December 02, 2003

Thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The "stoke the ride" party was a tremendous success. So far I have received nothing but positive feedback.
It was really moving to see so many people come down to the party and brave what is often perceived as a "dodgy" neighbourhood. The warmth of the support was a very nice contrast to the cold wind that was blowing outside (Soon I'll be spending all my time out there).

I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all the people who helped make the evening a success.
First and foremost I have to thank Tania who was the person without whom I would have never had the courage to see such a ambitious event through.

The musicians were fantastic! Brett's songs really set the mood and it was really nice to see people walk in and light up in excitment as they realized they were really going to have a good evening. Pedal!Pedal!Pedal! - a crowd favorite!
Then Flavio's Brazilian Bossa Nova band was excellent. It was so crowded I had trouble getting up to the front to thank them after the performance.
Finally Tamz and Ndidi Cascade teamed up for a rare duet performance. By that point the dance floor was jumping up and down. DJ Emmanuel was gracious enough to keep the music going until 1am.

I'd like to thank my family who graciously worked at the door collecting the tickets and selling raffle tickets and the 50/50 draw.

The door prizes and the raffle prizes would not be possible without the support of the Bike Doctor who gave us a Helmet, lock, free tune ups, and a light. The VSO gave us two ticket vouchers for any show this winter. Cheapskates who provided a bike fender, Specialties West who donated a Nalgene Bottle, Winnie Florist (1983 East 41st) who provided the flowers for the Musicians and
Stormfront B&B who gave us a two night voucher to stay in Tofino.

The party could not have happened without the support of Leo Chow at the Brickhouse Bistro (730 Main St.). I encourage people to go down and try the food on a quiet evening. It is really excellent.

Finally I'd like to thank everyone who came down and offered support. You can be sure that I'll be thinking of you as I face the harder parts of the trip as well as the really good times. Your support really gives me the confidence that this expedition will be a success.

Posted by gwendal at 03:27 PM | Comments (1)

October 22, 2003

Antipodes Expedition Fundraiser

Stoke the Ride Party

Here it is! The party you have all been waiting for!
On Saturday November 29th 9pm at the Brickhouse Bistro We will have a fabulous lineup of excellent local musicians.
First off we have a Folk/Guitar player Brett Heneke
Then Flavio and his Brazilian Bossa Nova Band
Rap Artist: Ndidi Cascade
The excellent DJ Emmanuel
R&B/Soul singer: Tamz
And maybe even Jazz Bass player Michael Owen-Liston will make a apperance.
There will be a silent auction of selected photographs and a 50/50 draw. There will also be a grand prize draw of two nights in Tofino at the beautiful Stormfront B&B

Please come down and support the expedition. The Bistro has an indoor secured bicycle rack. FREE secured parking in a parkade only 1/2 block away is available. It is also walking distance from the Main St. Skytrain Station.

Tickets are $10 in advance

Our goal is to create a documentary and several multimedia resources (videos, cd-roms, interactive website) to tackle physical and social geography subjects in the context of South, Central and North America for K-12 students across Canada. You can buy tickets directly from me or buy them online by credit card through Paypal and you will be put you on the prepaid list. The tickets will be $12 at the door.

Be sure to put you name in the comment! My phone number is 604-727-7696 Or contact Tania at 604-787-9577 We will be happy to give you more information about the event. The Brickhouse Bistro is at 730 Main St. near the corner of Main Street and Union Street. Thank you. Gwendal

Posted by gwendal at 05:22 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2003

The home stretch to departure

This will be a short entry. Thanks to a few extra aeroplan miles from my mother I have been able to have enough to book a flight to Buenos Aires on January 15th 2004.

So stay tuned for a big fundraising party sometime in November.
I have a few final kinks to work out on the bicycle logistics but for the most part I am happy and things are really taking shape. I still have to do a lot of administrative things like renew my passport, get every vaccine and shot possible, make sure no unexpected bills show up in my mailbox and gather dust for a year etc...

Another great turn of events is that I have found another Canandian, Ryan Parton, who is doing a very similar trip through the South American continent. It is very nice to be able to write to someone who is going through the same preparations as me. Hopefully we will occasionally be able to share the road and check in on each other along the way.
check out his website: A Travesando Fronteras

Posted by gwendal at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

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 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)

May 07, 2003

The bicycle is coming to life!

I received an email from Arvon today with two pictures attached. In the email he said, "The pics are of your bikes straight out of the frame jig
and look like 'not much' but thats just what they look like... Hope they are of some interest to you"
Well to me it was a very exciting moment, because now what has solely remained in the realm of the theoretic is now becoming a reality. I am now confident that I will have a bicycle that will be able to convert from a tandem to a single. It will allow me to take passengers on this adventure From northern Canada to the southernmost town in Argentina. Please have a look at the newest pictures in the link to Tandem Bicycle Development

As I talk to people about this expedition I have been asked several times... "where is Ushuaia? and c'est ou Inuvik?"
Please check out the link for the expedition maps. I will continue to add more detailed maps that follow the course of the trip. It will hopefully compliment your geographic knowlege of North and South America.

