Dino's blog for mini adventures and endurance challenges
Header

Happiness is bicycle shaped

June 7th, 2013 | Posted by Dino in Canada | Uncategorized

Day 7: Penticton to Kelowna

I have a tshirt that says “happiness is bicycle shaped”. Today more than any other day of the ride this rang true.

Today I cycled 73km along the rugged western shore of Lake Okanagan. The Okanagan area really reminds me of the south of France. I cycled under a hot egg-blue sky, the lake to my right, dusty rocky hills on the left.

The Okanagan region is known for its wineries (it’s where Canadian ice wine comes from). With only 70km to do all day I was able to cycle at a leisurely holiday pace. After 20km I mounted a steep hill and treated myself to a gargantuan icecream. Nom.

Scoop 1: maple walnut. Scoop 2: black cherry.

Scoop 1: maple walnut. Scoop 2: black cherry.


20km later I didn’t think twice about zooming down a short hill to check one of the wineries. Having cycled in the heat for a couple of hours the refined sips of wine disappeared in thirsty gulps.

“Hmm… Yes you can really taste the notes of pear and citrus,” I commented while downing the glass in one. Trying to come across sophisticated while wearing Lycra and bike clothes is not an easy task.

All the wines were delicious (aren’t all wines delicious after cycling in the sun?) so I bought a bottle for the family who are hosting me in Kelowna.

I heard on the grapevine that the Okanagan region produces some fine wine. Groan.

I heard on the grapevine that the Okanagan region produces some fine wine. Groan.

I zoomed on merrily. I could mention the awful near-crash experience involving a steep descent, a busy highway and a hole in the ground. But the moment doesn’t a) fit into the holiday theme of the day and b) is liable to scare my mother and c) isn’t fun to dwell on. Suffice to say that a) Monty is a very trusty steed, b) braking on hills is occasionally wise, and c) highway authorities should not put drain holes at the bottom of steep hills on narrow hard shoulders where there is nowhere to swerve to except heavy traffic (!)

Arriving into Kelowna was not the most fun as first I had to tackle The Bridge. As you may know, I am not a big fan of bridges on bicycles. I sang the entire M&M song up to verse 10 before I safely reached the other side. Just as well as the M&M song does not have an 11th verse.*

*Gulp.

*Gulp.

In Kelowna I was met by Courtney who recognised me and Monty as the only lost-looking English girl on laden mule of a bicycle combo in the riverside park. Courtney and her friend Danica and I had arranged to meet up as next year the two friends are planning to cycle across Canada. The 3 of us will be cycling together to Armstrong on Saturday – followed by a van of food (!)

After catching up over a cold glass of water, Courtney and I headed down to the bike shop. She has recently got a shiny new Surly disc trucker in preparation for her Canada trip which she needed to pick up for its first service. I wheeled Monty along as I have recently been developing paranoia that Monty’s brakes are wearing down and that the tyres are about to perish.

My brake paranoia is perhaps justified as the brakes have had to cope with lengthy hairpin snaking descents in France and a nerve-shattering 25% descent into Lynmouth last summer.

“You have about 10% wear on those brakes,” the bike mechanic commented.
My jaw clunked like an unoiled gear change as it fell to the floor.
“Disc brakes last a lot longer,” he added as way of explanation.

The mechanic, a smiling cool-looking guy in a yellow tshirt chomping through a protein bar, cooed and ahhed over Monty. “That is your classic, round-the-world German style unbreaking touring bike.”

“It’s a Roberts.” I explained, not thinking they would have heard about Roberts. But they had. Another guy came over to inspect Monty. I got the impression that, despite the guys’ too-cool-for-school nonchalance, Monty’s arrival in this small Kelowna bike shop was an equivalent spectacle to a Wandering Albatross swooping over Bedfordshire.

Turns out that not only are Monty’s brakes totally fine but so too is his tyre beading. “I know a guy,” the mechanic explained, “who cycled across Canada and back on Schwalbe marathon tyres. He didn’t even get one flat. You have Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres.” My paranoia abated. Monty smiled coyly, flattered by the attention and admiration.

I am so happy the way my trip is taking shape. Possibly I am the happiest that I have ever been in my life. And so is Monty because he is doing what he was built to do.

It’s true what the tshirt says: happiness is bicycle shaped.

*The M&M song
The M&M song was co-written by my mother and Me last summer while cycle-camping the Kennet & Avon sustrans route. Sung to the theme of the Noah’s ark song “the animals came in two by two” it goes something like this:

The M&Ms came in two by two
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The M&Ms came in two by two
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The M&Ms came in two by two
The brown, the red, the green and the blue
And they all went into my mouth in order to keep me going

The M&Ms came in three by three
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The M&Ms came in three by three
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The M&Ms came in three by three
Two for you and a-one for me
And they all went into my mouth in order to keep me going

The M&Ms came in four by four
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The M&Ms came in four by four
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The M&Ms came in four by four
I ate them all and I wanted more
And they all went into my mouth in order to keep me going

Etc.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

  • Ruth

    Nice, but sad you are happier without me than with!