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A flag for my bike

2011/07/06

Everybody has been asking me if I will have a flag on my bike during our ride. I wasn’t keen on this until I found one in Vancouver, where I bought a used bike flag at the Binners Market.

Kristen and I had been walking through Gastown, turned the corner, and came across a street market. How exciting, I love markets! As we got closer it was clear this was a different kind of market. There was somebody serving food out of the back of a van to a line of people, but the people didn’t seem to be buying the food, just getting it. Everything was laid out on tarps and blankets on the ground. It was hot and sunny. there was a lanky man dripping sweat from his face as he worked, kind of upside down, on a BMX bike. There was another young man who was dragging a dog around the market with him. He went sporadically through the market, stopping here and there to look through stuff, and even once tried on a stretchy bracelet on his dog’s front right leg. The market had this feeling of livelihood to it. Unlike flea markets I’ve been to in the past, where it seemed as though the vendors would simply go home at night whether or not they sold their stuff, this place had a feeling of living and necessity to it — where the sale of something would make a noticeable difference in somebody’s life.

After walking through the market and getting out our map to find Chinatown, some guy walking by offered us directions there assuming that was where we were going. I asked him about this market and he told us that this area of Vancouver has one of the highest poverty rates and highest crime rates, and that the market was started due to tensions between the police and people selling stuff out of “bins” up and down the streets. That’s why it felt like it did. Learn more about the binners market and, more importantly, about the lives of the people who sell there: Megaphone, Vancouver’s Street Paper, podcast on Rabble.ca, Vancouver Courier, Downtown Eastside Neighborhood Council

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