Sunday, February 15, 2009

Slow Biking on Valentine's Day

I know this may seem off-topic, but I wanted to write about yesterday's outing (no births!). The sun was shining, it was Valentine's Day, and I'd just gone with my husband to buy presents for each other at MEC (no, not chocolates or flowers). We found a new red windjammer for me, just like the one I had when I was little, and black leg warmers (woohoo!) for my husband. Then, we headed out on our first long ride of the new year.

We talked about Slow Birth ideas, chapter topics, debriefed from recent births, and had a long ride around False Creek, through Gastown, around Stanley Park, then back to Granville Island for lunch at the best seafood shack ever, Go Fish! (for a counter-balancing calorie intake), then rode back up the hill to our loft.

What struck us were the number of people enjoying a slow day out in the sunshine (remember, it's February and freezing cold). The memories that stand out are:
  • Dragon Boats in False Creek filled with men and women wearing multi-coloured puffy down coats, focused on the perfect unison stroke,
  • a man on rollerblades near the 2010 Olympic Village, pushing his son in a stroller, with a tricycle balanced on top, followed by mum on a bike,
  • an old man riding his unicycle down a hill, holding a coffee cup in his hands, for warmth,
  • three homeless men, in three different parts of the city, on bikes loaded with recyclable bottles, all wearing bike helmets,
  • a group paddling their outriggers near Science World, shouting and laughing,
  • a man wearing a baseball glove, pitching his ball into a brick wall in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, watching to make sure he doesn't get in our way as we ride,
  • a family on tandem bikes, with flowers in a pannier,
  • 5 groups of oddly-dressed people, running fast, carrying compasses (must be orienteering for team-building),
  • serious rowers gliding through the water at Coal Harbour,
  • a teenage goth carrying flowers down a back lane,
  • a woman quietly, happily, digging in the soil, creating a garden beside her solitary old house in the centre of town, amid the noise and cars,
  • four colourful pseudo-pelotons spotted around the city, dominating the bike lanes at a "slow" 40km/h,
  • the look on a new mum's face, just after her baby threw up all over her after a feed,
  • a mum carrying her newborn in a hug-a-bub, walking up the ramp after buying fish from a boat,
  • people working on their guerrilla community gardens, wiping dirt off their foreheads as they chat,
  • families, pregnant couples, babies, walking, riding, talking English, Spanish, Farsi, French, German, Japanese, laughing.
But the most amazing thing is that we connected with each one of these people on our bike ride. Our eyes connected, we smiled as we passed, we called "Hello!", we waved...

The connections are what count as we travel through our lives, and I think we're all doing a pretty good job of it in our little corner of the world...

- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula, Slow Birth, Slow Planet


ebbandflo said...

i really do miss cycling around Vancouver. first it was with the dog in his bike trailer and then with my son (in the same trailer but not with the dog). we've since graduated to a trailer bike but, living up a mountain in the 'burbs, there aren't as many opportunities for an easy or spontaneous cycle outing.

Bernadette said...

Connection is TOTALLY what it's all about. What else is the point? Love your post.

Bernadette Noll
Austin, TX

Rosie said...

Ah, I wish I would've known you last May when I visited Vancouver! I would have looked you up! My sweetie and I stayed at the Sylvia Hotel and walked around the Staley Park Seawall, slowly enjoying the people, Siwash Rock, Beaver Lake,the totem poles, and Mary who introduced us to the geese at Lost Lagoon. We had dinner at Granville Island. We loved your city! Anytime your in San Diego be sure to let me know. Love, Rosie