Thorn Cycles Forum

Community => Non-Thorn Related => Topic started by: Andre Jute on January 01, 2018, 11:43:26 PM

Title: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on January 01, 2018, 11:43:26 PM
(http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/river_bandon_in_june_-_photo_by_helen_lane_800pxw.jpg)

Summer will come again. It will! It will!

If you take a ride, report it here. Photographs most welcome. What may be pretty commonplace to you -- like my green scenery that I just cannot escape -- to members of the forum from elsewhere may be rare and wonderful, so don't ever think you're boring us.

(http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/portrait_of_a_cyclist_by_helen_lane_800pxw.jpg)
Andre Jute is a novelist and painter — and a cyclist — who lives in West Cork.

Photos by my pedalpal Helen Lane.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on January 02, 2018, 12:56:36 AM
Great photos of & from The Holy Ground, Andre!

My photo (i) has no green :( and (ii) WRT cycling, shows why there isn't much right now.

As compensation, you'll see why the house across the street has won the NASOTTT medal this year: the Neighbourhood Award for Seasonal Over-The-Top Tackiness.

Cheers, eh.

John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on January 02, 2018, 01:35:13 AM
Ugh! And that's not for the neighbor's seasonal decorations but for the ice clinging to the leaves and the ground. I can understand why you don't cycle with ice underfoot: it's treacherous stuff even with four spiked wheels under you, never mind on a bicycle, a broken hip waiting to happen.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on January 02, 2018, 03:11:18 AM
I got out for a quick -- real quick! -- 100km ride today here. Nothing exotic, just a leg-stretcher. Here in Oregon, we had freezing fog that settled as frost and black ice. As if that weren't slick enough, the moss has sprouted on the pavement (photo below) and it is really slippery. The Nomad and I picked our way along carefully, but any slight grade resulted in rear wheel spin, making me feel temporarily powerful as I entered the New Year.  ;)
=====
After my return, I took an 8km walk to try out the $19 duck-down jacket I got from a seller in China. Success! Worn only over a long-sleeve t-shirt, I wasn't cold even standing in freezing weather and the hood made a real difference on my bald noggin. It packs into a tiny 8.9cm x 15.2cm/3.5in x 6in stuff sack and weighs only 310g/10.8oz, so the cost/warmth/weight ratio is favorable and it will be going with me on future tours for 'round camp use. It should feel good to wear when packing up at 5am and can be stowed in a rear jersey pocket.

These temperatures have been unusually warm for winter here and we're way down on snow; unless Something changes, we're in fro drought this spring and summer will likely see more forest fires. I wish we could get nighttime temps around -5.5°C/22°F so I could definitively find the practical "lower comfort" rating for my new "all-'rounder" sleeping bag. This is a custom model with overfill so it is supposed to be warmer at a colder temperatures than a standard model, but by how much? I really need to know before putting it to the test in remote places. The hood snorkles down nicely and it was so warm it nearly drove me out at 0°C on the back patio, so I'm encouraged.

Happy riding in the New Year, everyone!

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on January 02, 2018, 03:53:45 AM
I tried out a new route today: https://www.strava.com/activities/1336696612 ... the challenge is that to go north there are very few options. One is pretty much stuck on US-89 which is a high speed road that in places has no paved shoulder. Some drivers are polite but not all drivers. So I keep looking for options.

Today I tried the canal road. Had to ride by a No Trespassing sign but at least the gate through the fence was open. There were a couple locked gates along the road but easy enough to get around. Still, the road is plenty soft dirt in plenty of places and lots of short sharp ups and downs. I'm glad I checked it out but I think I will pass on using it. There's a better gravel road over along the Willard Reservoir. That has rough gravel so it is somewhat slow going but it's better than the canal road!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on January 02, 2018, 05:28:04 AM
I'm not so sure that in a strange place, out in the open, I'd be able to sleep zipped into that sleeping bag, Dan. Even though I spent my youth in some rough places, I'm alive because I'm paranoid.

I have a duck down jacket, about two hundred quid a quarter-century ago from an emporium where my late mate Cormac Langford, a millionaire several times over, used to browse the racks in the sales "because I like seeing suits so expensive they can be reduced by a thousand pounds. I've never paid more than three hundred for a smart suit to wear to weddings and funerals." My duck down jacket was also made in China, with a light waxed canvas outer. It's almost new, though, because it rarely gets cold (subzero) enough here to wear it even when just sitting at my keyboard, never mind being active outside. I find a leather jacket, lightly padded, of more use on the coldest days here (2-3ºC, which some of you might find positively warm) because it keeps the wind off. For cycling it is very rarely cold enough to require more than an undershirt, polo shirt (both cotton) and a good quality cycling jacket, though long johns and sturdy cords are good on your bike in the depth of the winter.

Also, the first essential in real cold is to cover your head, through which up to a sixth of your body heat is lost.

Loved your pano photo, Jim. Is that culvert wishful thinking by the landowner or does it rain there sometimes?
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on January 02, 2018, 05:39:51 AM
That culvert goes for miles! It's the Ogden-Brigham canal - https://livingnewdeal.org/projects/ogden-river-project-ogden-ut/ All around here is an amazing system of irrigation canals. They are definitely still functioning. Exactly who uses how much for what, that I don't know. Our property has two pipelines coming in, one to the house for drinking water, the other out at the curb for irrigation. They turn off the irrigation water in October. We just moved here in July - I don't know yet when they turn it back on! The Ogden-Brigham Canal runs very close to our house - I think that's where our irrigation water comes from.

It would be grand if I could just ride the canal road from here up to Willard, but there is a big quarry in the way. How they manage to keep the canal working despite all the dynamite... somehow they do!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on January 02, 2018, 05:43:24 AM
Quote
I'm not so sure that in a strange place, out in the open, I'd be able to sleep zipped into that sleeping bag, Dan.
Well, if the night is clear I'll sometimes "cowboy camp" tentless in the open desert so I can see the vast bowl of the sky overhead, Milky Way on full display. Gets cold, but the view is worth it. :) Coyotes aren't too bad....

Planning another major Great Basin tour this Spring.

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on January 02, 2018, 06:03:27 AM
here's a satellite photo of that canal going through a gravel pit. The canal goes vertically = north through the middle of the picture. They've got some big machines in there! The canal road seems to go along the canal pretty much the whole way, but I won't try riding my bike through there!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on January 02, 2018, 07:58:42 AM
Fascinating places.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on January 02, 2018, 03:21:41 PM
Quote
temperatures have been unusually warm for winter here and we're way down on snow;

Dan, you could come to Ottawa to test your new winter gear--you don't want your skills to get rusty from lack of use, eh?--& maybe hire a fatbike to check out the trails in the Gatineau hills. No green moss to distract you--it's under a couple of feet of snow.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on January 02, 2018, 03:28:00 PM
Quote
That culvert goes for miles! It's the Ogden-Brigham canal

Super stuff, Jim -- I'd forgotten about Utah's canals. Great to follow you as you learn about your new neighbourhood. Would be interesting to hear about the water regime--its rules, who uses how much for what, etc.

Fifteen years ago, I spent some time in Andre's old stomping grounds, SA's Cape province. We visited a couple of friends whose smallholdings were part of rural and small-town water-sharing schemes. Hugely interesting insight into the imperative of co-operation and conservation. Then again, one could always watch Polanski's film "Chinatown".
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on January 02, 2018, 04:10:46 PM
First spin  for 2018 only 12 miles pretty flat  lashed rain for most of it legs felt like 2 planks  :o
but great to get out,did i mention i feckin hate winter.
tried out the new camera not very impressed to be honest  i left it on for the entire spin and it did record everything but dull as ditch water ,took forever to upload it then after watching i deleted the thing movie maker i ain't
ah well roll on the summer ;D ;D

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on January 02, 2018, 07:43:29 PM
I grew up in a desert that had already been substantially remade by irrigation, though the process still created large changes when I was a boy. So "Chinatown", and Jim's photo above, rang bells with me. When I visited an Israeli kibbutz, the resident intellectual, a retired French professor of economics, told me that they were envious of the scale and speed with which the South Africans tamed that part of the desert. Of course, it was a matter of people -- it always is -- and it was fortunate that a critical number of Italian and German engineers who had been prisoners of war in South Africa elected to stay after the war; their most obvious legacy being the superb road network and an extremely professional army for decades rated the second best in the world, after the Israeli, by the CIA.

It's long been my belief that future wars will not be about territory or trade or raw materials, but about water. Agricultural economists have always been more influential in policy circles than most people realize, but I foresee a day when hydro-economists will be the most important of all. There's already a hint in the nicknames of the two current schools of economists, "saltwater" for the Keynesians, "freshwater" for the Friedmanites.

Water is an important matter for touring cyclists, who cannot carry more than a few days' supply with them, and are largely accustomed to water being free, and free available, in most places. In another generation, 30 years, that is most unlikely to be true, and in the interim there will be a painful transition. Already, in the present, we hear complaints from cyclists about water no longer being free.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: rualexander on January 03, 2018, 12:48:16 AM
New Year's day ride in the Scottish Borders.

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on January 03, 2018, 02:32:02 AM
Now that's a rugged countryside. Very pretty behind glass though. No wonder people have romantic notions about the Borders.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Donerol on January 03, 2018, 12:40:47 PM
Lovely - you had better weather than we had in Glasgow!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on January 03, 2018, 05:18:12 PM
Galway is under 3feet water :'( :'(
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on January 03, 2018, 07:05:52 PM
Quote
New Year's day ride in the Scottish Borders

Photos bordering on unrivalled excellence, Rual.   You haven't lost your touch over the holiday season  ;)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 10, 2018, 10:56:30 AM
Hi all,

Some notes and photos from my first rides of 2018, during this past week, in the Gold Coast of southeast Queensland:
 
Getting here… We reached Queensland in mid-January for our regular visit to our son and his family. We had left Ottawa on a Sunday evening, on cold clear night, -25° with little wind. Two days later, the temps in the Gold Coast were approaching 30°, but the humidity was at least manageable. Acclimatization included visits to the neighbourhood beach, splashing in the shallows of the surf with our five-year old grand-daughter. The days had been approved for visitors’ viewing by the ‘Strayan Tourist Authority – see photo #1 below.

…and getting the bike here     I brought my Raven with me on this trip, planning to use it for day rides around the Coast and into the hills of the hinterland. Last year, I used my Eclipse derailleur bike, but I ran into three problems over the course of my six weeks or so of day rides. The pervasive sand—airborne, thrown up from the tarmac by vehicles and carried by rain showers—wrecked my chain, despite my regular wipe-downs after each ride, and several washings. The Gold Coast roads, secondly, have a lot of broken glass on the shoulders and in the bike lanes. I have 700x35 Marathon Racers on my Eclipse, and the front one, with about 1500 kms on it, was cut in several places. (I replaced it with a Bontrager 700 x 32 foldable, and that has worked well for about 500 kms since.) Lastly, the most scenic rides, up into the hills of the New South Wales Border Ranges, SW of the Gold Coast, have long steep hills, with grades sometimes greater than 15%. I found these were right at the limit of my comfort and enjoyment, so I opted for the Raven’s lower gearing. My lowest gear on my Eclipse is just over 20 gear-inches; the Raven has three gears below that, with a low of just over 15.

We travelled by EVA Airway’s Taiwan’s national carrier, and their price and service were very good. Their luggage requirements for a bike are more restrictive than those of Air Canada, however: The bike has to be boxed, and the linear dimension of the box cannot exceed 80 inches (L + H + W) without incurring a substantial oversize fee. Maximum allowable weight of the boxed bike, without extra fees, is 23 kg. The bike counts as one of two allowed checked pieces of baggage on an intercontinental flight such as ours. My regular shipping box has a total linear dimension of 85”, so to meet EVA’s requirements, I got a freebie fatbike box from MEC, with a height of 32” and a width of 10”. I then cut its original 60” length to 38”, ensuring I met the 80” limit. This setup required more than usual disassembly of the Raven: beyond removing wheels, fenders, pedals, seatpost, and bars, I took off the forks as well. Happily, everything worked out all right, and neither dis-assembly nor reassembly posed any problems. And, even more happily, nothing was damaged in transit.

A note about day rides in the Gold Coast  The Gold Coast is a narrow linear suburb about 50-odd kms in length, running North-South along the coast of Queensland in the extreme southeast corner of the state. The modern city is an aggregation smaller centres. Its southern terminus is Coolangatta on the New South Wales line, and its northern border is, ah, ill-defined, about 55 kms north, near the small ‘burb of Coomera. The coastal floodplain is flat, but a few kms to the west, the land begins to rise onto the lower slopes of the Great Dividing Range. About 30 kms inland, there is a string of pearls of small national parks along the ridges of the Range. The hills are relatively low here, around 800 metres, but they are steep, forested and fairly well-watered.

The City Council has established a good cycling network in the past 10-plus years. Its core is a 50-km strip running close to coast, north from Coolangatta. There is a mix of dedicated and shared bike paths, typically through oceanside parklands, as well as bike lanes on arterial and secondary roads. The Coast is cut by rivers and creeks running eastwards from the hills of the hinterland; their estuaries and flood plains make for an “urban” landscape marked by bridges and inland waterways as well as the immense Coral Sea to the East. There are fewer East-West cycling routes, but there are some.

With this infrastructure, it’s easy to make a 3-4-hour ride of, say, 60-80 kms N and S along the coast, and there’s an excellent sprinkling of cafés, bakeries and ice cream places. Longer and more challenging rides are available, too. My favourite is a 115 km there-and-back into northern NSW from our son’s place in Southport, in the northern sector of the GC. The route here follows a creek inland to the west from the southern sector of the GC, and then turns south, snaking up the side of the caldera of a huge ancient volcano. Inside the caldera lies a small town with the lovely name of Murwillumbah, which has an A-grade café as a turnaround point. The return leg, up the inside of the caldera, includes a 6 km climb of 15-17%.

Three rides this week  My Raven seems well-suited to day rides here, on the evidence of the past week.  I did three rides, averaging about 65-70 kms each, on days that were sunny and warm, mixed sun and cloud, and drizzle-turning-to-bright sunshine. The bike has its alloy fenders (which would be mudguards, ‘cept here—as a rule—there is no mud), but I’ve removed its racks and my Arkel handlebar bag, so that it weighs about 28 lbs with my headlight, bell, and bottle cages. As storage, I have a small 5-ltr Axiom handlebar bag, my medium Revelate Tangle frame bag, and my medium Topeak seat bag for my tools.

So far, I’ve made no really tough climbs, but a couple of short-and-steep ones tell me that the Raven’s lower gearing will be quite OK for the hard hills on the Murwillumbah road.
The ample glass on the roads has so far caused me no problems, and my ‘glider kept my chain free of sand and water in a couple of hours’ riding in the rain this past week.
Between foot surgery this past October, and savage cold in Ottawa between early December and mid-January, I’ve done no serious exercise for about three months. I took out my skipping rope shortly after we reached Oz in late January—after doing no skipping for about 6 months or more—and I was a complete klutz, tripping on the rope and sweating and gasping in the heat. I was a bit apprehensive about my rides, but these were less embarrassing—mostly, of course, because I stuck to well-known and largely flat routes. I was really reacquainting myself with cycling on the left, reminding myself about heat, loadsa water and sunscreen, and the delights of cycling beside an ocean with the southern sun dancing off the waves.

BUT.  There was the wind, the prevailing stiff southerly.  The wind reminded me, with brutal honesty, that I have to attend to my turnaround points and my food supply and intake, even on reasonably level terrain. On an 80-km midweek ride past the northern limits of the GC “proper”, I sailed along in the upper gears (12-13-14), reaching my turnaround point in little more than 90 minutes. I had an orange and a snack, and turned around for my southward return leg...and found that my brisk tailwind had turned into a strong and relentless headwind as the day heated up, the south-south-easterly coming straight into my torso, unchecked by trees or buildings. Happily, I had enough water; not so happily, not enough food, and precious little residual fitness. Where I had been riding in the upper gears, now I was on the drops all the time, struggling to stay in 8th. A few kms from home, passing through a waterfront park studded with pockets of dense shade, I surrendered, and had a splendid 20-minute nap in the restorative shade of a rubber tree, on a soft grassy patch devoid of ants, biting, crawling, slithering or squirming creatures.
The coastal land- and sky-scapes are as splendid as ever, and the pathside sculptures continue to delight. Have attached a few examples below.

