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How to Protect Your Bike From Being Stolen

With summer in full swing, there are more people than ever out on their bikes. Unfortunately that also means that there are more temptations than ever for bike thieves. Granville Island, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vancouver, even has a Bike Valet where tourists and locals can leave their bikes safely under supervision while checking out the island.

Even if there is no supervised place to leave your bike for any length of time, there are ways you can reduce your risk of returning to find it gone. The following are a few tips on how to protect your bike from being stolen.Bike-not-locked

  • Lock your bike in a well-lit location with lots of people and video surveillance.
  • Don’t lock your bike in the same location every day.
  • Lock your bike next to other bikes instead of on its own.
  • Don’t lock your bike with a cheap lock, which are easy for thieves to remove.
  • Lock your bike frame to something solid that cannot be broken, cut or removed.
  • Don’t lock your bike to anything it can be lifted off.
  • Take any unsecured parts with you, like tires or the seat.
  • Make sure your lock doesn’t touch the ground, which will make it easier for a thief to use a sledgehammer on it.
  • Leave as little space as possible between the lock and the bike so thieves can’t break the lock using leverage.
  • Take your bike with you if you notice a punctured tire since it may be a tactic used by a thief to get you to leave it unprotected for longer.

How to Pack a Backpack for Easy Access

If you have ever taken a backpack on a trip, I’m sure you’ve experienced a situation where you need to access something quickly and it just happens to be at the very bottom. It is inevitable that this will happen again, but the following are five tips on how to reduce the chances of always having to dig to the bottom for that one item you’re looking for.

Organize gear

Sort your gear with stuff sacks of different sizes and colours

Least used at bottom

Pack the items you use least at the bottom of the pack

Commonly used at top

Put items like raincoats and gloves at the top for easy access in case the weather changes

Emergency items on outside

Keep small emergency items in the outside pockets for quick access

Fill in the space

Fill the empty spaces by putting smaller items inside larger related ones, utensils inside cups or socks inside shoes

The Different Types of Outer Layer Shells

Last week I wrote about layering clothes for travel outdoors, starting with the base layer and finishing with the outer layer. A shell, which is the name commonly used for the outer layer, protects you from wind, rain or snow, but some do better than others.

Shells can generally be sorted into one of the following categories according to performance, ranging from the cheapest to most expensive options.

Breathable, Water-Resistant Shells

Best For: Aerobic activities in light precipitation.

How it Works: Made from materials that are tightly woven to block wind and light rain while being stretchy for comfort during high-energy activities. Most are treated with a Durable Water Repellency(DWR) coating so that water beads and rolls off the jacket instead of soaking through.

Non-breathable, Waterproof Shells

Best For: Light activity in heavy precipitation.

How it Works: Most commonly made from a polyurethane-coated nylon that is windproof and waterproof, but not breathable. Also treated with a DWR finish that causes water to bead and roll off the jacket.

Breathable, Waterproof Shells

Best For: High-energy activities in heavy precipitation.

How it Works: The best ones are made with a thin membrane that has microscopic pores to stop water from getting in while allowing sweat escape. This membrane is bonded to the shell’s outer fabric, which is also treated with a DWR coating.

How to Layer Clothes for Travelling

Layering-ClothesOne of the perpetual challenges of travelling is how to pack light while still being prepared for a wide variety of situations. This is where wearing layers comes in handy, but what does it actually mean to layer your clothing?

Thought technically correct, there is more to layering than simply wearing a jacket on top of a shirt on top of a tank top. The basic idea is that layering makes it easy to adjust quickly to changeable weather and activities, therefore increasing your comfort while exploring the outdoors. Each layer has a purpose and there are certain guidelines on what to choose.

Below is a basic guide on how to layer clothing to maximize comfort while outdoors.

Base Layer

Where: Against your skin

Function: Helps regulate body temperature and keep you dry by moving perspiration away from your skin, thereby staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter

Material: Merino wool or synthetic fabrics that move or “wick” perspiration away from the skin and allows it to the outer surface of the clothing, allowing it to evaporate

Examples: Underwear, tops or bottoms that can be snug or loose

Middle Layer

Where: On top of base layer

Function: Used for insulation by trapping air close to your body and therefore retaining heat

Material: Natural material such as goose down and merino wool or synthetic material such as fleece

Examples: Sweaters, vests or jackets.

Shell Layer

Where: Outermost layer

Function: Protects against wind, rain or snow by preventing moisture from getting in while still letting perspiration escape

Material: Water-resistant or waterproof material such as Gore-Tex

Examples: Windproof jackets, soft shells or hard shells


How to Survive Bear Encounters

For many travellers within Canada, seeing bears in the wild is a highlight of a trip, as log as they’re seen from a safe distance. Interestingly, bears are travellers themselves, going hundreds of kilometres to seek food, shelter and mates, often venturing into urban areas to find what they’re looking for. Making things even more complicated, bears will eat almost anything – as long as it smells edible, they’ll go after it.

When in bear country, it doesn’t matter if you are actually out in nature or in an urban area surrounded by nature – there is always a chance of encountering a bear.

Bear Facts

  1. Bears are typically active from mid-March to November
  2. Bears use their keen sense of smell to navigate
  3. Mother bears are very protective of their young
  4. Once a bear finds a food source, they will often return there time and again, even if it is in an urban environment
  5. Bears that find food near humans tend to lose their natural fear of humans

Avoiding Bear Encounters

  1. Travel as part of a group
  2. Make noise to let bears know you are there
  3. Be alert for fresh bear signs
  4. Avoid wearing strong scents or eating strong-smelling foods
  5. Never approach a bear

Dealing with Bear Encounters

  1. Stay calm and remain still to assess the situation
  2. Speak in a calm, firm voice to let the bear know that you are human
  3. Back away slowly and NEVER run
  4. Have your bear spray ready and use it if necessary
  5. If attacked, fight a black bear or play dead with a grizzly