite they were staying at during the week. This way, I will have company on my first night of camping.  Ric was on his way from a Vancouver meeting to join my sister and niece who was already at the campsite awaiting his arrival (they live in Sechelt which is also on the Sunshine Coast).  The ferry ride was so quick as I had someone to talk to the whole time.  I forgot to have my lunch. Oh well, there will be plenty of time to eat while I'm on the road. We had a small discussion about how long it will take me to get to the campsite.. I had so much confidence in making it to the campsite before dark as I had 7 hours of daylight to go, I had done century rides(100kms) before well within 5hrs so I thought 'Noo Problemo!' Ric, on the other hand, thought it would be very impressive if I made it there in 7hrs or less.. (just a reminder, Ric knows the terrain very well). Before the ferry ride was over, Ric had asked if I wanted to throw my bike and trailer in his SUV and hitch a ride with him to the campsite.  I politely laughed at that idea and mentioned that this trip was all about the bike ride!  Thanks anyways!  We parted ways as we got off the ferry and will soon meet up again in the evening.

Langdale Ferry Terminal to Sechelt BC
As I got off the ferry, I knew that there was to be a long and steady uphill if I had stayed on the Sunshine Coast Highway.  Knowing this information, I decided to take Marine Drive (that name again) into Gibsons which was to be a nicer and easier route... another mistake coming up I foresee.  Well, it was indeed a nice ride, very scenic and all downhill.  All downhill? This could only mean one thing, I will have to climb up a hill at some point.  And as soon as I reached Gibsons at Molly's Reach restaurant, it was indeed nothing but up I can see.  I was warned about a street that was 21 percent incline by some cyclists before I got on the ferry. I knew for sure that I wanted to avoid that street.  Sure enough, at Molly's Reach Restaurant, there it was, dead smack in front of me.. the dreaded School Road.  Signs saying 21 percent incline and NO Trucks Allowed!
A Google streetview capture of the dreaded School Rd. sign. 21% incline, No trucks allowed!
A little worry set on my face as I look up what seemed to be a neverending street staring me in the face.  So I pull out my trusty GPS (iphone) and looked for an alternate route. NOTHING! All my other choices were to backtrack a few kilometres and all uphill.  I decided to take a rest stop, eat some granola bars and contemplated my choices.  There was no way I was going back.  I decided that I would just walk up the hill and push my bike and trailer up it.  That was my best decision at the time.  So off I go.  No more than a few feet of walking and pushing my bike, an old ankle injury started to haunt me once again, an ankle injury from a skiing mishap back months ago that's really never quite fully healed.  My ankle started hurting.  I had to stop and realized that there was no way I can push my bike up this stinking hill which is nearly a kilometer long.  My ankle does not hurt while pedaling my bike so I had no other choice... I had to ride up this monster.  I pedaled my heart out up one of the steepest incline I've ever ridden.  I can only imagine what the people in cars were thinking as they pass me, were they cheering me on or were they calling me crazy in their heads?.  The bike was heavy, the trailer was heavy, the heat was scorching.. but I kept pedaling.., I had to.
This is the only picture I took of School Rd. The monster hill I rode up on.
Finally, at the top of the hill was Sunshine Coast Hwy. Here I will rest under a tree which seemed to be the only shade that I've come across today.  This was the 4th mistake of my trip. Here I am thinking I may have wasted all my energy for this whole trip just climbing this hill alone. The heat was getting to me, and the stomach aches I had from the previous night has not gone away, I was exhausted.  But still, I must go on. There is still 66Kms of riding to go.
The ride to Sechelt was uneventful.  All I could think of was how hot it was.  I guess they don't call this the 'Sunshine' Coast for nothing!  It was so hot that my MP3 player overheated and died in the heat, my accompanying music is gone, I was not very happy with that.  The ride towards Sechelt wasn't overly difficult. It was fairly flat for the most part. My confidence was building once again as I was making good time.  I even took my time in some areas just to take in and enjoy some of the sights and take pictures, which was the whole point of this trip. The Sunshine Coast certainly is a beautiful place, I just wished I wasn't in such a rush.
Overlooking the Strait of Georgia at Davis Bay
As soon as I reached Sechelt, there was only one stop that was absolutely necessary.  It came by the way of the Golden Arches.. yes, McDs! Normally, I wouldn't even think nothing of a McDonald's stop but today it was a welcomed stop. $1 dollar drinks any size all summer! And I was hoping getting some food in me will give me more energy and help settle my stomach down a bit.  A burger, fries and a large pop.. yes I know, so bad for you, yet it was soooo good!  My 5th mistake was made here.  Armed with a large pop, I did not even think for one second that my water bottles needed topping up, I still had a good amount of water with me but evidently, it wasn't going to be enough.