More to come in the days/weeks ahead, including some from the hillier bits.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 10, 2018, 10:59:47 AM
And a few more photos, in the same vein:
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: geocycle on February 10, 2018, 11:13:00 AM
Thanks John, that's brightened my day.  Wet and windy here with a whole 3 degrees!  There seems to be a lot of public art in Australian cities.  I like the joggers.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 10, 2018, 11:24:15 AM
Thanks for your kind words, geo. Here's another pathside sculpture from the Gold Coast, below, and one from Manly, a small centre on Sydney's northern beaches. These dancers are set beside a saltwater swimming pool, filled and emptied with the tide.

From my limited experience, the 'Strayans do waterfront parks very well.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on February 10, 2018, 12:44:36 PM
great photos John sounds like u had a blast.

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on February 10, 2018, 03:59:41 PM
So enjoyed the report and photos to date on your local conditions, John. Take care, enjoy, and best to yourself and Family.

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on February 10, 2018, 11:24:35 PM
What I like to hear, someone having a good time Down Under. It's the Great Country, no doubt about it. Pity about the glass on the roads, though. I've downloaded the photographs "Standard Beach" -- a lotta places should be so lucky! -- and the elongated centrefold "Anything but standard" -- a gentleman wouldn't want to admit in public to enough experience to pass judgement! -- for sketchbook reference.

Thanks for the vicarious nostalgic return, John. You're a star.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 12, 2018, 06:21:54 AM
I'm flattered that you can use my photos in your art work, Andre--I don't do much more than look at the scene and say, "Ooooh, that would make a good photo." Sometimes, it actually does :)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on February 17, 2018, 08:19:26 PM
Some fresh ride photos from Anto's journey to the beach and back t'day...out and about on his Thorn Audax.
 :)
Posted on his behalf,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on February 17, 2018, 08:22:38 PM
good man Dan ,yip my neck of the woods i just done 25 miles  came home by the coast lovely crisp day nice cycling weather.mind you i was knackered  by the time i got to my front door ould back playing up again still nice to get out.

thanks Dan

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on February 17, 2018, 11:23:48 PM
At a quick glance at the small placeholders of Anto's pics, I mistook the triangular beach warning sign for a half-erected umbrella over his bike, and wondered if Anto wasn't taking bike-care a little too far!

Kudos to Dan for posting Anto's pics.

You've given me an idea, Anto. Years ago, we stopped riding down to and along the beach when the Soccer Mum/huge SUV traffic on those narrow roads became too unbearable. (Hell, up to about the turn of the century we used to ride on those roads in the dark, after dinner, with homemade lamps that threw a good beam but batteries that were never quite up to the length of the ride.) But recently we've been exploring back roads on that side of the map, and some of them extend to the beach. So we'll ride down to the beach this summer. In anticipation I've already serviced my bike and pumped up the tyres just so...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Dave B on February 17, 2018, 11:39:47 PM
Cheers Dan :)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on February 18, 2018, 12:21:50 AM
I got a new camera so I am trying it out nowadays! I upload the pictures to strava so they get connected to my ride.

I got a flat somehow with the Marathon GT 365. Probably a goathead thorn. It doesn't qualify as large scale statistics, but I never got a little mystery puncture like this with the Marathon Plus Tour - the only flats I've had with those have been like monster sheet metal screws or something.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1412749795
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on February 18, 2018, 12:30:04 AM
Nice, Jim! I really like the Strava-photos combo.

So sorry about the puncture, but some really beautiful scenery.

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on February 18, 2018, 01:32:31 AM
Summer time is very busy on the coast roads but most people are fine ,best to take to the country lanes lanes andre.oh I usually clean my bike after each ride no big deal I enjoy it but not today iwas knackered and hungry .ilclean it tomorrow I dont intend to cycle take a rest.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on February 18, 2018, 07:13:14 AM
Pics and map on the same page: nice one, Jim!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 18, 2018, 10:56:24 AM
Great stuff, Jim -- love those wide blue skies and the distant hills. Looks pretty benign for mid-Feb, tho' I guess there's plenty of snow in the Wasatch, and some of it will last 'til August.

Cheers,  John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on February 18, 2018, 01:42:15 PM
Yeah we have had a very mild winter... so far? Very little precipitation and highs typically in the 40s. I hear up on the ski slopes the snow is less than half of normal. It's still only mid February, so wild things are possible. Evidently the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge has returned... http://weatherwest.com/archives/tag/ridiculously-resilient-ridge
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 19, 2018, 12:52:18 AM
Jeez, Jim, that sounds dodgy in the extreme. See my post below -- Utah and California may need to borrow some fire-warning signage from the 'Strayans.  Hope you have some moderate amounts of snow, and some gentle soaking rains.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 19, 2018, 01:11:07 AM
More notes from Down Unda, this time on a couple of rides last week (Feb. 12-16):

I made a couple of rides into the SW sector of the Gold Coast, each in the 75-80 km range. My route took me south towards the NSW border, and then inland through peri-urban countryside to Currumbin Creek. This is one of several small rivers which tumble eastwards towards the sea from the hills of the hinterland of the coast.

On my first ride, I made my first real climb in months, up the first grade of the Tomewin Mountain road, which ascends the outer slops of the caldera on the road to Murwillumbah. The climb is a short one, only a kilometre or so, just the first part of the 9-km stretch up to the ridge and then along to the NSW border. But, it is a tough one, a reminder that I still have some way to go in revering cycling fitness, and a reminder that averages can be cruel. Photo #12 below signals a mere 800 metres, at a manageable 14%, the background of green and gold showing the forest awash with mid-morning light. BUT. What the sign doesn’t show is that the first 400 metres, the bit beginning just after you’ve dodged a big and dangerous pot-hole shrouded in shadow which robbed you of any momentum at the start of the climb, is about 16-17%. Then, there’s a gentle stretch to let you catch your breath, before the final 300 metres or so, a genuinely more manageable 12-13%. Still, I was knackered at the top, enjoyed a rest and a snack, and decided to leave the ride along the ridge to the border for another time.

Just to complicate things, the descent can be perilous:  A cyclist I met last year told me of a riding buddy who was nearing the bottom of this hill when a wild turkey flew out of the underbrush at head height, and knocked him off his bike. A year later, his recovery was not complete. I squeezed my brakes now and then to keep my speed down, not least because there’s also a T-junction stop right at the bottom of the last steep pitch.

I had left my departure on this ride a bit too late—early-morning grand-dad school delivery for the little ones—and my return leg was accordingly later, sunnier, and hotter than comfortable. Still re-learning how to manage all this stuff, I resolved to revisit the Currumbin road again, starting earlier and making some rock pools further upstream my turnaround point.

Along the roadside, there are no signs advising caution against rampant turkeys, but the fire danger warnings are blunt – see photo #13 below. On the day I made my ride, the needle, happily, was in the low-moderate band, the product of an overnight downpour. “Negligible” doesn’t exist, as you’ll see. “Catastrophic” is a sign of our changing climate—or at least, the gradual spread of settlement into forests. (More on that below.)

What’s beyond “Catastrophic”, I wonder? “Apocalyptic”? That might be in order, because last March, the region just over the caldera, towards Murwillumbah, had 400 mm of rain in less than 24 hours. The Queensland side of the ridge received a bit less, but the road towards the rock pools had to be substantially rebuilt nonetheless. With fire and flood already registered, the Coast is halfway to a full stable of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I'll be happy if the others don't show up.

The Currumbin Creek Road twists through forest and pastureland, shade alternating with sunshine, cattle grazing alongside, and as I ride west, the steep sides of the valley rise towards the south and the northwest. At this time of year, the vegetation is lush enough, but  modest weathered farmhouses suggest that this is no easy place to make a living. (See photo #14 below.) Downstream, a few farms have been converted to horse pastures and stables, perhaps a better bet than dairy or beef cattle.

As I ride towards the pools for my mid-morning dip, I see that one old farm has been sold for high-end peri-urban “development”: “Premium Large Estate Lots” proclaims the sign. “Premium” is code for “very expensive”, and the first new driveways have been laid down. My guess is that the first big houses will appear shortly, and that the usual complement of high-end German sedans and SUVs will follow thereafter. This is a well-marked cycling route, so I’m hopeful that the drivers will be courteous. When I see farmland taken out of production to be replaced by ‘burbs, I’m reminded on Colin Fletcher’s retort to the old chestnut, “You can’t stop progress.” He said, “Maybe not, but you can redefine it.”

Happily, the pools' appearance cut short my grumbling, which was beginning to nudge towards existential despair. I enjoyed my brief dip, having most of the pool to myself. The water level was a bit lower, however, than on my earlier visits with our son and his family. They’re a local swimming hole, and across the road there’s a modest art gallery serving coffee and ice cream. For a visiting cyclist, it’s all quite delightful, not least because of the shade available. (See #15 below.)

One of the delights of these rides is the mix of names a rider sees and hears. I reach Currumbin Creek via the Tallebudgera Creek connector road—“Tally Creek”, in ‘Strayan—and the Tomewin Road in turn will take me to Murwillumbah in due course. Further north is Mudgeeraba. These are drawn from indigenous names, and after some practice are now beginning to roll off the tongue. One word I had heard before, however, was photo #13 below. “Piggabeen” can be heard around Christmas or Thanksgiving, commonly from someone flat on their back a couch, and it usually follows a deep and rueful groan, as in “Ohhhhh watta piggabeen!”

The road back north to Southport cuts through some older ‘burbs in the southern sector of the Coast, where gardens have been planted to threes and shrubs like jacarandas and frangipani. I stopped for a snack beside some of these, which left me all homesick for southern Africa. (Photo #16 below).

Reports to follow later from Tomewin Mountain road, with (I hope) photos of organic farms in the higher country, and bamboo groves higher still.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 19, 2018, 01:13:44 AM
...and the last two photos follow below.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on February 19, 2018, 02:21:15 AM
Piggabeen Rd! That's fair warning that "No Cyclists Live Here"! What a keen observer you are, John. As I know a little something about heat, I liked the Pools best.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on February 19, 2018, 06:39:37 AM
Thanks for that splendid report, John! Wild Turkeys! You never know what's around the next bend in the road... a good reason not to get going too too fast!

We've got a week of winter coming says the forecast... it started while I was out grocery shopping!

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/h6c10tegu3ekrz739dd4qrynaq1fr8dc.jpg)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 19, 2018, 09:44:52 AM
Ahhh, Jim, the god of Mormonia has deserted you!  What's all that Stuff on your bike??
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 19, 2018, 10:00:02 AM
Quote
I liked the Pools best

For sure, Andre -- the Currumbin pools are a great counter to the heat of the ride, even on a cloudy day.

At the risk of sounding churlish, not living in & appreciating the moment, I found myself thinking of other swimming holes. This time round, the Currumbin pools were warmish, and the water cloudy too--maybe 'cos of the lower levels and lesser flow?

When we first came to Canada in the mid-50's, there was an abandoned farm backing onto our and our neighbour's, and it had a good-sized stream. Not only that, but there was a ruined 19th-century mill, with two races, one functioning, one kaput. With the neighbour's kids, I learned to swim in the pool beneath the dam, and it was a treat--a brisk flow, cool, a grassy landing area, no crocs, no hippos, no bilharzia. It left me with a keen appreciation of swimming holes, and a yen for searching them out.

Two of the best I've found, you won't be surprised to learn, can be found in your old neighbourhood: The best I've found in the 60-odd years since that one on the farm is in Luapula Province in northern Zambia, a place by the lovely name of Ntumbachushi. This has a string of falls, the largest being a nice bridal-veil waterfall about 50 ft high, and the best  swimming being a couple of kms upstream, and unknown to most visitors. There is a good-sized river which tumbles over the basalt rocks of the Muchinga Escarpment, and it offers a pool about 75 ft wide and 18 feet deep, a rounded bowl with a sandy bottom and a waterfall about 30 ft wide and 6 ft high. From there, you have a clear view west to the hills of the Congo, about 140 kms away, about as close as I recommend the casual visitor go. (The Luapula is in the way, with its stock of crocs, hippos, and bilharzia, so forms a natural barrier.)

In second place are the Likhabula Pools at the base of the Likhabula Gorge at the western base of Mt Mulanje, in Malawi. And in third place is a boulder-strewn reach of the headwaters of the Sacramento River, near my sister's place in Northern California. Beautiful, but a wee bit too cold for this Canajan softie.

None of these brilliant places is even close to where I am just now, though, so I'll rest content with Currumbin :)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on February 20, 2018, 05:40:08 AM
Quote
Mould. You wouldn't know about this, Dan...
Huh?  :-\ I think you may have me confused with John's question to Jim, Andre.

It gets pretty wet here in Oregon's Willamette Valley, so I light out for the drier deserts on the other side of the Cascade mountain range when I can. NE California, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho as well as Central and Eastern Oregon.

According to http://coolweather.net/staterainfall/oregon.htm ...
Quote
• Astoria, Oregon is the third wettest city in the United States with an annual average of 69.60" inches while
• Burns, Oregon is one of the driest cities with only 10.57" average annual precipitation.
The average annual rainfall in Oregon varies from as much as 200 inches at points along the upper west
slopes of the Coast Range to less than eight inches in Plateau regions

For example, Mapleton Oregon gets 80 inches of rain a year while the annual US average is 39. Valsetz got 127.71in to win the "record wettest" title for an Oregon town and Laurel Mountain got it for a place-name at 204.12in -- that's 17 *feet* of annual rainfall.

We're definitely getting drier in recent years, though, and climatologists predict we may someday mirror the climate around San Francisco's Marin Peninsula, considerably drier than we've enjoyed historically.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on February 20, 2018, 06:28:26 AM
We used to swim in a pool in Grobbelaar's River, which ran through the centre of town -- bilharzia, what bilharzia? -- even though it was streng verboten and the town had a perfectly good swimming pool. (In the middle of the desert no one was permitted to build a private swimming pool.) A block away was a suspension footbridge over the river, and a lower bridge for cars. One of the boys would take the tyres off the wheels of his bike, then ride on the bare rims on the swaying side rails of the bridge until he fell off, bike and all, into the river. We'd be waiting below to rescue his bike so that he could try again. I don't believe he ever made it all the way across.

... a clear view west to the hills of the Congo, about 140 kms away, about as close as I recommend the casual visitor go.

You're right about that road up into the Congo; those people seem to believe that the mere fact of your presence on it is an urgent invitation to take potshots at you. This -- https://www.goodreads.com/comment/show/34615372 (https://www.goodreads.com/comment/show/34615372) message 30 -- happened going the other way, but was not untypical at the time. John Braine wrote in one of the London broadsheets about another journey up that road described by Andrew McCoy in one of his books, that it is a place a sane man goes only in divisional strength and under air cover. Pity he told me too late...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on February 20, 2018, 06:36:18 AM
Huh?  :-\ I think you may have me confused with John's question to Jim, Andre.

You're right, Dan. Apologies. Rather than attempt to edit it, I've removed the post.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 23, 2018, 01:38:45 AM
More notes from the hilly bits of the Gold Coast:  After struggling on my first ride up the Mountain Rd from Currumbin Creek 10 days ago, I returned to do a couple of rides this week, one of nearly 90 kms to the upper reaches of the Mountain Rd., the second of about 65 kms. Both had Significant Hilly Bits, the Mountain Rd a short 14% section, and then a more extended 10% grade. My shorter ride included two very steep short sections, maybe 1.5 kms in all, but on both I was in 1st gear all the way.

The Mountain Rd is one of the most attractive routes I know, a narrow twisty up-and-down up to and along a ridge through forests of gum trees, conifers and bamboo, interspersed with palms, occasional upland pasture, and banana groves. It's a common cycling route, partly because the motor traffic speed limit is 60 km/h and sometimes less. I regularly see other riders, almost all of them young and fit roadies on trick plastic bikes, going a lot faster than me.

The standard reference to upland coniferous forest in Canada is to “air like wine”; here, that seemed less à propos, because the scent was strong rather than delicate. “What then?” I thought. The obvious answer was “air like a high-end cough drop”. Now I understand why the koalas, with their daily fix of eucalyptus leaves, seem stoned much of the time.

