Thorn Cycles Forum

Community => Non-Thorn Related => Topic started by: Andre Jute on March 12, 2021, 10:59:33 PM

Title: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on March 12, 2021, 10:59:33 PM
(http://www.coolmainpress.com/miscimage/andre_jute_doctor_s_bag_open_2017_800pxsq.jpg)
Everyone knows why "Rides 2020" was a bit of a disaster area, with only 92 posts (and one of those belongs in this thread!) and 8870 views. Or we can take the view that for a pandemic year, 2020 demonstrated our ingenuity as cyclists.

But now there is light at the end of the tunnel with the promise of effective vaccines, and summer around the same corner.

Here at Chez Jute, a pedal pal called this week to say next week looks like cycling weather...

This is a place to post odd rides, short rides, day rides, long rides, extended tours, whatever you want. If you intend to make a very extended tour with many separate but linked reports, you're of course welcome here but readers may find it easier to navigate your reports if you give them a thread of their own. Photographs are always welcome. This thread is a vicarious holiday by other members on your roads.

The photo is from back when every day was a cycling day, and the larger the party the merrier.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on March 12, 2021, 11:46:50 PM
Thanks, Andre.

Re-posting this from "Rides of 2020" (RIP):

First ride of 2021 chez nous yesterday!

Just a tiny one, 3-4 kms to buy a couple of pounds of coffee and do a few things at our credit union, but hey!  Gotta take whatever you can get.

Wednesday was 15 degrees and sunny, that temp making it the hottest Mar 11 on record in Ottawa. Thursday was not far off, so the streets were awash with water from melting snow, people walking and jogging in shirtsleeves or less, giant puddles everywhere 'cos the ground is still frozen and a lot of drains are still covered in ice & snow.

The crows were celebrating, or just making a racket, as they do, and it was a welcome sound.  No geese yet, though--another month or so, I'm guessing.

With a 50-60 km/h westerly behind me, Osi the Raven fairly whizzed to the coffee shop. On the journey back, not so much, the headwind and modest neighbourhood hills reminding me how much cardio-vascular work awaits me when regular cycling resumes in a few weeks' time.

My spiffy new SKS silver chromoplast fenders kept everything pretty dry, tho' I'd fitted my 'glider just in case.  One stretch generated some anxiety: going along a bike path, I had to navigate a puddle 2-3 inches deep and about 25 yards in length. It was a muddy-milky colour, slightly translucent, and I thought, "Oh jeez, hope those milky streaks aren't ice beneath the surface!" as I steered towards the darker bits.

It's going to be colder over the next few days, daytime highs just above zero and nighttime lows down into the mid-teens, so all those huge puddles will become sheets of ice.  In a week's time, with luck, the riverside paths will be rideable, and I might be able to post some photos of the start of spring breakup/runoff.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on March 13, 2021, 09:17:49 AM
Thank you for that, John. The puddle that gave you pause, here in Ireland we would either ride through gaily, bubbles in our soul, or not even attempt, depending on whether it runs north-south or east-west and, crucially, on how close to the sun-side hedge it is. This time of the year and sometimes into April, we're on the lookout for black ice, which forms on narrow tar macadam lanes where the sun, low on the horizon, or behind the ridge enclosing the valley holding the road, never reaches. Those can be treacherous, and last for many days on blacktop in the shade when cyclists are already taking their sweaters off on wider or better-sunned throughways. There's one piece of road on a steep hill where there is a well directly under the road and no matter how often they retar it, there is always a distinct hollow in the road, where guests on our rides are amazed to see us stop and dismount and regard the road downwards from the hollow gravely for a sign that is invisible to any except old hands before riding over it slowly or turning back.

I had to chuckle at "'Rides of 2020' (RIP)". We didn't do too badly in the black death: we're here and have the maps out for a new year.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on March 13, 2021, 04:03:07 PM
Quote
we're on the lookout for black ice

Yep, that's a dangerous treacherous thing in these parts, for sure, Andre.  It tends to be more so for motorists than for cyclists, however, mainly because there are many fewer of the latter here during the winter months, December through March. And, the hardcore riders in those months pretty much have to use main or secondary roads, which have been snow-ploughed and salted.

Happily, we're rescued from the dreaded low-lying sun by the fact that Ottawa is just a couple of degrees of latitude N of Marseilles, so that by mid-late Feb., the sun is well and truly up in the sky.  Thus, even when it's several degrees below zero, the roads are wet with runoff from melted ice and snow.

We're hopeful that there'll be many more opportunities for cycling when the roads are fully open, usually by mid-April. (The hills across the river are a couple of weeks later.) There are these spoilsport variants lurking around, however, so precautions will be necessary for a while yet.

Safe journeys!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on March 19, 2021, 01:15:05 AM
Signs of spring along the Ottawa River: As we plod towards the spring equinox, I took advantage of a sunny/hazy Wednesday afternoon to see what was happening on the big river. Just a short 8km there-and-back to Bate Island, in the middle of the river 4 kms from downtown.

