Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This is just for practice right

In just three more days I'll be heading off to New Zealand for five weeks of bike touring. Meghan very sensibly recommend that we should go on a test ride before we go. And so it was that we packed absolutely everything we'd be taking onto our bikes and headed out for a little self-propelled adventure from our front door to Porposise Bay Provincial Park.

We spent most of the trip in a major storm. It was almost fortunate. For the first time in my life it happened; we had strong tailwinds out to Porpoise Bay and then in the night the wind turned around and we had tail winds back to Vancouver! The only downside was 40mm of rain, a bit of snow, and occasional terrifying gusts of 90km/h winds.

This was my first time using front panniers. Experienced bike tourers rave about them. They love the space, the balance, and the stability. But I wasn't loving them at all. With all the weight on my front wheel I was finding my bike especially twitchy. I had an unusually wobbly ride over the Lion's Gate bridge, and then after another wobbly ride over a bridge on the Upper Level's highway it occurred to me that perhaps something else was wrong. Indeed a quick mechanical inspection showed a loose quick release lever and my front wheel trying hard to leave my bike. With a newly secured wheel, the trip got much better.

In Sechelt, I was seduced by the smell of cooking onions and the promises of the hot dog lady. "All our meat comes from the butcher. None of that mystery meat." Well, I was feeling pretty tired of eating live animals and tofu, so I was glad that there was finally a hot dog available that comes from a butcher. Sure enough, it was mighty tasty.

The campsite included this thought-provoking scene:

A pileated woodpecker lived at our site. It's just like the cartoons. Morning comes and it sounds like a construction site. Woodpecker not in photo:

Before the trip I went to Mighty Riders to see about getting my bike fitted. Before I even got on my bike Ed immediately declared that my bike was way too small for me. That may be, I argued, but the bike is only three years old, I'm not getting a new one. Ed, the mighty salesman, countered that I could just buy a new frame that fits, and keep all my old parts. And so I have a new bike! Well, new frame, plus old wheels, disc brakes, brake levers, cassette, hubs, bottom bracket, shifters, crank arms, pedals, racks, handlbars, and chain ring. The fit is fantastic and I hope it leads to a pain-free tour.

The return trip home saw no rain, which was terrifically exciting, and as previously mentioned, despite all expectations, we had a tail-wind for the return trip. And it was very very windy. How windy was it? At least a dozen people were surfing the wind swell in North Van! The return trip across the Lion's Gate Bridge necessitated pushing the bikes. It's hard to estimate wind, but I'd say there was a steady 60km/h breeze with gusts up to 90km/h. You could actually feel the bridge deck lifting and swaying in the wind at the apex!

It was a super-fun tour weekend and it feels like we have everything together for New Zealand. Roary came along and was so well behaved that he's earned a spot on the international trip. I can't believe we leave on Friday. Very exciting.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Good call on walking your bikes on the Lions Gate bridge, apparently Miles's friend got slammed into the rails by the wind on Saturday. Just a smidge painful. Have a fantastic trip, look forward to the updates!