Day 0: Background and flight to Vancouver

10 days ago, I defended my PhD thesis. In a little over a month, I start my real-person grown-up job. The timing was intentional since in the next month I’m going on an adventure. Specifically, I’m biking down the Pacific Coast route from Vancouver, potentially as far as Mexico.

Yesterday I realized I had delayed packing far too long due mostly to getting distracted be house things (stripping wallpaper, painting, getting a plumber and an electrician in so that we have a gas stove, exterior hose faucets, and a decent electrical panel). I spent a few hours trying to fit my bike into a box, finally realizing that the one I had was just slightly too narrow. Just before all the bike stores closed I went on a mad dash to get a slightly better one. I eventually got the bike and most of my other stuff into the box, and got into bed around midnight. I don’t think I slept at all before getting up at 4 to head to the airport.

Getting the bike checked was easier than I expected, and by the time I got thorough the passport control it was sitting there waiting for me. I took a taxi to the Jericho Beach youth hostel (putting the bike together in the airport wasn’t appealing). I was there too early to check in, so I spent a couple hours putting the bike together, eating lunch, going to the nearby bike shop for various small problems, going grocery shopping and spending far too long adjusting my bike’s very badly skewed breaks.

Later in the evening I made another expedition by bike over to Best Buy to pick up another USB charger so as to be able to take full advantage of charging opportunities. In the two trips, I decided that at least this part of Vancouver is incredibly bike friendly. I think my favorite feature is roads that are through streets for bikes but not for cars (cars have to turn onto larger cross streets, bikes can go through the intersection).  There are also a number of intersections with a stop light in one direction and a stop sign in the other (not something I had seen before). These all had buttons accessible to cyclists to flip the light if necessary.

The other thing I noticed about Vancouver is that most of the grass is brown. Clearly, it’s not the rainy season. A few patches of green grass here and there appear to be supported by generous nocturnal watering.

I splurged on a private room in the hostel so as to get more sleep and have the flexibility to spread my stuff all over the floor to figure out how to pack it. Luckily,  everything fits and I’m all ready to leave in the morning.

Bronwyn Woods