Ready Set Pedal

A charity bike ride has changed my life :)

Archive for the tag “Cycling”

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!

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 🙂

Tour de Delta: July 6 – 8 2012

The Tour de Delta will open up this year’s  BC Superweek and is the 12th edition of this annual race.  

Twitter: @tourdedelta

Facebook: Tour de Delta

Friday July 6: Women & Men’s Criterium

This Criterium features an exciting 1.2 kilometer crit loop around the Social Heart area of North Delta where riders will do anywhere between 40 to 50 laps and will reach breakneck speeds(70km/hr plus).

The course has a fast downhill section going into an open left hand turn and the finish of the race will also be exciting to watch as the athletes will only have less than 100m out of the final corner of the race to sprint to the line.

Friday Criterium and Community Family Festival details here!

Start time: 6:30pm (Women’s Pro 1/2/3), 7:30pm (Men’s Pro 1/2), followed by 8:45pm Awards Presentation

Start line: 84 Ave. & 114 St. in North Delta.

Best Viewing: Start/Finish area on 84 Avenue west of 114 Street or the corner of 84 Avenue & 112 Street.

View the  Crit Route Map here or view the Full Area Map and Road Closures Here.

Saturday July 7: Women & Men’s Criterium

Saturday’s Criterium takes place in the historic fishing village of Ladner. This Crit will excite all who attend as cyclists manipulate the tight corners of the downtown core. Watch the competitors complete lap after lap at breakneck speeds while they race for cash prizes and valuable series points.

Start Line: Delta St & Bridge St in Ladner Village for all races.

Start Time: Men’s Cat 3/4 Race: 5:15 pm (25 min. + 5 laps). Ends approx 6 pm.
Women’s Pro, Cat 1/2/3 Race: 6:15 pm – 36km (40 laps x 0.9 km). Ends approx 7:10 pm.
Men’s Pro, Cat 1/2 Race: 7:25 pm – 54km (60 laps x 0.9 km). Ends approx 8:30 pm followed by awards for all races.

Criterium route map

Sunday July 8: Road Race

The Road Race is part of the 2012 BC Cup racing series,  and incorporates strength, precision & endurance. Both men`s and women`s races end with a frantic sprint finish at Winskill Park, but the routes are slightly different.

Start and finish line: 9th St and 56th Ave in front of Winskill Park, Tsawwassen.

Women’s route map – Start and finish (both at Winskill)

Men (Pro, 1 & 2): 9 am – 140km (4.5 laps North Delta – 10 laps of Tsawwassen).

Start line: Sungod Recreation Centre at 7815 112th Ave in North Delta. Finish line: Winskill Park.

Men’s route maps – Start | Mid-route | Finish (Winskill)

I’ve cycled past these areas when I headed down to Point Roberts, WA back in May (video still to come! ooopps!!) but I’d really like to bring my nice DSLR for these race to snap some photos of the cyclists so public transit is my only option this time around…. I need to get my BC Driver’s license so bad haha!!

And for those who are cycling newbies like myself…. What is a criterium anyway??? 

(Thank you Wiki!!!) It’s a bike race held on a short course (usually less than 1km), often run on closed-off city center streets. Events often have prizes (called primes, pronounced “preems”, and are usually cash). A bell is usually rung to announce to the riders that whoever wins the next lap, wins the prime. Success in road criteriums requires a mix of good technical skills — in particular, the ability to corner smoothly while “holding your line” on the road, as well as rapidly and sharply — and riding safely with a large group on a short circuit and exceptional “sprint” ability to attack other riders and repeatedly accelerate hard from corners. Criteriums are relatively easy to organize, do not require a large amount of space, and are good for live spectators as they allow them to see the riders pass by many times. They are the most common type of bicycle racing in the continental United States.

Copyright: Greg Descantes

Busyman Bicycles – Bespoke Handmade Leatherwork

What a feast for the eyes! This is like gazing at “food porn” shots … except they are bike seats not dishes of food!

Mike Peel is an Australian designer living in Melbourne, Aus. He set up shop in 2008 and makes the most beautiful saddles, bar tapes, toe straps, tool bags, etc

No idea what he charges for his work – but I am sure it cost a pretty penny because they are works of art!!

Check out & follow/like his blog and/or Facebook page.

Some of my favourites:

Reclaimed Basketball

The gecko – I think these lizards are too cute.

A Canadian trio of bike seats!

THE FINISH LINE – Some more great RTCC 2012 ‘In Action’ shots!

Some more RTCC 2012 shots …. this time courtesy of photographer Ron Sombilion – check out his gallery of the event here.

Ron captured me as I arrived at the finish line, and later when my friends doused me with champagne. A great moment!!

