June 25, 2003

Le Velo est pret

Voila après beaucoup d'anticipation j'ai finalement des photos du velo tout fini.
Je vais le chercher le weekend prochain, mais pour l'instant je peux finalement voir que l'idée que j'ai longtemps discuté avec Arvon a pris forme.
Visitez la gallerie du vélo pour voir les imagesde son developpement.
Il va falloir que je trouve un bon nom pour cet unique engin de locomotion.
Je vais beaucoup m'amuser ce weekend a jouer avec toutes les différentes fonctions du vélo.

Posted by gwendal at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

June 21, 2003

Streets! People?

Today was sunday and I had a classic Vancouver day. The kind that I know I have thought about when I am abroad. Continuously comparing the new landscape around me to the one I know best.

The morning started with a visit to Cambrian Hall on Main and 17th to see the "cruiser bike swap". Being a bicycle nut myself I thought I'd been exposed to all facets of self propelled two wheeled subcultures. I saw all kinds of unusual bikes from the 1930's to the early 80's. It was fun to be around people who thought that finding a good old "Strumey Archer 3-speed internal hub" is cool. The types of people attracted to "cruisers" is also interesting. The "cruiser" label carries connotations of the laid back 60's California surf culture, but there is also a sort of older alt/punk crowd and also the expected mechanically minded people.
But "cruiser" also refers to the classic Raleigh or Amsterdam style city bike. Although there was probably very few people under 25 and the median age of people there was somwhere closer to 35, it was really nice to see so many people interested in a different way to objectify the bicycle. The goal is not to have the newest, freshest, finest bicycle but rather historical character of the bicycle is most important. The search for a relaxed, laid back lifestyle is the paramount personification of the cruiser. When life in the city feels a little like a treadmill, I find hangin' and cruisin' to be a fine pursuit.

The next part of the day was a visit to Gastown for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This is one of the few summer events in the city where streets are closed to vehicle for anything other than road maintenance. Some people who know me from my travels through australia, know how highly I regard the well established aussie tradition of street festivals. Although the Jazz fest has a corporate sponsorship at every corner Water street was still closed to traffic.
It really made the area appealing and very pleasant. Even though the parkade is out of commission and under construction, thousands of people figured out a way to be there. It did not compare a community based neighbourhood street festival like the West end Street festival in Brisbane or the Glebe street festival in Sydney but it was very nice. There was even a aussie street performer there to give it an authentic street festival atmosphere. I think that there is a movement among those people who think about these things in Vancouver. That there should be a few streets in the down town peninsula that should be car free. Water street in Gastown is a good place to start. Check out the Carfree.com website to see more examples of other cities where it has worked very well. Or think about almost Any European city that has a central square or network of small streets that are devoid of vehicles, sanctuaries for the pedestrian!

To get back to the end of my sunday, I managed to get down to the Jericho sailing Centre and catch a late evening sail on a hobie 16. Sometimes I have to pinch yourself when I am living in this city.

Posted by gwendal at 12:56 AM | Comments (3)

June 16, 2003

New Pictures/Nouvelles Photo

Arvon has sent me some pictures of the finished bicyle... yes the finished bike you read it here first. I actually will soon have it. We are arranging for us to meet at 100 Mile house so that he can show me all the details of putting it together. I can hardly believe it. I have been stuck in a sort of passive waiting mode. I did not feel I could really do anything until I knew for sure that I would have this bicycle. It has been a little longer than anticipated... so the departure date is definately moved back.
First I have to check it out and play with it for a while to be certain that it will support me and my friends for 23000km.
My new bike, link to Gallery

check out the bicycle development gallery to see the latest pictures!

Woo hoo! i can almost touch it.

Posted by gwendal at 06:37 PM | Comments (5)

June 14, 2003

l'acquisition d'un velo

Finallement je garde ma promesse d'ecrire dans ce journal de preparatifs en francais autant qu'en anglais.

