Monday, May 31, 2010

The Ancient Forest Part I

About 111 kms east of Prince George, is the Ancient Forest (Rainforest/Snowforest).  The Ancient Forest is a very old grove of Cedars.  This grove is very special because it is not near an ocean.

I spent this weekend with fellow hikers, we moved donated wood from the parking lot to the beginning of where there will eventually be a Universal Boardwalk built so that people with disabilities can also visit the forest.  It was hard work!  I also painted a couple of beams on Saturday that will be used to hold up a much bigger sign at the entrance of the parking lot.

People from all over the world come to see the Ancient Forest.  On Saturday, I met this couple from Tennessee, who were on a 40th anniversary trip to Alaska.  I am not sure how they managed to drive and park their RV in the parking lot, not designed for big rigs.  :)

There's me and the rest of our working party on Saturday.  2 of them came to help offload lumber, and then had to leave, so there was just 3 of us working on Sat!!  We stayed the night so we didn't have to go anywhere.  What a gorgeous place to camp!
More to come!  (Believe it or not, there is bicycle connection, albeit a small one..but still)

Friday, May 28, 2010

May Critical Mass and Social Cycling

Tonight PG had its Critical Mass ride.  I was hoping for more riders, but it was still an ok turnout.  I've been making sure to post adverts on bikes and to mention it to other bicylists when I can.

I am not sure how many came today, maybe around 16?  Still, good times had by all.  Someone brought balloons, so we would stand out more.  That was a great idea!  I was thinking about decorating my bike, but never got around to it.

The guy below has almost the same bike and the exact same tires.  He has 5000 kms on the tires, so I know how long mine will last now, till next Spring..then I will replace them.  Good to know!  I first met him at last year's Bike to Work Week.

I only took photos at the beginning meeting  point as then after, my camera batteries soon died. (!)  I should remember to change them.  :)

And there I am in the fleece top.  On the left,with the green helmet, is Jillian, who organized PG's Bike to Work Week on her own with the help of the City..Bike to Work Week starts on Sunday.

With the ride tonight, I have completed another LGRAB Summer Games event.  Woot!  After the ride, we went to to some nice bar/restaurant downtown.  It's a pretty new place and I like it.  I will be back..this was my first time there.  Anyone reading that was on the ride remember what the place was called?  It's not in the phonebook yet.   Thanks to all that join in on the fun! See you next month.  (we really need another group ride- tweed ride anyone?)   I'd have to buy some Tweed, mind you.  :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prepping for Tour De Jasper

In July, I am joining a 4 day bicycle tour to Jasper- Tour De Jasper.  Slowly, but surely, since January I've been prepping for the trip.  I have been trying to ride long distance when I can, and have been purchasing suggested items on the tour packing list.  I'm worried that I haven't done enough long distance, but the people at Ruckus think I'm ahead of many in that respect as I bike all the time and have almost 3000 kms (1242 miles) on my bike since I got it in Feb. 2009.  Still, I will practice when I can.

Toe clips, straps, and water bottle.

I have bought bike shorts, bike gloves (fingerless), a couple water bottles, new bicycle hand grips, an ultra-lightweight tent- Hubba by MSR- (not really needed for this trip, but will use it..combined use of hiking/biking means it's a good investment), Merrell Metric shoes that are perfect for bicycling, and some toe clips for the pedals.  I am not sure how handy clips will be as I don't need them around town, I think they are too unsafe.  But I thought I'd try them out for the trip, and if I don't like them, I'll have just lost $25..not too bad!  I got metal ones as I thought they'd be the more durable and they were only a bit more expensive then plastic ones. I remember using them on my sister's bike..her old bike had them on it and it seemed ok to use, I never fell down.