That's the visual and the olfactory note. On the first steep section, 14% and more, I had plenty of time to enjoy a deafening chorus of cicadas, maybe stirred to making a row by the combination of an overnight rain and a warm morning?  Who knows? It's years since I heard such a racket, and it took me back to rainy seasons in Southern Africa. There's birdsong too, of course, much of which I don't recognize. The strident crows, magpies, and ibises I know from elsewhere, though, and this time, I saw and heard a big white cockatoo. Nothing musical about its raucous screech, but it's magnificent to look at. (On a flat bit near the ocean, I also saw a couple of wild turkeys pecking at the grass, moving at their own pace thank-you-very-much, with insolent disregard for nearby babies, cyclists, and whatnot.)

On this ride, I went up to Freeman’s Organic Farm, a few kms form the NSW border. The farm was established in 1915. This was a catastrophic year for many Australian families--not to mention the Turkish, British, and French families, against and with whose sons the ANZACs fought at Gallipoli—but Arthur Freeman and his family managed to create a farm in that awful year, high in the hills amidst a rich forest. (And the road, back in the day? Probably no more than a wagon track.) The farm is still productive, and the farm stall is popular, offering avocados, bananas and other fruit and veg, with picnic tables, shade trees, and a splendid view. As luck would have it, the stall was closed on my visit, the family members tending their crops, so in splendid isolation I settled down under a tree for my mid-morning snack.  (Photos 17-18-19 below.)

The climbs were easier this time round, if not easy, and the prolonged downhills were worth all the effort. I used the brakes more than I normally would, still getting used to the terrain and the near-total absence of guardails. (I reckoned that the dense vegetation over the nearby edge would stop any cyclist fairly quickly, but I didn’t want to test that assumption.)

On my second ride, I was a little pressed for time, so shortened my ride by skipping the Mountain Road (to be revisited next week, as far as the NSW border.)  I used a different route back to Southport from the Currumbin Creek Rd, one that cut out an unattractive piece of light-industrial suburb for a hilly road bordered by parkland back to Tallebudgera Creek. That has the additional advantage of passing near a coffee place I want to try, one of a local mini-chain.

No more riding for a few days, however. Last night and today, we are expecting about 100 mm of rain in 36 hours, the tag end of Hurricane Gita, I think, which brought much of NZ to a standstill earlier this week.  Our weekend will be wet and thundery, clearing early next week, with sunshine and temps in the mid-to-high 20’s—perfect for another ride up into the high gum forest.  :)

Have a good weekend, all.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: leftpoole on February 24, 2018, 12:53:14 PM
Picture 19..... What a lovely photograph it makes!
John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on February 25, 2018, 12:37:49 AM
Thanks, John, for your kind words :)

Sunday morning here is sunny and bright--the Coast is back to Standard Operating Procedure, it seems--so we'll take our granddaughters up to Freeman's to buy some avocados and bananas.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on March 05, 2018, 07:32:34 AM
More notes from Down Unda:

This past week (Feb. 27 & Mar. 1) I made two rides into the SW sector of the Gold Coast, following the Currumbin Creek road once more. The first ride was the shorter of the two, around 75 kms, on an overcast day on which the cloudy skies eased the temps and made for an easy there-and-back. (No photos from this ride for the same reason.) In any case, it was mostly uneventful, except for the fact that I finally had my first flat on my homeward leg.

I had expected that my tires would sooner or later suffer from the roadside effects of the Great ‘Strayan Pastime of beer-drinking, and feeling a slight case of squirrelly-rear-tire on a roundabout, I thought, “The glass has got me after all. Ah well, good thing I’ve got a spare tube.” ‘Cept that there was no glass to be seen, in either my tube or my tire. It turned out that the culprit was that other Great ‘Strayan Pastime, the barbie. I could see no obvious cut in my tube, and indeed there was none. Running a rag across the inner face of the tire, though, I quickly found the problem: protruding from the road side of the casing was a tiny stiff thread of steel, maybe 2-3 mm in length—what you’d find on a BBQ cleaning brush. (Or, if you were very unfortunate, the doctors might find it in your innards.) This had worked its way through the Supreme’s protective casing on an angle, and I found a slightly rusty spot on the tube, where it had rested for some time before finally making a pinhole in my tube.

No worries, sez I, removing the old tube and installing brand-new one, the most expensive 26 x 1.75 Continental MTB sold by MEC, bought in December before I left Canada, for just such a situation. BUT… It didn’t work. I installed it, using a few PSI to prevent a pinch, and inflated it after I had remounted my rear wheel. But, it wouldn’t hold any air beyond about 20 PSI. After a couple of fruitless tries, I said, sod it, removed it, patched the original (the pinhole conveniently marked by the residue of rust), and reached home with no further problems.

And the problem was…after putting about 20 PSI into the brand-new tube and submerging it in a washing basin, I found a pinhole in my brand new, unused Conti tube. Boooo. Crappy manufacturing quality, sez I but I patched the pinhole, and at least I had a usable patched spare tube. Except that I didn’t: I pumped it up again, and it still wouldn’t hold any more than about 20 PSI, and this time, I could hear air escaping—from the valve. Ha! sez I, I’ll just tighten the valve core. I did so, and it still leaked air. Ah jeez, I thought, this is like dealing with a telecom company. I removed the valve core, and replaced it with a new one bought from Chain Reaction Cycles in December for just such a situation. Two manufacturing faults in a Conti tube.  Boooo.  I’d have happily bought Schwalbe tubes, but they weren’t to be had in Ottawa in December.
 
The second ride, the long ‘un, included interesting-enjoyable-challenging Things About Cycling, instead of just Irritatin’ Things About Crappy Global Supply Chains.  Starting before 7 AM on a cloudless Thursday morning, I cut through an hour-plus of suburbia, avoiding the usual press of motor and pedestrian traffic, and headed up the Currumbin Creek Road again, this time turning up the road to Tomewin Mountain. The combination of bright sunshine and a shaded road made for a beautiful ride. I paused near the top of the first steep short climb, my eye taken by a brilliant red fern amidst equally brilliant green and gold (Photo #20 below). Just beside it is an old waymarker, which is also a crude sundial of sorts (#21).

Local legend has it that St. Brendan and his band of brothers (so to speak) pitched up here after reaching Newfoundland, back in the day. One can hardly blame them, imagining a conversation like this: “Well done, lads, we’ve made landfall, and here we stay.” And in reply, “Jaysus, Mary an’ Joseph, Brendan, it looks and feels like bloody ‘ome! And we came all this way for this? Could ye not find us someplace with some sun??” And so they pushed on further south, and then west, and emerging from The Great Volcano (Wollumbin), eventually found themselves in a sunny, forested and well-watered place on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range. There they planted ferns and made a standing stone-cum-sundial to remind them of home.

The road climbs steadily along the ridge towards Mt Tomewin—a big hill, really, about 460 m high—marking the border with New South Wales. There are splendid views all around. The one I like most is Mt Cougal’s twin peaks, #23 below. In my mind it’s “Mt. Bactria” – so named because just 500 metres before this view, I dodged an enormous pile of squished dromedary poo in the middle of the road. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Climbing higher, a cyclist passes under groves of bamboo, reaching 15 metres and more above the road. (#22, in a separate post). Their dense shade offers a welcome break from the heat and the burning sunshine. At the top of the climb, after a 10% grade lasting some 3 kms, the NSW border appears, and with it, a view S and E down into the old volcano, and far-off in the haze, towards the sea. (#24)

The border was my food break and turnaround point, and the long climb proved to be harder than I had expected—given the heat, I had probably left my food break too late, and in retrospect should have stopped to eat before reaching the border. There were some alluring springs gushing out of the hillside along the road as well, and I was tempted to refill my bottles. I decided not to do so, as I didn’t know where the highest cattle pastures might be, and didn’t want a case of collywobbles.
 
After a rest under a shady tree and some food, I made my turnaround, and took a shortcut on my downhill run. This one was narrow and little-used, despite being paved: its grades were 20% and more, so I made a mental note not to try the shortcut as a climb. Near the bottom, I passed by another splendid fern, this one coppery-red (#25 below).

The exertion of my climb to the border meant that I stopped for more food as well as a coffee a few kms further along at a very good café on the Currumbin Creek Road. It offers a premium BLT, I found: not just bacon-lettuce-tomato, but also a fresh fried egg and avocado.

Even that proved not to be enough to get me home. As the weather changed, I found myself battling an ENE headwind for the remaining 35 kms to Southport home. Passing a waterfront park and running low on energy, I heard an uptempo keyboard version of “Greensleeves” (!?) Wot? sez I—surely it's an ice-cream truck! (The one in our neighbourhood in Ottawa plays “Turkey in the Straw” at a similar tempo. There must be a global mini-playlist for ice cream trucks.) Blessed relief beckoned, in the form of a big banana milkshake. The fella in the truck asked me, “How’s the push boike to die, maite?” “Just fine, thanks,” I said. “It got me up Tomewin Mountain Road and back.” “All the why up the mountain?? You deserve your shaike, maite.”

There’s one more long-ish ride to follow later this week, weather permitting, to a recommended ‘Strayan pub in Tumbulgum, NSW, maybe 110 kms there and back. I’ll skip the mountain road for that, I think, and take the longer-but easier route along the Tweed River valley.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on March 05, 2018, 07:34:48 AM
And the remaining three photos to go with the post above:
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on March 05, 2018, 07:48:39 AM
Quote
I quickly found the problem: protruding from the road side of the casing was a tiny stiff thread of steel, maybe 2-3 mm in length—what you’d find on a BBQ cleaning brush.
Great sympathies, John.

'Round here, I find similar bedevilment from exploded steel-belted truck tires. Sadly, the inner tires on dual-wheel setups seem to be oft-neglected for airing up and so run hot, hotter, hottest as they are too uninflated for the load and burst, scattering the carcass and steel bead fragments across the road. The larger remnants are easily avoided for they can be seen, but the fine wires cannot and -- Boy! - do they ever go through Schwalbe Duremes.

Greatly enjoying your reports and photos as always.

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on March 05, 2018, 01:41:36 PM
Super report and pics, John, especially the enticing view over NSW.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: rualexander on March 08, 2018, 07:31:07 PM
A wee ride out yesterday to the local windfarm to see the remains of 'the beast from the east' snowstorm, and to start the breaking in process on a new half price Brooks B17 Special
Put the studded tyres on but still ended up walking about a mile as it was the wrong type of snow, thawing and wet with a layer of slush underneath that was hard to get any purchase on, and kept building up under the mudguards an jamming.

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on March 08, 2018, 11:16:20 PM
Are those copper rivets in your new saddle or steel reflecting your jacket?

There's a certain purity about a snowy landscape, well captured here; shame you had to push to see it.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: rualexander on March 09, 2018, 12:42:29 AM
Yes copper rivets, B17 Special.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on March 12, 2018, 10:09:41 AM
A change of scene from Rual's snowy landscapes. (Same copper rivets in my B17, tho'!)

This is my last despatch from Down Unda, for this year’s visit at least:

Last Thursday, I made a ride of about 105 kms into the hills of northern New South Wales. I followed the coastal route—bike paths, dedicated lanes, and a few kms of roads—to Coolangatta, the southernmost centre of the Gold Coast, and its adjoining town of Tweed Heads in NSW. The Tweed River drains the bed of the ancient volcano, running east to meet the Coral Sea at Tweed Heads. The Tweed Valley is south of and roughly parallel to the Currumbin Creek just across the border in Queensland. It’s a much larger river, and is navigable by riverboat from the coast to Murwillumbah, some 35 kms inland. The sides of the valley are fairly steep, and an inviting network of secondary and tertiary roads means that a cyclist does not have to follow the busy main roads along the valley floor.

The 30 kms or so from Southport to Coolangatta are almost entirely flat; today, however, the ride required some work, as there was a stiff south-easterly, gusting to 50-plus kms. The sky was a mix of sun and cloud, with squalls in the hills and out to sea. The sea looked angry, with heavy surf and big whitecaps as far as I could see.

The 20–plus kms from Coolangatta to Tyalgum, my turnaround at a big bend in the river, are hilly and forested, and cut with streams feeding the Tweed. The road west from Coolangatta climbs onto the northside heights overlooking the Tweed—dairy pasture being steadily colonized by suburbia—and then plunges to cross Bilambil Creek at a tiny village of the same name. [Photos #26 & 27 below]

From Bilambil, I took a slightly roundabout route to Tyalgum, lured by a small nature reserve marked on the map. The road narrowed and climbed, and despite a roadside warning that “Heavy Vehicles Use This Road”, over the next 14 kms I saw only two cars and one cyclist (grinning broadly as she shot by me on her descent). I was in the lower range of the Rohloff on all the hills, usually between 2nd and 6th, and occasionally in 1st, but the grades were manageable, and nearing the ridge I found myself in—a rainforest! This is the Duroby Nature Reserve. [#s 28 & 29 below]

The combination of shade, greenery, birdsong, and a narrow, empty and well-surfaced road, all made for a delightful hour’s ride. Happily, what goes up also comes down, and from the ridge in the rainforest I enjoyed a swoopy 3 or 4 kms down to the river itself, where I met the little-used secondary route on the north bank of the Tweed.
 
I stopped for lunch at the Tyalgum Tavern, established 130 years ago beside the river. (#s 30, 31 & 32 below.) The tavern has survived the transition from its rough-and-ready early days in the lumbering and agricultural economies along the river to a relaxed bar and bistro serving the village, the river cruise boats, and wandering cyclists. Their soup of the day was a nicely spiced and filling sweet potato and lentil; augmented with excellent bread, steamed veg and calamari, it made for a good late-morning meal. I bought a small jar of local forest honey for the family, and set off on my return leg.

A small tertiary road took me along the north bank of the river, water on one side and cane fields on the other. Climbing from the river, the road turned to gravel for a couple of kms, and I rode through a quiet stretch of mixed forest. When I reached the secondary road taking me to the southwestern edge of Tweed Heads, a short ride along a ridge led me down to the river again--here, oxbowing its way to the sea through a broad shallow valley. I found my way to the covered cycle path beside the bridge across the river, thankful that I was not on the noisy, busy, ugly four-lane highway just above me.

The ride north was uneventful—uneventful is Good—and the morning’s stiff southeasterly turned itself into a brisk tailwind :)

A few final notes:

Signing off for a week or more – next posts and photos will have no ocean views :(, but some pretty serious rivers in springtime spate.

Safe journeys, all.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on March 12, 2018, 10:19:07 AM
...and below, the last three photos to go with the notes above.

Ooops!  Just noticed a typo/confusion in my notes and captions:   When you see "Tyalgum", you should be seeing "Tumbulgum".  (Lovely words!)  There is a Tyalgum, but it's a tiny wee place, further west, beyond Murwillumbah. I plan to visit it sometime -- there's a farm nearby which makes A-grade mustards, jams, and preserves, and mint jelly to die for.  Apologies for the confusion -- those who checked the text against the sign on the hotel have probably already caught the mixup ;)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on March 13, 2018, 01:03:02 AM
Checking the forecast before my ride to NSW, I noted that the UV index was 11, "Extreme"--this, on a day of mixed sun and cloud. Jaysus, sez I, I've never seen it beyond 8 or 9 in Ontario. What's beyond "Extreme", I wonder? Maybe the "Catastrophic" used in the road signs..."

Beyond Extreme UV Danger lies Omnidirectional Malignant Melanoma aka ODM^2 (pronounced "ODM squared", see http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8225.msg55477#msg55477 (http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8225.msg55477#msg55477)), and the only higher rating, equivalent to DefCon 5, is Australian Everyday Sunshine.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on March 13, 2018, 01:33:07 AM
Serious bizness, for sure, Andre.

Deliberately mixing my metaphors here, but the hole in the ozone layer seems to be coming home to roost. We're told that it's gradually closing, but also that it may persist for another generation.

We members of the Spotted Tribe, freckled ones like Rod Laver and meself, are especially vulnerable.

I was paddling once with our daughter in parc de la Vérendrye in W Qué, a few hours north of Ottawa. On a bright summer morning, about 9:30, I stopped the canoe, rolled my shirtsleeves down and buttoned them at my wrists, closed up my shirtfront to just below my neck, turned my collar up, did the ritual anointment of sunscreen, pulled my cricket outfielder's hat down lower, and Meg said, "Dad, we were never meant for this--we should be paddling in Scotland!"
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: rualexander on March 13, 2018, 05:09:19 PM
"......we should be paddling in Scotland!"

