Day 1: Vancouver to Birch Bay

I left late, at 2. Fannying around with stuff in hotel, buying food etc; was packed and checked out by 11.30, and cycled fully loaded over to the Bike Doctor, to get the front mudguard seen to and pick up maps. On the way the rear felt unhappy, and the guy in the shop said the same. It was the first time I’d ridden fully loaded. Disaster! Or not. A little over an hour later and they’d fitted a Tubus front rack, I’d repacked about 5kg of weight into the two Ortleib panniers, and boom! Bike felt happier. I also got a stand added, which has come in useful.

I saw signs – You Should Get Out More, etc. I enjoyed them. I saw a Lot of wood whilst riding on some very back-country roads out of the Vancouver suburbs. I climbed some big bridges. Sweated a fair bit – it was over 30 from the moment I started until i reached the border about 6, and peaked at 33.4C. Speaking of peaking, I set a personal best speed on George of 64.7kph (aka just over 40mph). The bike felt perfectly stable :). As I pulled into Birch Bay, I saw someone working a stall selling I-don’t-know-what, painting her stall. Genius struck, and I pulled over and got an L on the left-hand front panier. It was only when I was quite a way down the road that I realised I could’ve done the rear as well. Not such a loss though as the rear ones are shaped.

So far I move slower than g-maps suggests. My occasional detours (I reckon on about 3 additional km today, on 64 mapped) didn’t help, and stopping for photos. But the short of it is: the bike weighs at least 12.5kg, plus 2* 3kg front panniers, 2* 7kg rear panniers & 1* 3kg tent, ie at least 35.5kg. And I’ve got to haul that up every hill. My other bike weighs around 10kg, total.

When I arrived, I got the tent unpacked and put it up. Not sure I can fold it away as neatly in the morning though! :S It didn’t feel like the outer was fitting right, but turns out tent is asymmetric (it was just on back-to-front first time). Easy fix, and feels better. Gonna be a tight squeeze with Kyla in here, but we’ll be fine. Still not sure how the guy lines fit (I have a single long cord, which I guess I’m supposed to cut).

Then I stuffed the bags into the porches, changed into my long sleeved shirt and jeans to avoid being eaten by mozzies – so glad I brought the shirt! – then grabbed my dinner stuff and headed along the 5min path to the shore, to watch a glorious sunset.

It was whilst eating my dinner (salami, port salut, red pepper, in wraps, since you asked) that I worked out what was wrong with the tent. I also had a quick look at the route for tomorrow. I’m cycling to Big Lake, just past Mt Vernon. It’s 66miles away, so I’m assuming 8 hrs. I need to pick up better mapping. Morris cycles in ?Lynden? is my first stop, about 15miles away. After that, there’s an REI in Bellingham that’s my backup plan, though not sure quite where it is.

It is 10pm now and pitch black here. I think the sun sunk around 8.30pm.  I’m sat in my new sleeping bag – feels good! 🙂 Tell ya how it was in the morning.  Freshly showered; glad I forced myself to do that (felt knackered amd wanted to go to sleep!); it keeps the bag clean, saves me time in the morning, and I was feeling quite grimy.


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