From Squamish to Vancouver
The rain is crackling on my tent already since 4am. I creep a little deeper into my sleeping bag and hope it will get better till sunrise so I can prepare my breakfast and pack my tent in the dry. Finally the drumming noise of the rain drops fades out and I decide to get out and start the day. By now I can also not hold back anymore the appetite for a big breakfast. I pick my food from the bearproof food container and head to the cooking shelter to prepare my oatmeal. Yesterday evening I’ve bought some bananas and raspberries which I use to pimp my oatmeal together with some peanut butter and crunched walnuts. Breakfast has become my most important meal of the day and I try to vary it as good as possible with some fresh fruits every day.
Little by little all the climbers also get out of their tents and join me in the cooking shelter to also prepare their breakfast. I have some interesting conversations with Stefan, Maxim and Raul. Stefan – a rock climber from Austria – is very interested in my bike setup as he wants to a similar trip in near future. He is inspecting my bike and is shortly after joined by a few other climbers who also want to take a closer look. Most climbers are also passionate about mountain biking and have some expertise with bikes. Unfortunately not with dynamos and lights. As I tell Stefan about my problems the previous day with my cramps he can actually show me some Yoga gymnastics which I can use to stretch the stressed muscles. Raul – the climbing partner from Stefan – is from Punta Arenas in Chile and offers me to stay a few nights at his place when I will finally reach there. Given that he is not climbing a rock somewhere else. We exchange E-Mail addresses and then I leave to pack my tent and head towards Vancouver. The rain has regained power and according to the forecast I will stay like this for most of the day – so it makes no sense to wait. It’s 11am when I finally hit the road again – it’s only 60km to my destination of the day – Vancouver.
About 20km before I reach Vancouver I stop for a little break. Yesterday I’ve sent out some requests for warm showers in Vancouver and want to check if anyone responded. As it’s a weekend, most warm shower hosts seem to have left the city. I start to contact a bunch of other warm shower hosts and also check hostels in parallel. Luckily warm shower host Land responds back and can offer me a stay for two nights. We agree to meet downtown where he is currently cycling with his little son in a bakfiets-style bike. When I reach the meeting point around 6pm, Land’s little sun is sleeping deeply and we use the opportunity to exchange a little about my trip and the bike. Land is a bike mechanic and likes the setup of my bike – especially the big tires. I tell him about the problem with the lights and he offers to give it a look the next day after he’s done with work. After the little boy is awake again we decide to have some dinner. We opt for Vera Burger. I had a lot of burgers the past weeks already, but I know that this will serve my needs today and I’m too exhausted to experiment around.
After we’re done with eating we cycle out of downtown accompanied with the sound of Coldplay. The band is giving a convert in the BC Plance Stadium and they are currently playing the song “Paradise”. The song resonates for a while in my ear after we’ve already passed the scene and are out of sight of the stadium. While Land returns his son to his mom’s place I wait in nearby park with a nice view on the harbor. The harbor is pretty busy and nicely enlightened – normally I would pull out my camera and try to capture the scene. But I rather prefer to have a nice conversation with a young couple that is chilling in the park. They give me some nice tips where to go and which micro breweries are worth giving it a try. Unfortunately I will not check out any of these options the next days – but maybe Land does. At least he notes down the hints after he joined us. 😉
Vancouver – Shopping
The next day I start relaxed. After having breakfast together with Land I spend some time on organizing my fotos and do some updates to the blog to capture the previous days in Whistler. Later I pick my bike to do some shopping. At MEC I want to buy a thermos, a water filter and a mirror for my helmet. These were the only things I missed on my trip so far. In the shop I also buy a thin cutting plank and a small storage box to store cooked food. The final buying decisions are actually pretty hard. There are so many useful tools at this store but when you’re pedaling up a 10% steep hill many things become disposable pretty quickly.
After I had a big pizza and try to find a barber to get a fresh hair cut and my beard trimmed. But unfortunately all barbers are either far away or already closed for today. I try out the only one close by, but he has not slots available for today anymore. So I will have to let my hair grow some more days. I decide to cycle back to Land’s place as we want to check the issue with the lights tonight. I buy some local beers at the liquor store and when I want to hop on the bike I meet Land who is on his way home as well. We stop at a grocery to get some fruits and cycle to his place together. On the way he tells me, that he doesn’t drink any alcohol. Luckily beer doesn’t get bad so quickly…
The attempt to repair the light is not successful. We assume the problem within the headlamp as it has a light sensor. We try for several minutes to open the casing but finally have to cancel this. I check the website of the manufacturer and they actually recommend to not open the case to not risk the 5 year warranty. I anyhow get the feeling, that the error must be somewhere else. I decide to check out some more bike shops which are more specialized on touring bikes the next days.
Vancouver – endlich Licht
The next morning I take a tour to GranVille Island to check out the Public Market. Although it’s only been a few hours since breakfast I immediately get hungry when I see al these nice market stands with fruits, meat products and baked goods. I buy myself some sausages, a salmon-bagel and some sweet stuff on top. This should last for a few more hours…
Next I check out the next available bike shop – you know already why. But this and the next two attempts do not work out. But I finally get a hing to try out kissing crows cyclery (http://www.kissingcrowscyclery.com/). It’s past 4pm already and according to Google Maps the story will close by 5pm. After 20 minutes of cycling I reach the place. Josh, the owner of the shop, is currently assisting a customer but shortly after I have his full attention. Luckily he has time and is willing to investigate into my problem. He doesn’t know the individual components but has a very structured way of approaching it and after less than 15 minutes he found the problem. It’s a loose cable inside the bike frame. Most probably I caused this myself when I prepared the bike for the flight to Canada. I had to dismount the holder of the headlamp and was a bit to rough to the wiring as it seems.
While Josh is mounting everything back together I chat with Rishin who is helping out in the bike shop today and is very interested in my trip since he did similar bike tours in the past. When I tell him, that I still don’t have a place to sleep for the night, he instantly offers me stay at his place. I actually had already a warm shower organized for that night, but this doesn’t seem to work out, so I’m happy to accept his gracious offer. In the meantime Josh is done with putting all pieces back together and we exchange a little bit on the bike and its components. He obviously had fun working on my bike. I buy spare chain and then I pedal to Land’s place to get all my baggage. When my bike is finally loaded with all my stuff it’s dark again. But tonight I have working lights and can safely ride to Rishin’s place. What a nice feeling.