Friday, 23 March 2007

Spring Break Part 2

It’s been a very rainy week. The Scots have a word for it - dreich - sounds like you are saying ‘dree’ and then starting to cough up something. It’s a word that means a constant, heavy rain - that wet,dreary, socked-in feeling that you can get anytime of year in this part of the world. The Inuit are supposed to have 27 words for snow - I’m surprised that people who live in the upper west coast of North America don’t have 27 words for rain (actually, the 27 words for snow is apparently a myth). By the way, Americans just south of here refer to the area as the Pacific Northwest while we also call it the Lower Mainland or, on the weather report, the South Coast. I like South Coast better because it sounds warmer - sort of tropical - even if it is wet and cool a lot of the time.

Last weekend, the rains did lessen for awhile (4 or 5 hours?) and I visited my friend, Stew, who lives in Vancouver. Since the local mountains were rainy, we shelved our skiing plans and decided to ride our bicycles around downtown Vancouver.

Now, I enjoy cycling a lot - but riding around Maple Ridge isn’t particularly challenging. Riding around Vancouver, however, is quite a thrill. Call it Urban Cycling. I followed Stew pretty closely as we weaved through traffic, up and down sidewalks, between buses on tiny, narrow bike lanes, gasped up big hills and screamed down even bigger slopes. The excitement was compounded by the fact that I was riding his partner’s bike. Jade is taller than Stew but she isn’t as tall or as big as me. I felt like I was already halfway over the handlebars, just sitting on the bike!

Stew is a safe cyclist - we didn’t do anything that every other cyclist is doing - I’m just not used to that level of excitement when I ride.

The picture at the beginning of the blog shows Stew outside his office building at Environment Canada. He works for the department that tracks shellfish openings and closures. The picture below is me by the Terry Fox monument in Vancouver. I look much more relaxed than I actually felt at the time!

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, in terms of being on two wheels. A few short soggy trips on the Vespa was about it. The new Mazda just seems a whole lot more enticing during the current monsoon season. I did notice a few Vespa related things on the net, however...

First, in Vancouver, there is a Vespa club - part of the Vespa Club of Canada. It recently changed its name to the Worst Scooter Club Ever (WSCE). Not sure if I understand the point of that but I’m only a member of the forum so the people in charge of the club are welcome to call it whatever they want. The name change coincided with a change in the executive, as far as I can tell. There was lots of political discussion on the forum over a few weeks.

As a result of differences in the members, or maybe to give people an option, another club, the Greater Vancouver Vespa Riders (GVVR), has been formed with some members of the old club, although it seems that there are quite a few that are members of both clubs. Hopefully, this area can sustain two scooter clubs, although the WSCE is social as well as riding while the GVVR is strictly a riding club. Heck, I don’t even know if I’d want to go on a ride with either club because I go slower on my LX50! I enjoy both the forums (and not just because of the drama) because there is lots of good information and some interesting links as well. Which leads me to...

Second, there is a nifty Vespa pillow available from a variety of places. Apparently it is available here at Home Sense but can also be found online for $10 US on ebay. No, pink is not my colour (and it only comes in pink), but maybe for my wife’s birthday? Then again...

Finally, I started this blog because I simply couldn’t find anyone else who has a blog on the Vespa LX50. Now there is someone else! His blog is called Tagebuch eines Vespafahrers (Diary of a Vespa Driver) and looks very interesting - unfortunately, for me, it is in German (Vas is das?) but there are some interesting pictures and movies on it. I find it particularly good because he seems quite happy to rip his scoot apart and put new pieces on his LX 50 while I am quite happy to just ride mine.

And it’s back to school next week!


Bill Sommers said...

And I thought I was in the worst club ever. Not really, just the most disorganized.

I never had a problem with going for a bicycle ride in the rain, but would rather not take the scooter out for a joy ride in it.
I must be getting soft.

Have fun,

Combatscoot said...

That wet, drizzly stuff I have come to call "Good Irish Weather" or "Liquid Sunshine". After surviving Kodiak, Alaska, where the wet and dark winters can drive humans crazy, we decided to name our son Tal, an Hebrew variant of rain.

Orin O'Neill said...

Dave, you can use Google's tool to translate your German freund's page... someone uses it to read my blog in Chinese.

Dave Dixon said...

Can there be more than one worst club? Hmm.

I don't mind riding my scoot in the rain during the day - if my hand just didn't get wet. Not at night, though, I have a hard time seeing on dark streets in the rain.

I, too, don't mind riding my bike in the rain. You do stay warmer...

I guess that's a good example of, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Actually, since I've grown up with the rain, it doesn't affect me like it does some people - it just makes it a bit harder to ride...

Thanks for the tip. I have used google to translate and I can get the gist of it -it's just a little strange sounding!