It really is not about the bike

Bixi hire bike Vancouver

Bixi hire bike Vancouver

Back in 2007 I wrote an article for the CTC web site which arose from a shorter magazine article of the same name. “On holiday without my bike” was an encouragement to CTC members to attempt cycle hire and see where it might lead them. However was initially conceived as a full on rant about the sort of cyclist who is incapable of enjoying cycling without their own bike, moaning and groaning either about the difficulties of transporting their handcrafted steed to the ends of the globe or equally complaining about whatever bike they do end up using. I rather toned it down in the end to avoid offending some friends and family.

Now I am the custodian of a blog can I go there again? It is the cycling that counts. When we experience scenery, the people, the transport of delight, flying without wings. Anything with two wheels please.

I got myself in a right mess over the last few weeks trying to sort out how I would complete a cycle tour from Vancouver via a bus trip to Whistler and a ride from Whistler to Kelowna. All the hassle just dropped away when I decided not to worry.

A Bixi city bike (above and right) for the Velo-city conference.

Conference bikes ready to go

A hired full suspension for the two days in Whistler.And for the tour I have just been to Ride On Again Bikes in West Broadway Vancouver to get a recycled bike that  I will happily dispose of at the other end, not having to brave the carriage conditions of a single airline.

Ride On Again, Vancouver

Superb service, relaxed about letting me ride a bike or two and just 20 minutes to change the saddle and stick on a rack and bottle cage. Added bonus of meeting Sue Knaup from One Street  in the shop buying her own bargain for the trip. And the really nice people at the hotel have let me bring it up to the bedroom. Somewhat defeats the object of a bike that nobody wants to steal – but Canadians are just so nice, they can’t help it.

Even better I frightened the life out of a couple of drivers who had never seen one man riding two bikes before, let alone down a main steet.

So here’s a photo tribute to some hired and borrowed bike experiences. If one day in Vancouver matches these it will be worth it.

Oreti Beach -   Invercargill - New Zealand

Ben – Oreti Beach – Invercargill – New Zealand

Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark, early morning ride

Amazing time coming up – Ireland, Vancouver, Whistler….and learning to tweet @maynekevin

 

With just a week to go until I leave with the rest of the ECF team to attend Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver it has just hit me what amazing four weeks I have coming up.

This week it is off to Dublin for the Dublin Cycling Campaign conference which is focussing on participation and equality, especially cycling for women. Muireann O’Dea, Dublin Cycling Campaign’s new Chairperson talks about it here.

The day before the conference I am running a workshop in Dublin with the participants in VOCA The “Volunteers of Cycling” Academy (VOCA) Project. The two year project brings together small cycling advocacy groups from 11 European cities. Dublin, Seville (Spain), Nicosia (Cyprus), Vienna (Austria), Copenhagen (Denmark), Maribor (Slovenia), Prague (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary), Warsaw (Poland), Lisbon (Portugal) and Bucharest (Romania).

They are the great group I met on tour in Austria and I’ll be working with them to look at how we can improve the up and coming cyclists groups across Europe. Excitingly I’m running the same workshop in Vancouver where I’ll be joined by Jeff Miller from the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking who do amazing stuff with community cycling groups all across the US.

After the conference I’m spending about two weeks in British Columbia. Couple of days around Vancouver and the “lads” of ECF will meet to watch the European Cup Final (soccer to US and Canadian followers). Then off to Whistler – just booked two days guided mountain bke riding on the legendary trails. Three days touring across the mountains, then staying with an old school friend for a week before I have to get back to the UK to see Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park, London, my wife’s Christmas present.

No idea how all that is going to hang together, not least because the cycle tour in Canada depends on me buying a recycled bike in Vancouver!

But to make it all come to life I have gone over to the dark side, star man Julian at ECF got me fired up to the potential for twitter. So now you can hopefully follow the tour by tweet too, although I feel like a bit of a numpty at the moment. @maynekevin for what its worth.