Velopalooza is here, alive and well!
It started last Friday night at the Wise hall. People came to hear the Bicycle Shed Ensemble, the Pernell Reichert Band and Rich Hope and to share their enthusiasm over a common love: the bicycle. I have not been to a show so lively with so many smiles in a while. At the door stamping wrists I met one happy person after another. The bands were great, Rich Hope is an amazing performer and all were surprised when he was joined on stage by Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar. In between bands yellow raced blue in the gastown sprints, a roller racing setup that you might already be familiar with from the Astoria or other bike-fun parties.
The next day I went to the park by Science World to join my first Velopalooza ride and play “who’s the (wo)man behind the mask”. It was the Superhero Ride and we came in cloaks, colours and cheers to ride along the seawall by beaches and through Stanley Park.
After downtown Vancouver was deemed safe from evil villains, the superheros cruised east to join the Tallbike Jousting event at Strathcona Park. Yes, it really is medieval jousting on tall bikes and it’s intense entertainment watching the split second determination of a winner.
Sunday’s weather was not as good as Saturday’s but that didn’t stop the 15 or so of us from cycling to Steveston for fish and chips. The rain held off for a nice ride down Ontario, over the Canada Line bridge and through Richmond. By the time a drizzle came we were at Pajo’s and close to body warming fish, chips and hot chocolate. I was tempted to get ice cream too but thought better to wait for Friday’s Great Gelato Ride (meet at the VACC office, Ontario & 3rd, 6:00pm).
Monday’s Parks to Parks Pedal Potluck was all about leisure. We started mid-afternoon in Garden Park and continued on to Clark Park and then to Trout Lake. Velopalooza organizer extraordinaire, Maureen, rode her new creation, the BBQ Beer Trike to serve up veggie dogs and offer a hot surface for others to grill their food.
The trike was also loaded with balls, bats and rackets for soccer in one park, tennis in another, and finally Beer and Loathing’s (the Wise Hall’s team) baseball game. If Saturday’s rides weren’t enough proof that summer has arrived…
Tuesday was another chance to get all dolled up. Either on the 80′s Ride…
…or for the B:C:Clettes Red Black & Shiny Ride. I dressed for the 80′s and brought a change of red, black and shiny but sadly was never able to meet up with the B:C:Clettes ride. Hopefully next year. This year the tunes were too good: “We Built This City” riding with Lost Lagoon on the left, downtown on the right,
“Wicked Game” oops I mean “Don’t Dream It’s Over” as we rounded the North-East corner of the seawall, on that stretch between the point where you finally feel detached from the city and the Lion’s Gate Bridge…
…writing about it makes me even more excited for another trip around the seawall this Friday night on the Bike Rave. If you’ve never gone for a ride with speakers strapped to your bike to share your tunes with all, you really have to give it a try. It’s bike ride freedom and happiness on speed.
Yesterday morning I lead a ride: the Deep Cove Doughnut Dive. I might have pushed it a little with a 6:30am meetup time. Figured there would be some early morning riders out there but maybe not when it’s raining. Still, four of us made it out, biked to the cove and enjoyed the reward immensely.
When we arrived back in Vancouver one of the riders, Brennan, gave us a tour of the CSA garden at his house. Complete with bee and chickens! Imagine waking up to fresh eggs every morning:
It’s been five days of great rides and people. I’m getting out and experiencing the city in ways that I wouldn’t on my own and in regular routines. In a few moments I will head off for the Finding Bob Geldof Ride where we will spend about an hour looking for a Bob Geldof look-a-like and then go drink in a pub. Tomorrow I’ll tour Vancouver’s gelato offerings and then burn off the sugar at the bike rave. Saturday will be back at Strathcona Park to watch cruisers race around the track. And Sunday…
…will be the VELOPALOOZA FINALE! Strathcona Park, 11am – 6pm. Come come come!
And if this has made you curious about rides in the next few days, check out the details on the Velopalooza website.