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.
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):