Sechelt to Garden Bay.
This whole time of my bike ride, my sister has been in contact with me via text messages wanting updates of my current location and constantly asking me if I wanted to be picked up.  I think she knew, much more than I did, of what was ahead of me.  Still having full confidence that I would make the whole trip to the campsite before dark, I simply told her not to worry and that I would be there soon.  I was determined to make it, there was no way in hell that I would ask for assistance, no way!  I was still 45kms away not knowing the terrain ahead of me., But 45Kms is just a cakewalk comparing from what I have ridden in the past. Hah! Was I ever wrong.  This was to be one of the biggest mistakes I've made, #6.  Know the terrain you will be cycling on ahead of time!    I have completely underestimated this bike ride.  The hills were long, the hills were steep.  It was non-stop, they kept coming and coming.  UP and down, up and down.  The downhills were fun and gave me time to rest, but they were all short lived.  My quads were burning, and my calves were tightening up.  There were a few occasions that my quads would completely lock up that I couldn't even keep standing on my stops.  It was punishing and painful, but I had to keep going.  I couldn't stop as I was running out of daylight.  The enjoyment of the passing scenery was replaced by focus and drive to keep on pedaling.  At this point, I had ignored some of my sister's text messages just so I wouldn't have to stop and reply to them.  I knew what she would have said anyways, and my reply would be the same, 'I'll be there soon, don't worry!'.  But in the back of my mind, I was the one getting worried.
Pender Harbour - slowly running out of daylight
My pace was extremely slow. The roads were killing me.  Every stop, my quads would lock up and I would need at least 5mins to get going again.  But when I was riding, nothing else mattered, just keep on going until the next rest stop.  I was so focused on not stopping that I even skipped on some of the items I see on the side of the road, mainly money, yes I saw a couple of toonies on the ground that I didn't bother stopping to pick up, I even passed on an LED flashlight that was sitting on the side of the road just so I wouldn't have to unclip from my pedals.  This meant that I was also skipping out on the scenery that was simply passing before me.  This was no longer enjoyable, in fact it was more punishment. I had exceeded my limitations and was only being pushed by the drive to make my destination.  Oh, and by this time I had already run out of water, I had run out 10Kms back, and there was no civilization in sight.  It was already 8pm and I was only 10Kms away.  But during this time of year, 8pm show no more sunlight.  The roads were getting dark and dangerous, the shoulder non-existent, the twists and turns of the roads would certainly make me harder to see from cars and trucks on the road.  I had to make a decision.  And the toughest decision I had to make was succumbing to my sister's and brother-in-law's requests that I be picked up... in my mind, a rescue.  A failed attempt at reaching my destination.  And to be only 10kms away to the finish line was a tough thing to swallow.
Ric came quickly enough and picked me up at the side of the highway. I was devastated.  But during the drive to the campsite, the 10Kms I gave up on quickly turned out to be a great decision. The roads were unlit, no shoulders and completely forested over. AND, more damn hills.  My pain of giving up eased up a bit as I had made the right decision.  I still had to put up my tent, eat, shower and take into consideration that my 5yr old niece had to be in bed soon.  It was almost pitch dark when we got to the campsite.  I was greeted by a whole bunch of strangers who seemed to know what I have been doing all day.  All my sister's and bro-in-law's friends who happen to be on their same annual camping retreat in the same campground.  All claiming what I had just done was extreme and borderline crazy.  This group included a triathlete and some of the most fit people I know.  Maybe they were all just trying to make me feel better for not making it all the way, maybe they meant it, but I now tend to agree with the 'crazy' part.
Ric put up my tent for me as they rushed me to get a shower so that they can feed me.  I showered, I had spaghetti, and I had plenty of replenishment.  There was very little time to sit around and chit chat with the whole group, but as I sat down with a bunch of strangers, I looked up at the sky and saw the most stars I have ever seen in a long time. The Milky Way was so clear and I must have counted over 7 shooting stars in a span of 30minutes.  I have been a city boy too long, this stuff is amazing.  As the night came to an end, I lay in my tent bundled up in my sleeping bag under the most amazing star-filled sky and thought to myself, 'this is what makes this whole trip worth it'.

Day 2
Sleep, puke, flu'ish, vommit. Sleep, puke, flu'ish, vommit, rinse and repeat.
That is all.

Day 3 - Time to go home.

ahem.  Seriously, that was pretty much it for Day 2.

