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Bike – Being Stoic – some ‘how to’s’ on packing and traveling with a bike

Fri, 26 Feb by Bryon Howard

Since Tim Ferriss came out with his book, The 4-hour Work Week, I’ve been following him. He’s a fan on Seneca and Stoicism.

I like to bike. I don’t think I love to bike … but I love what biking brings me.

I suppose my favourite thing about cycling is experiencing the weather. I love it all … too hot, too rainy, too windy and too cold. I can pretty much dress for whatever the weather and enjoy the ride.

Next up … I enjoy the elevated heart rate. Cycling is good for the body and the brain.
I prefer to ride with others who are of similar ability … I like to race. However, I also like to ride alone. I like leaving … and I like getting back home. I especially enjoy early morning rides when the sun is rising … or later evening rides when the sun is dropping. I like riding in mid morning, mid afternoon – or even high noon. I like exploring new routes, seeing new things … and when traveling – experiencing new cultures from a bike saddle.

In this brief blog, I want to explain that to travel with a bike, you will be much happier and more successful if you practice being Stoic.

I have many friends and acquaintances who are triathletes. Many of my friends are Type “A” personality … and have done or are planning to do an Ironman. In training, they will travel to Mallorca, Maui, and/or California and travel to races in Quebec, Arizonia, Germany, and “God willing”, Kona.

For this group … you have no choice … you MUST pack and transport your bike. Your family understand this. Being Stoic during the process will help you.

I’m currently travelling at 3,800 ft on West Jet to Calgary via Toronto from Dominican Republic.

I spent a few days in Cabarette and about 10 days in Las Galeras, the Samana Peninsula. It was my Mom’s 80 birthday celebration. My 5 brothers and sisters were there, my wife and kids, and most of my nieces and nephews. We were 22 people – and it was great.

Margaret Howard - 80th Birthday

My Mom’s 80th Birthday

However, I wasn’t going on a cycling trip. The priorities were clearly: family, hopefully some kite surfing with my son, perhaps some cycling … ‘god willing’.

If you fancy yourself a cycling enthusiast … a cyclist … then you may wish to bring your bike on your next travel. Your next travel could be for work, it could be for a one week vacation with your sweetheart, or it could be a 3 month bike touring trip. If you plan to be successful on actually ‘getting out the door’ and bringing your bike, you should practice being Stoic.

You see, nearly everyone will try to convince you not to take your bike. Your friends and family love you. They think that you will die. People fear the unknown. I fear the unknown. It is much much easier NOT to bring your bike. Your spouse will be happier. Your kids will be happier. Your Mom will be happier. They think you will live … and be safe.

However, if you are like me … you will be much happier to have your bike along … and sneak out for at least one ride. When your spouse, kids, and Mom see your smile after your ride, or from your selfie on Facebook or Instagram … they will smile too.

Where you need to be Stoic:
-Announcing to your family a few weeks prior … I’m going to x and I’m taking my bike; (Actually, I suggest you say … “I’d like to take my bike”. At this point it is kind of far into the future … and they will not normally object … yet.)
-Googling bike routes near x place. If you are like me … you won’t find any … and begin to question if you should bring your bike; (While googling x place, you will learn about why it’s dangerous to bike here.)
-A week to a few days prior to departure. If you are like me … you have not organized a bike box. You need to either: find your bike box which is back far in the garage behind many things; go to a bike store and ask for a used card board box; buy a proper bike box; or borrow a bike box. This is the most important place to be stoic.
-The day prior to travel. You will be too busy to pack your bike. If you tell your spouse, or your Mom … they will emphasize with you … and remind you about all the reasons why you should not take your bike anyway. I suggest waking up really early prior to your spouse and “Just Do It” … pack your bike while they are sleeping. When they wake, act as if it was not big deal.

It gets easier from here … but you must still practice Stoicism.

-Driving to the Airport … which car will we bring. Will the bike fit in?
-Checking in at the Airport. You Made it! Now the surprises begin. Keep a straight face … don’t let the surprises bug you. Expect to pay $100 for your bike at check in. Always say Thank You no matter what they charge you … it’s never the same. You get to travel with your bike!!!
-Security … checking your bike bag at Over-sized security. You are committed at this point … and will be taking your bike. It is here that you must remain stoic to enjoy yourself. If you are traveling with you non cycling spouse, they will be watching over you … possibly adding to the stress .. and huffing and puffing. About 80% of the time, I will have to unpack my bike for security. (Really … it’s no big deal.) Just unpack it. Note: when packing at home … don’t use a lot of tape.
-Some tips: Don’t deflate your tires too much (80psi is fine for tires that can run 110); don’t take CO2 cartridges; bring a pump that fits in your jersey (try using it at home); you can pack a lot of stuff in the bike bag (your cycling gear, kite surfer, etc. However, be sure to keep it under 50lbs … and lighter is better.
-This morning when checking in my oversized baggage at Toronto … I had the very worst ‘duck’ like person. She was a real cow. For the first time ever, I had to take everything out of my bike bag … place it in tubs, and run it through the scanner. She was rude, spoke like a squirrel, and was really unpleasant.