Haha, easy to get sunburnt paddling here John.
Couple of photos from my two week walk/paddle across Scotland in 2009 :


Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on March 14, 2018, 12:00:09 AM
Picture-postcard perfect, especially that middle photo!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on March 14, 2018, 07:12:20 AM
Brilliant in every way, Rual!

Never saw skies like that on my hikes in Scotland...should I buy a camera like yours? ;)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 01, 2018, 07:48:52 PM
Some notes from my first ride of 2018 in Ottawa -

In the week before Easter, I completed cleaning and reassembling the Raven after the looong flight home to Ottawa from Queensland. Reckoning that I was no longer in danger from acres of Australian glass, I swapped out the Marathon Supremes for Compass Naches Pass 26 x 1.8 tires, and made a couple of shakedown rides, totalling about 70 kms.  With a long list of household maintenance chores and less-than-encouraging weather—the last two weeks of March have been cold, with daytime highs at most just above freezing, and nightly lows in the minus teens—I haven’t had much spare time for cycling.

A week ago, I rode south along the Rideau River to the little village of Manotick, an enjoyable 2½ hours there and back. The Rideau River is the basis of the northern section of the Rideau Canal, which stretches from Kingston on Lake Ontario to Ottawa. It’s a good-sized but gentle stream, flowing more or less south to north, falling into the Ottawa River just east of the centre of the city. Manotick, once a village and now a southern suburb of the city, was built a century and a half ago around rapids and a grist mill, like so many small agricultural centres in Ontario. The Rideau often floods its banks, but this year, the water levels are more manageable, the cold March weather easing the runoff from melting snow.

In the central part of the city, just south of the Experimental Farm and Carleton University, the Hog’s Back Falls are a pretty sight – see photo #1 below. Twenty kms further south, in Manotick itself, a bend in the river is a resting spot for Canada geese on their annual trek north.  When I was there, a big V of migrating birds had just landed, some fifty or so, gossiping and grumbling as they do about the headwinds and unseasonable cold. They a reassuring sight and their honking overhead is still an evocative reminder--almost magical, for all its familiarity—that spring really is coming. (See #s 2 & 3 below.)

I had a decent chili-with-garlic bread for lunch at the Creekside Bar and Grill, and headed home for another round of maintenance bits and pieces. The Compass tires have very supple sidewalls, and roll soooo smoothly, that even facing a headwind, I am in my 11th gear much of the time.  In recent years, since Manotick has “graduated” from pretty wee village to Desirable Suburb, the old two-lane highway leading to it has been upgraded, and now has paved shoulders for most of its length. This means that we cyclists now have a north-south route allowing us to leave or enter Ottawa without having to share a lane with motor traffic. I was pleased to see that there was very little trash or sharp pokey things along the roadside, as well.

Taking a short cut through the Experimental Farm, a a couple of kms from home, though, my front wheel went squirrelly, and my expensive trick Compass tire went slowly flat. Dang! I stopped in the lee of the wind beside a whitewashed barn wall and changed the tube. There was no obvious cut in either the tire casing or the tube. This was the 2nd flat this spring, however—I had had a very slow (overnight) leak a few days earlier, after a short 30-minute ride to and from the Farm. Maybe the saying about Alfa Romeos, back in the day, applies to Compass tires as well?—“Fast but fragile.” My experience is limited to the 26 x 1.8 Naches Pass tires, but this March I have had two flats in 60-some suburban kms. Combined with one puncture (on the rear) in 200 kms past summer, that gives me three in less than 300 kms. None of the punctures was catastrophic for either the tires’ tread or their inner casing (in fact, I have not been able to see any damage at all), and the Schwalbe Superlight tubes showed only pinholes. Still, a flat every hundred kms or less in a PITA.

What then, I wonder, is a “reasonable” standard of durability? (Helpful answers do not include, "How long is a piece of string?")



One final tech note on the Raven’s FSA Orbit XL II headset:  When I reassembled my forks after unpacking my Raven from its air journey halfway around the world, I inadvertently mounted the upper bearing cage upside down. This made it impossible to get to fit the bearings properly. My local bike shop advised me to check if the race was mounted upside down.

FSA/America sent me an exploded diagram by return email within about 2 minutes of my asking for one. The diagram is attached below (#4). Look closely at component #3, the upper bearing cage, and you’ll see that the radiused edge of the cage should be on the downward side.

I had taken the precaution of holding headset components 1, 2, and 3 together with a ziptie, along the neighbouring spacers, T-bars and stem. Inevitably, a few escaped when I unhooked the ziptie. In the future, I’ll know, rather than guessing, which side of the bearing cage belongs where.

Best wishes for springtime sun and gentle winds!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 01, 2018, 08:08:20 PM
`Class photo's Rual And john just class.
Anto. 8) 8)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on April 01, 2018, 09:31:34 PM
What lovely photos, John!
Quote
One final tech note on the Raven’s FSA Orbit XL II headset
<nods> You're not alone with the questions about FSA Orbit XLII headsets. Others have found the same. For example:
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11320.msg82171#msg82171
Thorn's FAQ on the topic is real helpful:
http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/sandbox/thorncycles/fsa.pdf

Glad you're back in the running.

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: playlord on April 01, 2018, 10:09:37 PM
Oops! Just saw this thread. Been posting mine on General: apologies.

Here's today's from the Isle of Bute. It's always quiet here even though the ferry trip to the mainland (Wemyss Bay) is just 7 miles. There's a railway station too at Wemyss Bay and the train journey to Glasgow is less than an hour. Bute was popular in the 1960s for Glasgow folk, who'd visit its main town, Rothesay. These days, we see just the occasional holiday maker as most head farther north to the fashionable islands like Skye.

Population here is just 53 people per square km. Almost all local drivers respect cyclists and once out of Rothesay, traffic is rare, even on national holidays. This was taken about 2pm on one of the islands 'main' roads.  Arran's northern hills in the background.

(http://i64.tinypic.com/25slq9f.jpg)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 02, 2018, 12:52:11 AM
You cannot ever go to all the places you want to see, but it surely helps to have friends skilled with their cameras. Thank you, gentlemen.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: martinf on April 02, 2018, 09:08:15 AM
What then, I wonder, is a “reasonable” standard of durability? (Helpful answers do not include, "How long is a piece of string?")

For touring on-road, I'd want at least an average of 1,000 kms between punctures. So far my wide Schwalbe Supreme and Dureme 26" x 50 mm tyres have done much better than that, IIRC 3 punctures in about 12,800 km.

Wear is good as well, none have yet worn out, my longest-running Supreme has over 9,000 kms of use.

Schwalbe Supreme are more fragile than heavier expedition tyres, but for my type of riding I reckon the risk of losing a tyre to sidewall damage is offset by the better rolling resistance. I don't bother carrying a spare, because I reckon I could find a 26" x 50mm tyre fairly easily anywhere in Europe.

I have 16" x 32 mm Kojaks on one of my Bromptons. These are acceptable for me for touring on good roads, where their improved rolling performance over the tougher Schwalbe Marathon alternative outweighs the more frequent punctures, but not for urban commuting as they puncture too often in that environment. I carry a spare folding 16" x 32 mm Kojak on tour with a Brompton, because it is easy to destroy these light tyres and they are not easy to find in bike shops.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 02, 2018, 12:24:59 PM
Thanks for this, Martin. On your 26 x 2 Supremes, what is their actual inflated width?

(My 1.6 Supremes measure 39 mm inflated, and the Compass 1.8s are a hair under 40 mm, not even close to the advertised 45.7.)

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 02, 2018, 12:28:10 PM
Quote
today's from the Isle of Bute

Super photo, playlord!  Love the hi-viz jacket for a splash of contrasting colour. I'll have to get meself and Osi the aven up to Scotland before too long...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 02, 2018, 04:33:35 PM
super photo playlord  looks cold tho. :'(
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: martinf on April 02, 2018, 07:09:49 PM
Thanks for this, Martin. On your 26 x 2 Supremes, what is their actual inflated width?

I've found that inflated width varies a bit between individual tyres,  mine fall in the range 46 to 49 mm.
All measured at fairly low pressures, between 28 and 35 psi.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 02, 2018, 09:23:40 PM
Thanks, Martin, that's helpful. Expect that I'll replace my 1.6's after this year, & am inclined to go with the 26 x 2.00 Supremes, though they wd require new mudguards.

(All my current tires -- the 1.6 Supremes, the compass 1.8's, and a pair of Maxxis Overdrive Elite 1.75's -- fit nicely within my 52mm Velo Orange alloy Zeppelins.)

Cheers,  John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: martinf on April 03, 2018, 07:31:25 AM
Thanks, Martin, that's helpful. Expect that I'll replace my 1.6's after this year, & am inclined to go with the 26 x 2.00 Supremes, though they wd require new mudguards.

2.0 Supremes might just fit your current mudguards. SJSC fitted the 55 mm width of SKS mudguards on my first Raven Tour, and the 2.0 Supremes have sufficient clearance for normal riding and don't look odd.

On my other bikes with 2.0 Supremes/Duremes I chose the 65 mm width and left more clearance, for two reasons:

- I fit studded tyres in winter on one of these bikes, and am happier with more clearance as I wouldn't like a stud to contact the mudguard.
- I might fit slightly fatter tyres in the future. One of the bikes has room for 26" x 60 mm, the other will probably just about take 55mm.

Incidentally, I think my 50 mm Duremes may be a tad smaller than the Supremes, can't measure as the bike with those tyres is at my island flat. It would be interesting to have other peoples' views on the comparison between Duremes and Supremes - my take on them is that Duremes are very slightly slower, slightly heavier, slightly less likely to puncture, with a tougher carcass and more suitable for occasional off-road.

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 12, 2018, 04:21:17 PM
Thanks, Martin. If the 26 x 2.00 Supremes would fit/work well with my current VO mudguards, that would be ideal. My 'guards are actually 650B, but with spacers they fit 26" tires quite well. VO also offer standard 26 x 60mm 'guards in both alloy and stainless.

I've also wondered about the Panaracer 26 x 1.75 or 2.00 RiBMo tires -- haven't seen many comments on these on the forum, although I have seen good reviews on retailers' sites.

There's no urgency on any of this, as my 1.6 Supremes have another season in them, and that season is getting shorter by the day: the sun has gone walkabout, and the forecast for the weekend is a mix of snow, rain, freezing rain, and ice pellets.  I expect I'll have plenty of time to consider my options.

Cheers,  John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 13, 2018, 05:32:53 AM
...and that season is getting shorter by the day: the sun has gone walkabout, and the forecast for the weekend is a mix of snow, rain, freezing rain, and ice pellets.  I expect I'll have plenty of time to consider my options.

I'm starting to wonder if I didn't play an April Fool's Day joke on myself when on 1 April I declared the Spring arrived and turned the central heating off...

Still, though this constant rain and high wind into April is depressing, the year so far has not been a complete loss, anyway for those of us who have learned not to set expectations too high. We did get in a handful of rides back in -- mmm, I wouldn't want to lie about which month it was, anyway, a couple of months ago, when even the cherry trees on our street mistook a brief fine spell before the snow fell for spring, and blossomed -- and I've ridden down to the town a couple of times to check adjustments on my bike and only gotten moderately wet.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 13, 2018, 10:32:05 AM
Dire weather Andre 2 weeks since i turned a pedal just as well i can get a good walk in or i'd crack up ;D ;D.  there's really no point in planning a spin if it's not raining there's a gale of ind blowing so for me the bike stays indoors  i'm no hero. ;)

off for a river muddy walk in a few minutes .

Anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 13, 2018, 06:25:44 PM
Friends in Saskatchewan often say, "Whatever global warming may bring, it's probably too little, too late." Then again, the Greenland ice cap may be melting faster than the big patch of snow on the north side of our house :(

But this morning dawned sunny and fairly mild, so I took advantage of the forecast brief window of sunshine to go for a ride of two-plus hours along the river and canal, all on on the Ontario side. With prolonged crappy weather due in the next few days, I'll get the photos tidied up & posted on the weekend, between bouts of soup-making, whiskey-drinking, etc.

No greenery visible yet, however--just a few pallid wee shoots in our garden beds poking their noses above the earth and last year's leftover leaves. And, only the occasional songbird--a robin and red-winged blackbird or two, that's all. Even the crows are subdued and the geese are hiding somewhere. (What happened to the intrepid big V's I saw a couple of weeks ago, I wonder? Can't imagine how they're managing the weather in northern Ontario.)

Still, the bike paths which are open to sun and rain are clear, even though those in the woods are still covered in slush and/or rotten ice, several inches deep. The rivers are far below the record highs of last spring -- cycling along the Ottawa River this morning, I'd say it's still maybe 3 metres below the levels of a year ago.

This too will pass (he said, as much from habit as hope...)

Safe wrenching and fettling in the workshop, all,

John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 14, 2018, 12:02:28 AM
hope it changes quick John the weather i mean ::)
i have the 3 Grandkids sleeping over so no spin for me tomorrow even tho the forecast is good,
anyhoo better get to me cot i'll need a nights sleep to cope with these headcases tomorrow.

Anto..
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: bikepacker on April 14, 2018, 11:50:12 AM
Anto as this thread is about rides in 2018 how about this idea.

You know Rich is holding a birthday do in June at the Watlington campsite. Why don't you come over for it? You could get the ferry and train to Smethwick again, I could pick you up and drive to Watlington. We could then do some day rides and in the evening join in the festivities with Rich.

If I use our large two bedroomed tent all you need bring is your bike, clothes and sleeping stuff. How about it?
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 14, 2018, 05:47:39 PM
sounds good but could not give you a definite answer just yet all the usual excuses :'(

Anto
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 14, 2018, 11:43:29 PM
Say, Bikepacker:

Not inviting myself but, as a matter of curiosity, does this "large two-bedroomed tent" pack up on your bike for touring or is it a car-only job?
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: bikepacker on April 15, 2018, 11:30:50 AM
Hi Andre

It is definitely a car only tent it weighs about 9kg.

Last year I camped by a family that was cycle camping with a Zephyros 4 tent but they were sharing the load between 3 of them.

