|Newsletter - 2016 Archive|
My Vancouver 200 - A Trip Down Memory Lane
Thank you Eric for creating such a wonderfully silly 200. Thirty controls… That’s crazy, time consuming at the very least if not downright annoying by the time one has got to say control # 24. I can only imagine the amount of time and the kilometres ridden to put this route together. Job well done!
The day did not start out well. I left home ( at Cultus Lake) at 6AM as planned having gotten back late the night before from a short stay at Whistler. Getting ready was rushed as was the departure. I hadn’t gone a kilometre when I glanced at the gas gauge and realized I didn’t have enough gas to get to Vancouver and back. No problem, I’d stop in Abbotsford, where gas is usually the cheapest around and fill up. Where is my wallet, sh…., I’d forgotten it at home. No problem, I never carry my money and I.D. /credit cards together and I had my bill fold in my pocket. I’d purchase the gas with cash, which I seldom do. As for I.D. the only concern was not having my Drivers License. I have all my I.D. info and medical info taped to the inside of my helmet should someone next to get it.
The weather reports were not stellar but driving west towards the city on Hwy #1 everything was dry, at first. Along the way there are high points where one can see across the ’straight towards Vancouver Island. There were lots of clear spots. It looked promising. There was also a bank of dark cloud jammed up against the North Shore Mtns. By the time I reached Langley it was POURING! It was, oh, so tempting to go back, but those clearings in the sky gave me hope that the day would turn out OK, and it did. For the most part things were dry with the occasional sprinkle here and there.
It wasn’t to be long before I’d come to realize that this ride through the ‘Hoods of Vancouver ’ was going to be something special. Why? I’m a native Vanouverite. I grow up on the East side ( near Rupert and Lougheed) but throughout school and university years lived at numerous locations throughout the city. From an early age I was also encouraged/allowed to wander the metropolitan area on my bicycle. I rode everywhere on my old single speed balloon tired bike. The condition was that I be home for dinner or else. I was also give a nickel to call home if I wasn’t going to make it and a my dad would come and get me; but there were unpleasant consequences when I did. When I did make it home on time I had to return the nickel to show that I hadn’t used it buy an ice cream cone. Times were tight.
Although I clearly visit the city regularly to shop, attend cultural events, etc., I have not lived west of New Westminster in over 40 years and have very rarely ventured into many of the neighbourhoods I used to frequent. Oh how the city has changed! Local landmarks from the 60s and 70s were GONE; replaced by towers, strip malls, you name it. Houses that I saw being build in the 60s ( Vancouver Specials) had been replaced everywhere. Streets that were once very familiar to me had completely changed.
The route also went by many of my old haunts: Vancouver Tech High School ( grades 7-12) and that steep climb up Slocan Ave. from the flats up to 8th and 7th Ave.; Trout Lake where I learned to swim; New Brighten Pool (it used be ocean filled); Playland where we would sneak in and also sneak onto the roller coaster dozens of times a day ( I think they let us local kids do it); the Main Mall at UBC ( which was completely unrecognizable) …..I could go on and on.
One thing that did strike me, no matter what area we were riding through, no matter what the social-economic make-up ( i.e., the UBC Endowment Lands, Strathcona, the Dundar area) there was a visual sense of pride in the houses/homes, of the street, of the neighbourhood, and of the city. Vancouver, you are indeed GREAT!
Eric, thanks for taking me on a “ Trip Down Memory Lane”!
June 12, 2016