Sunday 10 June 2012

The Great Blogger Ride - Part 4 - To Horseshoe Bay and Back

David and Sonja recovering after wild ride to Horseshoe Bay

Following is always easier- it's just a matter of keeping up - but leading is trickier because you have to set the pace. Luckily for me, there was traffic as I began my leading time on Marine Drive.

Marine Drive to Horseshoe Bay is a really nice ride. I had done it once on my LX50 but it is a lot faster - and scarier -and more fun - on a 250! There were lots of twisties and fantastic scenery and a sports car in front of me to help set my pace. It was lovely! The ride went by pretty fast and I think I did a good job of pacing. It's the same as when I lead in a bicycle tour - I want to go fast enough that I'm not holding anyone back but not so fast that I'm unsafe or leaving others behind. 

The scenery is drop dead gorgeous along Marine Drive. When I was on the LX50, I happily gawked and looked as I putted along. Leading a group of crazed bloggers, I, unfortunately, was focussed on the road, trying to anticipate the next curve, shifting my body properly, making sure I was looking down the road, and generally trying not to make some huge gaffe that would result in an accident, or worse, humiliation!

Luckily, despite the scenery being ignored, I was successful in leading the group to Horseshoe Bay.

David and Roland looking towards mountains, trying to find their happy place after my leading debut.
Once there, we parked our scoots and stretched our legs. During this time, I spoke to a couple of the bloggers about safety. If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I struggle between being comfortable and being safe. For this ride, I was wearing jeans, running shoes, and my Corazzo jacket. For me, this is level 3 of 4 for what I wear in safety, level 4 being the same except for hiking shoes instead of running shoes. 

Everyone else was much safer. Much, much safer. 

But you have to realize that what I wear now (most of the time) is a huge improvement over what I wore just a year ago - so I guess I'm slowly getting there....

We went to a pub beside Trolls restaurant and sat outside in an unusual sunny May day. A truck dog barked its way through lunch as we chatted, raising our voices above the deep woofing. We talked of many things, although I spent a lot of the time listening and solidifying my impressions of this fine group of people. The lunch itself was so-so but the conversation and the company was excellent!

After quite a bit of time surprisingly slipped away, we headed down to the water for some photos. Bobskoot has got some brilliant shots that you just have to see. 

Bobskoot taking another one of his brilliant photos.

We then headed back down Marine Drive towards David's hotel in Vancouver. The Lions' Gate Bridge was backed up so we had a lot of stop and start driving. My shudder that happens when I start up in traffic slowly turned into a loud scraping sound, much like a shovel scraping pavement when shovelling snow. It did this once before when I was in a traffic jam in White Rock. This continued sporadically all the way to the hotel in Vancouver which caused me a lot of stress. No one commented on this but maybe they were just being polite - and maybe not a crazed group after all1

So why, you may ask, haven't you taken it to Urban Wasp to get fixed? Well, he responds, sheepishly, the problem goes away once there's some speed and then it's fine again. I'm too busy with school. I'm too reliant on it right now and I don't have time. 

I don't want to have to be without my Vespa for another big chunk of time!

Sonja and Roland viewing and amazing array of badass machines
I arrived at David's hotel on my shovel grinder and we all exchanged good-byes.We then went our separate ways and headed off. 

 It was a brilliant idea of David's and it has introduced me to truly enjoyable group riding. An excellent time was had by all!

The amazing array of badass machines outside of David's hotel -
note the whitewall tire on the slightly beat up Vespa in front. 

Thanks, bloggers!

Here are some links to the other bloggers' view on the ride. You should definitely take a look because it is SO COOL to see how the same event is viewed from different perspectives. Also, the other bloggers aren't using their crappy iPhone camera that's just about to die to take photos....



Bobskoot - Riding the Wet Coast

David takes a final photo before heading back to Montreal
- note,AFAIK,  David has not been involved in the student rioting...

Tuesday 5 June 2012

The Great Blogger Ride - Part 3 - To West Vancouver

OK, I know that making people wait builds excitement but this is ridiculous! Time for Part 3!

I felt pretty confident as we left Buntzen Lake. As we went back downhill, the twisties were a little more fun and a little less scary. Our little group rode on and snaked our way to Belcarra Park for another stop and a scenic stop.

Unfortunately, I neglected to take any photos at this spot. My iPhone had inadvertently stayed on since the restaurant and, even though it was 75% when I left home, was down to 7% at this time. I kept shutting it down (something I rarely do) and restarting whenever I wanted to take a photo. Not exactly spontaneous....

It was at this point, I believe, that we had the big discussion. We had originally planned to go to the Tomahawk restaurant in North Vancouver and then, possibly, to Horseshoe Bay. Well, it was just too late so we decided to skip the Tomahawk and head straight to Horseshoe Bay. So off we went...

We rode out one of my favorite routes- the Barnet Highway. It was a great day for it - sunny and warm - and I'm sure David enjoyed the scenery of the inlet. From there, we headed along Hastings through some traffic, taking some alternate routes parallel to Hastings when it was just too busy. Eventually, we made it to Vancouver and headed onto the number 1.

I've only been on the the Freeway once - when I was coming back from Abbotsford and ended up on the number 1 by mistake. That was an intense time because I was going at the upper level of my comfort range - and the blacktop looked particularly hard. This time, I knew it was coming - luckily the traffic was going quite a bit slower, and I felt security traveling with my bloggin' crew!

We sped along, crossing the Second Narrow Bridge (AKA Ironworkers' Memorial) and then took the Main Street exit, heading through industrial sections of North Vancouver until we finally got to Marine Drive in West Vancouver. Gas stop.

I was trying to be a conscientious group member so after I put my $3 of gas in the Vespa, I rode away from the pumps and parked a bit away from the group. The rest sort of gathered around the pumps and filled up while I waited patiently. They were discussing who was going to lead the next section - and Bob approached me.

"We had a vote - you get to lead next."