Back in the Saddle – 180 KM to Pemberton



Spontaneity and preparation seem to be two polar opposite lifestyles that people abide by and adhere to. Golden rules, or unruly gold. If a spontaneous person is meant to prepare or vice versa, there is a possibility of the person feeling overwhelmed with the stress or anxious due to the uncertainty. I am usually spontaneous, leaving my known world on a simple fancy or trifle, living from day to day, on bit of cheese, bread and insider’s treats. I bicycle everyday. It’s a routine I have come to not think about, but just see as the only viable option to make it from point A to B. This is by no means preparation for a 170 kilometer slog through the mountains to the Pemberton Music Festival. This is where ill preparation could seem detrimental. I see it as a challenging thrill, a sickly pleasure to see if, and it’s really a BIG if many a times, if I will make it to my final destination, scathed or unscathed. 90km is never 90km. There is always about a 10km error. 170 then is really 180.


The day started 2 and a half hours later than expected. Not only was I ill prepared when it came to training for this ride, I was ill prepared when it came to packing appropriately. Possibly it was the concept of appropriateness that I felt uncomfortable with to pack as such. Possibly that last sentence sets precedence as how terrible I am at on the spot excuses. Spoiler alert: after spending considerable time deciding my attire for the 5 day festival, I ended up sporting my “Got Hummus” crop top the entire time. To paint a better picture galemptness (Yiddish for uselessness), I’d like to quickly note that I had only recently purchased clipless pedals and shoes and had only decided to adjust and test them that morning. Thank the bike deities, I was able to remember how they worked and how to unclip without impaling myself in some fashion. Anyways, it was what it was, I had what I had, and I hadn’t what I hadn’t and at 8:30am, after deciding which, between my three pairs of functional sunglasses I should sport on the ride up, I left my front door, pedaled down Nanaimo Street, through the traffic peanut butter and jammed streets of Downtown, across the Lion’s Gate Bridge to North Vancouver, stopping once, in the centre, to take in the incredible view of the inlet and Stanley Park, before getting a tad lost, finding my way and zooming along the coast towards Horseshoe Bay. Horseshoe Bay, for those who don’t know, is one of the gateway ferry terminals to the islands that speckle the British Columbian coast. I paused for a moment to stare down upon the Queen of Surrey slowly distorting the deep black blue ocean on it’s way to the island, munched on a No Name Rice K rispy Square, before crossing an overpass and entering onto the Sea to Sky Highway.


The Sea to Sky Highway and I have history. My father and I spun off of it once into a snow bank ravine, luckily, undamaged. A childhood friend of mine also left that same road almost 20 years ago, at excessive speeds, crashing through an impenetrable guardrail, the trauma of the experience, evident in the lasting image of her patched body, a beautiful, sullied woman, now a ragdoll, that was on display at her Ismaeli funeral, that is patched into my memory forever. The road terrifies me, a night terror that hinders your sleep, but until you face it, it runs you, orders you, enslaves you. And so, fear and adrenaline pushing me in opposite directions to places I don’t want to go and places I didn’t want to return to just yet, I swallow and I face the roar of traffic and missing, at times, shoulder of careening paved landscape. The road swerves, switchbacks, climbs and dips. On my side of it, a sheer rock face clips my right shoulder. Across the divided street, the ocean, trees and the wind, race passed me and I race passed. Each town is a small blip, like starting to say something and having nothing really to say, so abruptly ending to speak mid-sentence, that there is no meaning, or effect. Lions Bay, bled into Brunswick Beach, small little, wealthy communities, with one or two food options, marinas and stunning houses, hidden amidst properties brimming with evergreens and shrubbery. For some reason, in the town of Furry Creek, I stopped to take in the awesome name, the awesome patch of grass I found, near the town sign and a full package of awesome Whoppers that I scarfed down. Seriously, Furry Creek, I will be back to check out your museum. I am intrigued. The sign said Discover Furry Creek. I feel like standing on that singular patch of green life, between two parallel roads, was a good vantage point to see most of what the area had in the way of offerings.


