It’s now been a week since I arrived in beautiful British Columbia. Though, let’s be quite clear. By beautiful I mean cold, grey and raining. (Yes, I know that 6-10deg/c really isn’t cold) The trails are still covered in snow and the rain has barely paused since I pulled into Vancouver last Sunday. Squamish has been the same. It reminds me of my return to Toronto last March when it was cold, wet, snowing and miserable. The only logical conclusion is that karma says I deserve all this after spending four months under the desert sun. Okay, enough complaining about the weather, I promise. HTFU.
Arriving Sunday afternoon I hung out with my friends Jill and Kimberly; Jill actually hired me for the job that brought me here. Monday morning I drove to the Giant and Liv stores in downtown Vancouver and met the owner, Anne; a Québécoise woman who started Giant Montreal. I then drove in the pouring rain(that wasn’t a complaint, just an observation) to the warehouse in Squamish were I’ll be working for the summer.
It’s a strange work environment, like no-other bike shop I’ve worked at before. The warehouse is where we build and store bicycle inventory and do all repairs greater than simple brake and gear adjustments. There is no customer interaction, just notes on the electronic work-order about what is needed. On the rare occasion the phone rings, it’s always someone from the retail store. Unless I put on some music or my co-worker Tony and I are talking, it’s very, very quite in that cavernous space. Anne is there sometimes, it’s really just Tony and I.
Tony is not a cyclist and only started working on bikes a year ago when he took the job. He’s a local restauranteur who was looking for a change and we get along well so far. While I enjoy time by myself, I do miss the hustle and bustle of a vibrant bike shop. The pace is much slower than at Sweet Pete’s and that will take some getting used to. As for my hours, I work Sunday-Thursday, nine-to-five. Anne is firm that she doesn’t want her staff burning-out working more than forty hours a week. After doing 50-60hrs a week the past two summers in Toronto, I really appreciate that attitude. It also means I’ve got time to ride after work…and have energy enough to do so, which was not the case the last two years.
I’ve been out on my bike twice this week. Though both were on Irene on the road, yesterday’s ride included a bumpy dirt road that eventually became really rough, rocky, snow-covered trail. Cold and wet, I was smiling the entire time. Although the mountains are still obscured by the clouds, what I’ve seen so far is very pretty. Trees dripping in moss reach across the road to shake hands with each other. The smell of freshly sawn cedar wood fills the air while rivers flow beside me. Magic.
One thing that I’ve noticed is just how friendly and helpful people are here. When folks learn that I’ve just arrived in town they are genuinely excited for me and are happy I’m here. Jill put me in touch with a friend of her’s who quickly invited me to join herself, her boyfriend a several others for dinner and beers. At a local pub last night, I started talking to the guy sitting next to me. Another avid mountain-biker, he gave me his business card and offered to show me the trails…once they clear-up. An old friend who lives in New Westminster put me in touch with another woman who’s big in the scene here. Again, she offered to show me the trails and introduce me to her son who is also an endurance XC nerd like me.
This just keeps happening; I keep meeting wonderful, kind, enthusiastic people who really make me feel like I’ve made the right decision in moving here….despite the cold and the rain.