Spring is here, so spring on your bike today!

The weather very definitely plays a big part in my own cycling repertoire.

I know true all-weather cyclists will laugh at me for saying this, but I only really like cycling when the weather is dry….ok, if I’m caught out in the middle of a rainstorm, then there is not choice but to battle on regardless.

Cycling in snow I don’t mind at all, having had years of experience in those weathers when I used to reside in London, UK and Ontario!

But let’s get back to the present. For the past few days, the weather has shown unmistakable signs of warming up, which was my wake-up call to get my ike cleaned up and ready for this year.

I have always been an avid cyclist, and as we speak, I have 5 bikes…yes, that’s the truth!

Three are road bikes, with curled over racing handlebars, one is a hybrid mountain type, and the last one is a full-blown mountain/trail only job.

I always get asked by so many people as to what kind of bike they should buy. In short, it mainly depends on a set of factors, namely how often you will be cycling, what kind of areas will you be using it in, and how much of a budget you have put to one side for it.

If, like many people, you will be using the bike mainly in town, but with occasional forays into hiking trails or rough ground, then I would suggest you go for a hybrid type.

This will be perfect for general around-town use, and will also be capable of handling all but the very serious trails.

Just such a bike is the MEC Midtown bicycle.

It is a home-grown design, so you can be sure that it has kept jobs and resources in Canada rather than overseas. Beginning with its tapered aluminum frame, all th way to the very high quality Shimano 9 speed gear train, this bike is easy to maintain, parts are available very easily, and comes with MEC’s Rocksolid Guarantee and Bike Service Agreement….which is unique as it means you can bring your bike to any MEC Bike Shop for free adjustments and minor maintenance for a year after purchase….isn’t that something? And at just C$500, with a saving of 23% over the regular price, you cannot go far wrong!

See it here….

🙂

 

My favorite outdoors shop has a great idea for Xmas!

Over the past, we’ve talked about various pieces of equipment that can make our lives easier and safer when out and about.

And many of those items have been from my favorite outdoor activity shop MEC here in Vancouver.

Now, MEC have launched a wonderful idea just in time for Xmas.

It’s their very own gift card, which you can give to your nearest or dearest (or both!) as an Xmas present, saving you the time and hassle of searching for the right gift and wasting countless hours that you can spend at home relaxing!

The gift card can be purchased online entirely (although there is an option to have it mailed to you via normal post (snail-mail).

You can choose from a whole range of photos for the front of the card as well…amounts you can put on the gift card range from $25 to $250, more than enough to satisfy every taste…and pocket!

Click here to find out more….

🙂

 

The birds and the bees…

We recently talked about how the bees on our planet are very slowly, but surely, dying off?

This subject has been highlighted many times over by scientists, but it seems not a lot of people are paying much attention to it…meanwhile, the bees continue to die.

Rather than go on and on about the technicalities of the thing, I think one little sentence will surmise what bees mean to life on earth:

“Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat….in short, no bees, no food, period”

So what can we do about it?

I put this question to a group of friends the other day, when we just happened to be gathered at the Everything Cafe (E Pender/Columbia).

The consensus was that the problem be tackled on a local basis. Especially important are derelict or unused places in downtown core city areas. I know for sure that there are many such places, some tiny, some large, in and around the Vancouver downtown area, which, with a little co-operation from the city authorities, be turned into havens for bees and butterflies.

I noticed such areas last time I was walking around the railway Street area, just past Alexander/Dunlevy in the downtown eastside (DTE). That place has many old and derelict buildings which have little areas of grass or turf either behind or in front, that could easily be dug up and planted with wildflowers and other plants that attract insects.

And this can be done anywhere in the world, wherever you are.

So in the downtown Vancouver area, we have formed ourselves a little co-operative, and are looking for as many more members as possible, the more the better, so that when we say something later on, the authorities will have no choice but to at least listen to what the local residents are saying.

If you wish to join us, please leave a comment here and I will email you back with our next meet-up….remember, FREE coffees are on us!

A little about Mountain Equipment Co-Op in Vancouver, BC

A lot of readers have emailed me to ask am I linked in some devious way to MEC, the mountain equipment company!

I did mention this at the very beginning of my blog here that the only reason I endorse products that are carried by MEC is because I use their store regularly, and it is through doing this that I have learnt what a great place it is. saying that, I guess it would be kind of nice if they paid me something everytime I mentioned them, but that’s not the point of this blog!

The whole point of this blog is to endorse stuff from any supplier, and MEC currently are at the top of my list for supplies, service and customer satisfaction……numero uno! Why? Read on…..

Let’s face it, we’ve all been to stores, not necessarily mountain supply stores, but any retail establishment basically. You walk in the door, browse around a little, see some of the store Staff mooching about behind the counter, hoping that one will walk over to you and ask if you need any help, right?

So you wait and wait…and wait a little more, but nobody comes. It’s around that time when you start worrying maybe you have some incurable disease, so that’s why they won’t come anywhere near you?

Well, I’ve seen that so many times, it’s beyond counting. Cut a long story short, you will never, ever get that at MEC, period.

All of the time I’ve been there, there has always been at least one, if not more, attentive member of Staff who will come over and ask politely if you need any help, and if so, would you mind if he/she helped you make your mind up.

And yes, I know what you’re going to say next….do they tag along with you all through the store as well, with you wishing that they’d leave you alone?!

No, their Staff are so well trained, they know exactly when the customer needs to be left alone to browse further, and once they’ve shown you whatever you professed an interest in, they walk away, giving you the option of asking them if you need any more help later.

Now, isn’t that something? Tell me which other store you get that? It’s getting rarer than hen’s teeth, I tell you!

That’s what swung it for me. The first time I went into MEC, I was greeted and virtually chaperoned along, and when I asked about a particular item of mountain gear, the guy who told me about it was extremely knowledgeable, and I knew that this man is a seasoned mountain guy, from the way he was talking. Certainly his spiel was exemplary. And I found that MEC Staff tend to be experienced in many different disciplines, too…..if you’re a walker, there’ll be somebody specialising in that….ifyou’re high altitude climber, there will be someone there who is one, too…..if you’re a cyclist, yep, there will be a cyclist member of Staff. How can you not be impressed by that?

So for this new year, while I plan where and which walks I will be going on, all my supplies will be coming from MEC for sure. That’s not to say there won’t be a mention of other places, no…..let’s be fair, there are other stores around, too and a selection of the best ones deserve a mention throughout this blog.

Where do I plan on going? Well, this year, I’m going to be a stick-in-the-mud as they say in England! By that, they mean a person who generally stays within his comfort zone! And my comfort zone happens to be BC for this year, so it will be a selection of walks in BC, perhaps one or two in the Yukon, too. Keep it here!