Onwards, and after a nosh of maple and bacon poutine at the Squamish Micky Ds, it was literally upwards, constantly. The hills come mountains, soared into the heavens and the shlog became more intense with each pedal. Sweat pooled and beaded in every crevice and strained part of my facial expression. Breaks became more frequent. I was running out of No Name Rice Krispies. WTF WTF WTF was the running monologue in my head. The end was not in sight, unless it was my end. Nature was spilling onto the road. Trees became churches that I silently prayed to. What made it worse, was the lack of discernable landmarks to determine where I was on the planet. I was in a void, a blank nowhereness, heading somewhere, hopefully. The shlog was heightened by the sound of an impending storm. Clouds transformed the sky into a granite wall, a taunting ringleader, the cracking sound of the whip, was actually the sky unzipping it’s cloudy drawers and pissing all over me. Cold piss. Soul drenching piss. Everything was frozen, yet the wheels kept spinning, and I kept moving through the hellish drizzle. For a moment, I hid under an information sign about the Squamish Native People and ate Israeli chocolate spread and shmooshed bread, that had a hole in every piece of the loaf, due to a failed attempt to stash a pipe in it (ended up hiding the pipe in the tent and drugs in my deodorant). I didn’t even bother with utensils or cleanliness. I looked like a beast, cowering bellow the wooden awning, looking out as a few tourists approached, then were quickly dissuaded by my presence. Shuffled on, like a psychiatric pill line.


Finally, around Whistler, the rain stopped and so did I, for a bite at the Amsterdam Café in the middle of the village. An okay burger and some okay fries semi-filled the gap where my stomach should be.. I made the necessary calls, telling my mom and cousin where I was and that I was among the living. That is something I owe to mother, that no matter wherever the hell I am, I tell her I am alive and not disabled in anyway. I could hear the maternal sigh on the other end of the line and I knew I had done the right thing by calling. I scarfed down the last bite of burger and met up with my cousin, who was waiting for a burger at another place in town. Standing outside of the establishment, loaded tank leaning precariously on some railing, as her carmates sat inside, looking out at me, a twang of sympathy changed their tones from not wanting to help carry some of my load up, to carrying everything for the rest of the ride to the festival. The stubborn voice in my head said don’t do it, you have already made it most of the way fully loaded…but fuck that guy and his voice, so I gladly handed over all my possessions to be petrol powered up the rest of way.


The rest of the ride was mostly downhill, over turquoise streams, and by turquoise lakes, only once climbing over a steep ridge, known as Suicide Switchback, the route’s last attempt to murder me. Unsuccessful, it relented and I rushed into Pemberton, passed the large welcome sign, 12 hours after I had set forth from my front door. I met up with my cousin and the car crew and loaded my stuff and some of their stuff onto the bike to roll it, through the struggling masses, who were dragging their camp stuff and coolers along the rocky, dusty path towards the festival campgrounds, some 40 minutes away. Score one for the bike came late that evening, as I whizzed passed all these poor bent over souls on my two wheels. A satisfaction creepily welled inside of me, like a Vincent Price cackle. I had made it. 180k on two wheels. A new personal record. Swag.

The video is on it’s way TONIGHT!

Start Small – Good Bike Parts and Crappy Bike Parts


Gouda, land of Cheese, Beer and a wonderful old town.

Gouda, land of Cheese, Beer and a wonderful old town.


The title of this short piece refers to a line of miscommunication that happened today, between myself and the cycle fixing, genius staff at Bikes on the Drive. I only mention it now, so I can cleverly refer to it again at the end of my story, with a deep, meaningful life message latched on to it. Next week I will be traveling 170km, along the Sea to Sky Highway, through mountainous terrain, to the Pemberton Music Festival, a 4 day long extravaganza, spanning all genres and comedy. I have never attended a music festival that you can camp at, so I am super excited to see some great artists, meet my “neighbors”, engorge myself with unhealthy amounts of sodium, fat and alcohol and see/walk in/cycle in some lovely nature, that provides the natural backdrop for the event. Oh…and not shower. Big fan of not showering at moderate levels.