Time to pack the bike box.

A 75 km ride to El Catey Airport in Dominican Republic. It took 18 min to back the bike & kite surfer.

Traveling with a bike has gotten tricker in the 15 years since I started doing it. I expect it will continue to be even more unpleasant and difficult at the airport – as our ‘officers’ become more like robots and less like people. You see, we slow things down with our bikes … and their bosses are watching … and there are people lined up behind us … who get cranky as well.

Screw them … you got your bike.

I need to practice being stoic.


Related & Recommended Posts:
Is cycling in Dominican Republic Safe.
How to unpack your bike in 11 min -Just Do it.

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Laos Getting a Flat

Bike – Is Road Cycling in the Dominican Republic Safe?

Fri, 26 Feb by Bryon Howard

I have a sister who spends 6 months of the year in Dominican Republic and 6 months of the year in Prince Edward Island. In the DR, she helps run a La Hacienda Hostel in Las Galeras, and in PEI she does much volunteer work with the PEI Food Exchange.  She’s a bit of a hippie. She’s never been on a Cruise, and claims to hate them. I don’t know if she earns any money, but guess she earns between $3,000 and $12,000 per year.

A year or two ago my Mom began requesting that we do a family trip for her 80th birthday. We have never traveled as a family. We began brain storming idea’s. Of course a family cruise was an option. Florida was an option. Perhaps Britain. However, it became evident that if the entire family would be attending, the party would happen at the end of the road on the Semana Pennisula, in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic. (A kind of Eco Village.)

The little bit of googling I did on biking in DR, only brought up two types of results:

-Options to join Mountain Bike Tours;

-Touristy type information on how cycling in the DR is extremely dangerous. (Generally you could tell the writer was some sort of travel agent who thinks cycling means riding a beach cruiser on a bike path.)

My 19 year old son, currently in a gap year, decided to go a month early to Cabarete, DR to Kite Surf. His first time in the 3rd world … he pretty much conferred with my sister, the roads are dangerous.  When I asked for more info on what made them dangerous, he responded; “There are people everywhere, manholes are missing, the houses are really close to the road, there’s loud music, there’s donkeys, horses, chickens and beeping mopads, poncho’s, cars and buses. It’s crazy! I really don’t think it is a good idea to bring your bike.”

I’ve travelled a lot. In 1986 I spent three months in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I would commandeer the rik shaw whenever I could. In Nov 2014, I left Banff on my cycle cross bike and road to Vancouver Island then flew to Bangkok and cycle toured in Thailand & Laos.  In June of 2015, I won the Cat 3 devision of a 145km Gravel Grinder, The Ghost of the Gravel.

These roads sound interesting.

You see, if there are donkeys, chickens, children and houses all along the road … then it must be at least as safe to cycle here then on many of my very familiar rides in Calgary, Alberta.  One of my standard longish rides is leaving my home in Central SW Calgary (Altadore / Marda Loop) and ride to Bragg Creek via Springbank – 90km.  I used to feel very comfortable doing this ride about 5 years ago. These days, depending on how much riding I’m doing … I mostly feel less comfortable due to the fact that so many people are beeping and buzzing on their smart phones.  However, I continue to ride this route.

What is Safe?

It felt very safe to ride in the DR to me.

It felt very safe to ride in the DR to me.

Yes – I might die sometime while riding my bike.

However, there is a much greater chance I will die in my car in a car accident.

I could also get run over by a car in a parking lot at Safeway. Chinook Mall is even more scary. I think parking lots are very dangerous.

I could get the new Zika virus.

I guess the chances of me getting cancer and dying are greater then me dying on my bike.

One thing is sure; I will die.

My focus on this trip was family, kite surfing, and then cycling. Over the 14 days, I rode 700km and climbed x vertical. Every ride was spectacular. The only thing that would have made it more enjoyable is to be riding with some friends, in a peloton … where I would have been travelling faster and punching the uphills with increased vigour.

Most of the rides were coastal, with just one inland ride from Cabarette into the mountains. This was particularly spectacular. I’d like to return and do more riding in the Central Cordillera.

My jumping of spots were Puertto Platta and Semana. These are quite small towns compared to more popular tourist spots like Punta Cana and Santo Domingo. However, I would feel comfortable bringing my bike to these cities and exploring.

I guess the moral of the story is we have to phrase our questions a bit more carefully.  We cannot ask, “Is this safe?”  