Early March has been cool, so the snow is melting slowly, upstream and in the city itself.  A slow melt is no bad thing -- warm weather and rain can produce serious flooding.  Yesterday, the river was gentle, even placid, a metre and more below the retaining walls on the upstream (western) side of Bate Island. There are still aprons of ice along the shores of the river proper, as well as on its islands.  And, as I returned home along main & secondary roads, I saw a cross-country skier skating along the trails through the woods.

A few views of the river below.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on March 19, 2021, 12:35:27 PM
A river genuinely that big only looks placid. Underneath it surely has rippling muscles. I also see in several of the photos a nasty little wind chopping up the surface: not a day for dinghy sailing.

Compare "the Mighty Torrens" in Adelaide in South Australia: it has a whopping great weir across it upriver, just out of sight from the Festival Centre's expansive plaza, so that a rather insignificant stream is suddenly a fairly impressive river (by Australian standards, not Canadian). Mind you, the Lee, which most international cycle tourers will tell you is a largish river in which Cork City zentral makes up two long islands and which at Cobh Harbour is a big estuary, to serious local cyclists is more notable for its origins among pretty and easy-cycling back roads within striking distance of a far (by Irish standards!) shore, where it is a fingerling you can step over without noticing the origin of a famous river unless someone tells you or you're paying close attention to topographical lines on the map.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: UKTony on March 22, 2021, 05:13:21 PM
The River Severn here in Gloucestershire has a very benign appearance at the moment owing to settled weather - high pressure, light winds - and high tide is at the bottom of the curve at about 5 metres AOD. But spring tides can go to 9+ metres and the river though comparatively smal is perfectly formed to have the second highest tide range in the world next to the Bay of Fundy, or maybe third if one counts Ungava Bay 🙁
So although there’s a lot going on under the surface even now in the present mild conditions, it does get much livelier.

Photos:

Navigation beacons.
The wooden piers at the entrance to the small harbour of Sharpness.
St Mary’s Church, Shepperdine - a rare ‘tin tabernacle’ (a misnomer as it’s galvanised iron) dating from about 1914 thought to have brought over from Wales. A prefabricated church intended to be temporary but still functioning with monthly services.
CAKE yippee 😀
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: UKTony on March 22, 2021, 05:15:19 PM
The other three pics......
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: UKTony on March 22, 2021, 05:17:07 PM
And the fourth!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on March 22, 2021, 06:48:57 PM
CAKE yippee 😀

If that cake is to scale, you have enough to share with all the county's cyclists!

An old sailor told me, "You want to be careful in the [Severn] Estuary. The Bore will get your ship, and I don't mean the fellow at the end of the bar." You're right: it is generally agreed to be the second highest of the 60 plus in the world, though I've never seen anything even nearly as big, never mind higher, generated by a river. I once saw what was claimed to be a 30ft wave at Kuta Beach in Bali, and that was frightening enough -- I took my rented board out on its distant, much less ambitious relatives.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: in4 on March 22, 2021, 10:34:41 PM
Apologies for hijack but cake you say?!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: LorenzoB on March 23, 2021, 09:59:47 PM
Sunday morning ride to the market in Gouda (NL), with my Sherpa "COVID". Of course, the rear bag is full of cheese  ;D
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on March 23, 2021, 11:03:21 PM
Sunday, the first day of the new season, was a proper spring day -- bright sunshine, 16-17 degrees, mild westerly winds.  So, I took Osi the Raven for a canter to the Hogsback Falls on the Rideau River, in the south-central part of Ottawa, about 7-8 kms SE of where I live.  It's a pleasant ride through the Experimental Farm, across the Rideau Canal at Hartwell's Locks to the edge of Carleton University, then due south for a km or two, between the Rideau River to the east and the Canal to the west.

The Falls are the point where the Rideau River diverges from the built Rideau Canal. (The Canal system runs for 202 kms between Ottawa and Kingston. It's not a single built canal, but a remarkable collection of 49 locks and short built canals linking lakes and rivers. There's more here if you're interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rideau_Canal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rideau_Canal))

The Rideau is a gentle river for most of its south-to-north course to the Ottawa River, but changes its character dramatically at the Hogsback, especially in spring. The section of the Rideau Canal which runs north from the Falls to the Ottawa River is the longest built section of the entire Canal system, culminating in the magnificent staircase of eight locks descending to the Ottawa beside Parliament Hill.

The Hogsback Falls are our neighbourhood (lite) variant of Murchison Falls. The Rideau is hardly the Nile, of course, and a visitor will not see the ghosts of Bogart, Hepburn and the film crew of "The African Queen".  And, there are no crocs, hippos, elephants.  But, there is a splendid torrent bursting between narrow rocks, and best of all, it's less than 30 minutes from my back door.

