Getting Rid Of One Thing Every Day

My new daily challenge game is called “Get Rid of One Thing Every Day”. It doesn’t have to be big, and shouldn’t include bicycle helmets ideally. I just go through my panniers, select something that I don’t REALLY need, or can be cheaply replaced, and BAM! It’s gone. I’ll pass things on where possible, recycle or bin where not. Today was a bumper day because I’m starting tomorrow with all those hills, and I found that it focussed the mind wonderfully. The important pages of my bear book (“Bear Basics”, highly recommended, £0.01p second hand on Amazon) have been ripped out and kept and the outer cover and pages about hunting, fishing, climbing, logging and shooting sent to be recycled. My lime-green luggage straps from Poundland, not needed until August? BAM! It’s the accumulative problem of packing, but reversed.

(appropriately spotted at the Motel next door this morning)

It only took about 10 miles of cycling around town today to really fall for this place. It’s early in the season, so maybe it suffers from overcrowding later on, but right now it’s as charming and as peaceful as can be. There’s a dramatic walking route along the coastline up to Tofino called The Wild Pacific Trail which is a big draw, apart from all the fishing and whale-watching. It crosses all of the town’s main beaches. This is Little Beach, the spot from which I’ve chosen to start my whole trip tomorrow morning. It’s traditional to “dip your wheel” at the start of this sort of a journey, and I do like the easy access!! So it’s a splash of the Pacific Ocean here in Ucluelet, then I’ll be doing the same again in the Atlantic in a few months’ time at Cape Spear, Newfoundland.


Much nearer to my Motel is Big Beach, but it’s so big that if the tide’s out I’ll never be able to dip my back wheel in the Pacific! Also, if it’s misty at sea again in the morning I’m not sure I’ll be able to even see the ocean (I’ve loaded a video clip here, hope it works)


So here’s the helmet update – it’s a no-show. I may yet hear something but I paid a visit to the local bike shop, Ukee Bikes, to make my contingency plan, where I met Lewis, the owner. He’s an Aussie from Adelaide originally, now running a great shop down by the harbour front. If I wasn’t cutting down on weight, I’d have been sorely tempted by some of his merchandise. Great Mexican rugs too, unusually for a bike shop. Cycling picnics?


So I explained my predicament and he delved into his storage shed and produced a very serviceable second hand Bell, perfect size and type, and also with a visor which I’ve increasingly been thinking will come in handy. $10. We spent a typical cyclists’ happy-half-hour talking bikes and routes and weather, and he generally made me feel very glad to have made his acquaintance. Thanks Lewis, I will think of Ukee Bikes every time I put in on! (And do try stocking those Brooks saddles – if you build it, they will come). I now, finally, consider myself ready to start pedalling.


Just time to start a new section of the blog, loosely known as “What Is It, Sam?”. Sam is our eldest son and studying the Natural Sciences in his 2nd year at Uni (good luck with the rest of your exams, Sam!) with a big interest in flora and fauna, so I’m hoping to tap in to his knowledge when I see things I don’t recognise. I say loosely called, because my younger brother Seb is also an astoundingly skilled and experienced identifier of many forms of life, and my mum is no slouch either, particiularly on the flora front. If anyone else out there fancies giving their h’apennyworth, go ahead. All comers welcome. Here’s a batch of five for now (hand there for scale):

Ok, I know it’s a slug, Jim, but not as we know it.Looks like a horsetail fern? But differenter.(This was growing on rocks right on the beach)

15 thoughts on “Getting Rid Of One Thing Every Day

  1. Glad you found a new helmet to start your ride! Very annoying to lose the first one but you seem to have accepted it and moved on. I am toasting your journey with a martini, to go along with your beer photographs. !

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  2. My folks did the pacific trail a number of years ago. It’s an amazing trek and they’ve built bridges and paths, sometimes there are just ropes to help you along. They often have to rebuild as the sea can often carry bits away.

    Good luck today!!

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  3. Phew! Glad the helmet saga played out okay in the end. It was exciting to have a bit of tension in your story.

    I’ll have to get back to you about the slug and most of the flowers after exams, but for now, I think I recognise the last flower as Mimulus (monkey flower). The flowers are supposed to look like monkeys’ heads. There’s a study on local adaptation and gene swamping in Mimulus that I might use in my next exam, actually!

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      1. Compelling protagonist… some enemies become friends, some friends become enemies… adversity overcome… everyone’s a little richer for the experience…?

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  4. Good luck, and have a wonderful first day, Ben.
    Gill tells me that the bush is Kinnikinnick AKA bearberry. I only know the ferny thing as horsetail. I think that is a banana slug.
    I’ll go up to Vancouver tomorrow and get a couple of those mirrors for you.

    S

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  5. Curses,as usual grandson Sam has beaten me to it with monkey musk, mimulus I agree. I think the white berries might be symphocarpus ,snowberry, common in Canada, and the blue flower looks like the plumbago on the rockery in the garden here.Could the horsetailish thing be Canadian fleabane? I’m leaving the slug to Sam. Keep going with this idea, keeps us hooked, not that you aren’t enough in yourself…
    If you’re planning on throwing away one thing every day then I think the book cover and pages shd count one per day, ditto luggage straps, otherwise you’ll be down to your skeleton by Cape Spear.
    Wondering exactly what’s happening now, 530 pm UK time. Dipping lake looks beautiful.xx

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  6. I hope you have had a great first day, Ben. I went for a small cycle ride this morning, so I was with you in spirit. Though as I was cycling I was trying to find any similarities between my ride and yours and found none at all – my average speed: far too slow and I think I may have set a new slowest record of about 5 mph going up a fairly small steep hill; weight being carried: none at all apart from my own bulk; miles covered: only a paultry 15; state of body when arriving home: complete exhaustion! So that just led me to think that a) you are absolutely bonkers covering such a huge distance with such a huge weight in your panniers and b) you are absolutely amazing for doing what you are doing! Good luck and may the wind be at your back every day! Thinking of you – you are a star! Jane 🚴🎶 x

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    1. Jane thank you so much for all that encouragement, and your post really made me laugh! There is a hidden advantage to carry a lot of weight – momentum. Once you get going (the hard bit) it’s fairly hard to stop. Except for the hills where you just swallow your pride and spin your legs round and round in the smallest gear. Simples! I’ll be posting about today a bit later. What a day! Bxx

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