Finallement je garde ma promesse d'ecrire dans ce journal de preparatifs en francais autant qu'en anglais.
Le scenario se developpe, j'ai parlé au fabriquant de mon velo hier. Il a presque fini et il voudrai pouvoir me montrer comment tout marche en personne. Le probleme est qu'il se trouve dans un petit village qui s'appelle Tofield en Alberta a 200km de Edmonton. Ce n'est pas tres pratique pour que j'aille le voir sur place.
Donc ce qu'il propose c'est que comme dans une semaine il va prendre ses vacances a Williams Lake en Colombie Brittanique, ou il fera un tour en velo jusqu'a 100 mile House avec sa femme. Donc si je fais les 5 heures de route pour le voir à 100 Mile House, on se retrouverait a peu pres a mi chemin entre Vancouver et Tofield (en verite Tofield est a 1000km de 100 Mile House tandis que Vancouver n'est qu'a 500km).
Neanmoins c'est une solution tres pratique et je pourrais finallement rencontrer en personne Arvon Stacey l'artisan qui a construit le velo qui symbolise tout mes rêves d'aventure et de longs voyages. Je pourrais aussi inspecter le velo avant de le payer.

Autrement, dimanche c'est le festival des bicyclette au parc Stanley au centre de Vancouver
Il y aura une course a velo "criterium" qui sera super amusant a regarder comme un mini tour de France a Vancouver.

Posted by gwendal at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2003

Good times and Setbacks

Well I have had an interesting month of May. Since my last entry Ian Green asked me to come out to Hooksum school to do a Kitesurfing demonstration.

Well I have had an interesting month of May. Since my last entry Ian Green asked me to come out to Hooksum school to do a Kitesurfing demonstration.
After a few last minute arrangements Tania and I managed to take a few days off work to head up to Hesquiat Harbour. It was a wonderful place and although everyone else in the camp had already been there for two weeks they greeted the new arrivals with open arms. I took a fair number of pictures which I hope give a good idea of the wonderful landscape around the camp.
This camp was a 28 day outdoor leadership program organized by Karen and Steve Charlson their mission statement really describes it well "Quality outdoor and environmental education through traditional indigenous knowledge, modern skills, respect, and intimate connection to the natural world."
If you would like to learn more about the programs they organize please check out their website.

Unfortunately I also fell quite sick after my visit too Hesquiat harbour. I think I cought a chill one day out on the surf and I got strep throat. I was off work for a week because of a very high fever. What was the hardest thing is that with all this sudden inactivity my motivation and my energy seemed to dissapear. I all of a sudden felt that my goal to cycle from Inuvik to Ushuaia was impossible and that I would surely get sick again during the trip. Now I feel much better and I am keen to get back on track. But getting sick has made me more aware of the difficulties I may face during the trip if I push too hard and wear myself out. It will be paramount that I take very good care of myself and listen to the messages my body will be sending me. "I'm too cold", "this hill is too steep", "I want to sleep" etc...

The good news is that I have heard from Arvon again and he is giving me more news of the bicycle. He is estimating that it will be ready around June 15th which is approaching really fast. However there are a few hurdles to get over before everything is ready. I will let Arvon's latest email speak for itself:
"...Building a tandem like this with the extra rear end realy amounts to two tandems and a single .
Although it came out of the jig fine ,its this business of taking it apart and checking out that A & C works well "OK"
how does A=B= &C thats OK . how about A=B &D thats a bit different , hmm well as your wheels must fit all three applications
I cant just sort of dish the wheel a litle bit different for each unit , so each unit must fit the wheel.
so now putting on the cable stops etc. So if the cables go here and there for A&C are they in the righty place for A=B & C
and how about D which is quite different from C. and will I be able to route the cables so you dont look like a salmon fisherman with a snarled reel . .almost more of a mental challenge than a building job. Got to think out each piece , I only get one chance. eh?
But it does look great , I guess you still want that dark british racing green ? If not you better think fast because Im getting that close..."

Things are going to move along at a much faster pace now!

Posted by gwendal at 07:07 PM | Comments (2)