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.
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.
“Gravel grinder” is a fairly new cycling term to me. It was about five years ago when I started seeking unpaved roads for cycling adventures. Saturday morning rides started by gathering friends via social media to ride any gravel roads we could find. The rides started in the fall after road riding was done and mountain bike trails were often too muddy, and we rode into the winter as long as it didn’t get too cold or if roads had too much snow or ice.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve blogged several times about the Paris to Ancaster (P2A) cycling event. I’ve blogged about my thoughts during the ride, how I prepare and even tips for newbies. Yesterday, I completed the shorter St.George to Ancaster event on my fat bike, and 2017 marked the 16th straight year I’ve entered the race.