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.
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.
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:
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.
My previous blog post was about the 2017 Steaming Nostril/Runny Nose event a few of days ago. I don’t do a lot of racing, so when I do, these events tend to stick in my mind for a few days (maybe because my body is still reminding me of the effort).
There are some good options for fat biking in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. This winter is only the my second winter with a fat bike, so I’m only beginning to explore. Because my speed and distance are lower right now, my fat bike rides have been closer to home. This has given me the opportunity to check out local multi-use paths and trails. Continue reading →