We’re now well into fall and winter is starting to arrive. For many, this means setting up the trainer or signing up for a spin class and riding indoors. For others (like me), it means getting out the warm clothing layers and getting out on the gravel roads!
First, a bit of history: I started cycling in the 1990s as a mountain biker (discounting rides around the neighbourhood as a kid). I used to ride once a week in Dundas Valley before mountain biking was popular. When I joined the Waterloo Cycling Club in 2002, I bought a used road bike and joined the group rides, although my passion was still on the trails. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.