One of the ways I am reasonably blessed being in Vancouver BC right now is that there is an Amtrak train that currently offers direct service from Portland to Vancouver once a day. And it has bicycle racks. And the train station is right around the corner from where I live. And I have awesome, adventurous friends who have passports.
I’ve had four bikey visitors from Portland since I got here in late August, and am expecting four or five more in just a few weeks. “Sounds great!” you say. Well, yes. Here’s the problem though: the group that’s coming up later this month is expecting some sort of exciting trip far afield.
When the original idea came about, a previous visitor and I had talked about taking a ferry over to Victoria and then doing some biking on Vancouver Island, which is well-reputed in terms of awesome, scenic biking opportunities. It’s also a place I’ve been wanting to go since I got here, but have never been able.
Then I did a little digging, and saw the trek that would be required to get from my place to Tsawwassen, the location of the ferry terminal. It would essentially require navigating miles of city and suburbs, with no pleasant bikeway to enjoy without needing to worry about wayfinding for miles at a time. Locals say some of the busses to get to the place only run about every hour, and of course they can only take up to two bikes per bus.
I’ve been having some conversations and trying to come up with other ideas, such as biking to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal and either ferrying over to Nanaimo or Bowen Island. Possibly biking up the Fraser River Valley because there’s an old highway I hear is mostly deserted, very scenic, and fairly flat.
Lesson learned: not so easy to plan a trip in an area you’re not already intimately familiar with! Of course, pushing our boundaries is how we get familiar with these new places.
Given that it’s crunch time during the last two weeks of MPub classes, working on this problem is not exactly my highest priority. One of the friends has assured me that we’ll figure something out and it’ll be great to just spend time with the group, even if it’s just me showing everyone around Vancouver. I hope the others are that forgiving…
Anyone out there on the intertubes (hello spambots!) have any brilliant suggestions? Have you ever blindly planned a trip for a group before? How did it work out?