Posted by: Silver | December 13, 2010

Hope to Vancouver

(OK, so I’m backtracking a bit here – after all, if you read my last post, you already know I’m in southern California now – but my final cycling journey of the season wasn’t without interest, so for the sake of completeness, here’s the necessary gap-filling…)

I’m genuinely starting to feel a bit guilty about the fact that I don’t believe in the weather gods, because they do seem to be being rather nice to me. Just two days after I returned safely to Hope, the whole area was plunged into a sudden sub-zero cold snap (actually about as unseasonal in this part of Canada as the similarly-timed snowy onslaught back in the UK). The news was full of road deaths and rock slides and for the first time, I seriously started to worry about getting stuck. By the time my scheduled departure date came round, however, the snow had cleared (at least from the roads), the temperature had poked its head several degrees above freezing again, and the sun was even shining a little! The road from Chilliwack (where my host dropped me off on his way to the shops) to Abbotsford was almost entirely flat, and so instead of being a terrifyingly icy nightmare, the first leg of my journey (back to Fort Langley) was actually positively pleasurable.

The second leg, however, took me deep into the heart of Vancouver, which of course meant more traffic. Much more traffic. And roadworks. Lots of roadworks. And – given Vancouver’s geographical location – quite a few bridges too. Car drivers I spoke to worried a lot about me crossing the bridges, but what I guess they’ve just never noticed is that actually, most of the bridges have entirely separate cycle/pedestrian lanes, protected from the speeding traffic by reassuringly solid concrete barriers. So, rather than being exceptionally scary, they’re actually exceptionally easy – until you meet a workman with a wheelbarrow full of gritting salt coming the other way, of course. A two-wheeler would have been able to squeeze past, I’m sure, but Ranger… Fortunately, the workman was very friendly (and very strong), and happily lifted Ranger (packs and all) over the top of his barrow so we could both continue.

This journey was also notable as the first occasion on which I managed to get Ranger up on two wheels (entirely unintentionally, I hasten to add). One of the reasons I bought a trike instead of a bike was the extra stability, and the wisdom of this decision has been confirmed many times already; however, it is possible to roll a trike if you really try hard enough – both turning and braking sharply at the same time seemed to be the fatal combination – but an immediate easing of the pressure on the brakes was all that was needed to return Ranger to his usual solid self, long before there was any danger of having to change the focus of this entry to something rather more painful…

You see: sunshine! And flat roads! 🙂

This is how cyclists and pedestrians from the south get onto the Golden Ears bridge; when I come back in the spring, I should get to go down it 😉

With the concrete barrier protecting you, you can even stop to take photos from the bridges: this is the Fraser River, as seen from the Golden Ears bridge


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