Ready Set Pedal

A charity bike ride has changed my life :)

Cycling trip to the Fraser Valley – August 5, 2012

****UPDATE****

If you’re watching this and feel like you’re getting sea-sick or experiencing an LSD trip, I apologize!!! haha YouTube told me my video was “shakey” and offered to stabilize it, and instead my video came out pretty trippy!!

Hey there :)

Check out my video from the BC Long weekend! Some friends and I went out to Fort Langley for some serious cycling, and we went all over the Fraser Valley.

It was AHHHHMAZING! I sound like a broken record, but I just LOVE cycling through farmland and lush countryside. It’s so calming.

There were a couple of gross climbs though including – one NASTY, SUPER STEEP hill! I cannot believe or even comprehend how the others managed to scale that mountain of a climb…. I walked it up AND THAT WAS painful! Super stretched-out calves…. goes to show how steep of a hill it was!

Weekly Group Ride with Comor Sports to Iona Beach

It had been a looonnng time since my last Comor Sports group ride. So when I saw that they were heading to Iona beach a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to join them again and brought my friend Oliver along with me. The evening was spectacular – nice and sunny, not too hot (although my camera & phone were sweat drenched after the ride – so gross!), and a good-sized friendly group.

Blair giving us an update on the evening’s group ride plan.

Blair gave us a run-through of where we were heading, and told us about the special surprise he had in store for us that eve. There were prizes to be won via some races. Sort of like the cash primes I saw professional cyclists race for in the Tour de Delta, Gastown GranPrix, etc. Pretty neat! I didn’t think… ahem I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete though because I am not a super fast cyclist. But still – I thought it was a great idea!

I had been down to Iona Beach once before, way back in May, and was half expecting us to take the same route my friends and I always take when we cycle to Richmond…. but the route was slightly different. We cycled all the way down the Cypress bike route and crossed the bridge used by cars heading towards the Airport – can’t recall what it is called right now.

Once we reached the flat, long stretch of road leading to the beach we REALLY started to pick up the speed. I ended up in a group towards the back and we worked on drafting super close to one another in order to close the gap between us and the group ahead of us. Was really fun but really tough. I mean really tough! haha I had never really cycled at a consistent fast pace with other riders.

I ended up falling behind towards the last little bit and I drafted behind the SUV that Blair was driving. It was pretty funny really…  and I joked about it when I reached the pack who were inhaling their energy gels and bars.

You would think this is pretty daft – but others do it all the time! Such as…

Crazy! I doubt I would ever draft behind such a large truck. A sudden brake, and you’d end up as a pancake on the back of the truck! But behind an open-back SUV where I can also chat with the driver? Why not?

Heading back to Vancouver, I was offered the opportunity to jump in the vehicle if I was feeling too tired… but I wasn’t really suffering that bad. I am sure my face looked like I was about to die BUT I just needed to catch my breath and go at a slightly slower pace.

So John kept me company most of the way back and we had a good chat about cycling, bike fittings, and other random stuff. I don’t have a map of the exact route we took back – but roughly it was Eastward bound on SW Marine Drive, up Camosen Street, through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, through Point Grey, including the beautiful Bellevue & Belmont intersection, and then Westward bound through Kitsilano towards the bike shop on 4th and Burrard.

Cycling through the Regional Park and via the Bellevue & Belmont crossroads was definitely a highlight for me. I had never been in that park before or seen the gorgeous view from Bellevue & Belmont, and I wished I had a camera strapped to my bike or helmut at that moment. The view of English Bay, the tankers and the city at dusk was just magnificent.

Somewhere in Kits I realized I had a flat tire – thankfully this happened towards the end of the ride!! So I rode into the Comor Sports shop for a quick repair job. Turns out a tiny yet razor sharp pin prick was stuck in my tire – good thing Blair spotted that one!

Blair changing my tire after a flat.

After that, we joined the group  at Ceili’s Irish Pub for some beers & burgers, and I discovered that I had won a prize for the night! Whhhaaat??? I won a gorgeous Marin Bikes hoodie – the “Red Lantern” prize for keeping the most consistent speed. :) Woo hoo!! I was really touched!