As I picked up the clips and a water bottle today at Ruckus, I asked them how to pop off the reflector  on pedals so I can put the toe clip on.  He showed me that they easily pop off.  I also showed him my tires on the bike, and asked if they were in good shape for the tour or if I should replace them.  I told him that I had biked almost 3000 kms on it and never had a flat!  He was flabbergasted.  He couldn't believe that I never had problems with them as they were $18 Kenda tires (stock tires that come with bikes are not always the top quality).  He checked them out and yes, they are still in good shape, good enough to bike to bike to Jasper (400 or so kms away).

But, he added that he did have spare tires on the support vehicle on the tour- he is the bike mechanic for the tour.  So I don't have to go out and buy1or 2 extra tires and carry them with me. I will replace them though at the end of the season if they need to be replaced...I can do that without help of shop.

I think we have almost every prep stuff done for the trip, just need to ride lots of kilometres before then.  We have our pre-trip meeting the first week in June, so I can meet the other 24 riders.  It's going to be a big group and I'm excited to get to meet them!  One of my friends is coming on it, so there's already one that I know.

Getting all excited about doing this!  I have heard that there is a guy from Washington State that bikes up to PG (over 10 hrs drive by a car!) and then does the trip.  Afterwards, he bikes back to home.  He has done this for a few years already, if not more.  Amazing!

Monday, May 24, 2010

They Attack In Packs To Bring Down Large Prey

Hilarious photo! Link sent to me via Laura G.

PG Farmer's Market

I was going to be biking 65 kms out of town to Purden Lake and stay the night, but after it snowed on Friday, I decided not a good weekend to do that.  My fingers would freeze!!  And it wasn't going to warm up much except on Monday.

I decided on Saturday Morning, to make it to the local Farmer's Market as I had some free time to spend there.  Last weekend, I was Geocaching, so only had a few moments to hang around.

It was still cold and miserable on Saturday, but no snow fell.  I think a lot of locals didn't go camping and stayed home as there was quite a few people attending the Market.  A lot of people come by bicycle, but this is the only bike rack around.  Many lock their bikes to street lamps, and signs.  I was lucky enough to find a spot in the rack.

I had some coffee and soup in this fairly new cafe in the new
B&B music building.  Their previous building burned down a few years ago.  (Including another coffee shop)  It's good to see such a nice new building there..the cafe is nice.

The cafe has nice views of the market (and courthouse).  There is even seating outside which seems to be a rarity in PG, but it was much too cold to enjoy a cup of coffee outside.  Brrrrrrrr.

I love markets, and I love visiting some when I travel.  I remember when I was in NYC last year, how I 'bumped' into one in one of the burbs...

I also bumped into many hiking friends this weekend, this is Gertrude.  Her sister, Peggy, will be joining me on Tour De Jasper and also will be biking across Canada in Sept, for the Sears Kid's with Cancer ride.  Here's she's waiting for some tasty bannock, which is a native American bread, to be prepared for her.   Below, is the new indoor part of the Market, now it'll be running all year around!

Here are some Fiddleheads that I bought at the Market.  They are immature Ostrich Ferns and they are tasty, have a nutty flavour.  They are the only safe ferns to eat.  They are only safe to eat when they are immature like this and the safest way to eat them without getting sick, is to boil them.  I've never had a problem as long as I boiled them.  They are a local delicacy, although apparently the Japanese cultivate and eat them too.

Lastly, on the same day, I bought groceries and biked my regular route home, on this new bike path..we have very few in town, but the ones we do have are pretty awesome!

I still have one more day off, Monday is a stat holiday in Canada...and I may go for a ride as it's warmer outside...:)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New bike shop in town.

Ruckus is a new bike shop in town, and they are a sponsor of Tour De Jasper.  I think that it's great to have another bike shop in the City,  it gives people a big choice of bicycles to purchase and offers more competition.

I bought my bike at Koops which has been in PG for many years.  That's where I get my bike tuned up yearly and purchase some bike accessories at.  I will be getting them to tune up my bike this July before my big road trip just to be sure the bike is in good shape for a long ride.

