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A day spent cycling throughout Vancouver's downtown core to check out the Olympic sites. Didn't have to pay for parking, gas, didn't have..

This weekend, mr. youngandthrifty and I decided to take our newly acquired bicycles for a ride to downtown and check out the Olympic venues.  There’s been a lot of media buzz about the Olympics because it IS only a few days away, and there seemed to be many free events going on downtown.  I wasn’t a big supporter of the Olympics to be honest because I want to keep Vancouver to myself, of course (BAD youngandthrifty, BAD!) and because the road closures everywhere are a big pain in the butt.  However the Olympic spirit and excitement has since rubbed off on me (hey, if you can’t beat them, join them, right?).

We took our bicycles and cycled all around for about 15-20 kilometres (see my detailed map below) and checked out all the venues.  I realized that cycling in Vancouver is actually really fun, easy, and a cheap way to go downtown (since parking is $6-8 an hour now in downtown, I estimate we saved about $16 in parking and we were spared from worrying about whether our parking would expire).  It was great in that we didn’t have to worry about traffic.   We saved on gas AND I got to fit in some exercise AND it was a beautiful day (10 degrees in the middle of winter, thanks to global warming and El Nino!  Not so good for the Winter Olympics, but good for cycling around).  It was a win-win situation, really.  Except that I felt like I was hit by a car Mack Truck the next day because my muscles were so sore. Thankfully, I made a quick recovery.

There are some many free things to do: like free Ice Skating, free Zip Line across buildings, free concerts, free light shows.  Might as well take advantage of it since it’s being paid for with our tax dollars, right?

We even checked out the Olympic store at The Bay (a Canadian department store since 1670- now American owned) and bought some Olympic gear.  I realized that I didn’t bring my pannier (it’s bicycle speak for a bag that you can hang off the back of your bike) nor did mr. youngandthrifty bring his backpack.  It would be dangerous to hang our stuff that we just bought off the handlebars.  So mr. youngandthrifty came up with a brilliant, brilliant idea.  WARNING this is kind of shameless: We bought a backpack at The Bay to put our stuff in, and then returned it the next day (with tags still intact)!

It worked out really quite well, actually.

Have you done something shameless like that before?  Like buy something and return it because you only needed to use it once? Please share! Don’t worry you can comment anonymously if you want- we won’t judge!

Do you use your bicycle to get around where you live?

Article comments

Derry Brown says:

It was in the weekend paper and I can’t find an online copy. The article was called ‘Democracy goes on ice for the games’. It covers the extraordinary lengths that authorities are going to in order to stifle opposition. It is not possible to fly anti-Olympic banners even on private property for instance. Nearly all the social housing component has been abandoned in order to fund the Olympic village. Authorities have even reserved the right to act unlawfully in order to provoke incidents just like they did in 2007 when undercover officers threw rocks and deliberately inflamed situations during the Canada-USA-Mexico summit. They have currently infiltrated anti-Olympic protest groups in order to act as provocateurs. Also to my surprise the 1976 games ran at a big loss with the bill was being paid off in 2006.

It closed with – More important, surely, is the opportunity for Canadians to have another chance to celebrate that marvelous Olympic goal; you know the one about servicing the harmonious development of man, “with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”. If that means protesters being bullied, the homeless being chased out of town, democracy being suspended, and the poor being sold out for big business, it can only be a small price to pay.

I don’t know enough about it myself to have an opinion.

young says:

@Derry Brown, Yes, we’ll see how it’ll pan out. One thing is for sure, the excitement in the air is electric. There are many anti-Olympic supporters and it IS getting pretty hair so far! I wouldn’t say that the social housing has been abandoned per se, in fact, there are a lot more social housing buildings being built up in the Downtown Eastside (I know of three that are actively being built). They DID extend the hours of the meter parking until 10pm from 8pm, and increased the parking fees in downtown, raised property taxes, introduced a harmonized sales tax, and cut funding to women and children’s services…AND we did use the city’s (e.g. taxpayer) money to fund the Olympic housing to bail the developer’s out when there was that credit crisis (eek! That doesn’t make it sound too good, does it?). Well, time will tell but in the meantime, I think we should all just enjoy the ride.

Derry Brown says:

Hey on a side note. I just read an interesting article that has opened my eyes to other reasons why many people in your town are not so excited about the Olympics coming. I guess I really shouldn’t comment on a topic when I don’t know all the facts. You obviously understand what I was trying to say though.

young says:

@Derry Brown, really? What article is that? Do you have a link? Today in the news, there was another riot and they smashed one of The Bay’s windows! The anti-Olympic protesters are getting a bit violent, I must say.

Derry Brown says:

Young And Thrifty, I notice two things in this post that between the lines I see as coming from a mindset of scarcity.

1 – The shameless backpack thing
2 – “I want to keep Vancouver to myself”

In my opinion for someone like yourself who is more financially aware than most I am surprised that you would ‘borrow’ the backpacks. That is not an example of being thrifty it is financially backwards thinking.

You must never take more from people than you give in return. Not only is it bad karma but it is where capitalism fails and the cause of recessions. The bumble bee is the worlds best capitalist. He is ambitious and hard working and every flower he takes from he pollinates in return. The more flowers he eats from, the more magnificent the garden will be next season.

Your comment about wanting to keep Vancouver to yourself even if you were joking is from the same backwards, scarcity thinking. I see the Olympics as like the bumble bee; it will take a lot from Vancouver but give far more back in the way of jobs, exposure and money into the economy.

Perhaps I am reading too deeply between the lines of your comments but you may want to reflect on your philosophy around, scarcity and abundance. There is no shortage of money in the world but if we horde and take, take, take from the garden without giving back there will be less for everyone. We must be wise with how me allocate our money but if your hands are clenched. protecting what you have then you can’t open then to receive more.


young says:

Derry, thank you for your insightful comment and analogy of capitalism to the Bumble Bee. I had never heard of that analogy (I didn’t take economics in school, though I wish I did). I will endeavour to strive to be like the bumble bee and be more conscious of my actions and words (I’m sorry to have offended anyone!). I guess a good solution is to buy a place in Vancouver, and then with all the positive returns from the Olympics in terms of immigration and people wanting to live in “The Best Place on Earth” (that’s BC’s slogan, by the way!), the value of my home may appreciate. PS I DO feel guilty about the backpack thing- that’s why I confessed on my blog! =)

Oh mannn…I’m so jealous of you.

I’d love to have the winter olympics around here. Too bad I live in a city that doesn’t even have a single pro sports team ><

young says:

Hey at least you don’t live in a city where the Pro Basketball sports team had to LEAVE! =) (the Grizzlies).
Which city are you from?
We’ll see how this winter olympics stuff pans out! We spent a BILLION dollars on security alone (my poor taxpayer wallet! =P )

I wouldn’t call that shameless; that’s smart.

I actually do this all the time with books. I’ll either read them right there in the bookstore, or read them and return them within the week. I’m not a fan of keeping books, especially since I won’t read them the 2nd time around.

I don’t have a bike, but I’ve been looking to invest in one so that I can have it for the summer. Cross fingers…maybe this summer will be it!
.-= Investing Newbie

young says:

@Investing Newbie Thanks for the validation that our little scheme is smart, not sneaky. =)
I’m not that good at reading books within a week, but that’s a good idea. I do like going to the book stores an reading their books instore- it makes for a fun (and free) day. I wonder how bookstores stay in business so well…

You know it’s a good time to buy a bicycle now, because all the bicycle shops are hurtin’ for business (dead of winter). You can strike a better deal that way (that’s what we did).