A New Bicycle

My New Dahon

For my birthday this year, I was given the choice between a new bike and an iPad. While I would enjoy the iPad, it was not difficult for me to choose. My old bike had lost its chainguard (and I couldn’t find a replacement anywhere), the tires were getting worn, and the rubber around the shifting controls was falling off.

I chose the Dahon Speed d7. It is a lot like my old Dahon Boardwalk in that it has fenders, a kickstand, and a rack on the back. My panniers fit on quite well, and I can do everything that I could do on my old bike. I have ridden it on seven rides now, and it is breaking in well. Some of the levers are still a bit stiff, but I can fold and unfold it in less than a minute. We bought the bike at Dublin Cyclery,where we have purchased many bicycles over the years, for ourselves, our children, and now our grandchildren. The owner, Chuck Tyler, is an avid cyclist and a very genial person. It is a a pleasure to do business with him.

We often do a ride and then have lunch out, sometimes just the two of us and occasionally with other family members. Last Wednesday, we did one of our local rides from Alamo to Danville. Arriving back in Alamo at noon time, we decided to go to the Peasant’s Courtyard for lunch to have a good meal and to enjoy sitting  under the beautiful trees in the courtyard. It was about 12:15 or a little later when we reached the restaurant. It was a hot day, and there was no air conditioning inside the restaurant. When we expressed the desire to sit outside, we were told that they would put our names on a waiting list for a table although there were two tables for four that were available. We would have to wait for a table for two. There were two women ahead of us, who were waiting patiently. But my husband had work to do at his office that afternoon, and we were irritated that they would not seat us at an empty table. Since they do not take reservations, these tables were not being held for anyone else, and I would guess that they very likely did not fill them that day. We opted to go home for lunch, and we will probably not go back anytime soon. We have eaten at sister restaurants, the Little Pear in Blackhawk and the Peasant and Pear in Danville many times. The food is always excellent, and we have always been treated courteously. Two young people were in charge last Wednesday, and I think that they exhibited poor business acumen. Alamo needs this restaurant, and I would hate to see it go out of business.


From Kitsilano to the University of British Columbia

This was the final ride of this year’s vacation, and it turned out to be a challenge for us. We parked the car on a side street near Kitsilano Beach and set out.  It was lovely riding along the beach although many parts of the path are packed gravel, and we had to ride along city streets at times. These were low-traffic and well-marked. We stopped at a beach cafe for coffee and to admire the view.

Looking toward Vancouver

It was after having coffee that the ride became difficult. The approach to UBC  was quite steep, and we were pretty tired by the time we reached the university. However, after a refreshing lunch in the student union and a browse through the bookstore, we felt much restored. On the return trip, we followed Broadway much of the way back instead of trying to stay by the water. This route was a series of rolling hills that were fun to ride, and the scenery was pleasant, enhancing our memories of the wonderful city of Vancouver.

A Cycling Jaunt about Vancouver BC

On our first full day in Vancouver, we set out to ride on the Central  Valley Greenway toward Burnaby. Leaving our hotel on the Hornby Street bike path, we rode down to the path along False Creek, a trail of great views, especially on a sunny day. We could tell by the printouts that we had that the Central Valley Greenway starts somewhere around Science World, but we could not find it even though we asked several people including some cyclists. They all looked at us blankly.

Finally, not wanting to waste the day, we took a path near the Science Center that leads back to the city. It was rather scenic in parts, and as we traversed Chinatown, we came upon the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. This was a lovely, relaxing stop with good explanations of Daoist philosophy and a glimpse into a scholar’s study and courtyard.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

After we left the garden, we rode Abbott St. to Water St. and the Gastown area where we ate lunch at The Water Street Cafe, just opposite the famous steam clock. After lunch we walked our bikes through bustling Gastown, and then picked up the bicycle path at Canada Place. From there we rode through part of Stanley Park, which was thronged with walkers, cyclists, skaters, skateboarders, etc. because it was British Columbia Day. From Stanley Park clear along English Bay the ride was hazardous due to too many people on the paths.

The Crowds at English Bay

It was a relief to again reach the Hornby Street path and return to the calm of our hotel.

Pedaling Around the Victoria Harbor

We  started out in the morning riding over the Johnson Street Bridge and into Esquimalt, where we were disappointed to find that bikes are not allowed on the harborside path.  But we did dismount to take some pictures across the harbor.

View across the Harbor from the Esquimalt Side

We rode for some distance along Esquimalt Rd., but the aspect was uninspiring, so we turned around and headed back into Victoria. For some reason my husband always has to ride past the Empress Hotel to make his trip to Victoria complete, so we sailed past the hotel, turned right on Belleville St., heading toward Dallas Road. Actually the traffic in front of the Empress was not bad, but Belleville St. with the tour buses, horse-drawn carriages, and the ferry slip was a nightmare. When we turned left at the end of this street, things calmed down quite a lot. We had coffee at a cute little place by Fisherman’s Wharf, dawdled about on the bikes, took some pictures, then rode back to our hotel in the middle of the city.

Fisherman's Wharf Area

We ate lunch at Bon Rouge Bistro across from our hotel, where the food was excellent , and the surroundings were beautiful.

Flowers next to our table in the restaurant

A Vancouver Island Ride

We drove north of Victoria to park the car by the golf course at Cordova Bay. From there we took the Lochside Trail north. We rode past pretty houses, through rich looking farmlands, and occasionally along the waters of Cordova Channel. Our goal was the cute, small town of Sidney, where ferries leave for Anacortes and the Gulf Islands. The town is full of bookshops, gift shops, and eating places. We reached Sidney shortly after 11 am, did some gift shopping, and had coffee. After walking around the town, we ate lunch at at Bistro Suisse, an attractive small restaurant with good food.

Sidney BC

After lunch, we embarked on our return trip, which seemed more uphill than our outward bound trip. Reaching the complex of shops at Cordova Bay, we rewarded ourselves with root beer floats, the first we’ve had in many years. These brought us back to life after a satisfying but demanding ride.

Kamalka Lake in British Columbia

We drove north from Kelowna to check out the town of Vernon. When we arrived in Vernon, we discovered a rather nondescript town, but we headed for Kamalka Lake Provincial Park, where we pulled out our wonderful Dahon bikes and did a short ride along the shore and through a nearby neighborhood. Many attractive houses overlook the lake and are beautifully landscaped. We had a short but pleasant ride.

Kamalka Lake

Riding in Kelowna, BC

We left our hotel to ride along the lakefront which has been developed with taste and imagination. There is a beautiful lagoon and even a lock to permit boats to leave the lake and enter the lagoon.Bicycles are permitted on the paths in this area, but one must be careful of the pedestrians.

The Lagoon in Kelowna

After cruising around the lagoon area, we set out to ride on the Mission Creek Greenway. We rode on busy roads, but the bike lanes are well marked, and drivers are very careful when turning right. We felt much safer than we would riding at home in California. We only rode a short way on the Greenway because it was not paved, and it was hot and humid there. We stopped a nice woman who instructed us on where to exit the Greenway to find our way back to the hotel area.

The ride back to our hotel led us past strip malls, which I do not usually admire, but in this town they were new and attractive. Most of the main streets seemed to have ample bike lanes in the more modern part of town. It was only in the older section of town around the hotel where we were forced to compete with the car traffic. However, we did not have any problems.

We really enjoyed our time in Kelowna with its wide boulevards, fine restaurants, friendly people, and beautiful areas.