I really enjoyed chatting with the other riders as we ate and the place had an open mic session going on with really nice blues music – something you don’t hear too often in Vancouver!

At Ceili’s – the Comor Sports Group Ride table.

My yummy burger, salad (so healthy!) and beer! A fine treat after a good ride!

My “Red Lantern” Prize!!

BIG THANKS to John for keeping me company as we rode back into Vancouver and to Blair for helping me draft behind the van and for changing my tire!

Cycling Trip to Sunshine Coast B.C. Canada

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I headed up to one of the prettiest parts of the B.C. coast…. the Sunshine Coast.

The plan to head up there fell into place thanks to the fact that I wasn’t sure if I could enter the States with my 2004-issued Maltese passport. I wouldn’t ordinarily travel to the States with this passport, but my new Canadian one hadn’t arrived in the mail yet. So an original plan to re-do the Point Roberts, WA trip fell through and was quickly replaced!!

During the 4 years that I have been living in Vancouver B.C. I never once made it up to this part of the province – but I’d heard a lot about it. So naturally, I was super excited!! Kathy grew up in that region so we relied on her expert advice to plan out the route and show us the sights – hence why I referred to this operation as ‘KP Tours’ on the day :)

To arrive at Sunshine Coast, we took a BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay. This was the first time I had EVER travelled on a ferry with a bike, and it was amazing. I just LOVE leaving the city behind me, to explore a whole new area, and I love travelling by boat.

The route we took was as follows:

The ferry dropped us off at Langdale, from where we started our cycling trip via Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Davis Bay, Sechelt and back. A total of 62km – which is pretty good. :)

The weather was truly glorious. So sunny and lovely – but extremely hot. I REALLY wanted to dump the bike by the side of the road and jump into the ocean so many times! Yes – when it’s cold and rainy, I complain, and when it’s too hot and sunny, I complain…. I’m like the cycling Goldilocks trying to find her perfect weather conditions for bike rides!

We cycled by the YMCA camp and had to do a YMCA pose :) Few people may know this already… but for those who don’t, my first ever job involved dancing to silly songs like YMCA and those from Grease for ESL students…. those were the days! huh?!!

I had a near-miss on one of the roads leading up the highway 101… I unclipped my shoe to stop but for some reason I started to loose my balance. Desperately trying not to slam into the hot tarmac I hopped on my right foot to prevent the fall, all the while heading out into the oncoming traffic (which I was unaware of). It looked like clumsy once-footed tap dancing, and just as soon as I finally found my footing and came to a stop, a van zipped right by me. Probably a foot away from me. Close call!!

And of course, we took jumping shots!! BUT this time I figured out the “how to” ahead of our photo shoot. In pervious attempts we’d do a million jumps, trying to time the jump with the shutter speed. BUT… just prior to this trip it occurred to me to use the continuous shoot function – where you get a bunch of shots and can select the one that shows the person in the air. Using this function on my camera is pretty simple –  the quality is kinda reduced and only OK for digital media though… but that’s all I really need it for.

As we were having lunch at Pier 17 in Davis Bay we looked at this giant map of the Sunshine Coast – there are so many places to swim, sail, dive, camp, hike, etc. Would love to spend an entire weekend up there sometime – rent a cabin with some friends and enjoy the great outdoors! You don’t have to travel too far from the city to find stunning retreats!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. Here’s a little video I made of our trip. I hope you like it :)

Bowen Island Cycling Trip – July 21, 2012

I gotta say – I am seriously loving these weekend cycling day trips we have going on this summer. There is nothing better to get you through the week than having a cycling trip to a new destination to look forward to!!

Our latest trip included two new cyclists who are Kathy’s friends – Sharon and Ian. We decided to go to Bowen Island, which is a quaint little island just off the coast of Horseshoe Bay.

Ian, Sharon, Kathy, Oliver and I on the ferry heading to Bowen Island.