Safety depends on your experience … and your ‘feeling’.

I feel like it is my right to ride a bike in my city. I feel like I should be able to commute nearly anywhere. If I had the time, and the motivation, I would ride without hesitation anywhere in Calgary. I would have to do some research on the safest route … as it would suck to land on Deerfoot Trail.

Do you feel like this?

-If you can imagine riding from Central Calgary to Springbank Airport, the 22x, and certainly Bragg Creek … then cycling in the Dominican Republic is safe for you. 

-If riding from Evergreen to Millarville along the road to Nepal is safe for you – you’d be fine in the DR.  

– If you can ride from South Rustico to Prince Edward Island National Park along the #6, then you will feel very safe riding in the DR!

-If you can ride from Downtown San Diego to Cabrillo National Monument – you’ll be fine.

-In Las Vegas … from Boulder City to Hoover Damn – then you’d be fine riding in the DR.

-Riding from Victoria, BC to Sooke … you’d be fine.

If your ride means loading your bike onto your car, and driving to do the Glenmore Reservoir loop, then cycling in the Dominican Republic would be dangerous for you.  

I love traveling in new places with my bike. I’m not particularly knowledgeable on technology … but tools like Garmin, Suunto, and Strava are making exploring on your bike easier and more fun. In the coming years, we can expect this to get even better and easier.

Go explore – take your bike.

Recommended & Related Posts:

A road ride from my bike saddle near Cabarrette, Dominican Republic

Why I like to lend my bike box

Being Stoic – some ‘how to’s’ on traveling with a bike

Getting a flat in Laos

Bike – Why I like to lend my bike box for travel

Fri, 26 Feb by Bryon Howard
100km into a ride  in Dominican Republic

100km into a ride in Dominican Republic

I’m currently on a West Jet Flight – Toronto to Calgary. It’s 4:57am Calgary time. Yesterday we flew from El Catey International Airport in Semana, Dominican Republic to Toronto. We arrived at 6:30pm, and had to spend the night in Toronto. Yes, I had to take my bike to the hotel with me, and check it in again this morning at 5:15am. (Yes – it was one of the worst ever experiences I’ve had travelling with my bike … yet, still so worth it.)

The first time I travelled with a bike was in 2001, for Ironman Florida. At that time, I went to my local bike store and requested a card board box that the new bikes come in. I travelled for years using a cardboard box and even just a plastic bag.

However, the airlines are getting increasingly fussy about how they will let you transport a bike. The last time I travelled with my bike in a cardboard box, I think I had to sign a waiver that they would not be responsible if something went wrong.

Then I found a friend who owned two bike boxes … and I borrowed those for years.

In 2014 my son began travelling as a cyclist with Team Alberta. I broke down and purchased 2 Evoc Bike Boxes at Speed Theory. I think they were about $450 each … not inexpensive.

While I do not LOVE to lend my bike boxes, I do like to lend them.

– Karma. I borrowed for years, and want to ‘give back’;
– I feel people SHOULD travel with their bikes. I think people should feel safe biking most any place in the world;
– When you own a good quality bike, a rental bike does not normally cut it;
– The first few times you are traveling with a bike box … you will be a bit freaked out. You will not really understand how to take your bike apart and fit it into the box. You will be a bit stressed about putting down more cash to rent a box, or buy one. I want to help you get over this initial pain.
– Often renting a bike is cumbersome and not much fun. You have to find the bike store, work within their opening hours, then deal with more line ups, waiting, and probably a crappy bike and most probably crappy customer service.
– In my experience, travelling with a bike is cheap. It’s much cheaper then renting a bike … and really worth the expense to be able to have your bike with you. Even for just one ride on your travel. (The most I’ve ever paid to transport my bike was $200 … but more often then not, it was free.)
– I personally do most of my riding early in the morning – often finishing my ride prior to a bike store opening at 9 or 10am.
– If you are traveling with your bike, we would probably get along.
– If you are travelling for a race … you have trained, put in the work, and are excitedly looking for a personal best. I LOVE hearing about your experience.

Dominican Republic West Jet Employee - with a Typical Smile

West Jet are particularly friendly

Okay … I also do have a selffish motive.
I’m in sales. I’m realtor. Actually, I’m a very good realtor. Not to brag, but I consistently rank in the top 1% of realtors in Calgary. Most years I rank in Top 100 RE/MAX Agents in Canada. Like in training for endurance sports, I’m quite disciplined in my job. Discipline = Results for my clients.

If you borrow my bike box, and if you are looking to sell or buy a house or condo, or know someone who needs to move … please interview & hire me for the job! If you have a trusted realtor in your life (or are a realtor) … you can still borrow my bike box!

