Here I am in Vancouver, British Columbia with two bikes, two suitcases, and my best friend on the eve of pedaling myself south to Tijuana.
For those of you who haven't heard about my crazy idea, you might be wondering, how did I get here? Well, for my first three years of college I didn't have a car. Living in L.A. that meant that my only way around town was either the metro or my bike. I couldn't bear living in a city as diverse and vibrant as Los Angeles and being limited by the metro system, so every year I got a little bit more brave in my bike adventures off campus. Little by little, I started biking further and further from campus, until one day I found myself 28 miles from home in Long Beach and suddenly the idea of bike touring didn't seem so crazy anymore. The idea of the freedom of just dropping everything, packing up my bike, and going wherever my pedals could take me was so thrilling I became obsessed with the idea, longingly staring out windows wishing I could be on my bike. Perhaps prematurely, I bought the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Bicycle Route Map Set so that I could studying them whenever I wanted a break.
Little by little, Ethan and I started to figure out whether we could actually make this crazy idea a reality. We both graduated in May, so we have a really unique window after graduation and before starting work full time. Ethan worked things out with the company he works for, Integral Group, and I worked things out with Boeing, and suddenly we both have 7 weeks of delightful, unencumbered free time to fill with adventure! Once we figured out the timeline with our jobs, we booked our flights excited about the prospects! Then came all the practical stuff. First of all, neither Ethan nor myself had a true road bike. We're both broke so we shopped on craigslist for good deals. I ended up with a Novara Randonee and Ethan got a Bianchi Volpe. Thankfully Ethan already had lightweight backpacking gear so we really only needed to acquire bicycle-specific gear like panniers and fenders and clip-in pedals and so on. We definitely could have spent more time/money acquiring gear, but I think we've got the essentials we need to get started and I still have some money left to spend on things like campsites and food.
And then, all of a sudden it was really happening! Now, here we are in Vancouver staying with a co-worker of Ethan's who works for the Integral Group Vancouver office. After arriving at the airport, the Vancouver Mobile Bike Shop, Velo Fix, picked us up at the airport, unpacked and re-assembled our bikes, and tuned them up! The mechanic was absolutely awesome, really helpful and got our bikes in top shape and ready to tour. After a quick trip along the Canada Line, we met up with our host and some of her friends for dinner and drinks at a local bar. Coincidentally, one of her friends actually did this trip before and pedaled all the way to Ecuador! He shared stories and advice with us which was really great for us newbies!
Anyway, our plan from here is to spend tomorrow exploring the city and packing up for bikes for an early departure Wednesday morning. I promise that my future posts won't all be walls of text and that I'll be uploading photos soon! So stocked to get started!!