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

 

My first Group Ride with Musette Caffe

Part of the reason why I would hate to leave my apartment, beyond the fact that I have an amazing sea view, is because I love having Vancouver ‘s only cycling-themed coffee shop nearby. I’m of course referring to Musette Caffe – located in the alley b/w Burrard & Hornby off of Drake Street.

This cafe opened just a few months ago and I LOVE it! They have great coffee and treats, the place is totally decked out in cycling paraphernalia and they offer me a. great advice about cycling, b. a location to meet & hang out with other cyclists, c. an opportunity to ride on a weekly basis as part of a group.

The last time I swung by for some cycling advice, Thomas (the owner) encouraged me to try out their Group Ride sessions… so today after work I decided to give it a go. 🙂

Since the Ride to Conquer Cancer last weekend, I’ve been eager to get back on my bike, and I am hoping to do A LOT of cycling as the weather warms up. This evening was a fantastic time for a ride – slightly cloudy and balmy. I hardly ever feel warmth in the evening air in Vancouver – it’s one of those sensations I really miss about Malta!!

Anyways…

I was the only girl during this ride, so I was a wee bit nervous that I would be the laggard at the back, holding everyone else back. Well I was… haha But I didn’t feel pressure to keep up , they waited for me at numerous points and they never left me alone. Thomas also gave me a drafting lesson. I’m not too confident with drafting – i.e. when you are riding super close to the rider in front of you to save energy, but I’d like to master it. Practise makes perfect I guess.

We’re so lucky to live and work so close to Stanley Park – the location where we did several laps (Boys did 4 + and I did 3). It’s one of the most beautiful parks in Vancouver and I saw multiple raccoons. A family with 3 baby raccoons and feisty racoon who walked right up to me and stretched out his hands for food. So cute!!! I wish I had a granola bar or something to give him!

 

 

 

Ryder Hesjedal – First Canadian to win the Giro d’Italia

On Sunday May 27 Ryder Hesjedal  became the first Canadian to win the Giro d’Italia…

I just came across this image of him on the podium, with a CAD flag attached to a hockey stick. I love it! 🙂

Ryder Hesjedal on stage twenty one of the 2012 Giro d’Italia. Photo Courtesy of Slipstream Sports

 

You don’t get more Canadian than this 🙂

VanFondo 2012 & Iona Beach (Richmond) – 90km Training Ride

On Saturday, May 12th, 2012 Comor held the 1st Annual VanFondo. The leisure-style bike ride was a HUGE success with over 1200 cyclists participating in support of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. The registration fee of $10 went towards this charity (2 thumbs up!)….. so that’s a donation of  $12,000 towards Canuck Place!

According to this Georgia Straight article  “It may have been the largest gathering of cyclists in Vancouver history”. The fact that the weather was just OUTSTANDING surely helped too! 🙂

When I signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012 – my first ever bike ride for charity –  I knew I would be training a lot, but I didn’t anticipate that I’d get to experience another, smaller charity bike ride to serve as a teaser! 🙂

It was a great way to get a feel for what riding in a large group is like. I was so nervous as I was leaving the house – it was my first-ever “on the road” clipless cycling experience. So naturally, I crashed on my left side literally 5 secs after leaving my house. Terrible chain scratches along my ride leg… but I was kinda glad I didn’t wipe out during the actual ride before oncoming traffic!

My guard was definitely up to ensure I rode safely and unclipped well before the red lights!

The route was fantastic and there were a lot of volunteers (and policemen on motorcycles) to ensure we had safe passage through the many intersections.

Some of those hills in Kits really killed me though!

Comor,  a well-known Winter Sports store based in Kits,  recently ventured into the cycling/ bikes business (it seems to be booming in Vancouver) and they launched this new event to raise awareness among the cycling community, rather than spend money on advertising, sales promotions etc. Pretty smart!

When I stepped into the store on the Friday before the event to pick up my event registration pack and I was taken aback by how different the store looked without the racks and racks of ski gear!

The VanFondo 2012 route was circa 45km long – Since Kath and I factored in the extra cycling we did in Vancouver to go to the venue and to go to Kath’s house afterwards before we continued to Richmond – and had a 50km distance stamp on our monitors.

Riding out to Iona beach was lovely – it’s totally level so you can really pick up some speed, and by the time you reach the beach it is just so peaceful and relaxing. For those who don’t know – the long jetty that extends into the water is actually a sewage pipeline… so I’m guessing no one actually swims there, because that thought is kind of gross.

I ended up getting a major sunburn that day – mostly because I was having so much fun and with the breeze whipping on my exposed skin I didn’t realize I was burning up!

The 2013 VanFondo will be held on Saturday, May 11th, 2013. Unless I am out of town – I will definitely be signing up again for this event!!

So here’s my video of the day (check it out for more photos!): 

And here are some more vids – by other people….

