Monday, 4 May 2015

May the Fourth Be With You.

You could be forgiven for thinking that summer had arrived in Vancouver. The snow is all gone, and the beach volleyballers are volleyballing on the beach. Oh wait! We never had any snow this year.

But wait again! Now that the nets are up, now that spring is well past sprung and now that the ski slopes are long closed? Yeah, NOW there's snow on them there hills.

You see that right there? That's whatchacall the contrary nature of life. And the signs of life are everywhere. The bears have come out of hibernation up in the mountains, and have come to town to visit, so you know that winter is well and truly over. The humans have come out to play, too. You'll find the signs of the season everywhere.

Longboards that were long languishing in condo closets are now prominently present on the promenade.

And all of the vacuous vehicles are out on proud display. The owner of this baby might easily have been the guy who offered to buy the Shaugnessy mansion at list price to store his car collection.

Though I don't think much of his taste in vehicles, you've gotta give him points for matching his shoes to his ride.

And speaking of scoring points... a few people were playing croquet on the lawn, and they had the balls to offer me a drink to join them in their game. How wicket! 

Just a little way away, another group of people tried to rope me into joining them. I TOLD them I'm not a well balanced person, but they were having none of it.

If anyone needed a helmet in a situation like this...
"Just toe the line," they said. "Try and be modest, because pride comes before a fall, you know." 

Ha!  Lol!! And don't I know it! Can you think of anyone who's had more experience with falling, except maybe that guy in the seventies... what was his name again? Evel Knievel. Despite all of his falls and mishaps, though, that man had a lot more going on in his head than me, cause he managed to get paid for his efforts, whereas I simply appear to be dain bramaged.

It doesn't take a lot of reflection to see that beautiful weather means that everybody's out doing the things they love most...

Naturally. Some of us enjoy our favourite pursuits year round, and while some pursuits are winter specific, many outdoor activities are for fairweather Freds.

I am committed to riding my bikes year round, because the correlation between activity and happiness is painfully obvious to me, but most people don't see it the same way, and so you will notice an explosion in the number of bikes out and about this time of year. 

And for many people, bad weather makes pursuing their passions impossible. After all, the Inuit might enjoy a paddle in icy cold waters, but most people prefer to have feeling in their limbs. But now, with the warm sunshine's arrival, the outrigger canoes and the dragonboats are freed from their winter hiatus.

Let's face it.

It might not be strip-down-to-your-bikini-and-sit-on-the-beach weather just yet, but the signs of the season are everywhere. It's funny. No matter how happy you might be to see the days shorten toward the holidays, that's a feeling that quickly wears off, because everybody loves a warm, sunny day.

Wouldn't it be lovely if every day were ripe with the promise of an endless summer in front of you? Don't scoff, but anything's possible, you know. Canada has just created its first "Dementia Village" based on the Hogewey project in Holland, where dementia patients live in a true to life fantasyland, a protected, sheltered, staged small town which simulates ordinary life, even as it keeps them safe and contained.  I want to live there now!

If I lived in a dementia village, I might be able to forget the truth, which is easily and conveniently summed up thus: 

And upon further reflection, there is no-where I would rather be than with my head firmly buried in the sand. Between the wholesale destruction of our natural world, and the criminal undertakings propping up the global financial arena, this particular Monday the Fourth of May is a dark day indeed, despite the bright sunshine and the approaching summer season.

ER... did that statue just exhale?!
But maybe you can see a light at the end of the tunnel - maybe you know something which has completely eluded me...? Is there a solution to the crisis fast approaching which my poor, addled brain has completely missed? If so, please do let me know. In the mean time, I need to seek some peace of mind, so you'll find me on my bike, pedalling my way to a place of serenity, and praying for an answer.

May the Fourth Be With you, dear friends, because sooner than later, we're all going to need it.


  1. bad boy of the north4 May 2015 at 11:04

    just keep marching to your own beat!things are bound to get better.

    1. I just wish that it weren't such a lonely path. But at least I share the space with people like you. :) xx

  2. Dear Babble,

    I sure wish that I DID know “something” that could be considered a remedy for our abysmal lack of responsible custodianship of good old Mother Earth? One of my daily bike rides takes me on a bridge over California Highway 1. It’s a four-lane divided highway. Always, always, ALWAYS packed with an unending stream of rushing cars. (Speed limit is 65 mph.) A truly alarming infestation of automobiles. Phenomenal! There are no local reasonable mass transportation alternatives. Why is it like this? I can only conclude that this the way people want it? Otherwise, it would be different. Bike riding? Walking? In California? They are the “Last Resort” transportation of losers. Where is all this going? I guess we’ll find out. In the meantime, I’m like you Babble…riding my bike for personal peace and tranquility.

    Thanks for another of your fine posts!


    1. Thank YOU for joining me! I am always amazed at how few people are willing to change any aspect of their own personal consumption, despite overwhelming evidence that we are killing our home planet in record speed. If we knew someone who was destroying themselves in such a blatant way, we would stage an intervention, and yet collectively we are doing nothing to hold ourselves accountable for the survival of the human race. Twenty five years ago, when I first began protesting, I was convinced that within a few years, we could create measurable, positive change. Decades on and the madness continues unabated. Some days I see signs of hope, but mostly I see people alone in their SUV's, with nary a thought for their children's future. the darkness dominates. But at least I stil have my bike.