A big part of the preparations for this expedition is the physical fitness. So to keep up my backcountry skills I went up last weekend with Tania, Adrian and Stephanie to Tetrahedron Park on the Sunshine Coast. The weather forecast was poor but we did not expect to get as much snow as we did in May. We made the best of it and took the time to build an igloo and snowshoe up to Mt. Steele.
I have posted a series of pictures taken with Adrian's digital camera that include a whole sequence on the building of the igloo.

Posted by gwendal at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2003

La Dérive

The neat thing about the internet and especially web-logs is that what I write can be a link to many other written pieces by other people, or possibly to complete falshoods. In that light one of the themes of this expeditions is the urban environment. Certainly one of my great facinations is urban space and how we negotiate it. How much of your city do you actually see in your life? Is your life restricted to really narrow corridors of function? How does the morphology of the city affect your standard of living. Arguably Vancouver is an excellent city, but like all cities it is a work in progress and there are great opportunities to make it a better city.

How often do we stray from our usual paths?
A "situationist" frenchman Guy-Ernest Debord had though long and hard about these ideas in the 50's and came up with a then avant-guard exercise called a Dérive that is still occasionally practiced. The idea of a dérive is that conventionally you negotiate a city in ways that are guided by the architecture and the urban form. A dérive is then an exercise to break out of our psyco-geographical habits. All that is needed is to start in a random place and let yourself be guided by a simple algorithms such as 'first street left, second street right, first street right, repeat'. The result is that you follow a path that is not governed by the psyco-geographical influences that you may be subjected to. I think that this is sort of a meditative exercise that can help to see a familiar landscape with new eyes.

This idea also reminds me of a very fun website GPS Drawings, that explores the art and the forms that can be created by keeping a 3d groundtrack from a GPS. The results are interesting. And thank you Tim Barber for pointing me to this ultimate geo-geek website. For all in Vancouver he is having a photography show on May 8th at Tinseltown

Finally I would be neglecting the cycling nature of this site if I did not mention this website about weird cycling lanes.

I am organizing a dérive this monday. So it should be interesting to see what the reaction is from the other participants and how I react. Having lived in this city my whole life I can claim a certain level of familiarity with most parts and as such I feel challenged to see the landscape differently. Usually I get the best impression of having new perspective when I have been away for a while. But it is so easy to fall back into old routines and find yourself molded by the city and its form once again.

Posted by gwendal at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2003

The bicycle

I've been getting a lot of questions about the bicycle that I am having built by Arvon Stacey in Tofield Alberta. Although before talking to Arvon I had never heard of this small town 200km east of Edmonton, that I will now have to visit it sometime soon.
As for the bicycle the concept, it is a little hard to imagine from just a verbal description so please have a look at the draught drawing. The idea is that with special S+S couplings the bicycle will be able to "break" appart for transport... but this also opens the door to a new concept where the bike will be able to connect with extra attachments to become a tandem bike. Mine is not finished yet but here is a link to something similar to what I am hoping to get.

Posted by gwendal at 03:38 PM | Comments (1)

Joyeuse Pâques

Bonjour at tout ma famille en France! C'etais un drôle de Pâques cette année car toute la famille etais eparpiller dans de different coins. Maman et Maïwenn en France en train de visiter plein de monde. Armel en kayak sur les îles Broken a l'ouest de l'île Vancouver. Maël en train d'etudier pour les cours a Vancouver. Et moi j'etais parti a Whistler avec des ami pour fair du ski. Les condition etais moyenne... enfin moyen pour Whistler. Je me suis bien amuser... surtout a regarder (l'equipe de hockey) les Canucks reussit a gagner deux jeux dans leur finale contre St. Louis. Je n'ai donc pas fait trop de preparation pour le voyage ce weekend. Mais je vais m'y remettre cette semaine. Il faut que je commence a contacter mes sponsor, les media qui aurais un interret de suivre mon voyage, finir les modification sur se site ouèb etc... la liste est encore bien longue.

Posted by gwendal at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2003

The beginning of A great Adventure

So This is the point where my adventure takes a very public turn. My website is now Live! Thanks to some help from my best friend Brahm in Taiwan, I have been able to setup a Blog website. In this section I hope to chronicle the preparations for this trip. I hope that this adventure will be fun and that you will enjoy reading about it.
Posted by gwendal at 02:23 PM | Comments (2)