Day 3: Unamerican Activities

I ride out of Vancouver early on Sunday morning. The city belongs to groups of tai chi practitioners, surprisingly spry senior joggers, and one solar ebike putting along at 10 km/h (6 mph) because the battery is empty and the sky is overcast. I’m so slow that frail-looking octogenarians on cruiser bikes are passing me.

The locals seem startled when I smile and say hello. To be fair, some of them may be wearing headphones. I entertain myself by pointing forward and asking random strangers, “Is this the way to California?“

Five hours later, I’m at the border. The border agent looks me over. “Oh, that’s interesting. What is it?”

“It’s a solar powered ebike. I’m taking a little trip.”

“Did you build it?”


“Are you going to make it and sell it?”

“If I say no, will I be put on a list for suspicion of un-American activities and denied entry?”

“Have a nice day.”

I make it to the Bay View State Park hike/bike site half an hour after dark. There are no other bikers here. My ebike battery ran out of juice 7 miles from the finish line. Fortunately, I installed a small back up battery just to run the lights in situations like this. Thank you, past self.

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