When I write these blog entries, I usually assume that I’m preaching to the choir. Most readers are likely people who actively ride bicycles. And that’s great! When I started this blog, my hope was to encourage more people to cycle but also to get cyclists to cycle more. Whether or not that’s happening, I can’t say, but I’m always interested in discovering what motivates people to get on a bike.
2017 marks the third year that I’ve signed up for the Share the Road ride (Greg’s Ride). Each year in September SharetheRoad.ca organizes a charity ride to raise money to support their cause. I have previously blogged about the history of Share the Road here. Founder Eleanor McMahon has created an amazing program to support cycling awareness and infrastructure across Ontario.
When I first took interested in bikepacking, a Google search took me to a review of a bikepacking adventure by a guy named Miles Arbour. In 2016, he rode a system of trails and roads called the Central Ontario Loop Trail, or COLT. His article got me interested, and my brother Greg and I started to gear up in late 2016 in preparation for riding all or portions of the COLT in 2017.
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: