Posted by: Silver | November 13, 2010

Hope to Lytton

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe I have turned into a cyclist! At least, a fair weather one…

The day didn’t start off too promisingly, with rain that was quite definitely heavier than the occasional drizzle promised by the forecast, but my host had agreed to give me a lift to Highway 1 (would have been a looooong day otherwise) so I hoped the rain might ease off before I actually had to cycle in it. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t stop when we reached the highway… but neither did my host. He was worried about my safety in the tunnels (more on these later), so decided to take me all the way to Hell’s Gate (the place in the Fraser Canyon, that is, not the metaphysical concept…). This was immensely kind of him, and there’s no argument that I was very grateful for his thoughtfulness, but as soon as the rain stopped, I actually wanted to be out there cycling. No more ‘making the most of the easy option’ for me: I was a cyclist and I wanted to be cycling! Genuinely came as a bit of a shock to me – I certainly have absolutely no history as any sort of cycle-nut – but then again, how could anyone not want to be out riding something as cool and comfy as Ranger… at least when the sun is shining?!

Anyway, my now-much-shorter journey was generally uneventful, but there was one thing that I shall mention in case my experience could be of help to other cyclists. There was a stretch of roadworks curving over one of the bridges across the Fraser canyon, but instead of having nice ladies (it does normally seem to be ladies) with ‘Stop-Go’ signs posted at either end (as seems to be the case most usually over here), the ownership of the single remaining carriageway was controlled by impersonal traffic lights. At first, I thought I would be kind to my fellow northbound road users by letting them go first (they would have been stuck behind me the whole way otherwise), but then it suddenly struck me: unlike the nice stop-go ladies, the traffic lights would not be equipped with walkie-talkies to warn each other that there was a slow-moving cyclist on her way, so if I set off only shortly before our light turned to red, I would probably still be pedalling my way through the construction zone when everyone started coming round the blind curve the other way… So, unless anyone can reliably inform me that traffic lights in Canadian construction zones are phased to allow even the slowest of slow vehicles to make it safely out the other side, I’m afraid I may appear somewhat less considerate the moment the lights turn green next time.

As for the tunnels: well, I shall be going through them again soon, so maybe I’ll tell you all about them then…

As I pushed further into the interior, the rain shadow effect of the coastal mountains was fairly obvious

Given how dry the area was, this autumnal willow was striking not just because of its foliage, but simply because it was there at all!

Most road signs in Canada are mono-lingual, and if they're bi-lingual, it's usually English and French. As I passed through the territory of the Siska First Nation Band, however, I saw encouraging signs of linguistic pride there

Hmmm, do you think the prevailing winds blow south to north, by any chance...?

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