Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Here .. we ... GO! (or On 2 wheels again)

Yes, I know:  the person in this pic (not mine) seems to be riding SOUTH
5 days of continuous no-rain is what the weather people predict!  Not that I really believe it, but this is the best forecast I've seen in a loooong time.  

So I packed my saddlebags and I'll hop on le Velo, to head towards where the sunset will be. 

The fact that I was not able to ride my bike over Golden Gate Bridge and along the California coast down to Big Sur due to the unwillingness of Amtrak to transport unboxed bikes between Portland and Oakland left me right in the middle between the angry and the depressed coordinate axes in mental mind space. The fact that my friend Alan sent me a picture of his drive down to Big Sur doesn't help much.

Photo credits:Alan W.P. Poon (Alan, if you don't want your photo to appear in my blog, you know what to do ;-)
Last year this state of mind would have caused me to instantly book a ticket to Hong Kong to leave this North American infrastructure nightmare behind me.  That is very much still in the cards, but I really really was looking forward to a multi-day bicycle ride (Aaah, St Malo, mon ceur !).  

The tableau upon which the forthcoming adventure will unfold

Instead I am going to pedal through a region that I've only seen from a speeding car about 20 years ago. L'ile de Vancouver sud;-)

On my 7:45 am ride to the bank machine it is still quite chilly outside and I wish I had worn gloves!  

At 10:15 I aim the front wheel towards Horseshoe Bay.


the destination on the horizon
Again I am way too early in HS Bay, the calibration of my travel time is not complete and I had allowed extra time because of all the weight strapped to the bike (I am carrying along a 110V to 220V transformer to be able to use my European charger for the bike batteries).  So again I have time to take some pictures:



Then my bus arrives; only 10 behind schedule .

ferry time

Are there still any beachcombers around?

Looking back is always nice and becomes even nicer when I spot Vancouver in its haze

Vancouver haze



no, I do not have an explanation
In some ways Nanaimo is very similar to  Vancouver;  brand-new waterfront developments with lots of concrete and not much soul, with undeveloped and even neglected areas away from the water.  But Nanaimo has a certain desperate feel to it that tempts me to book a flight back to Vancouver, but I don't think they take bikes ;-(

The route to Ladysmith feels similar to driving in the Fraser Valley. Cars and Commerce rule and don't leave much room for anything else. 
 I remember when the expansion of the Island Highway was supposed to bring prosperity to these areas, but not only does prosperity seem to be blatantly absent from this region, the highway may make car travel faster, but it is an eye and ear soar in an otherwise nice landscape.

I am glad when I finally arrive in Ladysmith, even though this town also seems to have seen better days.

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