But sure, let's reflect on that day...
Waking up to this view as I unzip my tent confirmed that the previous day's hardship was all worthwhile.

The original plan for Day 2 was to get up early in the morning, ride to the next ferry terminal at Earl's Cove and make my way out to Powell River.  I was going to leave my tent and trailer at the campsite so that I can return to it at the end of the day. Camp overnight once again at the same spot and make my way home the following morning.  This would have been the perfect plan!  Unfortunately, this did not go the way I had wanted.
I woke up at 5am because nature came calling very early from the previous night's binge drinking of liquids to replenish what I had lost during the day.  I tried going back to sleep but for some reason I couldn't.  No matter how tired I was, I could not sleep again, I noticed my heart still pounding quite heavily as if I was still riding my bike. I layed there for at least the next hour until the exhaustion finally took over again and I passed out.  I can still remember the dreams I was having that night.  My dream was,.. get this..  I was on a bike pedaling.  Weird dream eh?  The whole night I had that dream.
I never woke up again until around 10am.  I was feeling very sick., sick to my stomach and feeling quite dizzy.  There go my plans of riding out to Powell River today.  I will be bed-ridden all day.  My stomach aches from the previous days has gotten progressively worse.  And to add, I am now feeling flu'ish and can't seem to keep my food down.  I have caught a bug.  Heat exhaustion is what my camp 'mates' are calling it.  But I think heat exhaustion is only part of it., I did not feel well.  And to top it off... diarrhea.. gross. That's the last mention of that.
There really isn't much else to say about Day 2 other than I spent the day when I wasn't sleeping in my tent trying to enjoy myself and putting on a happy face for everyone so they don't notice what I am going through.  It was a beautiful campsite, I could have easily enjoyed myself if I wasn't feeling so crappy.  They had kayaks! I LOVE kayaking!  ..but no, was just too sick.  Everyone was so good to me, making sure I was well fed and taken care of. These complete strangers are becoming friends.  Everyone.  And their children are all fun and beautiful.
No, I was not actually kayaking. Was too sick to enjoy the lake.  :-(

As comfortable as everyone tried to make me feel, and in addition to feeling quite sick all day, something else was stressing me out.  All I could think about was how I was going make it home the following morning.    If I wasn't able to make the whole journey to the campsite from the ferry in 7 hours with full of energy and strength, how am I going to make it back in my weakened, sickly state?  I had to get back home the following day as I have work on Monday and the thoughts of trying to ride back was really scaring me at this point.  I don't think I am capable of the whole ride back.  And the last thing I will do is ask anyone for help.  If you know the type of person I am, asking anyone for help is not in me.  I love offering my help to anyone but asking for help just isn't me.  It's a pride thing, and yes, it's a downfall at times.  I put myself in this situation and I need to get myself out of it. And the thoughts are definitely stressing me out and actually making me feel more sick.  I think my sister and brother-in-law were showing the same concerns.  And when the conversation came up about my trek back home there was no hesitation on their part.. They wanted to drive me home.  I had refused this offer several times before caving in.  A few plans were discussed but very few were considered due to the state of my health.  The best solution was for me to be driven all the way to the Langdale ferry first thing in the morning and I would find my way home from there.  This was 72Kms and a total of 144Kms with the drive back so I was really quite hesitant on their generous offer.  But yes, I know, family is family and we are always out for each other's best interest.  I did accept the offer in the end.  I will be driven to the ferry and someone on the other side will come pick me up.  This is what I told them so that they will be comfortable in thinking that I will be driven home safely all the way.
I have to apologize for this little lie as I did not get anyone to try and pick me up from Horseshoe Bay.  I decided that I would ride this end of the journey even in my sick and weakened state.  Sorry guys!  It is only 43Kms and with plenty of daylight hours to get home.  I can actually take my time and enjoy this ride home.
So with all the stressful thoughts aside, I was finally able to relax and enjoy myself a little, actually a lot.  I got to spend time with my sister's family and my darling little niece, their friends and families and the wilderness and beauty that surrounded us.  I was feeling much better now.  I spent all night at a campfire surrounded with friends until it was time for bed.  Once again, a beautiful star filled sky hovered over me as I closed my eyes to sleep.