Signs of spring were everywhere, even before I left the house:  sunblock on me nose for the first time in six months  :)  Then, I passed by a small flock of geese in a field in the Farm, maybe 15 or 20.  They were sleek and plump creatures, looking more like bourgeois geese who'd spent the winter in the fleshpots of the nation's capital  than hungry aviators who'd just touched down after several days' journey from the southern states.

Have attached some photos of the Falls and Rideau River downstream. 

The first two are taken from the side of the road between the Rideau River and the Canal.  The third shows the shale rock beneath and around the Falls, with my Raven pointing back to the spot from which the first photos were taken.

Three more photos follow in a separate post: two close views of the torrent, and a final one of an Orthodox dome which has kept its shine despite the winter.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on March 23, 2021, 11:05:35 PM
And the remaining three photos:
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on March 24, 2021, 12:44:24 AM
Cake and cheese for a picnic, and spectacular views to eat it in!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: leftpoole on March 24, 2021, 10:54:28 AM
The River Severn here in Gloucestershire has a very benign appearance at the moment owing to settled weather - high pressure, light winds - and high tide is at the bottom of the curve at about 5 metres AOD. But spring tides can go to 9+ metres and the river though comparatively smal is perfectly formed to have the second highest tide range in the world next to the Bay of Fundy, or maybe third if one counts Ungava Bay 🙁
So although there’s a lot going on under the surface even now in the present mild conditions, it does get much livelier.

Photos:

Navigation beacons.
The wooden piers at the entrance to the small harbour of Sharpness.
St Mary’s Church, Shepperdine - a rare ‘tin tabernacle’ (a misnomer as it’s galvanised iron) dating from about 1914 thought to have brought over from Wales. A prefabricated church intended to be temporary but still functioning with monthly services.
CAKE yippee 😀

I believe this is the yellow Thorn I see around Thornbury. I have chatted with the owner (that is if it is the same one).
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: UKTony on March 24, 2021, 05:27:32 PM
Hello, John (or should I say leftpoole). I did wonder if this was you. So, Hi! Yes, outside Boots in the HighSt, was it just before or early on in the first lockdown round about  this time last year.  Still got your number I think so maybe we can carry on carrying on where we left off sometime.
Cheers.
Tony
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: leftpoole on March 25, 2021, 11:42:02 AM
Hello, John (or should I say leftpoole). I did wonder if this was you. So, Hi! Yes, outside Boots in the HighSt, was it just before or early on in the first lockdown round about  this time last year.  Still got your number I think so maybe we can carry on carrying on where we left off sometime.
Cheers.
Tony
Excellent!
I am as you and others may be aware, suffer with health problems. I have not actually ridden since September last year. I am walking most days. I saw you going up Castle Street a few days ago and I waved but you did not notice.
Anyhow by all means once things get a little more 'normal' I will be happy to meet/chat or whatever.
I know I shall struggle once on a bike again.
I just sold another (The Sherpa) and I have a Moulton TSR 30 and a Brompton T5 (old but beautiful condition). Plus a couple of Thorn, and a Thorn frame (new) to build one day.
Best regards,
John
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: JohnR on March 25, 2021, 09:35:46 PM
Here's my Mercury having a rest before tackling the most challenging hill on one of my regular circuits (minimum 24 miles but can be longer) plus the profile for part of the circuit. It gives the ardio-vascular system a fairly good workout. ;D That hill is the first on the chunk of profile and, altogether, there was about 530m of up and down on the whole circuit.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: leftpoole on March 26, 2021, 11:58:11 AM
That looks a lovely road surrounded by lovely Countryside.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: tyreon on March 28, 2021, 11:41:24 AM

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tvh9MraRkJFs17gR6

I had hoped to cycle Toledo,Avila,Segovia 2021. I dont hurry,the more modest the speed the more I seem to see and experience. Theseadays,I travel by folder(s)getting on trains and buses and wotnot as and when roads,weather,accommodation suits. I would hurry but it adds stress: oftentimes I like to 'daydream'. In the meantime,lockdown ending?,I plan to return to Wiltshire,home of forgotten Britain and strange happenings! A coffee or tea,some snack,some sunshine,and to be able to travel open road is enough...to ask for more is greedy

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: UKTony on March 30, 2021, 01:38:35 PM
A river genuinely that big only looks placid. Underneath it surely has rippling muscles. I also see in several of the photos a nasty little wind chopping up the surface: not a day for dinghy sailing.

Compare "the Mighty Torrens" in Adelaide in South Australia: it has a whopping great weir across it upriver, just out of sight from the Festival Centre's expansive plaza, so that a rather insignificant stream is suddenly a fairly impressive river (by Australian standards, not Canadian). Mind you, the Lee, which most international cycle tourers will tell you is a largish river in which Cork City zentral makes up two long islands and which at Cobh Harbour is a big estuary, to serious local cyclists is more notable for its origins among pretty and easy-cycling back roads within striking distance of a far (by Irish standards!) shore, where it is a fingerling you can step over without noticing the origin of a famous river unless someone tells you or you're paying close attention to topographical lines on the map.

