Bonjour mon amie

65 km cycling around Montreal, Quebec.

Montreal is a great cycling city! Lots of dedicated trails and well marked cycling routes throughout the city. Observation…most cyclist in this urban area don’t wear helmets. Yikes!

Soundtrack: Bonjour Mon Amie by Josh Woodward (album Sunny Side of the Street)
Licensed under Creative Commons

 

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Groovy Pavement

grooved pavement aheadHubby and I went for a 100 km ride today. I have to say it was NOT one of our more enjoyable rides. It held a lot of promise…The wind was favourable for the ride home which is when you want it but several things contributed to it being less than a perfect ride A) the closest ferry to cycling paradise (a.k.a the Kingston Peninsula) has been out of service for months so we have had to take an alternate route to another ferry 30 km away. That in-and-of-itself is not a problem but add to that B) the pavement torn up from that ferry landing to our beloved Kingston Market (4 km of dirt road!) plus C) Just as we turned the corner at the 50 km mark to enjoy the wind at our back… what do we find? 8 km of grooved pavement. To summarize over 10% of our ride was on torn up roads. Home now and I feel like a martini… shaken not stirred!

Acadian Coastal Drive

cape pele 2015 confed bridgeSpent a beautiful summer day cycling along the New Brunswick Acadian Coastal Drive. Our adventure started in Cap Pele and took us to the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre for lunch. Cape Jourimain is also the gateway to the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island. The curved, 12.9 kilometre (8 mile) long bridge is the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water. The Confederation Bridge opened to traffic on May 31, 1997, at a total construction cost of one billion dollars. We would have loved to bike across it but, unfortunately, bicycles and pedestrians are not permitted. A fantastic day of riding nonetheless with sightseeing and a little Acadian crafts shopping along the way. We arrived back to our friend’s cottage mid afternoon for some great company and a lovely meal.

cape pele

tuned up & waiting patiently

Saint John, New Brunswick has received record snow fall this winter and the snow banks are still over my head in many places. If you have not seen this in the news just google images of  “snow saint john new brunswick 2015” to get a sense of it. The total snow fall is well over 400 cm (over 15 feet!) breaking a 52 year record. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/saint-john-smashes-52-year-old-snowfall-record-1.3001318

bike tuned up

Being the eternal optimist that I am, I took the bike in for it’s spring tune up. Come on spring!

60 km in 142 seconds

Sitting at my desk dreaming of warmer days like this one when we rode along the beautiful Kennebecasis River. Much of the footage is from the Kingston Peninsula but also takes you through Quispamsis, Rothesay and Saint John.

NOTE: This short video was complied using GoPro time lapse photos (every 30 seconds). I slowed down the shots where we are cycling at a slower pace or stopped.

 

That’s Goal Jerry, Goal!

Reached my annual goal of 3,000 km on October 19th this year almost a full month ahead of last year. Yay!

The way we reached it was very different from last year. Most of our riding this year was long (65-100 km) rides on the weekends versus more frequent shorter (20 km) and medium (50km) rides spread throughout the week. Also, the weather was on our side this cycling season with most weekends being rain free and not too hot. Will be interesting to see what our final tally is…

goal jerry

Lack of energy on “energy tour”

This is a follow up to Monday’s post. Although it was a fantastic day and a great ride I was not in top form. The climbs and the wind bothered me more than usual. I was recently diagnosed with low iron and I’m thinking that may have been a contributing factor to my fatigue. Since being diagnosed, I’ve been eating more iron rich foods such as hemp hearts, smoked mussels & oysters and red meat. I’m also taking an iron supplement at bedtime with a glass of apple juice (the vitamin C is said to aid significantly in iron absorption). Unfortunately, from what I’ve read, it can take up to 8 weeks for my new habits to have an impact on my iron levels. To make matters worse, physical activity has been found to reduce iron levels in women so my cycling could be compounding the problem.

If anyone has any ideas or advice for me…please drop me a note in the comment section below.

Tour of SJ Energy Infrastucture

On Thanksgiving Monday hubby and I set out to tour the city. It just happened that our route took us by (or at least very near) much of our area’s energy installations. Our 75 kilometre ride took us west to the Coleson Cove power generating station. Next we headed east across the causeway and by the East Saint John Marine Terminal. We then rode by the Irving Refinery on our way out to Red Head. We didn’t quite make it out to the Canaport Liquid Natural Gas Terminal before heading back home. It was a beautiful fall day!

energy map

Energy Tour

Major milestone reached together

My husband and I have officially cycled 10,000 km together. This is the mileage we’ve registered since we started keeping track in 2010. When we started biking together we didn’t have the right equipment, the right clothing or the right gadgets for keeping track. It started with a bike ride around the neighbourhood after supper one night and slowly grew from there.

