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Rumble Strips of British Columbia
By David Cambon - (contact)

Easy Racer Gold Rush on the Lions Gate Bridge

To get to Vancouver from Horseshoe Bay you have to cross the Lions Gate Bridge so we'll do that and get a picture of the bike I used on this trip:

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The Lions Gate Bridge is named for a couple of mountains that vaguely resemble lions. There is also this lion on the bridge approach. You are allowed to ride your bike on the bike lane on the bridge. The "No Cycling" sign is only to prevent you from riding on the wrong side of the bridge. The road to the left is a cycling underpass to get to the other side of the bridge.

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Typical Vancouver wildlife lunging at the Crazyjournalist.

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The Lions Gate Bridge with downtown Vancouver in the background. The car (a Range Rover) is the official car of Vancouver - British, yet obnoxious.

The Lions Gate Bridge was constructed in 1937-38 for two lanes of traffic. Car-crazy Vancouverites later decided to paint a third lane in the middle of the bridge, for passing, in both directions. The resulting carnage was great business for hospitals and funeral parlors. Naturally the Lions Gate Bridge is also a favorite location for Vancouverites wishing to end their misery by leaping off a scenic landmark, which angers already angry Vancouver motorists to no end because the bridge is frequently closed for leapings.

Why is the water below the Lions Gate Bridge littered with corpses when British Columbia is The Best Place on Earth? Interestingly, the Lions Gate Bridge is part of the story. Vancouver is a city built on real estate speculation. Even today condo speculation is the biggest industry in Vancouver and Vancouver has the Biggest Real Estate Bubble on Earth. The Lions Gate Bridge was built with private money. The Guinness family (yes, that Guinness family) was speculating on land on the other side of the bridge and that's why they built the bridge. Their plan was wildly successful, the land on the other side of the bridge became the most expensive neighborhood in Canada and the Guinness's subsequently sold the Lions Gate Bridge to the City of Vancouver for a tidy sum.

Vancouver once had a semi-diverse economic base consisting of resource exports, shipbuilding, small manufacturing, organized crime, a corrupt stock exchange and so on. When Vancouver switched to a condo-flipping-based economy the subsequent residential real estate bubble caused legitimate business to flee as it became too expensive for non-condo-related business to survive in Vancouver. Good jobs disappeared, the shipyards and city industrial land were converted to condominiums and British Columbia was declared The Best Place on Earth to attract foreign real estate speculators. Vancouver became a city with a low standard of living because of the huge difference between (notoriously low) Vancouver wages and bubbly-rific high housing costs caused by real estate speculators. Hence the lineups to jump off the Lions Gate Bridge.

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Easy Racer Gold Rush by a support tower on the Lions Gate Bridge. This picture was shot in High Dynamic Range to make it look arty. I took the panniers off so it's easier to see the rack and frame. The rack is a Tubus Vega, which is not even a touring rack, so don't try this at home kids.

Those of you who read my previous Crazyguyonabike misadventure Dempster Highway to the Arctic may notice that I used a different Easy Racer bike for this trip. I used an Easy Racer Tour Easy for the Dempster trip. This trip was all on paved roads so I brought the Gold Rush with a hard-back carbon fiber seat which rides too roughly for dirt roads but climbs much better than the mesh-back seat on the Tour Easy. The carbon fiber seat makes the bike lighter and so do some of the other fancy parts I have on the Gold Rush (like a carbon fiber fork I should not be touring with and an ultralight pannier rack I should not be touring with). The frame on the Gold Rush is also a bit lighter than the Tour Easy frame and climbs a bit better because it's a bit stiffer. In fact, the way this bike is set up probably makes it the best climbing recumbent there is.

I like the carbon fiber seat on the Gold Rush but I recommend the mesh-back Easy Racer seat for most people. The mesh-back (Koolback) seat has lounge-chair comfort that makes the bike ride like a dream about riding a La-Z-Boy chair. I also recommend proper touring gears, with a granny gear and not the Ultegra triple (with no low gears) I use on the Gold Rush. Unless you are a crazy guy on a bike you need low gears on a touring recumbent. My Gold Rush is set up for fast credit card touring and not the more weighty camping-touring I was doing on this trip.

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Under the Lions Gate.

