On this “Not Your Typical Tourist Interview”, VancouverTourist.com speaks with Warner and Ziggy, two seniors from Germany who cycled from Calgary to Vancouver. (transcription below video)
They also cycled and made their way to Seattle via Victoria on Vancouver Island and back to Vancouver. We met up with them as they started out on the Vancouver Seawall.
in the Video posted below you’ll hear their thoughts on the differences between cycling in Canada versus cycling in Europe, Their ride through North Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, visit to Mount Robson, Canada’s Highest Mountain Peak, Cycling the Coquihalla highway, Merritt and the way they have been treated by Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Below the Video is a Transcription
Transcription of “Cycling BC Not Your Typical Tourist Interview” [music]
Interviewer: VancouverTourist.com, I’m here by Science World in Vancouver. We’ve run into Ziggy and Warner, who are not so typical tourists from Germany. We’re going to ask them a couple of questions about their cycling journey.
Warner: We cycled down to Seattle via the islands.
Warner: But we came back by train.
Interviewer: Oh, wonderful. Wonderful. How was that experience?
Warner: The train was great, but the boarding and exit experience is horrible.
Warner: You feel like being cattle in a cage. [laughs]
Interviewer: And what tips would you have for anybody doing that?
Warner: Oh, that they come early enough to go through the check in procedure.
Interviewer: Where did you start your journey?
Warner: We started in Calgary.
Warner: We flew in from Germany.
Warner: Calgary, got the bikes out, and started cycling along what is called the Ice Field Parkway.
Interviewer: Nice. And the Ice Field runs between Banff and Jasper, right?
Warner: Banff and Jasper.
Warner: It’s very hilly. [laughs]
Interviewer: [laughs] That’s Rocky Mountains. So, it’s a lot of hills. So, you must be in very good shape.
Warner: Well, we are, relatively.
Interviewer: I’d say you’re doing pretty well. That’s good. And, what prompted you to take a journey on bicycle through this part of Canada?
Warner: I have a colleague who did that. Her son was a student in Canada, and she did it, particular cycling, Ice Field Parkway, recommended it to us.
Interviewer: Yes. Yeah.
Warner: So, we did it too, but we continued. After Jasper, we went to Mount Robson, Wells Gray Park, Okanagan. Then we did the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
Interviewer: What did you think of it?
Warner: The landscape is fantastic. The trail is in horrible condition for bicycles, because it’s completely roughed up, the surface is gravel and sand.
Warner: Because they go there with ATVs.
Interviewer: I see, OK.
Warner: And it should be closed for motor vehicles, and really the surface a bit smooth.
Warner: It’s better for bicycles.
Interviewer: Right. OK.
Ziggy: For bicycles, there’s such a lot of baggage.
Interviewer: Right. And you do have a lot of luggage. What has the highlight of the trip been, so far?
Warner: Oh, there are many highlights. The rainforest, because we went out to Vancouver Island.
Interviewer: OK, so the rainforest, Cathedral Grove, and between.
Warner: Tofino, Ucluelet, this area.
Warner: There’s a very nice boat tour from Port Alberni out to Ucluelet.
Interviewer: Oh, great.
Interviewer: That was a great experience. But what we like, also, Ziggy, was Mount Robson, that’s a great area.
Interviewer: Yes. And if I’m not mistaken, that’s Canada’s tallest mountain.
Warner: It is. Interviewer: Yes.
Warner: It’s very nice if you can cycle in and then hike. Interviewer: Great.
Warner: Walk to the level of the glacier. It’s fantastic.
Interviewer: Have you found, around Vancouver, how has it been for cycling?
Ziggy: We didn’t yet prove it.
Warner: Well, we cycled friends out to Holscher Bay.
Warner: The problem is, the beaches, their coastline is private property.
Warner: You have a street, that’s very hilly, but you don’t see much of the sea.
Ziggy: And there’s no shoulder.
Warner: There’s no shoulder.
Warner: And you have to go so, you don’t see much of the sea, because of all this private housing. This is also the case along the Sunshine Parkway, where we came down from Gold River.
Ziggy: We know that you now have to have a ticket for to go through the town with a bicycle, but we didn’t do it. Not yet.
Ziggy: Maybe tomorrow we will go through the town tomorrow.
Interviewer: And now, you’re going through along the seawall, to the hostel, and the Spanish Banks. I think you’ll find that a lot more comfortable. I know that, yeah, we’re catching up to Europe, when it comes to cycling paths, et cetera, but Vancouver is probably one of the leaders in North America. If you can believe that.