The biggest tent I have cycle camped with is my recently acquired Vango Galaxy 200. As yet I have only taken it on one short overnight outing to Monmouth. Due to age related problems I will be using it more this year as it has stand-up height.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on April 15, 2018, 03:59:51 PM
Everybody Rides to Skeggy!! 300km Audax
I'd spent a large part of last week removing my SOMA Audax bike from storage and adding new front wheel, cables, bar tape and brake blocks. Then read reports that the roads on parts of the route were in poor condition, crater like potholes, and lots of mud , so put the SOMA back on the hook and took the Mercury!
The alarm going off at 3.45am was a shock, I usually work part nights and that's closer to the time I go to bed than get up, forcing myself out of bed was the toughest part of the day.  But out I got and hit the road only half an hour later than planned.  The 18 mile route from Derby to the  start in Alfreton is mostly a gentle uphill, a good warm up but not fast going, I arrived late with just a couple of stragglers and a friend fixing a puncture still there.  I set off with another rider, out through some of the ex coal mining areas of Nottinghamshire that have never really found another role since the mines shut decades ago.  Soon out into the countryside and a steady climb to Southwell with its magnificent minster and soon onto the first control at Gannets cafe in Newark on Trent - one of the few cafes I've come across that does decent porridge - though not for me today as I was carrying my current preferred cycling food (Peanut butter and jam sandwiches and some Aldi Hike bars) so just a quick coffee and back on the bike.  The gentle climb out of Newark takes you to the lovely Stapelford Wood then along some quiet lanes through charming villages.  This otherwise flat area of Lincolnshire has an escarpment known as the Lincoln cliff or Lincoln Edge, whatever you choose to call it we climbed it at Navenby and it was a shock after the flatlands.  On through the fens and onto the second control at Woodhall Spa, I didn’t stop here, just got my card stamped and cycled on.  More pleasant villages, more country lanes, one climb approaching Spilsby, some B road and soon at Poppies café on the outskirts of Skegness.  I had intended to stop here for a coffee and a rest but as I was parking the bike a group including a couple of riders I know were leaving, so I tagged along with them.  From here the route follows the coast North to Sutton on Sea, it was the first time in the day where the wind made itself known and I was glad to be getting some shelter in a group, my turns on the front were hard enough it was good not to be riding this section solo.    I deviated in Sutton to go and see the sea but couldn’t persuade any in the group to join me – Audax is a broad church which is one of the reasons I like it, but still find it hard to imagine anyone rides 100 miles to the coast and doesn’t spend ten minutes taking it in.
Half way, feeling good, making decent time with a three hour buffer and have only been off the bike for about 40 min.  I considered stopping here but didn’t feel the need so carried on.  The route inland touches on the Wolds, nothing seriously mountainous but not much flat either.   I was joined to a group of six by some invisible elastic they would disappear on the uphills and I’d easily catch them on the down or flat.  The next control at Horncastle came soon enough, a stop at the Co Op to top up my drinks and on to Lincoln.  This is probably the fastest section of the route, pleasant but not exceptional, other than some gorgeous woodland carpeted with flowers (wood anemone) The route skirts Lincoln through some suburbs, then it’s a bit of a drag through Doddington and on to cross the Trent at Dunham Toll Bridge  - this road always puzzles me, I’ve ridden it many times in both directions an swear it’s up hill either way!   During the day there’d  been a good bit of sunshine  and I’d been riding most of it in shorts, now the sun was going down and it was time to put the legwarmers back on.  The last section of the route is pretty direct and straightforward, but with a fair bit of up and down.  At one point there was a lovely orange moon to my right, I was waiting for the perfect foreground to get a photo but waited too long and it was gone.  I was feeling pleased with myself that the climb out of Ollerton wasn’t as hard as I remembered it, but my memory was wrong and came a few miles later… and just as hard as last time! Soon back into the ex mining towns and returned to base in Alfreton at 21.50.
306 km – overall time 15hr 50min (No allowance for starting late)-  riding time 13hr 55min – 4hr 10 min spare
After a coffee, a couple of slices of cake and some chat. It was time to face the mostly downhill ride home where a hot shower and cold beer awaited.   Total time away from home 19.5 hours and distance for the day 357km (That’s 221 miles in old money)

I’m drawing no conclusions for the debate going on in my head re Merc Vs Audax bike – see other thread.  But at no time yesterday did I feel I was on the wrong bike for that ride, and it came as no surprise to pass several riders with punctures.  I’ve done this Audax five times, and that’s as fast a total time as I’ve ever had, though the average riding speed was a fair bit slower than some of them.
Whatever – it was a grand day out.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/873/41428664362_ed908d8133_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/267UJyA)Sutton (https://flic.kr/p/267UJyA) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

Strava for anyone who follows it
https://www.strava.com/activities/1509287322
And a couple more photos here
https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/albums/72157695673415235


Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on April 15, 2018, 08:14:38 PM
Very nice ride report Paul. I enjoyed it and your photos.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on April 15, 2018, 10:45:01 PM
Great stuff, Paul -- 14 hours on the bike!  Loved the photos, esp the daffs :)  Glad your Mercury worked as it should.

Only dreaming of such things here in Ottawa: outside the window, there's a crust of freezing rain and ice pellets on the grass in the back yard.  Forecast is that we might have some sun and temps above freezing towards the middle of next week :(
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 15, 2018, 11:57:53 PM
It is definitely a car only tent it weighs about 9kg.

Thanks for the comprehensive answer.

...Vango Galaxy 200... Due to age related problems I will be using it more this year as it has stand-up height.

A regrettable necessity that overtakes us all sooner or later. My shoelaces get further away every year.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 16, 2018, 02:05:49 AM
"Total time away from home 19.5 hours and distance for the day 357km (That’s 221 miles in old money)."

Holy Maloney, that's an heroic ride.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on April 16, 2018, 10:45:45 AM
Thanks for your comments on my ride report, but Andre Jute it was a nice bike ride, nothing in any way heroic about it!  By Audax standards not even a tough one, little climbing and almost perfect weather conditions.  Audax is indeed meant to be audacious,  not just the name of a bike!  It's my excuse for obsessing about minor aspects of comfort and speed, just 1 kph slower would have added over half an hour on that ride and any discomfort that might be tolerable for six hours becomes a pain at twelve and unbearable at twenty. 
Another 300 planned for next weekend, an interesting timescale starting at 11pm, at least I won't have the problem of getting up early enough ;)
Haven't decided which bike...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Neil Jones on April 16, 2018, 01:29:53 PM
Thoroughly enjoyed reading your ride report and looking at the photos.

Love the setup on your Mercury, it looks perfect for a long distance comfortable ride.

Regards,
Neil
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 16, 2018, 04:06:33 PM
horse of a man
300 audax rides wow, maybe if i was 30 years younger ;)
great looking bike for sure.

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: in4 on April 16, 2018, 06:24:22 PM
What a fabulous ride on a splendid Mercury.
I used to live in Alfreton :)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 16, 2018, 10:38:50 PM
It's my excuse for obsessing about minor aspects of comfort and speed, just 1 kph slower would have added over half an hour on that ride and any discomfort that might be tolerable for six hours becomes a pain at twelve and unbearable at twenty.

I take your point well, Paul. Time is definitely a factor in ergonomics.

I used to walk the hills and ride in groups with a fellow who if he forgot his walking boots would just wear anyone's spare wellingtons even on 30km walks over pretty difficult mountains, and if he was without a bike because we all packed in the same car for rides a long distance away and the car rack took only three bikes, would just ride any bike he was offered. I saw him again after a break of ten years or so and he was just like me, boots had to fit perfectly or he'd sit out the walk, and his bike had to fit to the millimeter because he'd wrecked his back up a Swiss mountain with the consequence that what was once to him a minor inconvenience even for many hours had suddenly become instantly unbearable.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 17, 2018, 01:18:39 PM
kinda know how you friend feels Andre i was that soldier ::) i'm a feckin wreck these days.
just back from a hospital visit, more drugs hopefully these will work a bit better fingers crossed.

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on April 17, 2018, 03:45:29 PM
kinda know how you friend feels Andre i was that soldier ::) i'm a feckin wreck these days.
just back from a hospital visit, more drugs hopefully these will work a bit better fingers crossed.

anto.
Hope the drugs do the job, it's a reminder to us all to make the most of what health we have. 
Audax isn't necessarily age related, I wouldn't like to guess the average but the predominant hair colour is grey for those who still have some! It does favour those who are time rich, and it isn't as physically intense as some other forms of cycling (Unless you want it to be!)  I was riding a section on Sat with someone who is at least twenty years my senior, until they decided they wanted to get to the cafe and disappeared into the distance...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 18, 2018, 12:04:20 AM
kinda know how you friend feels Andre i was that soldier ::) i'm a feckin wreck these days.
just back from a hospital visit, more drugs hopefully these will work a bit better fingers crossed.

I used to say, as I walked into my doctor's surgery, "How goes the trial-and-error business?" Now that he rides with me, I say only nice things ;D.

49kph winds here, with a nasty wind chill factor. But the forecast was dry, and one of the benefits of living in such hilly country is lots of valleys, so I planned a short excursion on lanes through valleys with a minimum of exposed hilltops. As I pushed my bike out of the door, I was hit by heavy rain. So much for a ride.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 18, 2018, 12:23:51 PM
lovely up here Andre just back from a walk had to get out of the house  it was closing in on me  ::)
lets hope we have a crackin summer we fully deserve it after this horrible winter .

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on April 24, 2018, 12:30:32 PM
Another lovely weekend to be out riding. Sat at 11pm (Yes that's PM) saw around 30 riders line up for the start of the Plains 300km Audax

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/862/27798969098_58000ef693_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JmuZ1E)Plains 300 start (https://flic.kr/p/JmuZ1E) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get round to riding this.  I love riding through the night, it’s probably my favourite distance and the start is an easy train ride away. Maybe I was just waiting for the perfect night, in which case I chose well.  I was just settling into a solo ride at my usual steady pace, when I found myself in company, first with a couple from Glasgow then joined shortly after by three local guys.  It used to be that good lights got you company on a night section, now it seems that reliable navigation has the same effect.  They were happy to ride at my pace and I was glad of the company.  Past Jodrell Bank looking spooky in the dark and easy riding down to the McDs in Whitchurch, busy with cyclists but could have been quicker.  Nice easy miles down to Dinkys, where the one guy serving/cooking/card stamping/cleaning up… could have given McDs lessons in efficiency. Fed, cards stamped and with the day breaking came my favourite part of the route, rolling along on almost deserted roads and some picturesque border villages.  Nice enough to ride twice, which is just as well as after Newtown and the 2nd McDs of the night that’s just what we did.
The little group started breaking up on the return, I’d been surprised and pleased that it’d stayed together so long, it’d made for a very pleasant night. Quick stop back at Dinkys, which was now very busy with none cyclists and on to where the route deviates from the one down.  This last section was surprisingly undulating and the most rural of the ride.  Very enjoyable in the sunshine, but slower going, I was glad to have enough of a time buffer for speed to not be a consideration and took it easy.  Was glad to see Jodrell Bank again, though not as close as on the way out.  The forecast of thunderstorms never materialised and I’d been glad to have only seen half an hour of drizzle – until a mile from the finish when I got a proper soaking.  Card handed over in the car park and dived into the Costa for a coffee, where I waited in the company of several riders till the rain had passed and I headed to the Travelodge (1 mile from the start and £26 if boked well in advance) for some much needed sleep.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/826/39860784870_53aa4cbd28_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/23JmWBy)Dinkys (https://flic.kr/p/23JmWBy) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

Monday morning after a good nights sleep, I found it hard to get going.  The route home took me over a few hills to the Gorgeous Goyt Valley, where I crossed Errwood reservoir followed another bit of a climb before a blistering decent down Long Hill into Buxton and breakfast.  I'd planned a scenic route  home from here, but needing to be at work in the evening, I opted for the easy options with a combination of trails and the A6. Home with an hour to spare before leaving for work!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/888/41666965181_eeae25b949_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/26tY66p)Top of Long Hill (https://flic.kr/p/26tY66p) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/915/27798971078_c697397db4_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/JmuZAN)Monsal Trail (https://flic.kr/p/JmuZAN) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on April 24, 2018, 04:02:34 PM
class 8) 8)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on April 25, 2018, 01:04:40 AM
class 8) 8)

+1.

Super report and photos, Paul. Love the composition of those two night-time shots.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on May 03, 2018, 02:21:09 AM
May 1st – finally some decent weather for a first ride of 2018 up into the Gatineau Hills! Tuesday was sunny and warm, temps in the high teens with little wind. I’d been looking forward to this ride up into the hills across river for a couple of weeks, but Winter’s Last Shudder postponed it. At last, though, both skies and roads were clear, even if spring is about three weeks late. My ride was a short one—just less than two hours there and back to the lookout over Pink Lake—but it included the first hill I’d climbed since my adventures Down Unda in the hills of the Queensland/NSW border country in February.

There were lots of cyclists on the roads in the Gatineau Park, most going further than I was, up to Champlain Lookout, for me a 3½ hr return journey. That will have to wait ‘til later this week. There were hikers and runners too, and mums with strollers. Motor traffic isn’t allowed until the middle of May or a little later, so my ride was peaceful and stress-free. Cyclists, walkers, runners, and mums-with-little-ones all waved to each other.

But the landscape was pretty much devoid of colour. Things I Didn’t See included fresh greenery. Beyond the conifers and the first tinge of new grass in the roadside verges, there was no green to be seen. In our back yard in the city, the crocuses have bloomed, and the tulips are poking their leaves above the earth. The first buds on the maples, birches, and our crabapple tree are visible, although still tightly furled. Up into the hills, however, even in the lower slopes where I was, there were no flowers at all, and the hardwoods still wore last November’s drab garb. (See photos 1, 2 and 3 below.)

Other Things I Didn’t See included wildlife, except for a solitary woodchuck (a.k.a. as a groundhog) which waddled into the bush when I startled him/her. Strange things happen to your memory on the bike: free association recovered this nonsense riddle from my childhood on the farm –
   How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
   If a woodchuck could chuck wood?


OTOH, because there were no cars, other Things I Didn’t See included, happily, beer cans and pop bottles along the roadside, nor Tim Horton’s throwaway coffee cups (throwing away the coffee, I can understand and applaud – but littering the countryside with paper cups??), nor Styrofoam fast-food containers, nor foil-and-plastic chocolate-bar wrappers--all things which appear in the park after motorists do. I do see the occasional banana skin rotting by the roadside—possibly/plausibly pitched by a cyclist—but the wretched non-decomposables are something else entirely.

I stopped for a view of Pink Lake at the top of the hill. The first and third photos show that there’s still a layer of rotten ice covering about 75% of the lake.  That will be gone in a few days, as will the last remnants of snow banks along the roadside in the lee of slopes facing northeast – cross-country skiers were still enjoying the park in mid-April. (A reference point: photo 4, taken two weeks ago, shows large areas of ice on the Ottawa River.)

Osi the Raven has had a few tweaks, some of them visible in photo #2:

More reports and photos to come -- but I'll wait until I can include some photos with wildflowers and some new foliage on the trees.
[/list]




Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on May 03, 2018, 03:36:06 AM
Terrific photos, John, and Osi? Even more handsome than usual.  :)

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on May 03, 2018, 05:12:10 AM
And invigorating report, John. Excellent, interesting photos too, especially the icy river. Brrr. (Remind me sometime to tell you of the extended family of artists who came to live on the other side of Ireland near Galway. After just one winter they moved to West Cork, on the other side of the country, and usefully southwards, because it is 2 degrees warmer her.)

On Sunday, going stir crazy, I went riding in a forecast short fair spell. It looked good and wasn't too unpleasant if one didn't ride fast enough to get a major wind in the face. But at 5km from home the forecast fair spell shrunk and heavy rain fell, so I was forced to turn for home, fortunately downhill all the way from where the rain caught me.

We have some of the same climate weirdness here that you observed in the flora. In our living room patio and protected orchard some plants are showing signs of believing spring is due; indeed, on our street the cherry trees blossomed in February and then were decimated by hailstorms; a couple of weeks ago we had snow, which simply isn't normal here.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on May 03, 2018, 10:28:33 AM
You have an orchard 8) 8)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on May 03, 2018, 10:51:48 AM
Lovely photos and report John, must be good to get out but I can feel the chill through my monitor.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on May 03, 2018, 05:20:25 PM
Sorry John meant to say great photos  just that Andre stopped me in me tracks when he said his Orchard. ::)

Anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on May 03, 2018, 07:21:59 PM
It was let go to seed probably a century ago. I got some apples out of it one year, but that tree went when the rather large red lantern tree near it became dangerous and had to be chopped off. My foxes and hedgehogs live there now. The illustration shows the paterfamilias of the foxes sneaking around the stable to see if my wife's cats are lunch.

I found Foxy's family at dusk crossing the road in front of the graveyard on the very edge of the town two widely-spaced roads over, and herded them with my bike through a huge sports field and through a culvert under a busy main road and into the 30m deep gully that backs onto the orchard, and over the years made them welcome by not chasing them off, so that now their descendants are relatively tame, though wary of the pair of German Sheepdogs next door. In my old age, rather than having a Yorkshire terrier, I'll negotiate with Foxy to adopt one of his pups; foxes, if they bond with one young enough, make wonderful pets.  If I hadn't been on my bike when I discovered this breeding family, they would easily have outrun or outsmarted me, and I would not now have the choice in a few years between a Yorkshire terrier and a little fox.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on May 03, 2018, 07:55:15 PM
Class, I only came across a fox one time on my river walk,he spotted me long before I spotted him followed my every move beautiful animal.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: geocycle on May 04, 2018, 10:30:24 AM
Sorry John meant to say great photos  just that Andre stopped me in me tracks when he said his Orchard. ::)

Anto.

Doesn't everyone have an orchard?  We have one, although ours is a community one, bought and looked after by a dedicated bunch of volunteers.  The blossom is looking amazing.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on May 04, 2018, 01:13:47 PM
i have a postage stamp front and back. ;D
i need to do a job on my gray miserable block wall its all we can see from our kitchen window, depress a rabbit that's the truth.

