It’s been an odd summer. We haven’t had the normal heat wave, and it seems like we get a good rain storm every few days. I’m not one to complain a lot about the weather, but as a cyclist, I’m always paying attention to it. I’m finally at the point in my concussion recover that I feel like I can ride a little harder and a little further, and now, the limiting factor is my lack of fitness, rather than my concussion symptoms. I’m not entirely symptom free, but I’m feeling better with each ride.
In my hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo, we’ve been extremely lucky to have one of the best mountain bike trail systems in Ontario. The Hydrocut has been a favourite mountain-biking destination for many years, with as many as 40,000 riders visiting each year. I first rode these trails more than 20 years ago (around 1992) when I heard a rumour that there were some trails “behind the landfill”. After lifting my bike over a fence, I discovered a hidden gem of a forest with a confusing network of trails with elevated platforms built between the trails in some areas.
Last fall, the wonderfull staff at Arkel sent me one of their new products for my bikepacking adventures: the Seatpacker – a 15-litre waterproof seatpack. A couple of weeks ago, I went on my first over-night bikepacking trip with the Seatpacker, and here’s my review (Disclaimer: This product was provided to me by Arkel at no cost. This review is based on my use of the product as well as information provided on Arkel’s website).
In addition to cycling, one of my favourite outdoor activities is camping. Since I was a kid, travelling to different provincial parks in Ontario has been a big part of each summer. This past weekend, I spent a couple of days at Awenda Provincial Park, near Midland-Penetanguishene, on the shore of Georgian Bay. As usual, I took a bike with me to explore.
When I started my quest to have 50 memorable bike rides in my 50th year, I purposely avoided any specific goals. I also avoided the use of the word “epic”, since it’s relative. I simply wanted to have 50 rides that were memorable to me. And “memorable” could mean any of the following:
As the end of May approaches, I thought I’d blog about my week in cycling, my continued recovery and some other thoughts. After a nice long weekend camping at Killbear (and riding to Norse Brewery), I decided to take a few days off cycling to let my head rest. As such, I didn’t commute to work last week.
I’m getting closer to completing my “50 memorable rides in my 50th year”. If you’ve been following, you’ll recall that my original goal was to complete all 50 rides in the calendar year when I turned 50. After my crash on Labour Day weekend, however, it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to complete all 50 rides in 2016.
It doesn’t seem like too long ago when I only needed one bike. My rides were to and from school, or friends’ homes. My bike riding season was spring until fall, when I’d put the bike away over the winter. I’d ride only on roads, sidewalks (gasp!) and paved trails. This was on a road bike I bought in Toronto for $300. A stainless steel, charcoal black Bianchi, it was the first bike I bought myself (I was 17), and I still have it in my basement.
One thing I haven’t written about in this blog since I started it a little over a year ago is my “day job”. I may have mentioned that I’m in engineer (so I like numbers), but I apply those engineering skills to water. When I’m not riding my bike, cleaning/tuning my bikes or thinking about cycling, I’m often thinking about water.