Ziggy: Really? In which…?
Warner: In terms of cycle development parkway.
Ziggy: Yeah? OK.
Interviewer: Which is not saying it’s great, it’s just saying it’s one of the better ones in North America.
Warner: Particularly in the city, you can’t change it.
Warner: Up here, this is very nice.
Interviewer: Yes. It’s a very nice city. How have you found drivers? Have drivers been fairly courteous? They have? Oh, good.
Warner: Canadian drivers are very, very careful, and helpful. The problem is, of course, drivers in big trucks can’t see you.
Warner: You have to be careful with the logging trucks, for instance.
Interviewer: OK. Warner But, everyone was very nice and helpful, and careful.
Interviewer: Oh, good. Oh, good.
Warner: Much better than in Europe.
Interviewer: Oh, is that right? Wow.
Warner: Europeans are not very good in taking care of each other in traffic.
Interviewer: Well, do you ride your bikes on the Autobahn? [laughs]
Warner: No, they’re not permitted. Not permitted. You’ve even got on the Coquihalla Highway.
Interviewer: Oh, good.
Warner: But it was no problem, the weather was a problem. It was very high. [laughs]
Interviewer: Yes, it’s very high. And so, if you, on the shoulder seasons, you could run into snow up there.
Warner: I mean, we ran into snow, rain, it was rather cold.
Interviewer: Oh, boy.
Warner: But we made it.
Interviewer: Wow. And where did you sleep when you were on Coquihalla? Because you obviously didn’t do it all in one day.
Warner: No, no, what we did, we came up the Kettle Valley Rail to Brookmere.
Warner: Then we heard that the trail, down to Hope is not in good condition.
Warner: So, we cycled to Merritt, which is all downhill mainly. And then we took a taxi to get up on the Coquihalla to what’s called the tollbooth. And from the other side, we took to Coquihalla.
Interviewer: So, from the old tollbooth area, you went.
Warner: Almost at the summit.
Interviewer: And from that area, you went down to Hope.
Warner: We went to Hope.
Interviewer: Wow. That’s a long descent.
Warner: Yeah, it was. But it was OK for us.
Interviewer: What kind of speeds do you reach when you’re descending like that? 60 kilometers an hour.
Ziggy: Because we don’t, I think it’s too dangerous with all the luggage.
Warner: You start swinging.
Warner: Yes. And you never know if everything will be fast enough, and so.
Interviewer: Oh, good. And how has that process been for putting your bike on the plane? Have they treated you pretty well?
Warner: Very easy. This is much easier than on trains. [laughs]
Interviewer: Oh, yes, I’m sure.
Warner: They have a very good service, it’s cheap, and they provide plastic bags.
Warner: You’re supposed take the pedals off, and to take the air out, too.
Interviewer: And that’s something really important for a tourist to keep in mind, because, Vancouver, around the seawall, you could do about 40 kilometers, going around the seawall.
Interviewer: Which, for most people, that’s plenty. You know? You can do, and there’s a lot to see and do along the seawall. So, that’s great.
Warner: What you call a seawall?
Interviewer: A seawall is basically just a path, that you can cycle or walk on, that goes all the way around the waterfront.
Warner: That’s what we like.
Interviewer: Yeah, and it goes from Spanish Banks, all the way through, down here, to Science World. And then it continues around the peninsula, which is downtown, to Stanley Park, and then around the other side, which is Coal Harbor. And the Stanley Park portion alone, is 10 kilometers.
Ziggy: Oh, my.
Warner: That’s good. Interviewer: Yeah.
Warner: Good to know.
Interviewer: To go around Stanley Park?
Warner: Yeah, I see, that is this.
Warner: Oh yes. Wonderful.
Interviewer: So, to go around Stanley Park itself, is 10 kilometers.
Warner: This map is absolutely helpful for cyclists.
Interviewer: Which map is it, do you know?
Warner: It’s the Vancouver Bicycle Path Map.
Interviewer: OK, great.
Warner: We got it from the transit. Interviewer: Excellent.
Warner: It’s a very good thing.
Interviewer: That’s very helpful.
Warner: So, we are curious now to explore two or three days, Vancouver.
Warner: We love it. [laughs]
Interviewer: Great. Well, Warner, Ziggy, thank you very much. And enjoy the rest of your trip.
Ziggy: Thank you.
Interviewer: Danke schoen. [laughter] [music]