Saturday, January 29, 2011

un-archive adventures

We interrupt these archive posts to momentarily recount an actual current bike adventure.

A few friends and I had bought tickets for a Dine Out package deal on Thursday evening: dinner at Cru and a play at the Stanley Theatre. Since it started at 5:45, I headed there straight from work. My route took me south on Hornby and across the Burrard Bridge, the first time I'd ridden the two bike-separated sections one right after the other. As expected, they were brilliant and got me across the busiest section of the city at a rapid pace even at the busiest time of day.

After crossing the bridge, I had to make my way along some residential streets that are part of the bike system. Given that it was dark and rush hour, this section was actually a bit more uncomfortable than the downtown section. Cars were pulling over and out, pulling into driveways and out, and passing through narrow sections with parked cars on both sides. I had trouble making a left turn at one spot (from bike lane to bike "route", incidentally) because there was no left turn lane/light and no "bike box" to help you make a 2-part pedestrian-style turn. It was hard to even squish in near the first car because there were already 2 cyclists doing the exact same thing! Cycle traffic in January?! I can't image how people turn left here in the busier months.

On a sartorial note, I was wearing a fairly short, tight skirt that I'd never tried riding in before. It took a bit of practice to (1) mount smoothly (on a non-step-over bicycle), and (2) take off smoothly, but after a few tries I got the hang of it. I just had to remember to move more slowly during these actions and be aware of the greater restriction of movement.

The dinner was tasty (if a bit slow) and the play was interesting (if a bit long). It was at least 10:30 by the time we got out and I grabbed my bicycle to head home.

Heading home. Now this was a completely different experience than the ride over there. To start, I had the streets to myself: quiet, calm, lovely. It was probably just a few degrees above zero but the best part was...

--the fog.

Fog! I adore fog. It's got the excitement of extreme weather without the inconvenience of snow or rain or even high heat. (Unless you're on a boat, perhaps.) It wasn't thick enough to pose any danger of me not being visibile to vehicles (or not any more than usual) but provided an eerie softening of the world as I glided quietly down the empty streets.

Heading onto the Burrard Bridge, you couldn't see the apex of its curve. The lane just extended out in front of me indefinitely, an unending rise into the mist. Above, the fog swirled through the bridge's columns. Below, False Creek had been replaced by a comforter of grey, punctuated by orange points of the lights on the docks. The usually-imposing view of downtown Vancouver's towers was temporarily absent.

What an experience! The best part was that I actually got to experience it at all. If I'd taken the bus, I would have frozen my toes off waiting for it at that time of night, then rushed right through the beauty with barely any time to savour it. In a car: warmer, but ditto for the rushing part. And walking-- well, that would have taken forever and isn't really feasible for going that distance on a weeknight.

For all the rush hour craziness and mundane months of utility, it's moments like these that remind me: yes, this is why I love riding a bicycle.


  1. That just sounds absolutely deliciously wonderful! Note to self: Buy bike lights so I can get out and enjoy the city at night by bike :)

  2. I was nearly out on Thursday night - I'm so sorry I missed the Fog as I love it too! I'm glad you were able to ride in it and relish in its quiet.

  3. It did make me think: how many nights have I stayed in and gone to bed at the usual time and had no idea that the world looked like this right outside my window? It felt kind of like a secret...

  4. I usually read this on my RSS feed but I thought I'd come over here to comment. I can imagine how it must have been to see the fog from the bridge! I'm on a pretty high floor in my building downtown, and I was above it all coming in and around Stanley Park the other night. Too cool.

    Enjoying your posts as usual. :)