A beautiful Spring day. A quick spin, 23 mile round trip, this morning along the flatlands of the Severn Vale north to Sharpness Dock to witness one of the highest tides of the year here at 10.36m at 10:03 am and grab a photo to compare with one at low tide (about 0.5m).
About 45 minutes earlier at Avonmouth Docks roughly 16 miles SW downstream, high tide was at 14.17 metres from a low of 5m.
Pleasantly surprised to find an Irish cargo ship coming upstream to enter the dock between the two wooden piers and then through the lock into the dock basin.
No coffee or cake today🙁

Photo 1 low water at Sharpness Dock 0.51m
Photo 2 Arklow Faith arrival 10 minutes before high tide
Photo 3 High Tide (Slack water( at 10.36m.

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: UKTony on March 30, 2021, 01:56:54 PM
A river genuinely that big only looks placid. Underneath it surely has rippling muscles. I also see in several of the photos a nasty little wind chopping up the surface: not a day for dinghy sailing.

Compare "the Mighty Torrens" in Adelaide in South Australia: it has a whopping great weir across it upriver, just out of sight from the Festival Centre's expansive plaza, so that a rather insignificant stream is suddenly a fairly impressive river (by Australian standards, not Canadian). Mind you, the Lee, which most international cycle tourers will tell you is a largish river in which Cork City zentral makes up two long islands and which at Cobh Harbour is a big estuary, to serious local cyclists is more notable for its origins among pretty and easy-cycling back roads within striking distance of a far (by Irish standards!) shore, where it is a fingerling you can step over without noticing the origin of a famous river unless someone tells you or you're paying close attention to topographical lines on the map.

A beautiful Spring day. A quick spin, 23 mile round trip, this morning along the flatlands of the Severn Vale north to Sharpness Dock to witness one of the highest tides of the year here at 10.36m at 10:03 am and grab a photo to compare with one at low tide (about 0.5m).
About 45 minutes earlier at Avonmouth Docks roughly 16 miles SW downstream, high tide was at 14.17 metres from a low of 5m.
Pleasantly surprised to find an Irish cargo ship coming upstream to enter the dock between the two wooden piers and then through the lock into the dock basin.
No coffee or cake today🙁

Photo 1 low water at Sharpness Dock 0.51m
Photo 2 Arklow Faith arrival 10 minutes before high tide
Photo 3 High Tide (Slack water( at 10.36m.


  14.17 metres from a low of 5m.  should read “from a low of 0.5m”
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on March 30, 2021, 09:52:53 PM
Fascinating, the local knowledge that an observant cyclist can build up.

Quote
14.17 metres from a low of 5m.  should read “from a low of 0.5m”


To a sailor the fine distinction will matter, but to a cyclist a 9.17m tide will swamp his Rohloff no less regrettably than a 13.67m tide!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: leftpoole on March 31, 2021, 10:18:34 AM
I used to live in Poole, Dorset. The high to low tide rise and fall is second in the World behind Sydney, Australia apparently.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: JohnR on April 02, 2021, 06:50:45 PM
Last Tuesday morning, when there was a taste of summer weather, I visited my 43 mile circuit. It's a longer version of the circuit included in the ustrans Severn & Thames cycle map. I went round anti-clockwise as the section north of Lambourn is very open (but a very low traffic road) and vulnerable to the wind so, as the wind was in the south then I wanted to be going northwards on that section of road. The photo I posted previously is of the hill east of Ogbourne St George. The photos herewith are (i) the road north of Lambourn and (ii) the view of the Vale of the White Horse taken just before going down Blowingstone Hill.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on April 08, 2021, 07:58:18 PM
Out today for a wee run around Aberdeen city on the Raven Tour.
Given the inclement weather I chose to bus in an out. A free journey for me of 40 mins / 18 miles each way. Bike goes underneath.
I’ve recently moved on from Geocaching to Turfgame. Check it out to see if your own area/city has enough zones to make it interesting.
An interesting history to the game, albeit short.
In a nut-shell: each round lasts a month and the idea is to rack up points by taking/ visiting a zone. Nothing to find or collect as with ‘caching. More points – and you move up the ranks, worldwide, by country or local area.
Other folks can chase you and take zones you have earned. Watch other zoners live as the game flows. Not for everyone – and some questionable aspects to the game.
But I’m hooked at the moment.

Pictures show a stop I made at one of the bridges over the river Don.
The Wellington Suspension bridge: opened in 1830, at a cost of £10,000 and closed to vehicles in 1984. Restoration work in 2007 estimated at £760,000 came in at £1,000,000. Some figures to think about there.

The national Cycle path crosses the bridge putting me 112 miles from Edinburgh and 150 miles from Inverness. Spoilt for choice!

Weather has had a set back over the previous week. Spring sprang and then disappeared. Our daffodils are here and buds on the trees, so we must be making some progress.

Always something to see of interest. Not sure if bumping into the Scottish Green Party leader doing a radio piece at the harbour counts? Our elections are on May 6th so subdued activity from the candidates due to Covid. A positive in these troubled times?