  3. bad boy of the north5 May 2015 at 03:39

    ms.babble...I'm sorry that I didn't know the extent to which the damage created by the oil spill in Vancouver.
    I've been wanting to come there for some time.maybe,one day.
    I can't believe the snafu created by such a delay.totally unacceptable.

    1. Right?! And that our leaders feel comfortable lying to us in such an obvious manner bothers me enormously. We live in a corporatocracy, where profit is king, and nothing else matters.

      Yes. Do come for a visit. Despite our blatantly corrupt governance, it's still a beautiful place to ride a bike.

  4. Hi there, I'm the born again Dutchie rider... Do you have any tips for starting off on hills, Babble? Mine is a 3sp internal hub. If stopped at a red light on an uphill, I'm in trouble! Basically there isn't enough forward movement to get pedalling properly - I can sometimes do a sort of trackstand and sort of winch myself forward that way until I get some momentum! The only consolation is how sad it makes the impatient boy racers behind me (although it makes for more rude close passes, but they know they'll come off worse in a collision with the Dutch) :p Any advice welcome!
    I'm so sorry about the oil spill in your area. Vancouver is so lovely - have visited there once. Helen

    1. Yep, Harry pretty much covered it. And you probably have this all figured out, but I notice that a lot of folks don't actually start out in a low gear! With your internal hub you can shift down after you stop, which is handy. I am always amazed at how many people start in a gear which forces them to slowly mash their way across an intersection. They would never start their car in fourth, but they don't think about shifting down when they stop the bike.

      And also, I like to start up a hill with my right foot at the top third of the pedal stroke so that I have max power with my strong leg to start it off. I don't really have a lot of trouble starting on hills cause the Electra has eight speeds to help move 61 pounds of bike. This extra waight means that I am super fast going down hill, even without pushing that big ring up front. If you are still struggling with starting on a hill, I would consider a smaller ring in the front, unless you are really enjoying being able to outrun the racing boys on the straightaways, and crush them down hills...
      I do so like to crush it, whatever bike I'm riding. :)

    2. We were lucky it was a small scale spill, really, given the lack of a proper response. The beaches here in Kits and down at Wreck weren't affected, blessed be.

      Next time you come for a visit, please let me know! We can go for a ride. :)

  5. I think more people are concerned than we realise.They're stuck though and don't know what to do. They want to do something, but not that, and not now...
    Dutchie, I ride a single speed often and on a hill have a few tactics:
    Your winch I think is my ratchet manoeuvre. Push off with my left foot, down on my right and then quickly reverse to bring my right foot up a bit. Repeat a few times until I get going.
    Depending on the roads and traffic, I can turn a bit left if it's less steep, get some speed and turn back. We drive on the left here. If you drive on the right you'd move a bit left. Again, depends on the roads and traffic.
    The thrust can be applied with the other tactics for an advanced hillstart. As I move my foot over the top, where there is very little power, I thrust to maintain the momentum and help the pedal over the top to the next power stroke.
    There are various ways to develop your thrusting technique.
    The last tactic is to get off and walk. Works fine unless people are watching :)
    Lastly, you could change your gear ratio. Bigger rear, or smaller front. I prefer a smaller front although larger rears are nice sometimes too.
    Have fun !

    1. That's the thing. People are concerned, but not so much so that they are willing to change any aspect of their lifestyles. And the general addiction to motor vehicle dependence is the most obvous example. For most people, it really wouldn't take that much to give up the daily commute, but so few are willing to do it.

      It's like a smoker diagnosed with lung cancer who won't give up cigarettes. It's baffling, sad, and truly tragic.

  6. Thanks for the advice Babble and Harry!
    (Get off and walk? Perish the thought. Well, have done it... once :) )

    1. Yes, that was me - obvs Blogger doesn't pick up my Gravatar on my other PC!

  7. Two things.

    Dementia Village. If that's not The Twilight Zone I don't know what is.

    How do you pedal in those shoes? Really, do you use your arc or the ball of your foot?

    1. But it's a NICE Tiwlight Zone, don't you think? I wouldn't mind living in a protected, sheltered village designed to support my fantasy world and keep me safe at all costs. At least for a little while...

      And the safety shoes? Riding in them is much simpler than walking in them. I used to teach riding, and the first rule is that you can't put your feet in the stirrup without at least a bit of a heel, just in case you slip forward. The heel keeps you safe from being dragged along by the foot. And where the shoe rests on the pedal depends on the shoe. Without a platform, I keep the ball of the foot on the pedal, just as you would with any other shoe, and in that sense, a bike is a much simpler way to wear a heel. With a platform, I let the shoe slip forward a little so that the pedal rests on the middle of the foot, sometimes even letting it rest where you see it in that photo. The way I figure it is that if you have to wear a healment, you really ought to wear safety shoes, to. ;)

  8. Hello Helen Smart, I can't "reply" to your comment :(
    Walking is a good option providing nobody is watching :)
    But really, if 99% of your riding suits a tall gear, then walking up the occasional hill is better than lowering your gear. If you struggle for 90% of your ride, best look into some different size sprockets / chainrings.