In Spain they outrun the bulls, Kentucky hosts a derby, Boston has its famous marathon, and for the last ten years Metro Vancouver has rolled out the Bus Stop Hop. The event is hosted by the BC Paraplegic Association, a great organization for the mobility challenged that offers a variety of programs and opportunities for PWDs including events like this one.
|Translink is a major sponsor|
It's a team race made up of people with varying abilities. This year's route started at one of Granville Island's pockets of accessibility (see post "The Island that time forgot"), Performance Works, and stretched to YVR in Richmond, North Vancouver's Lonsdale Quay, back to Vancouver, on to Science World, then home to Granville Island. Teams plan their own route and at various stops complete a series of tasks, find clues, and answer questions. Some challenges are optional and some are not. You receive points for completed tasks and for correct answers to such questions as how many of the city of Vancouver's 27,000 corners have curb cuts? (The answer is here in last paragraph.) You travel from one beautiful location to another via Translink's 100% accessible fleet of trains, buses and Seabuses (see http://www.translink.ca/). Another option this year was the use of accessible Aquabus routes along False Creek (see post "False Creek transportation truly innovative").
The goal of the race is to have a good time while testing Metro Vancouver's accessibility and overcoming the barriers that still exist. Near the race's end it was evident that some racers were in it to win it and others were just having fun.
The tasks were aimed at challenging all team members. For example, sighted team mates were blind- folded and verbally guided around parts of Granville Island. Other tasks included searching Science World to find the name of "the horniest dinosaur that ever did roam", seeking out a historic site on the North Shore, and locating and identifying pioneer statues at YVR.
|Off and running, rolling, and limping|
|Team mates race towards the Seabus|
|North Van check in|
|Looking for the horny dinosaur|
You could cheat by hiring our fairly accessible (20% of the registered cabs in Vancouver according to the trivia question answers) taxi fleet, but not by jumping aboard our 100% inaccessible tour buses.
The event was a lot of fun and I met some interesting people. Along the way we were treated to snacks and refreshments of all kinds, and it all ended with a BBQ party to award prizes to the winners. If you got hopelessly lost you could contact event coordinators but it would cost you 10 points. Coordinators were also there to assist you with any mechanical difficulties or other emergencies. To find out more about the BCPA go to http://www.bcpara.org/.
|Craig Langston of the winning team|
This year's winning teams out of 63 racers were:
- Carol Schoyen, Jessica Schoyen, Craig Langston, Heather Andrews and Joey Brunton.
- Vivia Garcia, Sarah Chung and Tina Poole.
- Vince Preap, Urs Brasser, Hidy and Jenny (last names held on request)
Well, off to beautiful Deer Lake in Burnaby for the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival this coming weekend. I'll be back with a report on the park and them dulcet blues. Until next time, stay cool my wheeled peeps. And for the rest of you, if you don't need them, keep Vancouver's 19,000 curb cuts clear.