Raven running fine – as usual. Such a good run-around for town – and it always ready for the next tour.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on April 09, 2021, 12:28:52 PM
Pictures show a stop I made at one of the bridges over the river Don.
The Wellington Suspension bridge: opened in 1830, at a cost of £10,000 and closed to vehicles in 1984. Restoration work in 2007 estimated at £760,000 came in at £100,000. Some figures to think about there.

Without involving myself in more than mental 'rithmetic, those numbers have a distinctly Scottish tinge to them: proper engineering and not a penny for show! A bridge that cost £10,000 in 1830, and only £100,000 or even £1,000,000 to repair 177 years later, was indeed solidly built. Must say your Raven looks like a proper gentleman's bike: touching the forelock!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on April 09, 2021, 07:56:45 PM
Thanks Andre. That £100,000 should have been £1,000,000. A typo I have just corrected.

Ah yes, a gentleman's bike! I'll take that as a compliment. Thank you.

Salud amor y dinero, y el tiempo para gastarlos.


Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on April 10, 2021, 02:42:16 PM
Salud amor y dinero, y el tiempo para gastarlos.

Is your first tour after the pandemic the Iberian Peninsula, then, or Spanish America?
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on April 10, 2021, 07:18:00 PM
Reino de España.
But not at all hopeful for any foreign travel given worldwide figures. Too many reoccurring waves.
But fingers crossed.

As Woody Allen said,
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on April 10, 2021, 11:47:48 PM
As Woody Allen said,
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

I always thought Woody Allen's best line was, "God, could you please choose someone else!"
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on May 04, 2021, 10:05:50 PM
We've had slim pickings for springtime rides so far. April started out warm-to-hot, and I managed a ride up into the hills across the Ottawa River, just a couple of hours, but enough to see the woods were dry as tinder after an early spring. And enough to remind myself that between COVID restrictions and my arthritic hip, I'd done precious little cardio work over the winter. (Memo to self: get a trainer bike for next winter, and/or suck it up and do some more serious X-country skiing.)

Then, in mid-April the viral variants asserted themselves, and the Ontario gvt closed the borders with Québec and Manitoba. (The latter is of less importance to me than the former, 'cos Kenora in northwestern Ontario, about 50 kms from the border, is some 2,000 kms from my front door: https://tinyurl.com/sn7zdnzp (https://tinyurl.com/sn7zdnzp). OTOH, Québec is about 10-15 minutes away by bike.)

So, one does what one can, and in the past two weeks, I've made some enjoyable  3-hour rides westwards and eastwards along the bikepaths beside the big river on the Ottawa side.  There are few hills, as one would expect, but brisk northwesterly winds ensure at least and hour and a half into a headwind on any such trip.  The Ottawa Valley runs more or less East-West on either side of Ottawa, and creates a venturi effect for any northwesterly.  As the days warm up, the higher pressures means serious gusts in the mid-to-late afternoons -- 60-plus kms are not uncommon.

Below, a few photos from recent rides. The first two show early spring foliage, a roadside forsythia bush, and a willow tree blowin' in the wind. (Willows are not common in pur northern landscape -- this, and the forsythia, are planted by gardeners.)  The last three are from a ride eastwards to town, beside the river behind Parliament, across the locks of the Rideau Canal, and eastwards along a gravel walking and cycling riverside path.

The staircase of locks you see in photo 3 is an uncommon view:  In the winter, it's full of snow and ice, and in the summer and most of the fall, it's full of water.  This view is taken from the walkway between Lock #1 behind me, and Lock #2 in front. (There are 8 in all.) You cross a lock via a walkway atop its wooden gates, which, er, have to be closed.  Heroic types carry their bikes, but I don't:  the walkway is a little more than  24 inches wide, and the steel railings on each side require that you either push your bike ahead of you, or hoist it above your shoulders.  A misstep, and your precious Thorn goes into the drink.

The Canal runs north-south between Parliament Hill to the west, and the Chateau Laurier hotel to the east.  The Chateau, shown in photo 4, was one of a series of railway hotels across Canada.  It's a Tinkerbell-like landmark in town, and we're very fond of it.  It's been more than a hotel: the Karsh brothers had their photographic studios in it (dunno if Yusuf's famous portraits of Hemingway and Churchill were taken here), and for many years the local CBC station broadcast from the Chateau.  Its ballroom has been used for things other than what you might expect: years back, I heard Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker in the same bluesy evening.

It's now owned by a Soulless Furrin Conglomerate (sold, as is the pattern, by its Wishy-washy Canajan Conglomerate Predecessor) which is planning to build a giant parking garage on the back, a cross between a filing cabinet and a shipping container. I will not be taking any photos of that.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on May 04, 2021, 10:13:34 PM
And the three remaining photos:
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on May 04, 2021, 10:32:56 PM
Love your travelogue, John. The attention to detail...