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on May 13, 2018, 03:04:00 AM
A fun campout last night - rather wet, but it worked out. The Provo Bike Collective sponsored the ride:

https://www.provo.org/community/events-in-provo/bike-to-work-day (https://www.provo.org/community/events-in-provo/bike-to-work-day)

just ten miles and 600 feet of elevation gain, to Nunn's park, right on the Provo River.

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/m83wqc5jnv36xgm7ungcjp3pwpfendlq.jpg)

But I don't live terribly close to Provo! It was about ten miles from our house to the train station, then a two hour ride on the train, to get to Provo:

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/t1mwu864hxv3rxtq16lh02cg82xr9h6o.jpg)

One highlight of the evening was a fellow who told us the story of L. L. Nunn, after whom the park was named:

https://web.archive.org/web/20050922140443/http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/inventory/Nunn.htm (https://web.archive.org/web/20050922140443/http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/inventory/Nunn.htm)

The park is the site of one of the first industrial scale AC electric generators, that powered mine operations on the other side of Utah Lake - maybe 30 miles away. 44 KVolt transmission line, the highest voltage of its time.

Lots of nice bikes along for the ride... one other Rohloff with a nifty shifting system - some German set-up, a variant external box and then the STI shift levers got re-purposed, one side shifts up and the other side shifts down.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on May 13, 2018, 05:02:27 AM
So glad you got the nice ride and campout, Jim.
Quote
Lots of nice bikes along for the ride... one other Rohloff with a nifty shifting system - some German set-up, a variant external box and then the STI shift levers got re-purposed, one side shifts up and the other side shifts down.
<nods> Yes, that would be the Gebla Rohbox shifter: http://www.rohbox.com/

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on May 13, 2018, 08:16:38 AM
Well spotted, Jim & Dan. That Gebla Rohbox looks like a solution to drop bars with a Rohloff. Any solution that requires a cyclist to take his hand off the grip to change gear seems to me contrary to the ethos of the Rohloff. Consider, the experienced derailleur rider changes gear well before the lower gear is required, but the Rohloff rider changes gear in the moment it dawns on him that he's pedaling harder, or will in a moment have to pedal harder than he wishes to.

Personally, I change gear only when my heart rate approaches my cardiologist's chosen limit (or falls away from it, for gearchanges in the other direction), which I trust because he's also a cyclist; also, my heart rate is how I've always controlled my output on the bike, even when I rode on derailleurs, so I was at ease with the method long before it became necessary.

It wouldn't surprise me to discover that some, perhaps many, erstwhile derailleur riders have been seduced by the forgiving nature of the Rohloff into the same slack style as those of us who were, so to speak, born to hub gears. I'm not just cracking a joke: when I switched from Shimano manually operated hub gears to Shimano fully automatic hub gears (otherwise exactly the same Nexus box in very similar bikes), over a ride I took probably 200 times a year, my average speed improved so much that in the same time span I added another, shorter, loop; that's all the result of substituting an optimum (automatic via sensors) gear changing regime for a lackadaisical (manual) gear changing regime; actually, even when, after I noticed the improvement, I was trying to make the best gear changes on the old manual bike, as expected the Cyber-Nexus autobox still beat me, if not by so much. Gazelle fitted that autobox to a top model for a few years, and owners of that series of bikes consistently reported finding their commute less stressful, in an environment, Dutch commuting, which does not encourage speeding. (I found the same thing in cars in a study I did for a client: from about two liters upwards, an autobox will give most drivers greater economy than manual shifting, and that was before all these electronically-controlled boxes came in; today it is very likely a slam-dunk in favour of the autobox, never mind the artificial government mileage numbers.)

If I were a fan of drop bars, I'd be looking into this Rohbox. It seems superior to the  similarly pricey French solution with split bars in which the rotary control would often anyway require releasing the grip to change gear.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on May 16, 2018, 09:23:36 PM
Nice, we all got portrait photos in the morning: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi2Q4HblYgx/
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on May 16, 2018, 10:46:56 PM
Great stuff, Jim -- so green there!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: lewisjnoble on May 21, 2018, 11:46:51 AM
Photo . . .
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: lewisjnoble on May 21, 2018, 11:51:12 AM
Loch Eil + Audax on Saturday 19th May. Good ride, will write in more detail when next on computer.

Lewis
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on May 21, 2018, 12:17:17 PM
Nice photo Lewis, look forward to your report.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: lewisjnoble on May 21, 2018, 02:58:02 PM
Me again . . . the first decent ride on my Audax. 

We were in Lochaber / Fort William at the weekend, my wife organising / participating in a charity Ben Nevis climb, I took the bike.  Camped at Glen Nevis, and rode down in the morning to Fort William.  I just missed the ferry to Camusnagaul, a small people / bikes only ferry - it only runs about 4 times per day, I thought it was more frequent and so hadn't bothered to check timings.  That meant I had to wait in Fort William for about 2 hours - a Ford Model T festival was going on, interesting, and several people stopped me to ask about the bike.

"Why all those spacers??" - because I'm a stiff old geezer who rides more upright than most drop bar users . . . Easier to cut down than build up . . .

"Where are the STIs? What are those funny things hanging off the bar ends?" . . . . .

"Brilliant rack and mudguard stay design . . ."

"Lovely bike . . . . ."

I eventually got over Loch Linnhe, and rode along the singletrack road on the south shore of Loch Eil.  Beautiful weather, sunny and gentle headwind.  I then turned L along to Glenfinnan, picknicked, and had the superb view from the Viewpoint down Loch Shiel.  A few years ago, when I had a Cube hardtail MTB, I rode down the forest tracks beside Loch Shiel, then over the top to Strontian and Resipole. 

But on Saturday, back to Ft William.  Time getting short, and the last ferry back over Loch Linnhe at 1630 hrs, so I came back along the main A830 road.  Still a headwind!!  But an enjoyable ride, and better for cyclists than many main roads with good surface and good visibility,

So about 37 miles in total, the most I have done since last August. The Audax felt good, happy with my choice, and everything now set up to suit me.  Av speed - 11.8 mph - not much compared to many riders, but 2 mph better than I ever managed on the Sherpa, and it felt fine for me.  The last 2 - 3 miles felt very uncomfortable bum-wise . . . I was cursing Anto for his Fizik recommendation, when I realised that the saddle clamp bolt had worked loose and the saddle angle was . . . not good.  I suspect that the 3-way hx key I used last adjustment does not give enough leverage to tighten that bolt securely.  Fixed now, you're forgiven, Anto.

So all in all very pleased with the ride and the bike.  Comfortable, wide range of gears (tho' I never got onto large cogs or small chainring on this ride) and reassuringly stable.

The Ben Nevis event went well also, long slog back to Sheffield on Sunday.

Lewis
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: geocycle on May 21, 2018, 05:34:42 PM
Sounds like a great Ride, thanks for posting.  I did the road between Corran ferry and Camusnagaul a couple of years ago, lovely road and great ferry crossings.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on May 21, 2018, 09:55:23 PM
Well done Lewis sure there a great bike .
you wont even notice the saddle after a few months riding.
well done sounds like you had a blast.

Anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on May 22, 2018, 03:38:50 AM
Old geezers build the best bikes! And here's the proof: only a single loosening saddle bolt on the shakedown ride of Lewis's new Audax. Well done, Lewis!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on May 22, 2018, 10:57:04 PM
Some pics at the moment, stopped for lunch midway on a 200km day ride of the roads least taken...

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on May 23, 2018, 12:08:35 AM
Second freeway crossing of the day, an opportunity for a Seymour selfie.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on May 23, 2018, 12:34:27 AM
Looks fantastic gravel roads at least t hey would be traffic free.enjoy im away to me cot.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on May 23, 2018, 01:46:52 AM
Super photos of your office, Dan. Tidy ergonomics too, though it doesn't look like you'll need the inclinometer.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on June 05, 2018, 12:08:17 AM
Another month another Audax, this one the Hot Trod 400 km from Ponteland in the North East.  Headed West through Northumberland, Scottish Borders - Hawick, Lockerbie and an excellent truckers cafe, Moffat, climb the Devil's Beef Tub which we couldn't see in the mist, Peebles, then basically follow the course of the river Tweed back into England.  25 hours in all, 2 less than the maximum allowed, that cut it finer than I'd have liked.  21 hours in the saddle and it was raining for at least 15 of those.  Not just normal rain, for several hours it was like someone blasting you with a high pressure hose.  For all that, plenty of dramatic and wonderful scenery, some interesting sights, a culinary discovery (Macaroni pies) good company and of course the Mercury was faultless. The Scottish Borders were a revelation, they're on my list to go back and explore more.  Had some issues with the Garmin flooding out and corrupting the SD card, swapped the one out of the camera, there may be photos when I sort it out.
Took the train up to Newcastle on Friday, camped in the barn to avoid getting the tent soaked, had planned to camp afterwards but the lure of a cheap Travelodge room with unlimited hot water was too much for me!  Couple of hours in York on the way home today, no cycling, left the bike in secure parking and had a look around the Railway Museum.
My legs feel a bit tight, otherwise fine, just the usual post ride starving hungry.   I'm tired and buzzing, I know I ought to rest but want to go do it again...

https://www.strava.com/activities/1617482827

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on June 05, 2018, 01:38:50 AM
You're a genuine hard man, Paul!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on June 05, 2018, 02:26:15 AM
You're a genuine hard man, Paul!
Is it the macaroni pies that make you think that ;)
Otherwise no, it was fun, even the bits that weren't, I could have stopped at any time it wasn't and I knew it, it did take some determination to leave the warm dry 24 hour transport cafe and go back into the rain that was a hard choice.  I do get a sense of joy from being able to do it, nature and nurture, but I meet hard men from time to time for whom being able to go on a bike ride would be an absolute luxury, that's not me. 
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 07, 2018, 04:30:02 PM
Notes on an overnight cycle-camping trip – West Qué and Fitzroy Provincial Park

I managed to carve out enough space in the domestic maintenance agenda to do my first cycle-camping trip on the year this past Sunday & Monday. It was just a wee overnight, the route running through West Québec to a campsite at Fitzroy Provincial Park, on the south shore of the Ottawa River.  My loop was some 140 kms in length, with 90 kms on the first day—about 5 hours of riding—and then about 2½ hours’ ride home on the Monday.  Not nearly so heroic a distance as Paul’s Audax through the Scottish Borders, to be sure – but I did have the experience of Authentic Scottish Weather.

The trip gave me a chance to try out my spiffy new Arkel Dry-Lite rear panniers—capacity of 28 ltrs, and weighing only 540 gms (just over 19 oz.)  I’m thinking of using these on a weeklong non-camping tour later this summer, so wanted to see how they would handle a small load of clothing, sleeping bag, mattress, tarp, cookware, and food.

My overall load included my Tarptent on the rear carrier; frame bag with rain gear, clickstand, personal sundries and phone; and a lightweight Axiom handlebar bag with more sundries, camera, wallet, etc.  Photo #1 below shows the setup—Osi the Raven leaning against the rail on the ferry across the Ottawa between Quyon, Qué, and the Ontario side.

This soft carrying capacity was wholly adequate for overnight camping, with a total weight  of just over 28 lbs.  The loaded Arkel Dry-Lites weighed 12 lbs, and had space for a bit more on each side.

I left home just after 8 on a fresh clear Sunday morning, heading north and east across the Ottawa River through the southern portion of Gatineau Park.  Dozens of road cyclists passed me, part of an annual city-wide ride northwards to a dam on the Gatineau River, a 200 km round trip.  For the first hour-plus, I had to work against hills in the park and a brisk easterly headwind; that became a sidewind as I reached the Gatineau River, a major tributary of the Ottawa which joins the big river just east of Parliament Hill at the centre of the city.

The Gatineau is an historic logging river with its headwaters some 400 kms north of Montréal in the Laurentians.  The riverside road into the pretty village of Wakefield is picturesque, but you admire the river and its forested hillsides at your peril—the road surface is a dreadful patchwork of old tarmac, barely-filled potholes, frost heaves and cracks in every direction. I was running my Supremes at about 50 psi at the front, and just   under 60 at the rear, and they coped quite well.  Better to survey the river and the old covered bridge from the patio of the Café Molo, where I enjoyed a good bowl of mushroom soup and a toasted ham-and-cheese croissant.  Photo #2 below shows the scene.

As often happens, I had a brief but cheerful conversation with a couple of cyclists on the patio—Wakefield residents, not the roadies en route to the dam.  They were intrigued to see a dedicated touring bike, so I explained its beginnings in Somerset, and its hub—what’s the word for “hub”? sez I to myself, groping through my limited French technical vocabulary—the Rohloff made in Germany to survive urban cycling and the winters of northern Europe, with fourteen gears tucked away inside, if you please.  We bade each other au revoir and safe riding, and I headed west along a secondary rural highway to re-cross the Gatineau Park and the height of land between the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers.  The easterly now became a tailwind, and I made good time, revisiting countryside and small villages I hadn’t seen for a few years.  Photo #3 below shows the very grand church in the very modest village of La Pêche.

Near La Pêche, I followed the Eardley Road through hardscrabble farmland and then, as I re-entered the park, through mixed hardwood and conifer forest.  Last time I came this way, the road was hilly gravel for most of its 14 kms, and I wasn’t looking forward to the steep descent down the escarpment towards the Ottawa River.  I was pleased to find out that much of the road had been recently paved, and that the final descent—12% with a sharp bend mid-way down—was no problem at all.

A quick stop at the Eardley Dépanneur for ice cream and coffee, plus an energy bar and a tangerine—but with another hour or so of riding still ahead, I decided against the poutine or fried chicken at Chez Jack, the food truck beside the dépanneur.  A note on dépanneurs:  the dépanneur is an estimable Québec institution, though those in rural areas often seem to be in difficulty, like so many roadside cafés and rural small businesses more generally.  A dépanneur is not unlike a general store, but the name signals something different: if you (or your vehicle) are en panne, you’ve got a problem of some sort, and a dépanneur will help you fix it.  A well-stocked one will include food, hardware, dry goods, over-the-counter meds, and beer and wine—whatever you need for whatever ails you. 

The clear blue sky gave way to a bank of cloud advancing from the west as I neared the Ottawa River at Quyon.  The ferry between Quyon and Fitzroy Harbour in Ontario crosses the Ottawa at one of its narrower points.  The ferry route itself is about 700 metres, while just downstream, the river narrows to about 300.  On the brief crossing, I spoke with a forty-something dad and his late-teens son in a pickup truck. They had Yamaha dirt bikes in the back, and I asked if they were racing. “No,” said the dad, “just getting dirty.”  He wanted to know about my bike, and my journey. I explained that this was just a mini-tour, my first overnight of the year.  He was full of praise, bless him, for cyclists like me (that is, d’un certain âge) doing things like this.  And, he wanted to know about the bike.  Once again, I explained its British/German origins, and once again, he was intrigued by its purpose-built design and That Hub.

As we disembarked, one of the crew on the ferry said I’d better hustle, as there was rain on the way.  I said thanks, but I was only going a few kms to Fitzroy Park. “Ah,” he said, “you’ll be OK then. Stay dry!”

Fitzroy Provincial Park is fifty-plus kms north of my home in Ottawa, and lies within the metropolitan boundaries of the city.  It abuts the little village of Fitzroy Harbour, at the northern end of a peri-urban region of good farmland.  (Photo #5 is a relic of its history.)  For years, I’ve assumed that village and park were named after the skipper of the Beagle—but no, this Fitzroy was Charles.  It was his half-brother Robert who was the skipper of the Beagle.  Charles was a British aristocrat, a colonial administrator and governor in colonies such as Prince Edward Island and New South Wales. (His Wikipedia page reads like an extended footnote on a character in a Flashman novel.)  Canada is dotted with such imperial echoes.  On the road west from Wakefield, for example, there’s a signpost for “Ladysmith”—yes, that one—and there’s another Ladysmith in B.C.

I found myself a spacious and open campsite beside a small river which runs through the park and empties into the Ottawa.  I was on the east bank of the Carp River—really, little more than a creek at this point—but a small marshy bay meant that the far bank was 100-plus metres away, and happily, a freshening wind from the west chased off any mozzies lingering with ill intent.  And, the little marsh had nurtured a lovely swath of wildflowers, complete with a few bumblebees and a dancing-and-swooping pair of red-winged blackbirds. (Photo #4). 

