At points over the past week it seemed like it was never going to happen, but it did. We finally set off cycling again – the first stretch, Vancouver to Hope. This was supposed to be the easy part, to get us back into the world of cycle touring, but nothing went as planned!
Let’s start with the lead up to the cycle trip and our time in Vancouver.
- 8 hours delayed into Vancouver.
- Lost/ delayed baggage.
- Rude service from Jeff at Bikes on the Drive in Vancouver. Honestly, I have never been spoken to in such a condescending manner!
- Kelly got an eye infection (which is still clearing up now – a good reason to have travel insurance).
- A lot of teething issues with the bikes, the racks, and basically trying to carry too much weight. This made us realise just how lucky we got with our first cycle trip from France to China.
All this made for a slightly stressful start to the trip. When I jumped on the bike and attempted to cycle up the hill from our Airbnb, I knew it was going to be a long day. We had planned to cycle out of Vancouver to Kira’s place on 0 avenue (65km on relatively flat road). Our original plan was going to have to change.
The next 2 days of the cycle trip looked a bit like this:
- Slow and painful cycle to Kira’s place on the Canadian/ USA border.
- Michael hacking up his ankle on his bike pedals.
- Contacting the bike store in Vancouver to find out about exchanging the bikes, as they suggested this bike to us in the first place. We originally were going to buy Trek 520 bikes.
- Playing with some Aussie Shepherd puppies at Kira’s house and visiting all the animals on the farm. I helpx’ed at Kira’s place last year when I first arrived in Canada, and was excited to see how things were doing.
- Kira kindly giving us (and my Norco bike) a lift to the bike store in Vancouver to exchange bikes. We were ‘greeted’ by the condescending Jeff, whom was his usual rude-prick-self. If I had a choice I would have just went to another bike store completely, however this wasn’t an option. We then drove back to 0 avenue to refit and adjust the bikes, repack and try and loss as much weight as possible.
Take 2: let’s start this cycle trip again
- Finally we headed off from Kira’s. We made it about 4km down the road and Michael’s rack was wobbling so much that we had to stop. I then discovered to my surprise that my back rack hadn’t been installed correctly and had completely come off.
- We decided on a short cycle to Chilliwack, where we could spend the rest of the day, adjusting the bikes. So, we camped by the lake, then in the morning headed off again. This time we got about 100m and Michael’s chain snapped. This was a bit of a surprise as the whole 8,500km we cycled from France to China we never experienced a snapped chain, and we cycled some serious mountain passes.
- Eventually we carried on and made it from Vancouver to Hope. We cycled the Kettle Valley trail through the Othello Tunnels, then lost the trail so decided to camp, then hit highway 5 in the morning. Highway 5 goes over what would be the first mountain pass of the cycle trip, the Coquihalla Summit, and with the way our luck was going, I was worried.
We did eventually make it from Vancouver to Hope
From Vancouver to Hope we only cycled just over 200km, but we were both already shattered. We made the mistake of thinking we were in the same shape as when we finished the last cycle trip, and could still do the distance. Our luck also didn’t seem to be so great this time around – and though some of these ‘unfortunate events’ were partly our own faults, a lot of them weren’t. All up it was a rather stressful start to the trip, however we’re definitely getting back into cycle touring life now.
Next challenge – the Coquihalla summit!
Starting your cross Canada cycle trip in Vancouver? Check out our Vancouver City Guide for Cycle Tourists. You can also discover why Vancouver is one of the greenest cities in the world in our article 10 of the greenest cities in the world.