More Adventures in Montreal

This is the third year we’ve cycled in Montreal on the August long weekend. It’s no coincidence that it’s the same weekend as the Osheaga outdoor music festival which my teenage daughter likes to attend. We arrived Thursday evening. There was not enough daylight left for a ride but we enjoyed a nice walkabout, gourmet burger and refreshments.

Day 1 – 92 km. Our day included cycling on Ile-des-Soeurs and on the canal bike path. Unfortunately, at about the 50km point, I missed a sharp turn in the bike lane, lost control of my bike and fell. Luckily I had Continue reading

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”

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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!

 

East of Ordinary

I wanted to share with you this wonderful video called “An East of Ordinary Summer in New Brunswick” done by Saint John firm T4G Limited and featuring the music of David Myles. I love cycling along of the coast and was thrilled to see that cycling made it into the 60 second video (watch for it at 0:17). Seeing our province and city through someone else’s lens is always eye opening!

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enthusiast versus aficionado

en·thu·si·ast     enˈTHo͞ozēˌast/

Definition: a person who is highly interested in a particular activity or subject.


 a·fi·ci·o·na·do   əˌfiSH(ē)əˈnädō,əˌfisyə-/

Definition: a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.


I’ve always called myself a cycling enthusiast but for some reason I recently used the word aficionado. I love linguistics and always try to use “big words” correctly so I started to question which word describes me best.  I love my bicycle but I don’t know how much it weighs or what type of derailleur it has. I love that it’s comfortable, goes fast, is a pretty colour purple and I like to ride it a lot. Based on that alone, I would say I’m currently an enthusiast. I could become an aficionado but the “nuts & bolts” of cycling really don’t interest me. Besides, I know a few cycling aficionados and it seems it’s often a slippery slope to the next stop… “zealot”


zeal·ot    ˈzelət/

Definition: a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

O Cannondale

This version of “O Christmas Tree” courtesy of my friend Shelley Wood. Not sure if she can take credit for the lyrics. If anyone knows the origin let me know…

NOTE: Stay tuned for the rebuttal… my own personal version of “Silent Night” 

O Cannondale, O Cannondale!
Your carbon frame is gleaming!
O Cannondale, O Cannondale,
Those new Ultegra parts are beaming!

We’ll ride outside when summer’s near,
Just need the cold to disappear!
O Cannondale, O Cannondale!
One hundred days ‘til spring time!

O Cannondale, O Cannondale,
Much pleasure do you bring me!
O Cannondale, O Cannondale,
Our indoor trainer time completes me!

Twelve hundred bucks to drop three pounds,
My love for you clearly abounds
O Cannondale, O Cannondale 
One hundred days ‘til spring time!

Bright lights, red tape, a red tire too
Festive bling for fat cat to chew …
O Cannondale, O Cannondale!
Best two-wheeled tree in history!

Photo courtesy of Shelley Wood

 

Drum roll please….

My final tally for 2013 is 3000 km. Winter weather is settling in with sub zero temps becoming the norm. Time to put away the bikes and take out the Christmas decorations.

I’ve decided to take it easy for the rest of the year and start training at my local Crossfit gym starting on January 1st. That will give me three good months of conditioning before next cycling season gets in to full swing. See ya’ next year…

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the music that moves me

The forecast looked promising for today but turned out to be full of empty promises. The sun never really made an appearance other than for a brief moment. When the temps drop, even with several layers: balaclava, full finger gloves and shoe covers… the cold bites…literally and figuratively! 

Despite the weather, we persevered. It was a milestone day with hubby reaching 3,000 km. While trying to distract myself from my numb fingers I got to thinking about songs that would be appropriate for the circumstance. The route is beautiful along the winding Kennebecasis River and the song “Just Around The Riverbend” from Pocahontas came to mind but the one that really stuck in my mind was Barney’s “Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun please shine down on me”. Sadly, begging for sun didn’t work!

Link to JUST AROUND THE RIVERBEND from Pocahontas

Barney’s MISTER SUN songImage

GoPro handlebar mount review

We installed the new GoPro handlebar mount on my hubby’s bike close to the handlebar stem. The basic mount would have the camera pointed to the side but comes with two additional pivot arms to get the camera facing in the direction you want.