While the strongest photograph here is of the series of locks repeating almost to the horizon, with the bizarre Chateau Laurier looming beside the industrial age artefact, the one that bring a sympathetic tear to the eye is of the willows whipping in the wind. That sky is just amazing: it tells you the winter isn't releasing its grip yet.
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Post by: Danneaux on May 04, 2021, 11:34:39 PM
So enjoyable to see, John, and Osi looks simply grand!

Thanks for sharing.

Best,

Dan.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on May 05, 2021, 03:12:18 AM
Thanks for your kind words, fellas.

Andre, those willows tell of a fierce northwesterly: My there'n'back on that day was out to the little village of Carp, past that log farmhouse I photographed last autumn.  Total distance was about 52 kms. The outbound 26 took me about an hour & 40 mins, the return about one hour ten.

That cobalt sky is what we get with high-pressure low-humidity days, the wind typically from the northwest, occasionally the north.  I call it "Saskatchewan weather".  It's more manageable in the summer than in the winter.

One thing that doesn't stand out from these photos is how low is the level of the big river -- at least a couple of metres below where it normally would be at this time of year. The snowpack was relatively low further upstream, and both March and April have been quite dry.  On my ride up into the hills in early April, the seasonal streams were nearly dry, and even permanent ones were low.

Strange times.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on May 05, 2021, 09:00:59 AM
I remember the log farmhouse, on a calmer day, a rural idyll.

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Rouleur834 on May 06, 2021, 09:39:32 AM
A river genuinely that big only looks placid. Underneath it surely has rippling muscles. I also see in several of the photos a nasty little wind chopping up the surface: not a day for dinghy sailing.

Compare "the Mighty Torrens" in Adelaide in South Australia: it has a whopping great weir across it upriver, just out of sight from the Festival Centre's expansive plaza, so that a rather insignificant stream is suddenly a fairly impressive river (by Australian standards, not Canadian). Mind you, the Lee, which most international cycle tourers will tell you is a largish river in which Cork City zentral makes up two long islands and which at Cobh Harbour is a big estuary, to serious local cyclists is more notable for its origins among pretty and easy-cycling back roads within striking distance of a far (by Irish standards!) shore, where it is a fingerling you can step over without noticing the origin of a famous river unless someone tells you or you're paying close attention to topographical lines on the map.

A beautiful Spring day. A quick spin, 23 mile round trip, this morning along the flatlands of the Severn Vale north to Sharpness Dock to witness one of the highest tides of the year here at 10.36m at 10:03 am and grab a photo to compare with one at low tide (about 0.5m).
About 45 minutes earlier at Avonmouth Docks roughly 16 miles SW downstream, high tide was at 14.17 metres from a low of 5m.
Pleasantly surprised to find an Irish cargo ship coming upstream to enter the dock between the two wooden piers and then through the lock into the dock basin.
No coffee or cake today🙁

Photo 1 low water at Sharpness Dock 0.51m
Photo 2 Arklow Faith arrival 10 minutes before high tide
Photo 3 High Tide (Slack water( at 10.36m.

Snap-ish!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on May 07, 2021, 03:03:12 PM
I’m still to get away cycling, had a car based camping night last week, just in time for the weather to change, but enjoyable none the less.
I’m out most days on the bike for one mundane reason or another, so have been struggling to find the motivation to get out when I don’t need to.  I’ve missed group riding far more than I’d expected to, so glad that’s restarting, though the restrictions still make it a faff, hopefully we can return to normality sometime soon.
Other than that, yesterday was my first decent ride of any length this year and I’m feeling it today.  I took a trip up to Clumber Park, in the heart of the Dukeries, an area of the UK where all the Dukes use to have estates for hunting and other aristocratic pleasures.  The most well-known is probably Sherwood Forrest, thought there’s plenty around it and it isn’t always possible to tell where one estate ends and another starts.  The ride up was fairly hilly, up through some of the Notts ex-mining towns and villages, now either sprawling industrial/warehouse estates or desolate, I’m not sure which is worse, but then I don’t live there.  Then into increasingly empty rolling countryside, on some lovely quite lanes, before reaching Clumber Park, now a NT property.  I’ve been through this park maybe a dozen times, either on my way to/from somewhere else or an Audax.  This was the first time I’ve made it a destination and I wish I’d had more time there, it’s huge (3,800 acres, according to google) and criss-crossed with so many paths and bridleways that despite how full the car park looked it felt empty. The park covers an area either side of the river Poulter, which expands into a lake in the heart of it, I’m not sure if that’s natural or has been engineered.  I rode up one side and down the other, all on paths clearly marked as permittable by bike, and mostly decent quality, though slow going in places. I had a couple of hours there and could easily have spent longer, I may look for a local campsite and spend a day exploring sometime.
The ride back was deliberately less hilly than the ride there, though I hadn’t accounted for the headwind, so was actually slower!  I dropped down to Southwell, which has a magnificent Minster, though I didn’t dwell as it features in some future plans when Cycling UK launch the Cathedral routes later this month.  I then followed the river Trent all the way home,, mostly on a route I know well, though apart from the last few miles haven’t ridden in a while. 
Some obligatory bike photos, three from Clumber and one of the Trent on the way home.