It is close enough for people to live there and commute to Vancouver for work – although I would never do this!! Ferry only takes 20 mins to from one port to another… if you can call them ports. Can you call Horseshoe Bay and Snug Cove ports?? Not sure. Ferry terminals is more precise! :)

The morning was incredibly cloudy but to be honest we weren’t expecting bad weather. We thought it might rain a little in the morning… nothing too major… and clear up really fast. If anything I was kind of glad it wasn’t going to a boiling hot day. It’s tough cycling is super hot weather.

Unleashing my inner Jane Fonda :)

I brought along a backpack so that I would have my shoe covers at the ready should I need them… and boy did I ever!! We hadn’t even cycled 1/2 way into the island before the torrential rain forced us to head back. You have to watch my video in case you think we totally wimped out… it really was pouring out there!!

We share a love for 80s music so we did a signature “Walk like an Egyptian” pose.

It had been 4 years since I’d visited Bowen Island!

I hadn’t played with one of these in years!

When we headed back to the ferry terminal area to find some shelter in a cafe or restaurant our resolve to get back on our bikes faded as the minutes ticked by. We made the best of it though! We found a nice spot to grab a bite to eat and I bought some toys from a nearby store – a pink bubble-making lightsaber and a cute deck of cards.

Beer & Card Games – best thing to do when cycling trip gets delayed or cancelled.

I could spend hours playing cards if given the chance! When I was playing on Saturday I had a vision of myself as an old lady organizing card games in some tropical retirement residence where I’d by then be living. haha And yes it would somewhere sunny and gorgeous. Probably on a small island too!

At Doc Morgan’s Pub

Doc Morgan’s is the cutest place with a nice big deck and view… can’t say the service was all that great. I was too relaxed to care though!

Back on the ferry, heading home.

The weather was so gorgeous in the afternoon! I’d love to visit Bowen Island for a cycling (or otherwise) day trip and possibly even overnighter. It’s so refreshing to get out of the city and explore the beautiful neighbouring islands & smaller towns in the vicinity during the weekend.

So here’s my video with more images :) Check it out!

Great deal from Different Bikes: 50% off Bike Tubes on Tuesdays

A great deal from Different Bikes  – buy tubes on Tuesday and get 50% off.

Burnaby Velodrome Club: Open House Aug 12 2012

The Burnaby Velodrome Club is offering three FREE coached sessions on Sunday August 12th during their second annual Summer Open House Event ….. so naturally as soon as I heard about this thanks to @cdncyclist I registered for a session!!

The offer is available for those who have never ridden the track before, and the sessions include 90 minutes of track time, rental track bike and certified coaching.

Interestingly the Burnaby Velodrome is one of only four indoor velodromes in North America. You would think there would be more than that!!

Twitter: @BVCTrack

Looks like so much fun!! I am beyond excited!

Fingers crossed it’ll go something like the MEC Learn to Ride #1 session in the video above …. not too crazy fast paced and NO ACCIDENTS! I can’t afford to get hurt a couple of days before my Asia trip!!

Giro di Burnaby: July 12 2012

The Giro di Burnaby will be held on Thursday July 12th. I LOVE the fact that they call it a “Giro” since it appears that most of the Italian-Canadians live in the East Van/ Burnaby area… or at least that is what Wiki says.

Twitter: @GirodiBurnaby

Facebook: Giro di Burnaby

Location: The Giro di Burnaby  route is located in the historic (Italian-Canadian) area of Hastings Street known as Burnaby Heights.

Race Times:  Women’s race 6:00pm and the Men’s Race 7:15pm.

They are organising a Watch & Win competition where you can write a short essay and/or send 2 photos from the event to win a beautiful Baume & Mercier watch from Palladio Jewellers. I am so entering this contest! :)  

A video from last year’s event:

Ryan Hesjedal withdraws from Tour de France

Yesterday I attended the Saturday Tour de Delta  Criteria held in Ladner (took some great pix – can’t wait to share them!).

