Canada: Pre Cycling

Saturday: day of travel

After relatively painless flights from Glasgow to Iceland (first class thanks to Iceland Air) and Iceland to Vancouver, we were ecstatic to see our bikes had also arrived; whether they were in one piece or not was still to be determined. 

Matts cousin, Paul, very kindly picked us up from the airport in the evening and was hosting us for the next couple of nights. After a quick supper and catch up with Paul’s wife Penny and their son Ben it was off to bed for us, after all we had been up for around 24 hours at that point. 

Sunday: shopping for supplies 

We had a slow start to the day on Sunday morning before heading to MEC to stock up on supplies. For the non Canadians reading this, MEC (Mountain Equipment Cooperative) is like a porn shop for the outdoorsy and the adventurous, filled with every type of sporting good you can think of. You want a canoe? Sure just nip down to your local MEC and pick one up no problem. A set of climbing holds for that blank garage wall? Yet again they’ve got it. 

Just like when you go food shopping when you’re hungry, we bought far more than we intended to go in for. One thing we had originally gone in for was bear spray, yeah seems kind of crucial. However after seeing the size of the canister we weighed up, quite literally, if we needed it or not. We decided to go with the bear horn instead as it was smaller and lighter and the guy in the shop said it works most of the time. So if a grizzly bear fresh from hibernation is running towards us we will have our loud noise that works most of the time to protect us... we will see how that decision pans out in British Columba and Alberta!

The rest of Sunday involved catching up with one of Matt’s friends who he did a ski season with many moons ago, unpacking our bikes (they arrived pretty much unscathed) and having a lovely dinner with aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Monday: travel to Tofino 

Paul’s Uber service continued in to Monday where he very kindly drove us from Vancouver to Tofino with only a minor detour to have a quick cup of coffee with another one of Matt’s aunts and uncles. Official Uber review of Paul: We would rate him 5 stars for his driving, general banter and patience with our requests to stop and Matts insistence on flying the drone in Cathedral Grove and another attempted flight on Long Beach which is situated less than a couple of kilometres from Tofino Airport. Unlike the Gatwick incident, Matts drone wouldn’t allow him to launch it in a restricted zone, probably for the best. We would also rate him a 5 star sh*t stirrer for the amount of glee he took in pointing out all the hills we were currently driving down and which we would have to cycle up on our first day. 

When we arrived in Tofino, Hannah who was still suffering from jet lag had a nap and Matt and Paul went for a walk and a swim on MacKenzie Beach...oh and Matt obviously had to fly his drone again.

A quick take away pizza later and it was an early night for us. 

Tuesday: the day before the first day 

On Tuesday morning we said goodbye to Paul, who noted how much pleasure he would take in driving up all the hills on his way back to the ferry. 

The rest of the day was spent doing pre trip admin. We rode our bikes down to ‘Chocolate Tofino’ to test them out/get an ice cream each the size of our heads and whilst doing so bumped into a fellow Scot from Perthshire who recognised “Fife” in the Tofino to Fife on our t-shirts. (Merchandise is available on a custom order basis only 😉) 

After a quick ride and a long ice cream we headed back to the apartment as Matt’s bike had a gearing issue which miraculously we managed to fix ourselves. For those who know bikes: the hanger got knocked in transit and was not sitting flush to the frame making the gears slip, thankfully however it was not bent. We repositioned the hanger and then tuned the gears until they were shifting smoothly. Fix number one of the trip went well and without too much flapping and ‘this is the end of the world’ nonsense. 

Bikes fixed, we headed back down to the beach for a sunset and a swim, well Matt swam and Hannah watched. And that concluded the pre cycling part of our Canada trip!