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The view from the Lions Gate Bridge looking west. If the weather, Vancouver Island and the curvature of the earth were not in the way you would be able to see Japan.

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The same scene as above at sunset the next night, except that this shot was taken from the land on the left side of the previous picture. The mountains of Vancouver Island can be seen 25 kilometers away across the Georgia Straight.

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The Guinness's paid for the new LED lights on the Lions Gate Bridge cables. This is a 30-second exposure to make the car lights on the bridge blur into long streaks. The fiery glow on the left is from mercury vapor lamps on a container dock in downtown Vancouver. The orange color is enhanced by air pollution, almost all caused by cars since there is very little industry in Vancouver. I think it's fun that you can ride your bike across this amusing piece of Vancouver history. Although motorists have achieved a stunning victory over Vancouver there is a shared pedestrian-bike lane on the Lions Gate Bridge.

A fanciful, brightly-lit bridge built by Irish beer in a Province whose biggest export is BC Bud makes Vancouver seem like it should be the most fun town on earth. The reality is not quite so fun. Uptight, overly-mortgaged Vancouverites cannot afford a glass of Guinness and the pot is exported to the United States where American connoisseurs of dope have an insatiable appetite for BC Bud. The proceeds of pot come back to Vancouver in the form of guns, cocaine and cash. Gangsters use the guns to shoot each other in Vancouver restaurants. Real estate agents snort up the cocaine to fuel their enthusiasm for selling poorly-constructed Vancouver condos. Worst of all, the drug cash is used to speculate on Vancouver real estate, thereby increasing the number of Range Rovers in Vancouver in an endless circle of misallocation of capital that rewards the stupid (real estate speculators) and punishes the creative class who are forced to leave the city to find inexpensive real estate on which to conduct their activities.

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From this perspective you can see the mercury vapor lamps on the container dock on the left that caused the fiery glow on the left in the previous picture. This picture was shot from high up on the Guinness property. It's one day later in this picture and there is not much wind so you can see pollution hanging over the city.

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While waiting for the sun to go down in the previous picture I had a walk around the neighborhood from which the picture was taken. Vancouver is not for the poor or the middle class or even the upper middle class. If you are really worthy of The Best Place on Earth you can get a house with a nice view like this one.

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Traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge at two different shutter speeds.

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The Gold Rush about a week ago in Alberta, ready to jump off the Cline River Bridge to end the pain of the rumble strips. That is the actual colour of Abraham lake. There is no Photoshopping or HDR in this picture.

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You can see my complete equipment list on my Crazyguyonabike Journal Dempster Highway to the Arctic. Except for the bike and bear spray, I used the same gear for this trip:

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What is that shield on the front of the bike? Is it a bug deflector? No, it's a Zzipper wind fairing for reducing air resistance. It's made of very lightweight Lexan polycarbonate and it also keeps rain and snow off the cyclist. In cold weather the fairing keeps you a bit warmer too. It's covered with 3M Scotchlite retroreflective sheeting and 3M low-angle conspicuity tape. At night it lights up like a supernova in the headlights of cars. There's a lot of reflective material on other parts of the bike as well.

The aluminum bar sticking out of the back of the bike is a camera boom I use for making bike videos. The location of the picture is a couple of blocks from my noisy sub-microscopic housing in Vancouver, which is a city of real estate speculators and substandard construction too pricey for the middle class, never mind the groundlings such as myself. The ball in the background is an IMAX theater.

Image on journal page: Equipment in journal Dempster Highway to the ArcticFeatured Journal #360 by David Cambon (Completed Sep 2009)

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Fairing with halogen (yellow) Light & Motion underwater light over the front wheel and a DiNotte 200L LED light (blue) sticking out from the handlebar on a piece of PVC pipe. The checkerboard on the fairing in made of 2" squares of low-angle 3M prismatic conspicuity tape.

Image on journal page: Equipment in journal Dempster Highway to the ArcticFeatured Journal #360 by David Cambon (Completed Sep 2009)

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Midspan on the Lions Gate Bridge.

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"Rumble Strips of British Columbia" Copyright © 2010-2014 By David Cambon - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on October 9, 2010 20:57 PDT, last updated on December 26, 2011 23:05 PDT
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