10,000 km translates into 400-500 hour. The bulk of those miles it was just the two of us. It’s safe to say that, individually, we would not be close to that number. When I’m feeling lazy he pushes me and vice versa. Cycling in the middle of nowhere with no distractions is when we talk about work, family, parenting, our health and our dreams. We also plan vacations (around cycling ) and our retirement…which we hope will include a lot more cycling! It’s been good for our relationship!

P.S. This is all the more remarkable when you realize that my husband lost close to a year when he was diagnosed with Leukemia (AML) in June 2011 and had a stem cell transplant in November 2011. The treatment nearly killed him and his recovery took time but cycling made him strong again!

bike date

Cartoon courtesy of www.bikeyface.com

VIDEO: Active Recovery Following Climb

Went out for an 11.4 km ride today. This was one of my shortest tides of the year. To be honest, I was nervous about even attempting it since I can barely walk up and down stairs following a Wednesday climb up Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. The ride went fairly well and was an important part of recovering.

If anyone’s interested in our climb, I’ve posted a 5 minute video which features the highlights. Make sure you turn up the volume. The soundtrack is called “Follow the Road” by Josh Woodward. Click on the image below to watch video>>>

Sesamoiditis & Cycling

I’ve recently been diagnosed with Sesamoiditis in my left foot. I was experiencing a dull pain in my big toe joint that would come and go. I knew right away that something was wrong and I’m not the type to ignore such things. I want to be active for, at least, the next 30 years… gotta take care of my body!

This is inflammation of the tendons in the ball of the foot under the big toe joint. This is a degenerative problem from years of use and abuse. Goodbye high heeled shoes!  I was fitted for custom orthotics which fit in my Shimano cycling shoes like a glove. They have a ridge just behind the ball of the foot (under the metatarsal bones) which takes the pressure off the ball of the foot. My particular orthotics also have a soft cushiony spot directly under my big toe joint. I’ve cycled with them a couple of times now and they seem to be be taking the pressure off.

I’m off to climb Mount Katahdin in Maine in less than 2 weeks and I was very worried that this was going to become a problem but I’m noticing the pain less and less. Wish me luck…

Sesamoiditis

Gopro caught him stealing a kiss!

I entered the BIKE FOR BREATH Facebook photo contest. My photo is called “Gopro caught him stealing a kiss”. If you’d like to vote for my pic and help me win a cool jersey that would be awesome!

vote

A great day to reach 2,000 km

It was a beautiful day in Saint John, NB. It also happened to be the day that Marathon-by-the-sea was taking place. We were a little worried setting out as our regular Sunday route intersected with the marathon route in several spots. We were afraid of hold ups and being re-routed. Our worries were all for naught. Not only was the marathon not an issue…it was an advantage! Our timing was perfect. We avoided the runners for the most part and the orange pylons set up all along the route ensured that vehicles gave us a wide berth.

We did our regular Sunday route twice (total of 90 km) to get me to 2,000 km YTD!

photo collage 200 km

A Sappy Sackville Summer Saturday

The New Brunswick Day long weekend took us to Cap-Pele, N.B. to visit friends at their cottage on the shores of the Northumberland strait. The weather was ideal for a ride in to Sackville for lunch (44 km away). We arrived to find the main street of this quaint University town closed to vehicles and crawling with preppies and hipsters setting up booths for their 9th annual SappyFest. Live music from a nearby tent entertained us while we sat at an outdoor patio and enjoyed a brew and some good eats. Oh how easy it would have been to spend the entire afternoon people watching and taking in the events but, alas, the shore was calling to us. We stretched the ride home a little to get the total mileage over 100 km.

cap pele to sackville return

Freakishly small hands?

Wondering if anyone has any advice? I’m 5′ 2″ tall. I have a Giant Avail road bike. It’s specifically designed for women and I love the way it fits me BUT when I place my hands on top of the hood between my thumb and forefingers, my fingers only just reach the brake levers.  I don’t feel that I have good control for braking in this position and often move to the drops when going downhill or anytime I feel I may have to brake quickly. I prefer to ride up top which forces me to press my hands in hard to get better access to the brake levers. This causes pain between my thumb and index finger on long rides.