I am equally, or even more so excited to cycle up there, as I haven’t “toured” in a year and am feeling quite antsy about be subjected to this singular, immotile living style that getting an education forces one to endure. I mean…my house has four walls…in fact MORE THAN FOUR WALLS. What’s with that? The Sea To Sky Highway, merges a feeling of fascination and ominous fear in me. The epic magnitude of parts of the ride is known to me, as I have driven up to Whistler before. Though, it has been a while, and the scenery will definitely feel new and my ability to take it all in will be enhanced by the speed and possibilities of being on a bicycle.


That already explains why I am excited for the ride. My fear is in my own strength to complete the ride as planned. I have never completed 170 clicks in one day. I have done 140 and that was at the peak of my bike trip across Europe and it wasn’t through mountains, but hilly Germany. While I do not like the speed trial version of cycling, I have no choice, on account that I have only one day off work to make it there. The cushioning is is that the concert does not start until 2pm the next day, but I want to get a good site to camp on, so the earlier, the closer, the better (love cycling, fuck walking (kidding…)).


Me. Posing like a boss. Heilongtan, Beijing.

Me. Posing like a boss. Heilongtan, Beijing.

To help myself succeed at this somewhat lofty task, I did some shopping on this fine, clouded, petrichor-ish Saturday. I now look at everything I purchase with the consideration of my world tour that will start in less than two years. If I am going to buy equipment or parts, I want to make sure that it is transferable to my new, as yet to be purchased bike and that it is of high quality. This is very uncharacteristic of me, as I am stubborn and presume that I can finagle by way out of spending coin by purchasing hand-me-downs. Future me will thank past me, when I am not trapped in the middle of a scorching desert, in the bowels of dense jungle, captured by some wild dogs and forced throw the ball for eternity for them, due to a cheap pedal snapping off. Originally, I visited my old, wrecked Norco touring bike at my parents, shed a few tears as I still miss it, and tried to wrench off the pedals from it’s frame to try to reuse them on my new bike. Unfortunately, the impacted from my big crash 5 years ago, made it impossible to get one of the pedals off. I also showed the lovely sales gentleman at On The Rivet Bike Shop my Shimano bike shoes and old cleats and they too were fused and worn beyond removal or repair.


So I got these sweet, sweet goodies:


The Giro Terraduro shoes ($260) aren’t cheap (in fact, they are the most expensive shoes I have ever bought) and for a penny-pinching student/artist/terrible with moneys type of person I am and will destined forever to be, it was a tough sell. But they just fit so nice, don’t overtly look like bike shoes (which is good for areas where you don’t want to show off your fancy pantsy-ness) and have great tread when I want to use them for walking/hiking/sneak up on my enemies. Again, they are great investments and the people at On The Rivet, were passionate and gave me a wide plethora of options to compare them to, to help me feel confident in my decision. Great staff make a place, and these guys were awesome, invested in my time and wanting to make sure I got the right shoe at a reasonable price for my price range.


The Shimano A530 SPD pedals ($100) are similar to the ones on my old bike, which means that one side is the clipless pedal side and one, you can use normal shoes with. The versatile option gives you the choice for a daily commute and a tour. I thought after I purchased these items, I could probably get them online for cheaper. Low and behold you can, but I would need more time pre-Pemberton to do so. Plus, that sales guy, he Worked It (Missy Elliot reference, who will also be at Pemberton!!! EXCITEMENT -> Head explodes).


