Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Smugly Floating Along: Life in the Cargo-bike Lane

White Rock.  That's Mt Baker in the distance.
When Bike Snob came to Vancouver, the man and I wanted to see him, to hear him speak at his book signing.  We had to leave before Snob took any questions, but as we left, I asked the man what he would like to say to Mr Weiss. He thought for a moment before he replied "I'd like to thank him for the term "Smugness Flotilla."

Me, too.

Snob's moving.  He's leaving Brooklyn.  One of his seventeen children is under the age of five, so you can see why he might feel the need to flee the Big City.  Anyone who has ever had anything to do with children under the age of five knows full well that the needs of any and all children under the age of five determine the outcome of pretty much every decision the adults under the child's influence ever make.  Evah.


I was under the influence of a pre-school child when we returned to Canada from the UK in early 2007 to settle in quiet, suburban White Rock.  As it happens, the move suited the wee young master to a 't'.

We lived at the red star at about five on the wonky circle. This was the basic route I loved to ride first thing in the morning, just cause I could. Lots of beach, lots of forest... my private, early morning meditation.

The google map is slightly off.  The darkest, greenest forest blob, the place where I placed the baby pink star, is in fact Sunnyside Urban Forest, and while there are some multi-purpose trails you can ride your bike on in there, the technical trails, the jumps, and the skate park are actually located where google puts Sunnyside.  If you are in the neighbourhood, do check it out.  It's great for kids and their adults, alike.

Sometimes I would skip the daily peninsula loop and just spend an hour or two on the single track trails at the bike park instead.  There's something for everyone in that place, from beginner to expert and everything in between. It's a great place to ride a bike.

It's a sweet place to learn to ride, too.
When we arrived from the UK, the boy was only in pre-school two and a half hours a day, and I was contracting my services as a scribe overseas, which meant we could spend our afternoons in play.  His favourite thing in the whole world - for years on end - was to head over to the pond in the middle of Crescent Park (the green star). It's loaded with wildlife.  You'll find ducks, frogs and turtles galore during the warmer months of the year, and your typical assortment of forest critters year round. There are coyotes, too, though we never saw one. The usual feathered suspects abound, with plenty of heron, eagles and owls allaround.  It was a perfect place for his age and stage.

We went almost everywhere by smugness flotilla back in the day, except I had no idea at the time what it was called.
Even the tree came smugly home. 
It doesn't occur to him to stop riding because it rains or snows, because riding, rain or snow, is all he's ever known. It doesn't occur him to turn his lights on, either...
It's all good, though, because he doesn't mind if you want to take a joy ride across the line...

to enjoy a Peace Arch picnic.

Zero Ave - that side of the ditch is the US, this Canada.  i never thought I would see the day when the pot laws were more liberal on that side of the ditch than this, but here we are.  Proof positive that anything is possible. 

I loved living in White Rock while we were there, and I get why the suburbs attract people with small children.  It just makes sense. That does nothing to change the fact that it tickled me pink  to have a really good excuse to move back into the city again.  Urban life in a place that promotes bikes is a sweet combination I never tire of. I love that there are bike paths all over town so that I can live my life the way I do, and still get around in relative safety.

This town is unlike so many others, though, cause when you need to ground yourself in something wild and uncultured, you can just hop across the bridge to find some seriously vertical trails.

Mmmm,  mountains.

If you keep going along highway 99 for an hour and a bit, you'll find yourself in Whistler, where there's all kinds of vertical going on.

Well, we can talk about Whistler another day.


  1. Alright, we're going to need some specs on that mtn. bike.

    1. Just your run of the mill Rocky Mountain Soul- straight off the rack two days after we landed. It's a sweet ride, though. And it's low maintenance, too, especially compared with the Amsterjag...

  2. Nice Xmas tree portage. I've seen a bike on a tree but I think that's the first time I've seen a tree on a bike.

    I used a trail-a-bike when my son was young. That was alot of fun and worked great knowing he was safely tucked in behind. When he outgrew it I gave it away to new biking parent.

    1. Thanks!

      Trai-a-bikes are brilliant, aren't they? I was going to say that I still stick him on the back once in a while, when we have many miles to cover and it's not all on bike lanes, only come to think of it, I can't remember the last time we used it. He's such a strong rider now, that it's much easier for me to let him go on his own, wherever it is we're going...

      Huh. We gave away the one in the video last year. I guess it's time to give away the bigger, geared trail bike now, too.

  3. What kind of MTB? Your heading is all wrong. It's World Piece.

  4. You need to zoom in on your tree portage pic and make that your avatar. One can never go wrong with Fuck Me Boots. Evar.

  5. ...(knock knock)...ahhh, so this must be the gateway to the garden of the delightful "babble on"...wow, how nice...hmmm (deep breath) smells fresh, clean...

    ...(remains silent whilst looking about - closes eyes & takes another deep breath)...

    ...ya, gosh, it even "feels" that way...clean, fresh, there's a sense of health here & (mmmm) that delightful sense of "woman" that tells me i should think less & just absorb for a moment in time...

    ...i'm graced by the presense of her delicate flowers & yet a exquisite, palpable strength seemingly emanates from this ground...

    ...clearly this garden is well tended by a sprite-like spirit with a deep old soul...i hope she'll invite me to sit with her for tea, perhaps off by that gently flowing brook should the time come...

  6. Tea by the brook - there's an appointment steeped in metaphor... Add a beaver to the mix, and..
    Dam. :O

    1. ...it was never lost on me, having been raised in northern ontario as a youngster, that in the bush, where there's a beaver, there's gonna be serious wood involved...

      ...& whilst recently noticing the head of the lovely, playful fox who shows great character with such wonderfully sculpted lines & elegant planes, there is, i will admit, nothing so delightful as coming face to face with a beaver...

      ...ahhh, yes, nature & perhaps it's a canadian thing but i love to be so close whilst seeing a creature running wild & free, claws sharp & back arched against the sky...

      ...ohhh & not that you asked but in talking 'tea', yes ???...where do your tastes lie ???...

      ...i'm a long time yerba mate (chocolatte') kinda guy...honey or agave, w/ or w/out the soy but either way i don't brook dairy...

      ...be it quaffed from a big hefty mug grasped in both hands or sipped from delicate bone china tendered with care, it's guaranteed to be both satisfying & worth sharing if it's hot & steamy...

      ...so, for now, just, you know, sayin'...