Sunday's forecast had called for clouds and a 60% chance of showers in the evening, and the same for Monday morning.  So, I rigged my tarp to ensure some dry space outside my tent.  The downside of an open campsite was that there was no handy tree to anchor my tarp, so I used the bike, the tent and the picnic table as props.  After a fine warm shower, a couple of cups of tea well laced with condensed milk (!! – I don’t usually admit to such things in public) and my standard one-pot meal of lentils, cous-cous, dried/rehydrated veg with bouillon cube, olive oil and garlic sausage, I snuggled into my sleeping bag just as a light rain began to fall.

“60% chance of evening showers,” indeed.  The weather forecast from Environment Canada said nothing about Scottish weather.  The light rain morphed into heavy rain, and then the mozzie-banishing freshening westerly turned the whole plot into a monster rain-and-wind storm.  This lasted for about 10 hours, from 7:30 on Sunday evening until about 5:30 Monday morning.  The rain clattered down on my tarp and tent, and warm and dry as I was, the racket made real sleep almost impossible.

As the rain eased at last, the crows in the neighbourhood set up a colossal row which went on for a good 15 or 20 minutes. I have no idea what the cause of it all might have been, but this was no murder of crows at work—it was more like a full-on slaughter.  Their unavoidable presence made me realize how little wildlife I’d seen on my journey.  There were no deer in sight, as I had cycled through the forest during the heat of the day.  I did see a snapping turtle on a gravelly roadside near a lake in the Gatineau Park.  He was a big old fellow, his shell maybe 12” in length, so I said to him as I eased past, “Ah, jeez, mate, get back in the water where you belong, before some clueless SUV driver mashes you.”  I hope he made it to safety.
 
On my campsite, no raccoons showed up—I assume that they spent the rainy night tucked away in a lair in a hollow tree trunk, smart creatures that they are.  Happily, my new Arkel Dry-Lites are thus still unmarked and waterproof—though if the rain hadn’t been so overwhelming, I would have stowed them overnight in the men’s washroom, just in case.  (So far as I know, raccoons haven’t yet figured out how to pull open heavy wide metal doors.)

My ride home on Monday morning turned out to be a cool wet affair, and I was glad I had brought my heavier-duty rain gear.  I made do with a cold breakfast, knowing that I could stop at Alice’s Village Café in the village of Carp, some 20-plus kms from the park.  Even though it was only 9:30, they had an A-grade large pulled-pork-and-bean soup on offer, and that saw me home with no problem.  The soggy weather meant that I had the bike path all to myself as I rode into the city along the south shore of the Ottawa River :)

A final note on gear

1)   Rear Panniers:  I’m quite pleased with the Arkel Dry-Lites.  They’re well made, a feature of all the Arkel products I’ve used.  They’re light, compact, and waterproof.  And, at Cdn $100 a pair, they are less than half the price of my 32-ltr Dolphins.
 
There are two “buts”.  The first is really just a quibble:  I’d prefer them to be slightly larger, say 30 or 32 litres, and I’d live with the extra few ounces of extra fabric.  That said, I think that they’ll be fine for my credit-card 5- or 6-day tour in south-western Ontario later this summer. (Other stuff will go into the frame bag, seat bag, and handlebar bag, and perhaps also a trunk bag atop the rear rack.)

The second “but” is that the Dry-Lites are less convenient than Arkel’s heavier and heavier-duty panniers, such as the waterproof Dolphins or the T-42’s. 

There are two aspects to this issue. First, the Dry-Lites are fixed to the lower struts of the rear rack by two hooks on heavy elastic cords. (This is standard Arkel practice.)  At the top, however, you mount them by Velcro straps, two going across the rack, and one fore-and-aft.  Once you have fitted the cross-wise straps in place for the first time, they will locate the panniers readily enough thereafter.  But, you do have to raise and re-fasten the uppermost Velcro strip on each cross-wise strap each time you mount the panniers on your rack, because the fore-and-aft fixing strap is sandwiched between the layers of the cross-wise Velcro.  I was able to do this in 15 or 20 seconds with no problem, but it is a bit fiddly by comparison with Arkel’s simple, robust, and effective – and heavy – regular metal mounting system.

The second aspect of the convenience question is that you cannot mount or remove the panniers individually – they go on and off together.

On balance, there are pros and cons—as with most gear—but I’m satisfied with the Dry-Lites.  On a longer camping tour, I would mount my 32-ltr Dolphins at the front of my Raven, and use those for lighter, bulkier items such as clothing and sleeping gear.  I’d use the slightly smaller Dry-Lites as rear panniers, and they would carry denser items such as cookware and food.

2)   Axiom 7-ltr lightweight handlebar bag:  This swallowed quite a lot of smaller items—personal items like sunblock, glasses cleaner kit and sunglasses, as well as some electronics (camera, phone Anker battery), and the two front pockets were very handy for things like saddle rain cover, helmet ditto, zipties and QR ties.  The whole lot, bag included, weighed only 3½ lbs.  By comparison, my Arkel small handlebar bag weighs 2 lbs empty, and the mounting hardware is another few ounces.

BUT.  Although I used a rain cover for the Axiom on the rainy ride home, water entered the bag.  Nothing was damaged, because I use sealable plastic bags for protection and to organize things.  For future tours, however, I’ll continue to use my Arkel handlebar bag, and live with the weight penalty. The Axiom bags (I have two, the 7-ltr and the smaller 4-ltr) will suit for day rides.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 07, 2018, 04:41:59 PM
Final photo attached, to go with the post above.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on June 07, 2018, 05:18:53 PM
Most enjoyable, John (I'm on my second read and look-see). Thanks for sharing!

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on June 07, 2018, 06:18:45 PM
Lovely report and photos John, I envy you those big rivers, there is something magical in crossing them and the way they divide a country or continent,  they can add such a focus to a ride, we have nothing really comparable in the UK.
I don't like to sound a complete gear junkie (Even if there were some truth in it) -  how do you think the Dry-lites will hold up over time?  I'd expect them to need more care than my pretty robust Ortiebs which have had almost daily use for a decade (At least one of them) but with care? What do you think, robust enough?
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on June 07, 2018, 07:57:27 PM
Dépanneur! I just love people who know words I don't. Without your explanation I would have taken it for the pathologist's assistant with the electric saw who takes off the top of the corpse's skull.

Super trip, super description, your usual high standard of interesting photographs.

Your new Dry-Lite panniers sound like they're similar to an old Brooks idea which in turn was based on sling-over saddlebags; the modern version is called Brick Lane Roll-Up Panniers. The photo here shows the fitment:
https://www.brooksengland.com/en_eu/cycle-bags/panniers/brick-lane-roll-up-panniers-3.html
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 07, 2018, 10:35:58 PM
Quote
I would have taken it for the pathologist's assistant with the electric saw who takes off the top of the corpse's skull.

Trépannneur, eh, Andre?  There is a surname, Trépanier, which is fairly close...

On the Brooks counterpart of the Dry-Lites:  The idea is similar, for sure.  I used to have a pair of sling-over-the-seat pannier for my old AJS scrambler.   Both the Brooks and the Dry-Lites look to be more functional than the no-name brand I used for the Ajay.  Arkel intends the Dry-Lites for commuting and short trips -- I think they may well work as rear panniers on longer trips too.

Thanks for your kind words as always, Andre.  I thought of you and your paintings when I saw the flowers beside the marsh.

Cheers,

John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on June 07, 2018, 10:39:31 PM
Class john that bike of your's look's stunning fantastic set up. 8) 8)

Anto
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 07, 2018, 10:54:44 PM
Quote
how do you think the Dry-lites will hold up over time?

Thanks, Paul -- no harm in being a gear junkie:  there are lots worse obsessions  ;)

Arkel says that the Dry-Lites are not (expected to be) as robust as their other touring products. From the look and feel of them, they seem to be well made, and of durable reinforced (rip-stop style) nylon.  I doubt that they'd last as long as the HD cordura nylon panniers which Arkel makes, however, esp if one chucks them around campsites, into the beds of pickup trucks, etc.

They don't have backing plates or interior reinforcements as the heavier panniers do--but neither do they have zippers which can break. (Though I've never had a problem of that sort with any of my other Arkel panniers.)

I use my better-quality panniers almost exclusively for touring.  This means that they get used intensively for a few weeks in all sorts of weather, and then not much 'til next time.  I tend to look after my camping/touring stuff quite carefully, partly because I buy good quality stuff, party because I don't want it to break at awkward times, partly because I'm slightly obsessive about keeping it all in good nick.

On balance, I shd think they'll last me for a few years.  Only major qualifier is that, if the raccoons get 'em, all bets are off.

Glad you liked the rivers!  We are so privileged to live beside the Ottawa and its tributaries.  A fine local journalist, Roy MacGregor, recently wrote Original Highways: Travelling The Great Rivers of Canada. Well worth a read.

Cheers,  John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 07, 2018, 10:55:54 PM
Thanks, Anto, you're too kind.

Did I tell you about the great hub in the back wheel??  ;)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on June 07, 2018, 11:42:47 PM
ah i didnt look down at it i was admiring  everything else  ;D ;D
class bike John your health to ride it. ;)

Anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 08, 2018, 03:38:01 AM
Ah, 'tis a fine day that we can ride these bike, Anto, no matter the hubbub they provoke ;)

Cheers, lad,

J.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Danneaux on June 08, 2018, 04:55:30 AM
Quote
hubbub
Haha! ;D

All the best,

Dan.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on June 08, 2018, 09:52:08 AM
 ;D ;D class day here i'm away to play Pitch n Putt before the gang gets here  ;)

tally ho

anto.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on June 15, 2018, 08:56:00 PM
Got out on a short overnight ... a little longer than the last, a bit more of a climb: https://www.strava.com/routes/10432177 (https://www.strava.com/routes/10432177)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/btdyrurijyhppnwppib72s8ssiem1na4.jpg)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/sgbj8jomxfrlffyyhfoucvmd5f26iazf.jpg)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/ao4xpkd7bbmpjal7xykneeuqdroasbor.jpg)

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on June 15, 2018, 11:39:02 PM
That's a hugely varied environment you live in, Jim. I presume that if those dirt roads carried any appreciable traffic, they'd long since be tarmaced over and, by virtue of being tarmac, attract more traffic. A cyclist's paradise.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on June 15, 2018, 11:56:19 PM
It's a pretty interesting bit of road there in the first photo:

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.4375046,-112.0394493,13z/data=!5m1!1e3 (https://www.google.com/maps/@41.4375046,-112.0394493,13z/data=!5m1!1e3)

US-89 is a quite busy road through Willard and Perry. In a lot of places there is no shoulder. It's two lanes in each direction so mostly the traffic can give cyclists some space, but sometimes there is a cluster of cars that makes that infeasible, and sometimes people just have a bad attitude. But, aha, there is a way just to the west of US-89! You should be able to see a bit of bike path in the map. The photo is facing south: you can see that the dirt road runs back to a gate - that's the northern end of the bike path. The map just shows a disconnect at that point, but it is certainly bike-able.

Slowly slowly I am expanding my horizons. Close to home there is an incredible amount of construction and the roads are too narrow and too busy. But head out and it gets remote ... wow, Utah really gets remote! Lots to explore!
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on June 16, 2018, 12:04:35 AM
Here is some of the nearby remote territory .... this ought to be doable, I think!

https://www.strava.com/heatmap#12.39/-111.95909/41.43927/blue/ride (https://www.strava.com/heatmap#12.39/-111.95909/41.43927/blue/ride)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: in4 on June 16, 2018, 08:56:19 AM
Thanks for posting, Jim. Some great shots of your Carradice decked Nomad in Utah.
A few years back I was fortunate to spend a few nights camping and hiking in Zion. Fabulous country and yes, very remote in places. Particularly liked 'Goblin the Utah equivalent of the Easter Island Moai. If there is a next time for me my  Nomad might be coming too.
 Cheers,
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: PH on June 16, 2018, 09:40:03 AM
Lovely photos Jim, looks a good climb at the end and an excellent place to camp.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on June 18, 2018, 02:41:44 AM
Now that I look at the larger context of your maps again, Jim, I realize I must have gone up the nearby road, west of your cycle path, parallel to the lake, a long, long time ago; we tested the top speed of the first pony cars on the salt, and on an off day went to listen to a choir, and in those days of paper maps had a brain flash: we'll drive around the lake. We didn't manage that of course because the model reading the map thought contour lines were roads, but we met some interesting people in the places we got lost before hunger drove us to give up and turn around in search of a restaurant.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on June 18, 2018, 11:51:35 PM
ha, when we were first planning to move out here, my wife was talking about driving around the lake. I think by now she realizes the impracticality of that idea! I must say though, Andre - your curriculum vitae is endlessly amazing!

A couple of my local cycling friends got out into that country - something in the direction of a Danneaux-scale expedition! Starts on page 3: http://www.cyclingutah.com/march/Cycling-West-March-2017-Issue.pdf (http://www.cyclingutah.com/march/Cycling-West-March-2017-Issue.pdf)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Mike Ayling on June 19, 2018, 01:01:49 AM
We recently spent two weeks riding along Australia's Murray River.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/australia/

Mike
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: David Simpson on June 19, 2018, 04:31:01 AM
We recently spent two weeks riding along Australia's Murray River.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/australia/

Mike

Nice photos, Mike. I enjoyed reading about your trip.

I like how Mary referred to the Thorn Mercury as a "half bike". (Context: Mike and Mary did the tour on a tandem.)

- DaveS
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Swislon on June 23, 2018, 11:16:46 AM
We are exploring our new home in Dorset.
The bikes have been in storage for 4 months but now we are out and about again.
Photo is in Portland Dorset. The weather speaks for itself!
Steve
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 23, 2018, 10:56:33 PM
Notes and photos from a couple of days of easy rides in a quiet corner of Ontario

Last week Marcia and I spent a few days in Prince Edward County, a peninsula in the northeast corner of Lake Ontario.  We loaded our bikes onto/into our Subaru wagon, and with friends, rented an old farmhouse on a winery.  Our visit was mostly about food, talk and drink, with breaks for some gentle cycling—nothing approaching Mike and Mary’s grand safari along the Murray, for example, or Julien’s journey through Ireland, Wales, and Wessex.  I’ve written about “the County” before, so what follows may seem familiar for some.
 
The County was one of the first parts of Ontario to be settled by Europeans—farmers who were Quakers of Dutch and German descent from Pennsylvania in the mid-18th century.  They were followed by refugees from the Significant Unpleasantness Next Door between 1776 and 1783.  (Some of those refugees were Mohawks, but they didn’t get the better land—their descendants live further north on more marginal terrain on the mainland.)  The County is fertile and well watered, and by the late 19th century, sustained a fairly prosperous agricultural economy.  Fine old brick farmhouses from that era dot the landscape—photos 1 and 3 below are good examples.  Nowadays, grapes have replaced the fruit and vegetables which were the primary crops a generation or more ago.  The functions of older buildings have changed as well: the grand farmhouse in photo #3 houses a distillery, while the outbuildings in #2 are in disrepair.

Irises graced the garden of the distillery we visited (Photo #4), a family-owned affair nicely named “Kinsip”.  I was always a sucker for any establishment making a pun in its title, and this one offers high-grade spirits, too.  I nearly laid out far too much money for a Crimson Rye (the crimson hue from barrels which had held a local pinot noir, if you please), but chose instead a smaller brandy and a ditto rye with a hint of maple.  In photo #5, Osi the Raven is restin’ his burden against a big old maple, while I photographed the super paint job in #6.  (I was always a sucker for red-and-cream with silver accents.)

There are still standard-issue functioning farms, as well.  Photo #7 shows an emerging crop (of beans, I think) in an impeccably groomed field, all in a flood of thundery light at sunset.  In the pasture a little further along the road, the lovely bay in #8 allowed me to take her picture.  Photo #9 is two of your basic summer farm colours, a field of bright yellow canola beneath a fine blue sky, with the accents of an aluminum barn roof and a wee bit of lake of a deeper blue.

