Monday, June 16, 2014

Oh Canada! Bicycling in Vancouver

When I was around 10, I decided to bike down the dirt hill behind our farm. I ran onto a gravel patch, freaked out, flew over the handlebars and ended up face-first on the gravel before stopping.

A year later (after recovering), I had to choose between hitting a tree and that a tractor-trailer that came into my lane.I chose the tree and left teeth marks in the bark. Since I had braces at the time, an emergency room visit was necessary to remove pieces of that tree and get me back on track. Since my bike was totaled, I did the smart thing and bought another. And had yet another gravel incident, this time scraping my entire side up.

There's bad blood between me and bicycling and I think I'm justified in my choosing to avoid those death traps.

But Tom is a biker. He's never pressured me to reconsider, and since we've been together for almost 5 years he's never really brought it up. I think he's gone as far as agreeing that it's best for me to avoid any self-propelled mode of transportation. How on Earth did I end up on a bike then? 

We were looking up things to do in Vancouver, and Tom was on the Stanley Park website. He asked if I would be okay with renting bikes, at which point I probably asked 20 questions about the bike lanes, if we would have to ride in traffic at all, etc. So.... how could I say no? Guess it was time to throw him a bone. 

If you're a bicyclist and on vacation in Vancouver, there are TONS of bike rental shops around the park. If you are a pro, you'll have a basic understanding of tire pressure, chains etc. If you're like me, make sure you get a shop that will 'tune up' your bike before you head out. 

We biked the entire park in about 3 hours. When we were done we decided to check out what made this city Canadian.

Whenever we travel somewhere, we like to leave fully convinced of it's heritage. New Yorkers are in a rush busy, on their bluetooth and only wear black. We needed to make sure we weren't in NYC anymore.

As it turns out, people are really into recycling over there. Had this trash bin been in NYC, we'd simply throw out garbage on top or leave it on the tables. 

1 minute sorting was almost more than this New Yorker could handle. Kidding. But, do they get a crash-course in what constitutes 'organic'?

And, before going back to the hotel, I had to try an Orange Julius. I expected sunshine in a cup, considering it's the unofficial drink of Canada. But it was a orange creamsicle slushie. Not sunshine in a cup.

It rained at one point, and I swear the rain in the gutter looked like it was purified. They keep their city clean.

Another thing, everyone trusts people to not steal their umbrellas! This 'umbrella station' was inside a downtown bookstore, and no one thought anything of it.

So, here's my Canadian stereotypes. Canadians have amazing parks where they promote bicycling, after having recycled their Orange Julius(es?) in the appropriate receptacle. If you have an umbrella while sorting your trash, it would be fine to just abandon your property for an indeterminate amount of time. It seems everyone has their own awesome umbrella and they aren't looking to downgrade.

So tell me...
Anyone out there find my stereotypes above to be true? 
Anyone have their umbrella stolen in Canada?
Anyone a absolute terror on a bicycle, or is that just me?


  1. so fun!!! We were there in the fall and loved it!!! Looks like fun on the bikes too!

    1. I guess we did have basically the same vacation, this is when you went to Seattle too, right?


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