I’ve always thought that weather is perfect when we’re not talking about it. It’s easy to say it’s too cold or too hot or too humid or too windy or too wet to go for a bike ride. 2017 has been an interesting year, weather-wise. Summer was probably “average, in terms of temperature and rainfall, but it seemed like we didn’t have the heatwave that we normally get, and it seemed to rain every few days.
I’ve been at my current day job for about six years, and when I started in 2011, the commute was a short 9-10 km distance that I didn’t cycle enough. I even had the luxury of secure bike storage, a shower, and the Grand River Trail. In March of this year, my employer moved to Guelph, and my commute jumped to about 22 km. Strangely, I’ve commuted by bike this year a lot more than in previous years when I had a shorter commute.
I am a cyclist. I’m a mountain biker, a roadie, a gravel cyclist, a fat biker. A commuter, a touring cyclist, and an occasional racer I ride 12 months of the year. In temperatures from as high as 35 C to as low as minus 25 C. In snow, rain, wind, sun, clouds. Up hills. Down hills. Fast. Slow.
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.
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.
According to Strava, May 11 (last Thursday) was Global Bike to Work Day(since it’s on Strava, it must be true). So I thought this would be a good day to ride to work (and back).
When faced with something new, we tend to react in one of two ways: we can embrace the change in a curious manner and learn about it, or we can turn our back on it and rationalize our fear of something we don’t understand.