Yesterday was the trials and tribulations stage of the trip. Some minor criminals supplemented our list of errands by thieving various bits from our bikes: from mine, my helmet and the thing that connects the front wheel to the bike. From Kristian’s, a water bottle.
It’s not much but we had to visit four bike shops and spend $80 to get back to where we had already been a few hours before. Briefly annoying, but a good opportunity to practice that pretentious stoicism that makes life on the road a bit easier.
“Up to this time in my life – and that’s a long time – I have been a lucky person. Not that everything has turned out the way I wanted. Almost the opposite, in fact, but every new disappointment has led to new & better prospects, so that looking back on my failures I can’t bring myself to regret any of them”
That sentiment is on my mind a lot so far. The knowledge that things will inevitably go wrong, or be difficult, but that new and exciting things will arise from this – it’s a good motivator.
And it’s proven true already. After replacing our pilfered gear we stopped off at a dispensary to pick up some marijuana (because it’s basically legal here, and when in Rome!), then rode through the dominion of condos that is downtown Vancouver, through some leafy avenues, and into Stanley Park.
The park is a car-friendly tourist-accessible snapshot of Canada’s wilder side: bike trails zigzag off in different directions leading to beaches and bridges and lookouts. Triangular trees soar upward, a subtle reminder that you’ve entered a terrain that’s a whole lot more rugged and majestic than what we’ve left behind.
After riding aimlessly around the trails for a while we found ‘Third Beach’ and sat, basking in the sun, listening to songs, looking out onto the Pacific Ocean. A lady came over to ask if she could buy a joint (apparently it’s very obvious from far away what we were up to), and we started talking.
She lives in Calgary, was visiting Vancouver on business, and invited us to a party with live Rockabilly band if we manage to get there in time (complete with place to pitch our tents in the garden). What an excellent motivation to ride 600 miles, and excellent karmic offset to having helmets and bottles swiped that morning.
And a perfect example of a disappointment leading to new and better prospects.