With the camera mounted on the pivot arm the camera sits quite high. This is good because it helps get pics/video without the brake cables taking over the shot but bad because the greater the distance between the camera and the bike the greater the chance of vibration. Thankfully vibration wasn’t really an issue for me today because I was testing out the time lapse mode.

Overall impression: this mount is a much better design that the cheap one I purchased on ebay. It stays in place fairly well. The angle of the camera did have to be adjusted a few times as the joints will move slightly when the bike is subjected to major bumps or vibration. This is fine when the camera is mounted in the front but would be an issue if you had it mounted on your seat post facing backwards since you’d really have no way of knowing if the camera angle needed adjusting.

I’m pleased with the results of today’s shooting. I got some great shots. I put together a video called 60 km in 142 seconds. Check it out here

or click on photo collage below

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The Inside Ride in support of kids with cancer

Cancer is a subject that is near and dear to my heart! My husband is a Leukemia survivor!

That is why I’m doing the Inside Ride this Saturday. It’s a fantastic high energy fundraising event that is memorable and meaningful.

One in every 330 kids gets cancer in Canada. 100% of the receipted donations from this event help childhood cancer charities and the 10,000 kids living with cancer across Canada.

Just $5 or $10 would make a huge difference! Please sponsor me!

You can help us make a meaningful difference for kids with cancer. Please make a secured online tax receiptable donation now using PayPal or your credit card at the link below:

SPONSOR ME HERE

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In or out?

A local trail shop posted a short video on their Facebook page recently which really made an impression on me! It’s a video/advertisement created by Merrel which contrasts climbing a real mountain with simulating a climb on a stair master. The video is well done and really make me wonder why anyone would chose to workout inside when they could be outside communing with nature. I realize that going outside has it’s challenges i.e. inclement weather, a greater element of risk (think cycling in traffic versus spin class), sun exposure, bugs… but I gladly put up with all that to ride by sparking rivers/lakes/oceans, majestic trees and breathtaking views.

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Every ride is a new personal best

My previous best total mileage in 1 year was 2,055 km (2012). Today I’m at 2,221 km and the fall is blessing up with some gorgeous cycling weather. If the sun and nice temps hold up we should reach or even surpass our new goal of 2,500.

It’s a great feeling to realize, after each bike ride, that the odometer is registering a new personal best. We’re certainly going to have our work cut out for us next year is we want to keep achieving more.

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New Stretch Goal…2,500 km

It’s only the second week of September and we’ve already surpassed the mileage goal we had set for ourselves.  Until recently, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a stretch goal but I’ve come to realize that a goal should be difficult to reach. Despite the fact that the weather is getting cooler and it’s getting dark earlier, we should be able to get lots of great cycling in this fall so bring it on!

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Flat tires

Hubby and I have had some experience with flat bike tires over the years. We always did our best to prevent them; we kept our tires well inflated, we invested in Kevlar liners & we avoided pot holes/road hazards/sharp rocks as best we could but alas… we were plagued with, what seemed like, more than our fair share. Especially this summer! BUT then something changes…We purchased new road bikes with flat prevention technology built in. They’re made by Giant and have “Flat Guard” (trade mark). We had our first flat on the new tires today…after 1,400 km (total combined for both bikes). It seemed to us that a reasonable amount of time/mileage had passed and that the flat guard technology was working. Coincidentally, just the day before, I mentioned to Rob that we hadn’t yet had a flat with the new bikes. Oops…jinxed it!

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Patching the tube!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

It’s human nature to break things up in to manageable chunks. When we set out early this spring our cycling goal of 2,000 km seemed such a long distance off. Although we got off to a slow start, we’ve been biting off big chunks recently. The goal is in sight. To put in perspective…I’ve eaten three fourths of the orange…just a small segment left!

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Scouting a new route

We’re invited to cottage country next weekend for a horseshoe tournament. Our first thought was “oh that’s going to cut in to our cycling”. Is that pathetic?

Then we got the bright idea to bike there and back. It’s 85 km each way so getting there is certainly doable but the problem is, after arriving at said cottage, there would certainly be some “socializing” which might make it challenging to get on the bike the next morning for the return trip.

