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Discover Victoria By Bicycle

Wed, 03 May by Bryon Howard

Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is famous for its thriving real estate market, magnificent scenery and stately Victoria architecture. The city and the surrounding landscapes present a feast for the eyes and memorable vistas that are best enjoyed on a bicycle. Blessed with mild winters and humidity-free summers, the biking trails in and around Victoria beckon riders of all ages, fitness and skill levels. The city can boast of more cyclists per capita than any other Canadian city and a ride along one of Victoria’s well-travelled bike routes is a great way to acquaint yourself with this southernmost major city in western Canada.

When it comes to cycling in Victoria, the options are infinite. Here is a newcomer’s guide to just a few of the city’s more popular trails:

The Galloping Goose – This relatively flat, 55-km trail is the perfect choice for families and casual cyclists. The trail starts in a busy section of town and then meanders through farmland and evergreen forests to an old abandoned mining town. Built on a former railroad, the terrain for the most part is flat with a few easily managed hills.

Hartland Bike Park – Serious riders in search of a challenge head to Hartland Bike Park – about 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. This woodland paradise offers options for all experience levels, but is used primarily by intermediate and advanced cyclists. Don’t forget a trail map if you visit Hartland since the complex network of trails can be confusing.

The Seaside Touring Route – This popular route, specifically designed for visitors, takes the rider by many of the city’s noteworthy attractions. This route has it all! Look one way and you will be treated to a surreal view of the mighty Olympic Mountains. Look the other way and breathe in the deep blue Pacific Ocean. The 39-km route can be modified to virtually any length with water views most of the way. Don’t forget to wave to the resident seals at Oak Bay Marina.

Given the abundance of bike trails and natural beauty, Victoria has emerged as a mecca for international bike racers. The annual Tour de Victoria takes place in August and is a mass participation event attracting both world class riders and weekend enthusiasts. There is even a 3k race for young children.

If you are contemplating a move to Victoria or just joining the thousands of tourists who visit each year, consider getting to know this beautiful corner of the world on two wheels. Grab your helmet and enjoy the view!

 

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 TheHowardTeam.net.

 

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 TheHowardTeam.net.

Celebrating Calgary’s Diverse Population

Wed, 04 Jan by Bryon Howard

Celebrating Calgary’s Diverse Population

As an increasingly influential centre in world social and economic markets, Calgary can boast of a strong and growing multicultural base.  Thousands of immigrants continue to relocate to Calgary each year and by 2020, the immigrant population is expected to exceed half a million people, or roughly 30% of the city’s population.

Calgary looks and sounds different than it did years ago.  In 1959, the ratio of Caucasians to visible minorities in the city was 350:1.  Today that ratio is 5:1.  Strolling through the city centre, you can hear conversations in English, Punjabi, Chinese and Spanish – just a few of the dozens of languages and hundreds of dialects found here.  According to census figures, a full 30% of the city’s residents report that English is not the primary language spoken in their homes.  The language, culture and rich ethnic foods that the immigrant population brings to Calgary all contribute to the city’s emergence as a vital and vibrant global city in every sense of the word.

While the oil and energy industries were booming in the early part of this century, highly-educated and highly-skilled young people poured into Calgary in search of economic opportunity.  They came, they worked hard and they stayed in a city that understands how to welcome immigrants and weave a multicultural thread through the city’s own unique fabric.

Life in a city as diverse and vibrant as Calgary infuses its resident with a sophisticated worldview, cultural appreciation and sense of tolerance that is second to none.   Calgary is a youthful city that embraces and celebrates its diversity.  In addition to the annual Stampede and arts & music festivals, anyone looking to sample a bit of ethnic food and culture on the weekend can do so at the city’s Serbian, Greek and Turkish Festivals, Fiestaval Latino, Carifest, Brazilfest, or any of the dozens of other events celebrating rich cultural heritages throughout the year.  For this and other reasons, many residents believe that Calgary is a perfect city for raising a family.

Canadians have a long history of appreciating multiculturalism and promoting inclusion – both in government policy and legislation and, in the legendary hospitality extended to newcomers in our day to day lives.  Appreciation for multiculturalism is just one of the many components that work together to make Calgary a great place to live and work.

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 TheHowardTeam.net.

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 TheHowardTeam.net.

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.

Why I like to lend my bike box.

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

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 cyclepalooza.ca

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 calgaryfolkfest.com

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 calgaryfarmersmarket.ca 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 TheHowardTeam.net.

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 TheHowardTeam.net.

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.