There were two nasty crashes but luckily no one was seriously hurt. When the announcer was speaking about the crashes and who was taken out, he also mentioned that Canadian cycling whiz Ryan Hesjedal was forced to withdraw from the Tour de France earlier that day after suffering from injuries in a massive Tour de France cyclist pile up.

Awful news for Ryan & his team – and all his fans of course!

Copyright: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It turns out he he badly hurt his right hip and leg and the doctors determined that his injury would get worse if he continued to cycle the next day. So he’s flying home to refocus on the upcoming Olympics – which are fast approaching. Here’s wishing him (and all the other injured cyclists) a speedy recovery!!

Gastown Grand Prix: July 11 2012

A day after the UBC Grand Prix…. is the legendary Gastown Grand Prix. This GP went on a 3-year hiatus due to lack of sponsorship funding ….  Global Relay, a Gastown-based technology firm has saved the day however and have brought this super prestigeous event to life again. Way to go Global Relay… and all the other sponsors who helped make this happen!

Twitter: @gastowngp

Facebook: Gastown Grand Prix

Many famous cyclists have raced in this important event over the decades, making the Gastown Grand Prix (GP) one of the most popular one-day bike races in North America.

Gastown Grand Prix 2006 Copyright: Greg Descantes

The Instigator:

Back in 1973, Dr. Roger Sumner, a Vancouver native and bike racer, organized a race with a primary goal of showing the public how spectacular top level bike racing in Canada COULD be.

He wanted to create a quality race that would be highly accessible to the public. Gastown, Vancouver’s popular historic district, has streets lined with cafes and restaurants and is in a central downtown location…. so it fit the bill. Sumner himself competed in the Gastown Grand Prix until 1978. He was later inducted into the BC Hall of Fame for his 30 years of service to the sport in the roles of racer, coach, manager and racing organizer. Tragically, he died in 2000 after being hit by a car while riding his bike!!

The Route:

Start & Finish line:  Intersection of Cambie and Water streets, site of Gastown world famous steam clock. Riders will travel west on Cambie into the hairpin turn at Water and Cordova. From there they’ll ride east on Cordova past The Cambie and past Army and Navy before turning left onto Carrall Street and left again around the Gassy Jack statue and back onto Water street towards the steam clock.

This isn’t a super long route…. judging by this event’s popularity & central location and some of the images I’ve seen … the streets will be hopping with spectators!

Women’s Race: Start Time: 6:15pm (30 laps – 36 km)

Men’s Race: Start Time: 7:30pm (50 laps – 60km)

Awards: Start Time: 9:15pm

A vintage clip of when Lance Armstrong won this race back in 1991 (Soooo vintage – the graphics, the fashion, the hairstyles!):

UBC Grand Prix: July 10 2012

Following the Tour de Delta is the UBC Grand Prix.  For those reading this who live outside of Vancouver – UBC stands for University of British Columbia, which is a beautiful place to go cycling… and is also a fantastic university.  Had I been raised in this city I would have wanted to pursue my Undergrad at UBC for sure! It’s located on this beautiful peninsula with large old-growth trees, beaches, spectacular mountain & sea views, etc.

Facebook: UBC Grand Prix

Twitter: @ubcgrandprix

Copyright: Stefan Lozinsky

I stand to be corrected but I believe this is the 2nd edition – so it’s a fairly new event. The cyclists will race a 1.5km circuit and navigate around the course for 40-65 laps.

Race Schedule:

Corporate Team Challenge Race Start time: 3:15pm

Women’s pro race Start time: 5:15pm

Men’s pro race Start time: 6:30pm

I think the Corporate Team Challenge is a great idea. There will have about 20 teams participating (Telus, Sugoi, KPMG, etc), and the idea is for the team members to experience what it feels like to be a pro rider!

Copyright: Stefan Lozinsky

Aren’t the photos by Stefan Lozinsky so beautiful? I aspire to take similar photos of some of these (and future) events!

A video from last year’s event:

And here’s a video of Race Director Mark Ersting speaking about this year’s event:

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: