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Canada Day - something to celebrate

Sunday July 1, Canada's 140th birthday. Victoria's downtown streets are full of revellers and the crowds will build all day. I am out on the streets by 9 am, first ride by 9:05 --a woman with her elderly father limping with a cane.  A two block flat ride to a whale watching outlet and I've made $5.

I have just pulled up in front of the Empress when a handsome young man, Dave, and his young daughter Lauren, hail me. "Take us to Molé for breakfast," he says. Only locals know that trendy Pandora St.  restaurant. He is a Vancouver-based financier, the kind of guy who exudes the confidence of always knowing the best places to go. He is moored in the harbour on his 40 foot power boat. We cycle up Government Street. I am trying my darndest to make it look smooth and easy but  I am dying two blocks up the hill. Like a godsend, Dave says: "Pull over and stop here. Keep the metre running. We're going to do some Canada Day shopping" adding with a wink, "And you can catch your breath."  I would hug him if I weren't so sweaty.

They disappear into a tourist shop for a good 10 minutes. When they emerge, wearing matching Canada hockey sweaters and hats, carrying Canadian flags and a Canada teddy bear,  I am once again composed and cool. The rest of Government Street is easy in comparison. I tell him about my journalist past and my blogging of pedicab adventures for the summer. And for the first time I don't feel like an idiot. "Cool!" he says. We drop some BC journalist names and it turns out he is good friends with one of my husband's favourite colleagues. "Hey, why don't you two come down to my boat tonight and watch the fireworks! It'll be great!" Hmm, I am tempted to ditch the dinner party plans with old friends and accept... Ahhh on second thought, I may have lost my mind pedicabbing, but I haven't lost my social graces. A rain check. He warmly shakes my hand, wishes me luck with my writing and overpays me $20.

Feeding the seal at Fisherman's Wharf
Short taxi rides continue. At 12:30 pm I hear my name being called outside the Empress. Fellow female cabber Josee Galipeau is hailing me from across the street, jumping up and down waving her arms. She has secured a tour with a Californian family of four. Josee, a delightful Quebecois, 31, is full of energy and fascinating stories and as an accomplished mountain climber is as fit as they come. She has been cabbing two days. She kindly gives me the two tiny kids and takes the adults. We ride to feed the seals at Fisherman's Wharf, a guaranteed hit with children and parents alike.  The dad, Drew, tells us to wait because when they are finished they will do the Beacon Hill tour. Yahoo. Josee and I lounge in our cab seats, enjoying the rest.

When they come up from the dock, the kids hop into Josee's cab and rather than move them, Josee and I switch trikes. Her's is remarkably smooth, the gears switch so beautifully. No gear noise. I realize #11 I  have been riding is a dud. "Anne, your cab is awful," says Josee. As we ride up the hill into Beacon Hill park, I can hear #11 make more and more noise, then a clunking. A bearing has blown. Josee slips further and further behind. "Anne!," she yells. "I must take the kids in this cab!." The adults switch over to me in my smooth cab, and suddenly an easy ride is now hard. Josee sails by me with the kids in the clunking cab. I struggle as we enter Beacon Hill and on the final pitch come to a halt. "You are going to have to walk 10 feet," I say, unapologetically. By now they know my story. We all laugh. They happily oblige.

bobbysherman.jpgThe mom, Helen, is a year younger than me and we hit it off, comparing tales of workout tortures to stay fit over the years. I tell the story of Victoria's 1860s brides ships to populate the gold rush colony with women of good character, like the early 1970s TV show "Here Comes the Brides." We both squeal: Bobby Sherman! and compare notes on the posters that adorned our pre-teen walls. (Update: I googled the late 60s teen heart throb and pop star who was young "Jeremy" on Here Come the Brides tonight. Sherman is now a 64-year old paramedic in Southern California.)  Josee and I  together give a grand park tour and drop the family off at the putting green. Everyone is happy. The family has been with us for a total of 52 minutes, a combined fee of $104 for Josee and me. Drew hands us each $US 100, waving away change saying, "Thanks, you gals are terrific."

Despite the blown bearing and clunking #11, Josee and I sail over the roads back to the barn, hooping and hollering in glee. We have each netted more than $100 over our lease. My best day yet.

Posted on Sunday, July 1, 2007 at 08:18PM by Registered CommenterAnne | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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