We’ve driven the road many times over the years but not with our cycling goggles on. Friday night we went for a drive. What we discovered:

  1. Big hills: This itself is not a problem. We are used to hills and especially the nice rolling kind make the ride more enjoyable.
  2. Very narrow: The shortest route to the lake takes us through some almost uncharted territory. The brush along the road is grown up and has not been cut back in many years.
  3. Winding: The road twists and turns. Although we are unlikely to encounter many cars along the way…they are also unlikely to be expecting to meet cyclist. On many of the turns, cars would not see you until the last second. Dangerous!
  4. Condition of the pavement: The pavement on these roads is a mess of cracks and potholes. Flat tires are no fun!
  5. Lack of stores: For long stretches there are no stores to stop and buy food or water. We would have to carry more supplies than usual.
  6. Lack of cell service: For long stretches there’s no cell phone coverage which means, if we did run in to trouble, we would have to flag down a passing car or stop at a nearby cottage. Maritimers are know for their hospitality so this is also not a show stopper but unsettling nonetheless.

Conclusion: We’ve decided that the ride is too risky. If we decide to go to the lake next weekend we’ll do an early morning ride and then take the car.

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NOTE: photo above is not of the road is question but gives you an idea of the conditions. 

New bike!

I’ve always ridden a hybrid but recently my husband and I have been thinking about upgrading to road bikes. The type of riding we’ve been doing most recently (longer and faster) certainly lends itself to better and lighter bicycles. So we did it!

On Friday we hit the bike sale a Bike Works and splurged on two carbon composite road bikes. Mine is the Giant “Avail” Composite 3 and his the Giant “Defy” Composite 3. We took them out for their inaugural ride to the Kingston Market and we shaved approx 15 minutes off our normal time. They fly!

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Dog Days of Summer

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Spent a lovely day with friends at their cottage near Cap Pelee, New Brunswick. Went for a ride on Saturday afternoon in the scorching 30+ Celcius (90+ F) heat. The breeze off the water was welcome relief as was the ice cold Moose Light Lime at L’Aboiteau Restaurant on the wharf. The evening was idealic just soaking in the dog days of summer with a beautiful sunset and roaring campfire.

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Happy Canada Day!

Went out for a cheap 50 km (not a lot of hills) with a stop on the Saint John waterfront for some hydration. Took advantage of some of the new dedicated bike lanes in and around Saint John. Saw some dear friends, heard some great bands and enjoyed the day…even had a quick chat with mayor Mel!

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Testing…is this thing on?

I’m still getting the hang of the GoPro camera. I don’t find the design intuitive. I’m always fumbling with the buttons hoping to press the right combination to get the setting I want. This shot of me was taken in photo burst mode.  Sadly I thought I was putting it on time lapse. Imagine my disappointment to get home and find 3 photos just like this one instead of the 30 shots I wanted (each at 1 minute intervals). Oh well.. I’ll master it soon enough. Lots more rides in the future to experiment with.

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GoPro handlebar mount…you get what you pay for.

I’ve been trying to get some creative cycling footage using the GoPro. I needed a tripod mount. Ebay had some for $5 but then I found a bicycle handlebar mount which included the tripod adapter for $9.00 (free shipping). This is not a GoPro product and a different design than the official GoPro handlebar mount but it looked like a decent design and the price was right.

The mount arrived and I quickly tried it out on a short 20 km ride. When mounted as described in the ebay listing the camera vibrated too much and the mount flopped over when subjected to too much vibration. The next day I mounted the camera upside down which resulted in more stability/less vibration and, because it was hanging down rather than sticking up, the flopping over was no longer a problem.

Shooting straight ahead wasn’t really an option because the brake cables would be in the shot. I put it on my husband’s bike and pointed the camera to the left so that I could get some footage of myself riding beside him. I was pleased with the results. Got some nice video and shots.

Too bad the mount broke part through the ride sending the camera and half the mount hurling to the ground. I heard of this happening before to someone who’s camera bounced in to the road and got run over by a transport truck (they never did find the blackbox i.e. memory card).

Suffice it to say…the design is flawed. The mount would be fine for something stationary such as a patio railing but it does not tolerate vibration well.

gopro mount broken

^^ Vendor: wetech-batteries  from China. Don’t waste your money on this one! ^^

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^ taken with the GoPro mounted upside down on my husband’s handlebars^