The final caveat: be nice. be polite. say thank you. Hopefully I’ll be around when you are retuning the box to my home or office in Central SW … and we will each have a few moments – so you can share your bike adventure story. I Love that.


You might also like, “Is Cycling in the Dominican Republic Safe?”
Youtube: Cycling in Dominican Republic
Youtube: Cycling in Laos
Traveling with bike – being Stoic.
Unpacking your bike – in 10min.

The Rise of Purpose Built Revenue Properties

Sun, 21 Feb by Bryon Howard

The Rise of Purpose Built Revenue Properties

The real estate landscape in North America is in the midst of an historical shift. The era of the coveted McMansion is quickly coming to an end. Today’s pool of home buyers have an entirely different set of priorities than their parents when it comes to housing – with the most notable difference being that many are not buyers at all and they will probably not become buyers in the foreseeable future. They are renters and they are here to stay!

The Calgary real estate market serves as a perfect backdrop for the shifting landscape. Canada’s young population includes 7-9 million residents classified as millennials. While they are by no means the only demographic group turning their back on home ownership, they are definitely the most influential.

Perceptive buyers looking to build wealth for their own retirement know that investment in purpose built revenue property stands out as one of the safest and most lucrative vehicles available to investors in today’s volatile world.   In addition to the social and economic trends fueling the shift, recent changes to Calgary’s by-laws have further served to fan the flames by making it easier and more cost-effective to construct a purpose built revenue property.

While the nation’s Liberal Party platform embraces purpose built rental housing as a means to provide all Canadians with access to affordable housing, low-income residents are not the only sector of the population in search of a good rental. Large groups of residents from all income strata are moving toward renting as a lifestyle choice and investors looking for the best returns are wise to target housing geared toward the upper middle layers of the rental market. The best rental property to invest in is priced to attract this group, located in a desirable neighbourhood and constructed of good materials with low maintenance and durability in mind.

Investing in a purpose built revenue property in Calgary, as opposed to condominium or a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), affords the individual investor direct control of the asset, low maintenance, freedom from condo fees and bothersome boards, monthly residual income and the opportunity to realize appreciation in Canada’s strongest real estate market.

My advice for any serious real estate investor in Calgary is to start crunching numbers with a knowledgeable Realtor and do not miss the opportunity to profit from this seismic shift in the real estate landscape.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at

Things to Do this Valentine’s and Family Day Weekend

Sun, 07 Feb by Bryon Howard

Things to Do this Valenties and Family Day Weekend

This year Valentine’s Day falls on the first long weekend of the year, Family Day! So why not combine a bit of romance with some family fun time? Here are just a few of the amazing events happening in Calgary that can satisfy the need for romance and good old family fun!

Take the Family on a Bike Scavenger Hunt

Every year, Calgary hosts an annual bike festival called Winterpalooza. This year’s event kicks off on February 10 and runs until Valentine’s Day. Some of the cool events happening this year include the Annual Polar Run, the Winter Bike Scavenger Hunt and the Winterpalooza photo booth. For more information about Winterpalooza and the events that lead up to it, visit

Check out a winter music festival

For the music lovers, start your weekend at one of Calgary’s newest music festivals, the Block Heater Festival. Organized by the Calgary Folk Music Festival, the three day event is hosting twenty different folk and roots musical acts. A few of the performers at the inaugural festival include The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer and Elliott Brood. Tickets start low at $15. For more information, visit

Spend the day at the market

One of the best things about the Calgary Farmers Market is that it’s opened year round. And if you love the market, you can get a taste of it at the Market Eatery, a satellite retail location of the restaurant. At the eatery you can buy the Market’s chocolate treats, sauces and condiments here.

On Valentine’s Day the actual market will be transformed into a romantic destination with live music and entertainment. Open for brunch and lunch, visitors can enjoy a roaming musical quartet, make fruit flower Valentine’s with Poppy Innovations, and capture your love in their romantic photo booth. Check out for more details.

Celebrate all things winter in Canmore

The Canmore Winter Carnival has been happening for more than two decades and returns on February 1. Plan a weekend getaway to enjoy all the different carnival events such as the World Cup Biathlon event, cooking classes, art workshops and mutt races that take place until the end of March.

Go shopping at a new Italian market

Sauce Italian Market is a bakery, a deli, a market and a restaurant. With specials every day of the week you can stop by for a coffee or lunch to enjoy some of the spectacular food or one of their daily specials. (The two-for-one pizza deal on Tuesdays is hard to pass up.) After you eat, check out the grocery store where you’ll find signature sauces, house-made pasta, salad dressings and plenty of imported cheeses and charcuterie.

There are so many other amazing events happening in the city on Valentine’s/Family Day weekend. And with a wide variety of great restaurants in the neighbourhood your choices are endless! Enjoy the weekend!

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.