An AWESOME video with cool info-graphics (I have to find out how to make those!!): 

A time lapse video of the VanFondo 2012 Route: 

An interview with Comor’s Paul Player: 

Bike to Work Week Video Contest

TravelSmart and Hub (previously VACC) are organizing a 2012 Bike to Work Week Video Contest.

Participants are asked to share a cycling tip for a chance to win a  $500 MEC gift card!

YES PLEASE!!!! I need to buy a bunch of stuff – tires, rain gear, etc before the ride and I would love a gift card!

So here’s my video entry…. talking about snacks!! haha

It’s a random draw, so no brownie points for originality…. but I figured it would be different to all the other entries… or at least I hope it will!

Ride to Conquer Cancer Spring Training Session

Have been meaning to write up a post about this training ride for way too long now!

On Sat April 28th the nice folks at RTCC organized a great training ride from Burnaby to Belcarra (via Port Moody) and back. This is the route they selected – a major chunk of it is along the Barnett Highway that is quite popular for cyclists:

My friend Kathy and I wanted to add some more km to our ride so we decided to cycle all the way from Vancouver to Port Moody AND BACK! So our ride looked like this:

We took the Adanac (Canada spelt backwards)/ Union Street bike route that connects Vancouver to Burnaby and seriously underestimated how long it would take us to reach the start line!

We had no idea there were so many hills and we had to stop a couple of times to check that we were still heading the right way. PLUS I needed to eat something along the way because I had a MAJOR HANGOVER from the night before… hehe

Note to self: NEVER drink heavily before an early morning training session.

We arrived 30mins late but onwards we cycled till we reached the pitstop at Port Moody 🙂

Here are some snaps from our ride!

I had heard of the Adanac Bike Route before and always figured it was a fairly easy and quick bike route… It’s actually very pretty but those hills slowed us WAY DOWN! The street sign is also in Chinese as that part of the route is in Chinatown 🙂

The street was lined with gorgeous pink Cherry Blossoms. I cannot get over how gorgeous these trees are! Vancouver in Spring – So Romantic!

And here’s what Southern Burnaby looks like – See how high we were climbing…up to Burnaby Mountain!

We eventually arrived at the Start Line – but everyone had already gone!! So we signed in and left immediately. Boy, were we already tired after climbing all those hills…

I thought the ride was VERY well organized. Volunteers were stationed at intersections to help stop the traffic and press the zebra crossing traffic light buttons. They encouraged us along the way and had arrows set up as various stages  to help us figure out where we were going.

Much later… I encountered what is known as a ”Mama Bear” before we made it to the Port Moody pit stop.

A fellow rider who was in charge of “sweeping” i.e. making sure no riders get left behind and everyone is safe noticed I was riding with clipless pedals and sneakers and she gave me an earful about it. I had to charge my pedals in order for her to allow me to continue.

Obsession Bikes were on site to tend to any bike issues – so she got the helpful guy to change my pedals for me as soon as we got to the pit stop, and he also pumped up my tires as they were getting kinda low!

I actually had my brand new clipless shoes in my backpack but I was way to scared to put them on and ride clipless. Originally I was thinking of riding with one sneaker on and one clipless shoe. In hindsight I am so glad I didn’t.

A. Because it would have looked so stupid.

B. Because I really needed to practise on the grass and easy terrain first to build some confidence (more on this later).

Of course Mama Bear was only looking out for my safety but it was kinda weird feeling like a 7 year old again! Haha – look at my face in that picture – I was pouting like a grumpy kid!!

Kathy and I had a BRIEF (and I mean super brief) rest, enjoyed some snacks, and soon we were heading back! We could’ve continued to Belcarra but the hill leading to that final destination was described as a ghastly, super-steep climb and we were in no mood for that!

All smiles again!

Our Port Moody photo opportunity by the water….

This was my first EVER time visiting Port Moody – I thought it was so beautiful. I love how the houses there blend right into the forest, and of course that it is by a river – so the houses have water views. It’s probably a really nice place to raise a family.

Kathy and I finally made it to the finish line – where we spent a good 20 mins checking out all the bikes and bike fashion on the other riders.

Cycling can be quite a stylish sport…

Look at me in my sneakers and pink teenager-style hoodie – I make it look so casual and frumpy!! hahaha

We were so worried that cycling back via Adanac was going to be a killer – but it was for the most part all downhill, as Vancouver is situated at a lower elevation than Burnaby.

I caught this little cycling notice/ monument on the Adanac route. Isn’t it pretty?

Our silly photo opp at the Adanac mural:

I’ve recently taken a liking to murals…. I think this one is very pretty and retro!

It was a GREAT day for cycling and in total we did 70kms. Which is pretty epic considering how many hills we tacked! 🙂

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