And the route if anyone’s interested
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/218625
And the park info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clumber_Park

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51163642428_32268354c3_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2kXa3o1)Clumber tree (https://flic.kr/p/2kXa3o1) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51164184434_ec9f0be36d_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2kXcPuW)Clumber bluebells (https://flic.kr/p/2kXcPuW) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51162734792_06f19080d2_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2kX5oz7)Clumber (https://flic.kr/p/2kX5oz7) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51163398176_bb1e0c1e1e_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2kX8MLL)Trent (https://flic.kr/p/2kX8MLL) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: in4 on May 07, 2021, 10:06:50 PM
I know there’s a good ride on an old pit railway track that runs near Sherwood Forest. I used to join it at Vicar Water, Clipstone but think the track runs south to Nottingham and north to Worksop.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on May 07, 2021, 10:25:43 PM
I know there’s a good ride on an old pit railway track that runs near Sherwood Forest. I used to join it at Vicar Water, Clipstone but think the track runs south to Nottingham and north to Worksop.
If it's the bit I'm thinking of, it's part of NCN route 6 which starts in London and goes up to Carlisle (the route rather than that track), passing directly in front of my door along the way.  I've ridden it in two stages as far as Lancaster. There's a good selection of tracks around the mining areas, converted from what were probably pit railways, I did a couple of short sections on yesterdays ride, they're very pleasant but I wanted to make better progress.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: steve216c on May 13, 2021, 01:23:13 PM
My final daily tour 2021  :'( :'( :'(

Our office has been in a state of moving for several months, having worked on a split site until another department made way so that my office could all be housed at a single location. But this brings an end to the 8000km tour (approx 90% of the kilometers I've ridden on my Rohloff hub commuting each day) over the last 20 months or so back and forth through many of the green routes through Berlin. My daily commute/ tour of around 16km each way took me through parks and forest across the city and often away from the noise of city traffic where I could absorb and enjoy nature, being at one with my bike and, as an upside, save on a gym membership is no more. On Tuesday I disconnected the last networked device in one location, and on Wednesday started work at our larger consolidated office in the heart of Berlin.

My new commute is almost the same distance from home but without the opportunity for green shortcuts. Berlin may be blessed with a large number of bike paths, but the new route only sees an opportunity of around a mile where I can ride through the green and central Tiergarten park- but the is sadly rest parallel with busy roads through residential and industrial districts. Not what you would describe as enjoyable or tour like. Add the traffic noise to around 3 times the number of red lights I am likely to encounter- not inspiring.
As I left the office on Tuesday, I decided to share some photos of my 'daily tour' given that we were blessed with 30 degrees plus and sunshine which was extinguished by thunder storms and cooler weather since Wednesday this week.

I'm lucky insomuch that I will occasionally have reason to go to the old office building for meetings with two other departments in my old building. So I will get to enjoy the occasional tour, every 4-6 weeks if the timing of those meetings works in my favour.

My old office is close to the Gruenewald forest- and I'll share my tour photos from the entrance to the forest as I head home to the across the former British sector to Spandau.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173327370_c09420697e_z.jpg)

Despite using kilometers, the Germans still use the word milestone (Meilenstein) found on the old stage coach route through the forest:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173034089_274ec85198_z.jpg)

the forest being crisscrossed with mostly compacted gravel roads suitable for all but the skinniest of tyres
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173325100_9728781738_z.jpg)

Used by the occasional forestry vehicle  the paths are mostly empty but for the occasional ramblers or cyclists
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51171571007_90c6630549_z.jpg)

Not so visible with the fresh green leaves blocking my view, the former CIA listening station (and MOD one on extreme right). Remnants of the cold war on the Teufelsberg slowly decaying after investment projects to redevelop the land failed.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51172457543_d85fd8397d_z.jpg)

A short ride up the hill and I skirt the Olympic stadium of Jesse Owens fame. Behind my bike the Olympic bell tower, with the arena entrance currently under renovation.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173031514_0a80bed245_z.jpg)

Spot the mirrors one the left and right? This is the 'walk of reflection' winding through the Schanzenwald from near the bell tower to what was once a 2nd world war place of execution for civilians and their families who were accused of treason or who disobeyed orders. The dozens of mirrors on that route tell the tragic story of many who were executed on the way there such as the police officers who questioned the morality and sense of what they were doing and who were hung or shot on the spot for doing so. Not appropriate to ride along that route out of respect for those who were murdered on that route.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51172219181_1a52ddfe99_z.jpg)

But a couple of hundred meters later a good forest path parallel to the S-Bahn city train takes you safely out of Charlottenburg district and into Spandau district. Despite being a recognized bike path with clear signs that dogs must be kept on leads- with a good steep descent you need to watch out for free running dogs as most of their owners are not educated in understanding pictograms or simply worded signs on the route.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173034134_e57b40babc_z.jpg)