Day 3 - Time to go home.
8am sharp once again is the time to leave for the ferry.  This time I did not have to rush and pedal hard just to make the 10am departure.. I had the luxury of a brand new Mercedes SUV driving me there.
I packed up my tent and gathered all my gear.  Stuffed my bike and trailer in the back of the Benz and bid my farewells.  Not everyone was awake at this time so I said goodbye to those who were.  Maybe next year I will try this venture again and have better results.  Thanks for everything Sis, I owe you bigtime.
The ride to the ferry along the same stretch of highway I had ridden on 2 days ago was quite the eye opener.  At every hill and every turn we made, I was constantly thinking to myself 'Did I just do that??!' These are the types of inclines and descents that when I see other riders riding on that I would think of them being crazy.  Have I become one of those people that I myself think are crazy?  Maybe, quite possibly.  Having seen what I've just been through, I now fully respect what I have done and no longer see it as being a failure.  Would I do this ride again on a 30lb bike with a 50lb trailer? Probably not.  But I will be more smart about it, more efficient and packing a whole slew of 'lessons learned' for the next time.  This has truly been a wonderful learning experience that I can use for future longer bike trips.
As we approach the ferry terminal, this is where Ric had asked who was going to pick me up on the other side.  I finally told him the truth that no one is picking me up and that I will be riding the rest of the way home.  It was the only way that I thought that would satisfy me with this whole trip, a feeling of personal achievement.  I don't think he was too thrilled about the idea but clearly understood my position.  We said our goodbyes and I was on my own once again.  Thanks Ric, your help was immensely huge! I promise not to make fun of the mirrors you bought for your bike anymore. ;D
In the ferry
On the ferry
The ferry ride was another quick one.  I had filled up all my water bottles full of ice and water from the pop fountain machines preparing for what is to be a very hot ride home.  Nerves were setting in again as I am still feeling quite weak and not so sure if I can get on my bike and pedal home.  But soon enough we will find out.. the ferry is now docking to let me off.
Knowing full well that Marine Drive was full of rolling hills, I decided to ride on the highway this time around.  Hwy 1 to be exact.  As some of you may know that coming from the Horseshoe Bay terminal onto the highway was a very long and steep incline.  This was a sacrifice that I had to make as the alternate option of many rolling hills was not appealing at this moment.  I prefer fewer longer inclines over many shorter, rolling hills.  Unfortunately, I did not take into account that there would be no shade while on the highway. It is all open road and today was a very hot day.  The heat was scorching, and the pavement was blinding. The heat caused by the cars also added to the overall temperature of the ride.  This was not going to be fun.  All I can look forward to is getting off the highway and onto sidestreets and residential neighbourhoods where there will be plenty of trees and shade.  Fortunately, I only had to ride to Lion's Gate Bridge and from there I can take shelter from the heat at Stanley Park and the downtown Vancouver highrisers.
Every underpass was a welcomed stop from the scorching heat of the highway
I saw many roadies today with their $5000+ carbon bikes, probably thinking what a poor sap I am with all the gear I'm pulling
I took every opportunity I had to rest at the few shaded areas on the hwy. I still had 40kms of riding to go.
I got off the highway onto Taylor Way going towards Lion's Gate Bridge.  It was one of the best downhill rides I've had on this trip.  I was really enjoying myself knowing full well that I will soon be going across the bridge and into Stanley Park where I can rest some more and take in the beautiful scenery.  I was literally 'Yeeehawing' all the way down Taylor Way simply because... it was fun!
On the Lion's Gate Bridge
The Beautiful Stanley Park
Gorgeous view of the inlet
All these great view has made my sickness go away!

Riding through Stanley Park I had made a quick stop to rest when I realized I had no food left, and I was starrrving!  So my rest was short-lived as I continued on in search of the perfect food stop.  Onto the downtown Vancouver core I go!  Once again, a beautiful city to ride through especially with all the separated bike lanes. The best way to see the city is by bicycle!  Searching for that best place to stop where I can buy food and keep my bike and trailer close by without having to worry about it being stolen was a bit tricky.  I knew it had to be within an arm's distance of my bike with the least amount of people traffic.. a smokey vendor would be perfect.  But out of the corner of my eye I see a big sign that said $1 per pizza slice!  I couldn't resist so I jumped off my bike and ran in for some slices. I think I had 3 extra large slices and that was more than enough to set me for the day.  I brought a chair out so that I can eat while being with my bike at the same time.
I took my time riding the rest of the way home as it was still early in the afternoon and I had no reason to rush home.  On my way, I decided to stop by my brother's house so that I can drop off the tent and sleeping mattress that I had borrowed from them through MEC.  No one was home to greet me so I decided to take a short nap on their lawn.  I also took the opportunity to use their garden hose to give myself a quick spray.  That was the best thing to do on a hot summer day.
Finally, after my short rest and nap, I proceeded to go on my final leg of the trip.  It was all uphill from here on, but the incline was manageable.  I no longer had to worry about rolling hills and massively steep uphills.  It was everything I had done numerous times before.
Upon my arrival, no one was there to greet me.  No cheering fans to see me across the finish line, no trophies, no awards.  It was only my own personal victory.  And it was perfect.  An amazing experience come to an end.


