No, it’s not a bike, it’s hiking equipment

Flew into Vancouver Friday. Since I had the BOB trailer I had no choice but to put my bike in a full size bike box-way oversized-and prepare to pay the $50. I get to the ticket counter and the people in front have bikes and shell out their cash. The women says to me when it’s my turn, ‘That’s a bike, right?’ Just to give it a go I say ‘No, camping equipment’. She should of charged for an oversized box but she didn’t. Love it! Batting a 1000 for not paying for my bike on airlines. So I land in Vancouver and get grilled by immigration and customs-apparently coming to BC just to mountain bike did not seem like a valid reason. I get through and set-up outside building my bike and packing my trailer. I set off to ride the 13 kilometers to east Vancouver and the unknown house I have directions for.

I make my way to ‘The house formerly known as the ALF-house’ and it is the way all punk houses should be- crowded with friendly kids. My connection was weak; I had a number of a friend of a friend of a friend, but it didn’t matter. I was offered food and a place to put my stuff. Love it. The house is pretty big, but I counted last night and 16 people were sleeping there. I swear not a scrap of food goes wasted from any produce store or health food store in this city. It all ends up in the kitchen. Meals for a dozen people are cooked regularly of solely free food. Canadian Chocolate soymilk is killer as are Nanaimo bars-these vegan treats found at a little gem called sweet cherubum. I ran into a friend from Portland on the street and it turns out his friends know my new friends. Today I have already run into 2 people (free coffee!) whom I have just met yesterday. It’s unbelievable.

My first full day I had to check out the ‘North Shore’ mountain biking. It is internationally known for its style of trails. I made my way to a few bike shops for some maps and new tires then started climbing up the local mountain to hit some trails. I picked an ‘intro to north shore’ trail. It was getting dark and I had a big pack on, but regardless I think I would of walked down most of the trail. I way overestimated my riding ability! The stuff here is sick-tons of ladders(old trees of various length that are placed horizontly as part of the trail-they have boards of various widths nailed to them to make sort of a bridge). These vary from two ft wide and 6 inches off the ground to half a foot wide and 3 feet off the ground. The trail was filled with berms, drops and obstacles all the way down. Maybe it was extra intimidating because no one was around, but it was so hard for me to do. This week I am going to hit up some ‘regular’ trails and then get back to the north shore stuff. Hopefully find some locals to ride with. Most of them have full suspension bikes with 7 inches of travel and full body armor. I would love to spend a summer and learn a completely new style of riding.

Plans from here? I have to be in Seattle next Wednesday the 15th to fly to PA on the 16th. I will probably spend most of that time in Vancouver, hopefully with a weekend trip to the mountain bike park in Whistler, 175 kilometers north. My cell phone is roaming, so I am not using it. Plus I would lose tons of punk points for using it here. I told everyone that most punks in LA have cell phones and they laughed at me! Ha. I should be able to check messages, so call if you need. Lastly, I have to say that I love my friends-new and old-so much when I travel. I receive so many love filled emails and have so many wonderful interactions with people who barely know me, but offer what they can to help me in my trip. If I could only offer back half as much it would take me years! This is one of my favorite things about traveling, something everyone should experience. Peace!

pre-trip hysteria

It’s 101 degrees in Loma Linda today. I have to pack for my Ecuador trip that leaves tomorrow, pack all of my stuff and move out of my room, and be prepared to leave for my bike trip when I return. I wish I at least had forks for my bike (I bent the pair that was on there), but I don’t think I will have my bike running before I leave. I also realized that my shifters might not be compatible with putting on a third chainring. Who designs this stuff? Some of these 8,000 ft passes may be difficult with only two front gears. I am not too concerned, because we don’t actually know if there are any 8,000 ft passes cause neither of us have elevation maps. I think we have enough regular maps, I guess we’ll see when Justin gets to California.

Now I just need to avoid getting sick in Ecuador. I guess that means no corn on the cob from street vendors or tamarindo Juice in a bag. Darn.