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:
Finally the nice weather is upon us! And I’ve been able to enjoy the sunshine by riding more. This includes some city riding to local destinations, and a nice weekend gravel grinder with my riding buddy Ron (founder of Contrabean – a local coffee roasting company). Ron and I used to ride a lot together and we entered many mountain bike events (24- and 8- hour relays, and Crank the Shield). Times have changed but we still enjoy getting out.
With the month of June upon us, cycling season is in full swing and despite the rainy May that we had, the weather has been good to get out on the bike. On this first weekend in June, I was able to add two new rides to my nearly-complete “50 memorable rides in my 50th year” quest: Ride 47: 70 km of city trails in Kitchener-Waterloo, and Ride 48: 2017 Ride for Heart in Toronto.
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.