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June - July 2009
We now have three Borealis shells under construction. The building process is becoming better and a bit more efficient. There is still a lot of improvement needed to approach the building of our kayaks. Most of the issues are getting a consistant production process for each step. The actual laminating of the major parts is about where it needs to be with assembly and the lighting system needing more practise.
On June 27 a major chunk of the cycling network from New Westminster to Vancouver officially opened. The Central Valley Greenway is a 25 km long route that has been about a decade in the making. It is not quite completely finished yet but is a great new route that is very cycle friendly. A lot of it is on road but a good portion is separated from the road. Some sections still need better signage and paving. Hopefully this will be done soon and then planning can continue to extending this route out to toward Maple Ridge. I rode in to the opening with others from my town and Pitt Meadows, crossing the Pitt River and taking the bike detour around the construction of the new bridge. The route is barely wide enough for an upright bike never mind a velomobile. At a couple of spots there was only an inch or two to spare from the concrete traffic barrier to the ditch. This is not a section I will be riding again any time soon. The ride was organized with groups coming form either end of the greenway and meeting in the middle for the opening ceremony. Part way through the ride other cyclists coming the other way mentioned that they saw me on TV. I did notice a TV camera filming just after we left the New Westminster Quay. It was a very pleasant ride so I continued on into Vancouver. While sitting having a smoothie at a restaraut downtown I realised one of the disadvantages of a velomobile. To get home it would be about a 120 km trip for the day while some of the other folks could but their bikes on the Skytrain or on the front of a bus and have a lot less distance to ride.
Just a few days later I took part in the Canada Day 142 which starts in Fort Langley and winds it way out into the Fraser Valley to Vedder Crossing and back. This is a Populaire put on by the BC Randonneurs to celebrate Canada's birthday. This year's is the 10th anniversary of the event with a record attendance and 279 finishers. It was great to see this many cyclists out doing the ride.
The route starts out in Fort Langley with a staggered start over one hour to spread the riders out. Just before really getting started I was riding back from two friends and we were about to turn right onto River road from a stop sign. They blew right through the stop sign with two police cars waiting to turn facing us. I stopped and watched the officer watch them blow through the stop sign thinking this could be a very interesting way to start the ride. Maybe the two officers were just heading for coffee and couldn't be bothered by cyclists blowing the stop sign. The first part of the ride is flat and then there is a signifigant hill which further spreads the riders out. A fair few folks passed me on the way up and then it was into more rolling terrain before descending down to Clayburn. On the descent and the flat section towards Sumas mountain I cruised by some only to be passed again climbing around the mountain. On the slow climb around the mountain I broke into my lunch and was munching away while others rode by. A few remarked on how the sandwhich looked good while some others just looked jealous. There is an advantage to riding a trike where you can be sitting in a comfortable position and have one hand free. Just before the first control point (44.5kms) at Kilgaard's Sumas First Nations' Facility there is a very steep winding descent with a T-intersection and a stop sign at the bottom. I was riding the brakes heavily all the way down not sure of what was around the next corner. This is not hill you would like to climb up but a great one to ride down. After the control point the course in every flat until the next control point at Chilliwack's Twin Rinks (72.7kms). I was riding with three others who came up behind riding in a paceline. We rode along together as they were mostly going about my speed. At one point I dropped back and asked how fast we were going as I didn't have a speedometer in my velo and we were averaging around 39-40 kph. Here's the link to some photos and video Kaun's photos.
Just as I was arriving at the control point my two friends were heading out for the next section. A couple minutes after they left I realized that I should have told them I was going to stop and see if another friend was a home in Yarrow. I zipped out right after this but was not able to catch them them before Yarrow as it wasn't far enough away and I got stuck in traffic a bit. They missed out on some very good triple citrus mousse dessert that was left over from the night before. After this it took quite a while to get back into pedalling along at a good rate, in fact a short snooze would have been good. Not too far down the road was the third control point at Birchwood Diary. They have great ice cream. It was great to stop and lounge on the grass in the shade while enjoying the ice cream. The rest of the ride was either flat into a headwind or uphill until the last descent down to the finish.
We do have a Borealis on display in the Museum of Vancouver exhibit called Velo-City Vancouver and the Bicycle Revolution. We are in the future section near the end of the exhibit. The show runs to September 7 and it worth a look if you are into bikes.