But I do admit that I also bought some items that I need for Tour De Jasper at Ruckus, as they give all tour participants 10% discount on items.  I am torn though, is it ok to purchase items at different places?  I bought my Basil bags online from Curbside which is in Toronto and some of my bike accessories at MEC in Vancouver.  Locally, I like both Koops and Ruckus, they both give excellent customer service.  I even like Northern Hardware which also has an awesome bicycle department with some good quality bikes like Norco.  (no cheap stuff like Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc...)

Do you purchase everything at one store, or shop around? 

Here's a couple photos I took at Ruckus, the first one is of the owner and the friendly dog.  (Koops also has a resident dog) The dog and store mechanic  from Ruckus will be on Tour De Jasper.  The store sells some pretty nice Brodie bikes...

Friday, May 21, 2010


It's too cold and miserable outside to want to go on an overnight bicycle trip this weekend.  It even snowed in parts!  Wish I knew what to do, but I think it's yet another long weekend at home with the birds.  (They are very happy that I'm staying)

Here's a photo of the snow that fell north of here, taken by a friend of mine...

I just realized that the Critical Mass Ride is not till next weekend...there still is one more Friday to go. :(  Was all excited about that!  Oh well...

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Thought I'd get into Advertising, all for a good cause!

Overnight bike tour

This upcoming weekend is a long weekend, as Monday is Victoria Day.  Since I'm tired to staying around town, I wanted to do something crazy that involves leaving PG.  After bouncing ideas back and forth with some fellow hikers, it was decided that we should do an overnight bike trip to Purden Lake which is 65 kms (about 40 miles) from here.  Since there is a very good chance campsites at the lake will be sold out, we may bike further to Hungry Creek road and rough it. I'll be following this exact same route in July when I'm on the Tour De Jasper

Since I've got all my light camping gear now- ultralight tent, sleeping bag that's under a kilo, lightest sleeping pad I could find, and the other necessary lightweight stuff that I used for backpacking, I"m all set to carry all my gear.  I thought we'd have a vehicle going out, but we won't.  This will be a good test on how bulky gear will be and how it all fits on my bike.

I'm using my basil panniers as they are a pain to remove, and I think that they will be ok for this trip (put clear plastic garbage bags from work in them to make them waterproof).  Above is a test packing.   I decided to create a little extra space on top by attaching one of my smaller daypacks on top of the bag with a  bungee cord. On the 4 day bike tour in the Summer, I will borrow a friend's panniers as I don't want to buy another set unless I get into bike touring.  I wouldn't need them around town as my Basil bags are SO practical!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Plants in my bags and a nice note

Today, I finished one of the Social Cycling Summer Game's events.  I say hi to lots of fellow bikers, but since I have a harder time taking a photo then, I opted to drop a nice note on someone's bike.  I found this bike at the local grocery store, (it's coincidently also a Rocky Mountain), and left a nice note on it.  The note mentions about the local Critical Mass, and I added a nice personal note to it.  I leave these Critical Mass notes on all bikes that I see, even to bicyclists that I meet at lights.  A nice way to let people know about Critical Mass.  Riding the CR this Friday will help me complete the second event.  :)

I like my Basil bags.  Even though I have a hybrid bike, they look great with my bike!  I get lots of good comments over them.  They hold a lot of food, or other items, I am actually amazed at times HOW much they hold.  I just wanted to be different and stylish in my own way.  Though I have to admit,  I'm prepping for a multi-day bike tour this Summer, so I've bought some spandex shorts and bike gloves and am wearing them to get used to them before the trip..  Around town, I wear street cloths usually.

Anyways, the bike bags are very versatile!  I carried a Poinsettia to work the other day.  It lost a couple branches, but it'll be ok.  I want a trailer sometimes, like a Croozer cargo trailer, but have resisted buying one so far.  Here's my bike with bags carrying the plant.