The last word goes to the stylized rooster in #10.  Barns all over the County show murals of quilt patterns.  I liked this image of an audacious fellow—you might even say he was cocky.  (Unless you thought for more than half a second before saying that…)

(Photos are spread over this post and the two following.)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 23, 2018, 10:58:11 PM
Four more photos from the County...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 23, 2018, 10:58:48 PM
...and the last two.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: in4 on June 23, 2018, 11:10:46 PM
Lovely photos. Very evocative of The Bridges of Madison County  to me.
How much would a prospective  owner have to shell out for that gorgeous farmhouse? Henry, my Nomad would love it there. :)
Thanks for sharing John.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 23, 2018, 11:19:44 PM
Thanks for your kind words, Ian--glad you liked the pix :)

The price of housing in the County has gone up rapidly and a long way in recent years--so much so that local people with jobs that give a modest salary have trouble finding affordable housing.  As the wine industry has grown, the area has been "discovered", and is well on its way to becoming A Destination.  Many well-off retirees from larger centres such as Toronto and Ottawa are moving to the County.  That farmhouse might well fetch Cdn$500,000 or even more, because (from the outside at least) it seems to be in very good condition. I don't know how much land would go with it.  It's on a very quiet side road, but it's not near any water.  Half a million is a lot of money, but on the other hand it'll never be as cheap as it is now...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on June 24, 2018, 02:42:25 AM
And the contrasting regular corrugated and rustic wood stripy backgrounds of that "quilted rooster" absolutely makes the photo. Well caught, John. The varied detail of the interested eye and ear in the written report of the ride doesn't escape me, but we've mentioned it before; you must've been a very good teacher.

When we first started these annual "Rides" threads, they were in the hope of giving less adventurous -- for whatever reason -- members insights from around the world, and inspiration for those with the legs and the lungs and the will. I must say, just looking up this current page here, we have reports of rides, long and short, from Jim in Utah, Mike in Australia (in countryside I know actually, from when I lived in Melbourne and Adelaide), Swission in Dorset and John in Canada, and more from other members on the many other pages, and this is only halfway through the year; you can't help but consider that a grand world tour, and there is so much more on the earlier pages.

No tourist agency can match this thread! All kudos to the posters, and much gratitude for sharing.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on June 24, 2018, 02:47:48 AM
Thanks as always for your kind words, Andre -- but also, thanks for starting this annual thread, and thus creating a space for all of us.

Sometimes, Grand Things can be found in little adventures  :)

Cheers,  John
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: geocycle on July 16, 2018, 05:23:23 PM
Finally, got some decent touring in this year!  Did a nice C2C from North Lancashire, across Yorkshire, over the Humber Bridge, through Lincolnshire, around the Norfolk coast to Suffolk.  Lots of flat lands which was a novelty and all very English...

Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on July 16, 2018, 05:31:14 PM
Nice ride, geo -- love the thatch on the Queen's Head!  Awash in sunshine too--you're sure it was England?  ;)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: geocycle on July 16, 2018, 07:23:25 PM
Yes, we’ve had a fantastic summer so far. Today is only about the third wet day since early may. I was actually grateful for a headwind to keep me cool! This was a very different area of England to that I’m used to but despite the slightly cliched thatch, it was very interesting as well. Some great bird reserves, history and fabulous food.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on July 17, 2018, 12:20:38 AM
Idyllic.

One almost expects to look up and see a Spitfire overhead...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on August 01, 2018, 01:21:14 AM
Haven't managed many day rides in the past few weeks, what with a mini-tour in south-central Ontario, some serious heat'n'humidity, and a long weekend chasing cultcha in Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake...

A couple of weeks ago, however, I did my usual ride across the river and into the Gatineau Hills, this time with a cycling buddy, David, who's easing back into riding after some difficult back and knee problems. He did some hills for the first time in some months, using his trick carbon road bike, and recorded our ride on his Garmin.

Here's the map, elevation profile and some stats: 
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2862373639 (https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2862373639)

We did the basic up-and-back ride from my place to Champlain Lookout--one can take loops to lengthen the ride and add hills. As is, it's a nice three hours of riding plus a break at the top for a snack and for consideration once more of the odd feeling that comes from knowing that, a mere 10,000 years ago, our favourite viewpoint was under a mile of ice.  If we'd visited a couple of thousand years closer, so to speak, we'd have been at the seaside, as the Ottawa Valley-to-be was the seabed of the Champlain Sea, left behind by the melting and retreating glaciers.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: JimK on August 13, 2018, 11:01:28 PM
I rode out to Antelope Island yesterday, camped overnight, and rode home today. About 35 miles each way. Not quite sub-24 hours but only about an hour over the line.

The original plan was to meet up with some folks who were going to look at the Perseid meteors. Seems like the group bailed but I did see 8 meteors in maybe half an hour. Then this morning, one antelope and lots of bison. There aren't any fences... best not to aggravate those monstrous beasts!

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/l8q4vi10r0726wmnkll8qrw1l8db9ljs.jpg)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/orcycf56g482cu00rxq1ziwsumnf8own.jpg)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/7r5mdsftkdqe7dch0ymkgp6q9ufbtj6s.jpg)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/xszvrqzycggf5x71as6zq49674kkenos.jpg)

(https://app.box.com/shared/static/cxgnwl8vx0mkqkzkh7cjndc2spqbmw5a.jpg)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on August 14, 2018, 01:34:58 AM
Super stuff, Jim, wide horizons there...

I was away this past w.e., paddling in parc de la Vérendrye.  No cycling myself, though we did pass & give a thumbs-up to a couple of touring cyclists on Québec's Route Verte #1.

Couple of nice water-and-sky photos below. And, no photos unfortunately, but at 3 AM, I saw Mars for the first time in the Northern Hemisphere, low enough & bright enough to cast a beam of light on the lake :)

Cheers,  J.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on August 14, 2018, 05:54:34 AM
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. John's sentimentally evocative canoe and Jim's powerful pylons are both stunning photographs in different ways.

Like the meteorites and Mars casting a beam on the lake, I don't have a photograph of the interesting thing that happened on my ride.

At dusk by the cemetery on edge of the town, I came upon a fox sitting at the side of the road, calmly observing me. So I stopped about ten feet away and said hello. I didn't take a photo because a) my phone (an iPhone 4S) or its case interfering causes flash photos to show nothing but grey nothingness and b) it is rude to pop flashlights in the eyes of nocturnal animals. So I rode off home and the fox trotted along with me until it could turn through the back gate of a park into a fold of the land in which, I thought, it might feel more secure.

A few hours later my pet fox appeared at the French doors to the living room and inspected me rather more thoroughly than usual. I refer, perhaps too casually I suppose, to "my pet fox", but it isn't tame at all; I can walk up to within a couple of feet of it on the patio, but I don't handfeed it because I like keeping my hands attached to my arms; from the fox's point of view, I'm a possibly dangerous creature because of my size, but on the other hand I put out food for it, and I speak soothingly ("Well now, Foxie, how about giving me a nearly weaned cub for a live-in pet?").

Well, the fox at the cemetery wore a scab on its ear, and my fox from the gully below the orchard has had this scratch that won't heal on his ear for a couple of years, since he tangled with an extended family of magpies that lives in the eucalyptus outside my study window. I suddenly realized that the fold of land up by the cemetery is connected to the culvert under the dangerous main road on the townward side of the sports fields, and of course the culvert leads into the gully, which has a stream in it near which Foxie and his family lives, a distance of probably a few hundred yards though by road from the cemetery to my house over the gully is a mile or more.

And I remembered that years ago I found Foxie's father or grandfather on that road by the cemetery trying to guide a vixen and three cubs (one of whom might have been Foxie or his father) across it, decided they were living dangerously (the local hounds are stabled just a couple of hundred yards along that road -- no neighborhood for a fox with a growing family -- or for a cyclist, for that matter: one of those bloody dogs bit me a couple of months ago, and I took it out on the handler, to the horror of my riding companion who in nearly 40 years hadn't discovered that I turn violent when I see even a spot of my own blood -- I don't share the dumb country assumption that "dogs will be dogs"), and herded them cross-country through the fold of land at the edge of the sports field, through the culvert, and along the gully to below the orchard; when I got home I took food into the gully and left it for them to find and by small steps the paterfamilias and his successors came to consider our living room patio his dining room.

Like I say, no photo, because a flash in Foxie's eyes would be thoughtless and very likely considered hostile by him. But here's a portrait of Foxie I drew last year:
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on August 14, 2018, 02:13:28 PM
Love it, Andre -- your painting is a low-impact record of nature's beauty. (Soft paths, leave-no-trace of our passage.)  Generations of Foxies will thank you :)

Will send you a PM on All This -- adding more here takes us some distances from "Rides of 2018"...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on September 09, 2018, 10:23:56 PM
Second week of September, and we've had some of the first signals of the arrival of fall. Beyond the obvious one of the neighbourhood kids going back to school, in the past week or so I've seen and heard a couple of Vees of geese wheeling and honking overhead as they run through their formations and signals for their great trek south. And, we've had a couple of nights with the temps down to 8 or 9° -- combined with clear, sunny, and cool days, it almost feels like July on the Southern African highveld.

So, this weekend, I've done a couple of rides up into the Gatineau Hills across the river, to see if there's any sign of fall foliage.  There was splendid weather, despite a brisk northwesterly, but barely a hint of an autumn tint -- the foliage from the first lookout, at Pink Lake, was almost summery.  With the trees still pumping out chlorophyll-a-plenty, the maples and the oaks are still a-wearin' of the green. (See #1 below.)

It was up to the sumacs, as usual to give us the first blush of autumn, but that's all it was. (See #'s 2 & 3 below.) We'll see if and when we get the standard-issue blaze of glory on the hillsides--the long, hot, dry summer may simply stress and dry out the trees. TBC...
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: Andre Jute on September 09, 2018, 11:46:14 PM
What I like best about your post, John: "TBC" -- to be continued, an abbreviation freighted with meaning.

Actually, autumn is my favorite season: cool enough to ride, variegation of the overwhelming greens of the landscape here, and where I live not a high rainfall season.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: jags on September 10, 2018, 12:13:04 AM
great photo's lads  8)
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on September 10, 2018, 01:27:14 AM
Thanks, guys.  Andre, I'd like to claim something more profound, but TBC here means only that "There'll be another chapter; what it is will depend on the weather."

September is often a delightful month for cycling in these parts.  October can be iffy, with spectacular fall foliage mixed with cold rain and/or snow.
Title: Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
Post by: John Saxby on September 19, 2018, 11:32:15 PM
This past Sunday morning was clear, bright and warm, with a light easterly breeze, a fine late-July day in mid-September.  I forsook my usual weekend ride across the river and into the hills, reckoning that the Gatineau Park would be chock-a-block with motorists seeking the widely renowned, but elusive and shy Great Fall Foliage Spectacle. Instead, I took Osi the Raven on a delightful three-hour canter eastwards along the Ottawa River, through the city and out the other side, just less than 50 kms in all.
 
On the western segment of my ride, I followed the tarmac bike path beside the Ottawa River, heading east toward Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, and the National Gallery.  At the Gallery, the route joins a city street, Sussex Drive, which runs past the dwelling places of the high and mighty—the Prime Minister’s residence, various embassies, and Rideau Hall, the Governor-General’s residence (being Canajan and all, this is also home to a public skating rink, a ditto cricket pitch, and Sunday evening concerts, where you can picnic on the lawn and listen to the likes of Natalie McMaster dancing with her fiddle.)

Beyond the G-G’s place (the PM and his family are living in the G-G’s gatehouse these days, while his official residence is being renovated—this tells you something about the scale of a mere gatehouse), the road winds past Rockcliffe, a posh suburb sprinkled with cars bearing CD plates, then curls down a rocky bluff onto the Eastern Parkway, towards the Aviation Museum and Ottawa’s eastern suburb, Orléans.

Just here, though, there’s a nondescript, overgrown and barely noticeable sorta-paved narrow road which angles backwards and downhill 50 metres or so to the riverbank itself.  This is an access road to a fine old late-19th century wooden building on the waterfront, the home of the Ottawa Rowing Club. (Its members, you can guess, are known as ORCs.) From there, a rider can follow a gravel road eastwards for about 10 or 12 kms, right beside the river. On the right (southern) side, a steep wooded bank rises about 50 metres, providing welcome shade from the sun.  It seems that not many people know about this road—on this day, I saw perhaps twenty cyclists, and a few more walkers and joggers, often with young children, infants in strollers, or dogs, and sometimes all of those. The conditions require and reward a relaxed pace; anything hurried would be unseemly.  (For speedsters, there is the paved parkway up above, replete with cars and stuff.)

Adding to the pastoral feeling amid an urban population of a million were occasional light planes passing overhead, en route to the small airport attached to the Aviation Museum. Cessnas and the like are (“parked”? “moored”? “stabled”?) there, but also working Spitfires, a Lancaster, and even a few old biplanes.  It was oddly reassuring to hear the guttural low-RPM exhaust note of some of these creatures through the trees, a bit like seeing, say, a Brough-Superior or an Excelsior four-cylinder on a ride in the hills.

Photo #1 below shows the road and the woods beside it. I sometime go along here in November—then, everything is wetter and greyer, and there are even fewer people on the path.

There are benches dotted along the landward side of the road, so I stopped for a snack at noon and watched the boats on the river.  The easterly had picked up, so there were half-a-dozen sails on the river, which at this point, about 12 kms east of the centre of the city, is about a kilometre wide.  One of the sails was a sailboard, tacking back and forth across the river from the Québec side.  Most of the craft on the river were powerboats, however.  Some were larger and slower, perhaps doing the Montréal-Ottawa-Kingston-Montréal triangular waterway—the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal, and the St. Lawrence River. Others were smaller and quite a bit faster.  As the sailboarder headed back to the Québec shore, s/he was engulfed by a mini-flotilla of 6 or 8 speedboats.  As a canoeist, I was dismayed but not surprised at the speedboats’ lack of courtesy – the etiquette requires that power boats cut their speed to “Dead Slow”, to minimize their wake. Ha! – the sailboarder managed it very well, but it must have felt like being in the midst of the aquatic equivalent of a cavalry charge.

A nice brisk tailwind followed me as I turned back to the west.  Cyclists and walkers cross the Rideau Canal at the lowest point of the staircase of seven (!) locks, where the Canal meets the Ottawa River. 

Photo #2 below shows the view from this splendid spot, at the centre of the city’s waterfront: Across the river to the north is Douglas Cardinal’s magnificent design, the beautiful Museum of Civilisation (as I insist on still calling it, despite it being renamed the “Museum of History” by the previous federal gvt – gimme a break, any museum deals with history, by definition); up above on the right is the status of Champlain, not waving but shooting the stars with his astrolabe; between Champlain and the Museum of Civ is the Alexandra Bridge, the old railway bridge named after one of Vicky-and-Albert’s brood, which now handles motor traffic, as well as a lot of cyclists and walkers on a broad roadway of wooden beams.  Further to the right, not visible in this photo, is the National Gallery, Moshe Safdie’s splendid design. Up above to the left (west) are the Parliament buildings, with the markers of the Peace Tower and the cupola of the library.  Further west still is the fine stone of the Supreme Court, looking properly august, even in September.  (Photos of those to come after a future ride, letting me photograph them from the north side of the river.)

Continuing west from downtown, a rider reaches the Remic Rapids, the middle of the three sets of rapids in this stretch of the Ottawa River.  On the southern side of the river, a convenient wide shelf of shale rock protrudes into the shallows and provides the foundation for an exhibition of rock sculptures.  (Photo #3 below.)  This is a citizen’s initiative, the work of one artist.  John Ceprano has been doing this every year since the mid-1980s.  He rebuilds his creations every year, after winter’s snow and ice and the spring flood rearrange the previous lot.  His work has gained such a following among locals and tourists—and of course the Canada geese, although they don’t vote—that the city gives him a yearly grant to support his exhibition.  Not for the first time, too, a good idea has morphed into an NGO—this one is Ottawa Rock Art.

Next door to the balancing rocks (which, it must be said, are not a patch on those in Zimbabwe’s Matopos Hills—but they are a lot closer) is another sculpture, “Sprout”.  (Photo #4.)  I quite like the splash of colour and the spiky contrast with the rock art.  Will it last through the winter, I wonder?  Things not made of rock or sturdy metal tend not to do so well here in the Valley…  If you can stand the suspense, stay tuned for a springtime sequel in “Rides of 2019”.