Total Distance Covered:  approx 268 Kms according to Googlemaps
Total Distance on Bike:   156 Kms - bike computer
Vertical up:        2240 meters
Vertical down:   2090 meters - iPhone GPS tracking
Total money found:    I would have made 5 bucks if I had stopped to pick them up
Total Roadkill:   1 - a garter snake slithered right on path of my wheel. I couldn't stop. Splat.
Total Weight lost during the trip:   10lbs in 3 days.

Everytrail GPS tracking using iPhone4
Please check out the GPS tracking of the whole trip using my iPhone and Everytrail app here http://www.everytrail.com/fullscreen.php?trip_id=1265772&code=97bdb088d9fa51fe39ecc19e65918c3a . Keep in mind that the tracking is quite flawed as on a few occasions I had lost complete signal to my iPhone and when I lose signal, the GPS goes nuts.  But at least this map will give you an idea of how my trip went including all the elevation changes I had to endure.


MayaCycle Bike Trailer


As promised from a previous blog that I would provide updates on my bicycle trailer by Maya Cycle as I use it on my cycling ventures.  This is the first time that I have used the trailer travelling this distance and carrying this kind of load.  As expected, the trailer performed admirably without any problems.  The convenience of the legs acting as kickstands is a godsend.  I don't think I could ever go on long trips anymore without this feature.  As seen from the many pictures I took and the countless amount of stops I made that the bike and trailer is always standing.  It made my life so much easier that I can stand the bike anywhere especially when it mattered most, when I (the rider) was at my weakest.  I can personally thank my trailer for allowing me to leave the bike standing while I crunch over at the side of the road in pain because my quads were locked up.  The bike and trailer has even acted as a crutch when I couldn't keep myself standing due to the pain.
Carrying a 50lb load is probably the most I would carry on the trailer, although the trailer has proven to carry in upwards of over 60lbs, I personally would not carry any more than 50.  It's not to say that the trailer can't take it, but it is more for my own personal sake.  Carrying that kind of load is grueling, especially if you are facing countless amounts of hills.  I'm just glad that the trailer only weighs 13lbs because with all the gear I had, it would have weighed a lot more if the trailer was a tank!
Upon reaching my campsite, the trailer proved itself once again.  With the 'wheelbarrow' feature, it was so easy to move all my gear around especially at my weakened and sickly state. And the trailer and bag was compact enough that it fit right under my tent fly for easy access and at the same time standing up on its legs keeping the bag off the dewy grass.
There are a few things that I learned on this trip regarding the Maya trailer;  as slow and grueling it is to climb hills pulling the trailer, when you go downhill you go fast, really fast.  Now this may sound like a lot of fun, but it can actually be quite dangerous.  Make sure your brakes are 100% functioning and in top condition, because you will need them and need them a lot.  Also, going too fast on a downhill can sometimes give you the trailer 'wobble' effect where the trailer feels like it's wobbling behind you and wanting to pass your bike.  I found myself in this situation a couple of times.  Now this is not Maya trailer specific but actually applies to all trailers be it on bikes or on cars.  The Maya trailer being a single-wheel trailer actually reduces this effect significantly, but it still exists.  The best thing to do is to avoid putting yourself in the situation where 'trailer wobble' can occur., meaning don't go too fast!  I did, however, find myself going over 60Km/h on a downhill on a few occasions where I had no problems at all with 'trailer wobble'.  I wouldn't recommend going that fast too often though.  Another thing I've noticed while pulling the trailer is that it creates a lot of squeaks and creaks and all sorts of odd noises that you've never heard from your bike.  I was constantly checking on the rear stays and dropouts of my bike to make sure there isn't anything lose or broken.  There never was any. It's just the nature of the trailer I would guess.  One thing I would recommend, and I wished I had some with me, is to use Grease!  I would grease up the fork joint where the trailer connects to the fork, and I would grease up the fork where it connects over the axle on the bike. This will greatly reduce the squeaking and odd noises being caused by the trailer and possibly lengthen the life of the trailer and bike due to obvious wear from friction created.  I will surely be doing this on my next bike trip with the trailer.

Great shot for my good friend Marta wherever she may be right now. ;-)
Well, there you have it, a real life, unbiased review of the Maya Cycle Bike Trailer.  I couldn't have made this trip without my trailer...  Just me and Maya out in the open road.