 For those new to my blog, my bike is a 2008 Rocky Mountain Hybrid bike, which is actually built in Canada!  Except for perhaps needing a chainguard, it's awesome. I have already almost 3000 kms on it (1864 miles)  I would like to get a beater bike for winter and perhaps a Bike Friday fold up one day.  Always got to have bike dreams.  :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday Hike: Coffeepot.

It was a great day to go out hiking.  I missed last weekend's hike as I chose to bike to Salmon Valley and back.  But I couldn't miss this one.  24 people decided to join the hike.  After a short drive, we parked at the base of Coffepot.  Apparently if you look from a distance, it really looks like a coffepot.  (I wonder if Sugarbowl mtn. looks like a sugarbowl?)

It turns out that the short hike up coffeepot doesn't involve a trail, but bushwacking through devil's club and loose bolders.  I wouldn't want to attempt this in summer when devil's club in full bloom.  (Devil's club thorns are quite nasty, hence the name)

Great views up top! 

Here Hillary (the hike leader) is reading an excerpt from Mike Nash's  Exploring Prince George, about Coffeepot.

And the REAL reason it's named Coffepot.  ;)

As we were going down, I kept saying positive stuff, like there are no ants, hardly any mosquitos, and we are heading DOWN, not up.  LOL!!   Actually, it wasn't that bad going down, in fact it was very very quick!

Let the Summer Games begin!

From Let's Go Ride a Bike, let the games begin!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nope, no geocache up here!

Actually there was one, according to the geocaching site, but it's higher up.  Thought it got lost after being pruned recently.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bikes + Geocaching= So much fun!

I was invited to join hiking friends out for a geocache search on bikes. Wondering what Geocaching is?  Click here for more info.   Basically, it's a high tech treasure hunt.   I couldn't resist joining them so here are some photos of the afternoon.  When we first started, we couldn't find the first 2.  One was just brushy for comfort (and steep) and the other just didn't dig around enough.  But then, I changed our luck.  We were looking for a mini cache downtown.  We spent quite a while looking in pipes, under ledges, trying to find the cache.  Darned if we were going to give up on it!   Someone actually had found it yesterday, so we knew it was there.  I found it hidden  in a good spot (won't give away so others can be challenged finding it) and it took me quite a while to find it.

In the photo below, Melanie searching for a cache in the old Bay parkade, downtown.  She eventually found it.  I never thought I'd be digging my hands in every nook and cranny of this place....

 Some caches hints had to be decoded, and that way my job!  It helped us find one of the caches.  Below, we found one that was easy to find, and my friends bumped into a mountain biker that they knew, so we had  a little social time!

 We then went on to the Heritage Trail, under the railways, where we found this cache.  There are very creative ways to hide them! I didn't find this one, but I did find another one that was near here.  (in a toothbrush holder!)

We went to Fort George Park and found one.  There was another that was supposed to be on a tree, and I climbed it!  Nothing found, but it had been recently pruned, so it might have fallen off during pruning.  I'll post a pic taken of me on the tree when I receive it from my friends. But we did find the one below. That is what remains of the fort that once stood, before it burned down in the 70s.

 Lastly, I found this cute cache! We were going to stick one of my friend's bunny toys in it, but too big.  As you can see, this one already came with a bunny. This particular bunny one was painful, as there were ants galore in the bush!  I got some all over me!!  Ouch, ouch, ouch...  After this one, we found one near my home (after trying to find one on Connaught hill, but scared off by the multitude of ants)

What a fun day!  I hope to get to do this soon again.  It's really a different way to enjoy riding your bike.

Announcing the LGRAB Summer Games

I just couldn't resist posting this.

Let's Go Ride a Bike is having a Bike Summer Games.  You could win a new bike!

Interested in participating?  Go to  Let's Go Ride a Bike Blog for more info.  BTW, Dottie from LGRAB is the one that helped convince me to start a blog, I had been thinking about doing one for a few years, but she was the one that helped motivate me to create one.  Thanks Dottie!  (Bike to Work Week in our city is going to link to it too, which is great!)


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