We arrived to Vancouver with the ferry, and stopped at our guesthouse after a short drive. We then went downtown and started walking around according to our guidebook, when I remembered that the company manufacturing a pannier I had read about is actually located in Vancouver. I Googled the name of the company and found the place. We decided to make a detour and go there.
We found the address, and it turned out to be a tall building filled with offices. We found the company’s office, but it was closed. A nice guy saw us confused around the door and asked if we were looking for Ried.
“Um, maybe,” I said, “we were looking for. Two Wheel Gear”.
“Oh, Ried is probably out” he said, and offered us to come to his office and see the pannier that he owns. Apparently, Two Wheel Gear was being run by a single guy. I was impressed by the pannier, and decided to email Ried and ask if there’s a chance to meet him the next day.
We went to Nemesis, the coffee that the Batista in Victoria had recommended to us. It was really good 🙂 We then kept touring Downtown for a while, and got some views from Canada Place. We then walked a bit in China Town.
It was getting a bit late, so we headed to NEC, a large shop that had the pannier I was interested in. I wanted to see it and maybe buy it, as I didn’t know if I’d get to meet Ried the next day. We saw the new model of the pannier (that still looked good :)), and had dinner before going to sleep.
Then, I got an email from Ried explaining that he went to an event in Vancouver and therefore wasn’t at the office, and that I am welcome to come by tomorrow. Awesome! I also remembered a blog post I read about pants that look good but are good to cycle in, and found that one of the companies, DU/ER is situated in Vancouver, and actually has a store two minutes walk away from Two Wheel Gear.
The next day we went to see Ried. It was a lot of fun. He is an awesome guy, and I got to see the different models / stages of the panniers over the years. I bought a pannier that is convertible to a backpack, and Ried gave us a discount for coming and also gave me and Neta T-shirts. It was really impressive to see how this one guy runs this operation on his own.
I asked Ried about DU/ER, the pants company, and he confirmed that they were great and that he was using them all the time. He also said that they were actually running a warehouse sell in really low prices.
We then had coffee at Nemesis again, and went to the DU/ER store. I got to ask a few questions about the different models. It seemed that the prices at the warehouse sale were much lower, so we didn’t buy anything there.
We then went to Stanley Park, where we walked around Seawall. Many people rent bikes there but we didn’t want to go through the process and overhead of renting them. It was a nice walk, the park is surrounded by the ocean and it was visible most of the time.
We then took a bus to Granville Island Public Market. It was actually a pretty awesome market, with meat, fish, pastries, vegetables and basically all sorts of food. We had lunch and bought three different flavors of honey for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah.
After walking through the entire market twice, we took a bus to the DU/ER warehouse sale. It was CRAZY. I’ve never seen such a thing. So many people squeezing in a small space, choosing pants and standing in a long line for fitting rooms. As I wasn’t sure what my size was I took a few different sizes. When my turn arrived, I figured it was only the easy part. The fitting room had four men (including me), all standing on a bunch of pants that other people had tried on before, trying out pants quickly. It was a complete mess and I wasn’t sure which pants were mine. Eventually I found the right size and then went out to get some more pants of that size. Luckily, a new box filled with the model I was looking for arrived and I got to try on a few pants. I ended up taking three pairs, and Neta took one. I hope that the pants will be as awesome as people claim they are.
We then had dinner, and drove to Seattle, WA. It wasn’t a long drive, yet it was really boring as most if it was dark and through the same road.
We arrived at our hotel and found the receptionist was behind a “night window”. That is, his room was locked and he only communicated through that window. Not so welcoming, to say the least. We had a short 2.5 hours sleep, woke up and went to the airport. We returned our car in a surprisingly efficient and fast process, went through the airport stations quickly and waited for an extra hour for the flight.
We landed in JFK, got our luggage, and started a very very long way to Closter, New Jersey. It included 3 buses. For the last one, a guy who turned out to be a homeless person asking for money had helped us to find the right ticket. I was surprised to see the mess and inefficiency of the public transport in NYC.
We finally got to Michal, my friend from Israel who hosts us for the upcoming week, and her family including her husband and four children. It was great to finally see where she lives, after talking over the phone and seeing pictures on her blog for such a long while.
This day was the end of the Canadian part of our trip, and also the end of the west coast. Next – NYC, and then the east coast.