If you don’t know anything about bicycles, this may all seem like gobblygoop to you, which I don’t wish it to seem like, as bike talk should be accessible to everyone. Bike shoes and clipless pedals, as they are known as, work together to allow you to fully take advantage of the motion of the pedal crank and the power you are putting into each rotation of the wheels. When we push down on the pedal, our muscle strength and weight push the pedal and crank, thus powering the gears and the wheels, and the motion of the bicycle forward. With a normal pedal, on its upwards motion, you foot simply rests on it, waiting to push down again. With your shoe attached to the pedal with the snap on cleats of bike shoes and the clipless pedals, you are actually utilizing an entirely different muscle set, to pull up on the pedal, thus pulling the crank and gears, increasing your power by about 50%. This is SUPER helpful for uphill slogs and increasing your speed at a rapid rate. The cleats come out of the pedals by a twist of your feet and take a bit of time to get use to, usually amounting to a bunch of falling and cursing (my first clipless fall was into a puddle in Amsterdam…Amsterdam, bike capital of the world). But after a while, you get use to them and riding without them, feels like play N64 without the Rumble Pak (good analogy…). There are other options that also increase your pedal power, such as toe clips and straps made of metal and leather. Personally, I just find they are cumbersome, inefficient in matching with different shoes and unreliable in using all your power. I also find them a bit dangerous, as you cannot simply twist and unclip.


Those were the small things I had purchased, in pursuit of world tour wanderlust. This is where the miscommunication happened. I took my bike in to my usual place, Bikes on the Drive to get it checked out by their mechanics, just to make sure it would make it to Pemberton. I talked to the guy in the back about touring and bike components. When I said, “it’s good to start with little things”, he thought I meant smaller tours and agreed, noting a family who had planned to ride to Mexico and only made it to Bellingham. Funnily enough that was my first trip as well, but I made it all the way. To be fair, I had no sort of family in tow (literally). I started with the big things and worked my way backwards, in that regards, learning along the way. In more than a few instances, help and luck succeeded and allowed me to go on. This time I want to make a list and check it twice, take infantile baby steps, quadruple check every, finite, microscopic detail and be as prepared as I could be. My bike’s derailer needed to be replaced, as my current beast of burden, is a constant work in progress, which is great for a learning tool, but will never leave this country on a tour of any sort. It’s kind of like Moses, in a way. Does all the legwork, only to find out the fame and glory won’t be his. Wow, an agnostic Jew wielding a bible story. Stranger things have happened. Like me, being bikeless until Tuesday. Balls.

Please support these AMAZING local bike shops, that a fullheartedly endorse. Good people, great service, non-pretentious knowledge:

1. Bikes on the Drive – 1350 Commercial Drive – My go to bike shop. From servicing, to bike gear, to new bikes, to….you name it, these are people you want to get to know and sometimes, creepily linger around. I try to not do the latter too much, though the staff may feel otherwise.

2. OntheRivet Cyclewear – 8 East Broadway – Lots of bags, clothing, SHOES, pedals, helmets, etc and staff who will make sure you get exactly what you want. It’s a small, intimate space, that is more friendly and warm than claustrophobic. You are greeted with smiles and you leave smiling. They understand budgets, cycle love and good products.










Quick, Dirty, Honest Thoughts on the Each Mile World Tour

Beverley Town Wall

Beverley Town Wall

-Am I juggling too much?


-And if I am, is at least impressive?


-How do I stay more focused?


William Bradley - Tallest Man of Market Weighton, UK

William Bradley – Tallest Man of Market Weighton, UK

-Boy am I hungry.


-I lost focus again…


-Should I get more people involved?


Market Weighton

Market Weighton

-How do I get people involved?




-How do I get people interested?


Lie on Tinder?


Tea time

Tea time

-Is this a good idea?


-Will someone be honest enough to tell me if it’s a good idea?


Harewood House, UK

Harewood House, UK

-Will someone make the time to be honest enough to tell me if it’s a good idea?


-How do I increase suggestions in the forums?


-How do I hype this site?


Back of Harewood House

Back of Harewood House

-If this fails, it will suck so much.


-How do I grovel, yet not look as if I am desperate enough to grovel?


-5,000 dailies views for shit.


Camp Food, near Halifax, UK

Camp Food, near Halifax, UK

-Should I swear in a blog?


-I need to know SO much more about bikes.


-What will be my camera set up?


Dutch bike in Pennines

Dutch bike in Pennines

-Blog, please grow.


-Blog, if you grow, I will share more.


-Dear Blog, I am sorry I lied to. I never will share more.


Down towards Manchester

Down towards Manchester

-Comeon words, be well spoken or well read.


Please read this and tell everyone else that you have found salvation in a travel blog.