Vancouver – meanderings, musings and buildings

Chilco cycle route sign, VancouverLast two days in Vancouver before I move into holiday mode.

Rounding up some incidental photos from across the week, wanderings on Saturday and then off to watch the European Championships finals in the Italian area of Vancouver – which was achieved by way of a few discoveries on the way.

So this is a messy post, but one that closes the week nicely.

Mood – chilled out. Everywhere should have a cycle route called Chilco, but it sums up the weekend mood in Vancouver just nicely.

Seaside cycle route Vancouver - family group

And Saturday’s ride was a gentle meander after the rain which took me to Inukshuk.

Inukshuk plaque

The symbol of the stones is actually seen all over BC as a welcome, but this one on the Seaside was oddly accompanied by pillars of stones set on the rocks by the sea. I am sure I could look up why, but they seemed oddly apt beside the larger piece.

Inukshuk, Vancouver

Roof Garden VancouverNearby I also saw the most over-ambitious roof garden I have ever seen. It’s a bit grainy, but yes there is a tree on that roof facing the sea winds. “More money than sense” as your granny would say.

Sunday

And to today’s ride. Out from the city centre to Commercial Road which is lined with Italian cafes and restaurants, so the obvious spot to see Italy play Spain in the Euros.

And handily marked a quiet streets cycle route out to my destination and back.

Diverting slightly off route via Chinatown on the way out I found this amazing mural.

Lao Tsu mural  Chinatown Vancouver

Chinatown Vancouver - Street signsChinatown VancouverThe Chinatown is not as ornate as those in London or Manchester with such defined entrances, it seems to be a more authentic Chinese living and trading area than a tourist trap.

Chinatown then gives on to some lovely residential streets with what I would call “colonial” style houses, although that is probably not the politically correct term in the 21st Century.

Vancouver houses

To Commercial Road where throngs are gathered on the pavements outside every cafe, although it appears the Spanish are almost as populous as Italians, and even more so when they won – resulting in a street parade of honking horns and flags.

Soccer fans, Commercial Road, Vancouver

So finally I drift back towards the railway and bus station for my bus to Whistler.

And I am rewarded by excellent views back over the city, some great cycling themed murals and then finally the outstanding modernist 1920s interior of the Vancouver main railway station – a building lost well out from the city centre.  A shame because the interior is a treat.

Vancouver Sunday

Cycling mural Vancouver

Cycling mural Vancouver

Vancouver Pacific Railway Station interior

Tour de France watching for breakfast – totally guilt free!

I have been trying to get my head round watching the Tour de France from British Columbia. Particularly this year because of the British interest with Wiggins and Cavendish. So I just sat down with the official Tour web site and the trusty time zone calculator to discover that Wiggo should be donning the yellow jersey for the first time around 8.30 am tomorrow.*

And after that the stage finishes should all be around the same time each day. Amazing – able to watch the sport without the slightest guilt that I am wasting the day, not sold out because I am watching not riding, not having to do the ironing to justify watching sport all afternoon. And then I can go ride my bike afterwards.

Yippee!

*Over-optimism may be creeping in with the joy of this discovery.

Tour de France at the Halfway Inn, Kent, England

Tour de France at the Halfway Inn, Kent, England

Vancouver bike parade – just in time for the rain

Having had several days where the weather has been good and the sunlight has brought out the very best in Vancouver tonight’s bike parade was a rather gloomy affair.

Sadly few modern cities of steel and concrete can look at their best in under darkened skies. However a real brightness was brought by the volunteers from the Hub in their bright yellow shirts, but oather than that it was a bit dour. A shame, because I had already done much of the route in the sunshine over the last few days and it was great and for some of the delegates this will be their main bike excursion around the city.

The other thing that ruined the photography was the lack of many interesting participants from the city, I was really hoping we might get some of the cycling sub-cultures out on the street. Our delegates were somewhat uniform because they are almost all on the Bixi public bike sharing machines from Montreal and wearing the uniform black Lazer helmets issued by the organisers to encourage us to comply with the mandatory helmet law here. (Although many didn’t comply.) Thank heavens for some Dutch humour – they always say laughter is one of the greatest weapons in advocacy. Well done.

Dutch Cycle helmet!

So limited photography of the kind I like, you will have to go back the Vienna RadPaRade for some real cycling diversity. But a few shots – we did enjoy ourselves and for those that had never done a Velo-city bike parade with 800 people in a close road convory were really enjoying the novelty.

Vancouver bike parade

 

Dawn bike ride in Vancouver

Sunrise - Waterfront, Vancouver

Yesterday’s early morning ride. Waterfront, Stanley Park and views from Lion’s Gate Bridge.

I happened to have a moment when I had to fill a short gap from the stage of our conference. I told the European delegates that if they didn’t use the fact they are all waking up at 5am to get down there at first light they would regret it. I hope there is a small convoy of Bixi bikes out there now even as I am typing. The light quality is brilliant. And for photographers I can say that the shot above did not use any filters or treatment – the diffraction effect just came naturally.

Bike parade round the city tonight. Should be god for lots of photos, although the conference talk is of how many delegates and locals are going to use it as a chance to protest about the compulsory helmet law.

And welcome to my new best friend – what $129 buys you from the bike recycling scheme at Ride On Again – just the job.

Coal Harbour

Sunrise - Waterfront, Vancouver - Houseboats on Coal Harbour

Vancouver Stanley Park Totem poles

From Lion's Gate Bridge Vancouver

My new best friend. Recycled bike on Lion's Gate Bridge Vancouver

Museum of Anthropology and University of British Columbia

Gallery

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Lots of stuff about Velo-city 2012 on the official ECF web site and trending seriously on twitter after this morning’s barnstorming opening presentation by Gil Penalosa. #velocity2012. But that is the day job which you can follow on http://www.ECF.com  – … Continue reading