The problem has recently been exacerbated because I got new gloves  (Louis Garneau One Calory ERGO Air) which don’t seem to provide as much cushioning in that area as my previous ones (Pearl Izumi style #8602, black with white floral stitching on back of hand).

The easy solution is to get another pair of the Pearl Izumi gloves which are still available on Amazon.com.

My question… is there a better long term solution? A brake system designed for smaller hands perhaps?

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The Clifton Royal Photo Project

The top of “gas station” hill in Clifton Royal (Kingston Peninsula, New Brunswick) is one of my favourite places to stop, wipe my brow, catch my breath, have a drink and enjoy the view. The top of the hill provides lovely vistas of the Kennebecasis River, the shade of an apple tree and we get to watch the beautiful horse that lives here for a few minutes.

Hubby took a photo of me last year in this spot and again today. I came up with a great idea…. I’m going to have hubby take a photo of me in this same spot once a year so I can see the changes. Here’s years 1 & 2 to start.

I’ve also created a “page” to chronicle the project. I’m 46 years old now…I hope to keep it going to 20-30 years! To see that page click on the tab or click here

clifton royal first two years

A coffee table book signed by the 2014 winner of the Tour de France!

book

If you are in to art, cycling and/or the Tour de France you might like this crowd funding project. For a $25 pledge plus $22 (shipping to Canada) you would get a copy of the 192 page book full of beautiful & original 2014 Tour de France cycling art (signed by the artist). I purchased a painting from Greig called “A Hard Climb’s Reward” as a gift for my hubby a while back. Greig Leach’s cycling art is awesome! I think this would make a great coffee table book for any home or bike shop!

BUT THERE’S MORE…For a $500 pledge you can get a copy of the booked signed by the winner of the Tour de France 2014 (5 available)! When I read this I wondered how Greig could be so sure that the winner would sign 5 copies of his book so I sent him a quick note on Facebook. (where I first read about the project). Here’s what he said…

“My editor is very connected to the peloton, knows many of the riders personally. She has interviewed all of the major contenders and lives in the Cote d’Azur region of France where most make their homes.” and then also replied with “I wouldn’t offer something that couldn’t happen, it is important to be a man of my word.”  ~ Greig Leach

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1335072134/book-de-tour

Two countries…too hot!

Left yesterday morning for a spur of the moment getaway to the Rossmount Inn in beautiful St. Andrews-by-the-sea, New Brunswick. Arrived at the Rossmount mid-morning, changed in to our cycling clothes and hit the road. Our cycling route took us to St. Stephen, New Brunswick (a.k.a. Chocolate town) and then across the Milltown border crossing in to Calais, Maine. The U.S. part of our tour was brief…we re-entered N.B. at the St. Stephen border approx. 20 minutes later (and that included a very quick cheeseburger and bottle of water at McDonalds). I know…I know… McDonalds? We wanted something quick & cheap just to hold us over until our gourmet meal that evening.

Arrived back at the Inn after a very hot (30 degrees celcius/ 86 degrees fahrenheit) & hilly 65 kilometre ride. A quick shower and we were relaxing in the shade of the veranda with a cold beer!

Since we made our reservation last minute, the dining room could only seat us at 9 p.m. The meal did not disappoint and was worth the wait! Salad and appetizers were perfect. For the entrees I chose the duck and Rob chose the cod…both wonderful! We finished our bottle of Pinot Noir out on the veranda and, not long after, sleep was not hard to find!

I miss the Main Street protected bike lane!

It’s almost Canada Day. The Marigolds on Main are in full bloom but there’s no sign of the Main Street protected bike lane {sad face}. The City of Saint John has been great to install the barriers and bike signals for the last three summers but, alas, it looks like they won’t be doing it this year. Does anyone out there know why?

Does your city install temporary protected bike lanes each year? If not… do you wish they did? Here’s a great article I stumbled on called “‘READY, FIRE, AIM’: HOW TO MAKE A GREAT PROTECTED BIKE LANE PILOT PROJECT”

Image

Yup, that’s me (in 2013)… using the Main Street dedicated bike lane. Probably heading home after a great brunch at at the Queen’s Square Farmers Market!