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Trusting your gear…

But before I dive into today’s first message, I need to set the stage: we are at the beautiful Inn at Laurel Point, overlooking ‘almost too perfect’ Victoria harbor, crystal-clear blue sky and with a strong wind jostling the green green green mature trees and whipping the flags about.

Right. Back to gear. One of the many benefits of the ‘prequel’ week of riding on Vancouver Island was checking out various pieces of gear: clothing, the bike, electronics and so on. I am getting very comfortable with most items, in that I know how they perform and what to expect. Here are a few observations:

– Bike: reliable, smooth, HEAVY, doesn’t allow me to daydream (since it won’t keep ‘on center’)

– Key clothing: the items I used worked well. I am confident that I have good rain and wind protection. The neck-warmer and liner gloves are great for regulating heat. Also, Les taught me to immediately change out of a wet jersey, as soon as I come off the bike, to avoid the cooling effect. This has been an eye-opener! Putting on a dry, warm shirt is a huge benefit!

– Cellphone: working fine now that I replaced the memory card. Keyboard still a pain for longer blog posts. Auto-spelling correction and predictive typing is mixed blessing — at times useful, at other times a royal pain. Gay caught many silly results, often concerning (but not limited to) names of people and places…

– Laptop: wonderful. Thanks, Avi!

– GPS: there is a reason why I left this item last. Yesterday provided a couple of important lessons about the perils of relying on my GPS totally for directions. It started when I rode into Nanaimo. GPS took me off Hwy #1 to a road that headed to the waterfront. Seemed reasonable — less traffic, more scenic. After a very comfortable 10 minute ride through a lovely neighborhood GPS indicated a sharp right turn — up a rock-climbing wall! Even in my granny gear my legs were barely turning! My heart rate shot way up. I even considered stepping off and walking! (Electa’s “Never Give Up” bracelet urged me on.) This ridiculous climb ended eventually.

And GPS kept trying to take me away from main roads, but I was wise to it. Until…I was several kms south, riding along the broad and beautifully paved shoulder of Hwy #1. The only negative was the constant flow of high-speed traffic. (During the ride I  saw two contraptions that flashed “Your speed is …” to drivers whipping by, and the indicated speeds were often 30 kph higher than the 90 kph posted limit!) So when GPS told me to get off #1 and onto a secondary highway I thought nothing of it. The new road was lovely — wide, well surfaced, and empty! Maybe five cars and trucks went by during the next half hour. Then I came to a road sign: Ferry to Victoria. That was it! No other option! And no indication at any point by GPS that it chose this option for me! Well, I was seriously ticked off! I had to retrace my way back to #1 and learned a valuable lesson: I would preview recommended routes before taking them!

More blogs coming, later today. Now to breakfast and a walk through this beautiful town.

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