A short road ride and I joined a railway foot/bike bridge across the river Havel as I approach Spandau town hall

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173323230_9f6356c825_z.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51171567142_53476b513e_z.jpg)

from where I start the final leg of my tour
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51172217726_b94471a5b1_z.jpg)

A long narrow stretch of parkland, once a busy multi track railway line, leads from the town hall right out of the city to the neighbouring town of Falkensee. With official shared bike routes with pedestrians and skaters you can avoid the main routes and traffic lights and enjoy the warmth of a beautiful spring day

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173016889_14ea77401a_z.jpg)

and carefully negotiate the labyrinth at the pedestrian rail crossing as the bike path splits in different ways at a former gravel pit, now urban park

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173031854_aeb57737dd_z.jpg)

Play parks, volleyball, rock climbing, fitness areas, basketball, parkour, skateboarder/bmx zone? The park is littered with opportunities in the urban renewal built on the former rail route and the more recent gravel pits

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51172218416_43c72d864f_z.jpg)

with swimmers already swimming in the lake which was frozen just a few weeks ago

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51173341705_6ed1c13a7b_z.jpg)


But you are never a tourist in your own back yard. And my backyard can be reached easily on the dedicated bike path parallel to the railway line. So I hope you enjoyed my 'final commute/tour' from my old office location. And although I will be sure to use many of those routes from time to time- it is a tearful farewell to those paths that have I've enjoyed riding almost every day since I resumed regular cycling in autumn 2019. My new route is not as picturesque or inspiring as it currently stands. But I love to explore, so I may try to find alternative ways home that turn my new daily commute into a scenic daily tour as well...  ::)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51172235281_f00772a6ed_z.jpg)

Steve













Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on May 13, 2021, 07:39:16 PM
Great stuff, Steve, illuminating story & photos. What an opportunity, and how well you've taken it!

I have just a little/localized familiarity with Berlin:  our daughter lived there from Aug 2010 to March 2015 (first in Neukoln, near Tempelhof, and later in Friedrichshein, just off Frankfurter Allee), and my wife and I both visited her many times. On a couple of occasions, we did cycling tours within the city, and in 2014 I ended a tour of Denmark, Sweden and northern Germany by cycling through the Brandenburg Gate.

What a city, and what a city for cyclists -- I envy you your extended velo-safari within it.

We all have various memories, I guess:  Mine include hearing friends of our daughter, leaving to see their parents, saying that they were "going to Germany for the weekend"; graffiti celebrating Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht; and a street sign at the intersection of "Pariser Kommune Str" and "Karl Marx Allee".  Where else, eh?

Cheers,  John
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on May 14, 2021, 01:50:01 AM
The recent stream of photos of forests and flowing waters, even the freezing ones, have been most welcome to those of us -- I'm sure there must be more than me -- sitting inside waiting for our vaccinations. I've said in the past that we can't go everywhere, so these posts are vicarious tours for those who live elsewhere. That has proven even more true in the last two years. I count myself fortunate to know you fellows -- and your cameras!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on May 14, 2021, 08:28:59 AM
My final daily tour 2021  :'( :'( :'(
Steve
Looks great, I'm sad for you Steve.
I bought my first Thorn for a similar daily tour, at least the middle 8 miles out of 14, I thought I'd get bored with it, but in four years I never did and missed it when the business closed or I'd still be doing it.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: steve216c on May 14, 2021, 11:44:39 AM
The recent stream of photos of forests and flowing waters, even the freezing ones, have been most welcome to those of us -- I'm sure there must be more than me -- sitting inside waiting for our vaccinations. I've said in the past that we can't go everywhere, so these posts are vicarious tours for those who live elsewhere. That has proven even more true in the last two years. I count myself fortunate to know you fellows -- and your cameras!

At stricter lockdown times, my employer was happy to have a volunteer who wanted to come to the office- if only to check the network or collect the mail. So I would have been exempt on my bike route to/from work. And I'm also lucky enough to have since  been fully vaccinated- even though that doesn't change much on a practical scale right now for me. Classified as medically vulnerable, the whole pandemic has been a bit of a balancing act of risks for me. I need to exercise but am inherently lazy when it comes to doing sport for sport's sake. So asking my employer to expect me to be the one who comes in (despite health issues) has given me the pressure to ride every day which is critical to my general health and long term recovery. I know I could ride on home office days. But my 'Schweinehund' will always find me non active alternatives. So coming to work gets me legitimately out of the house- and the tiny number of people in our office buildings means I hardly see a soul when actually at work.

Glad to share those photos. My 2nd day in new office, and still not inspired by my new route to work as I can never get far from the traffic it seems. But first meeting in old office location next week already, so something to look forward to  ;D
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on May 28, 2021, 01:56:59 PM
Nearly half way through the year and I've managed my first days away by bike!  A short home to home tour of what is IMO an often-underrated part of the UK, the East Midland and its East coast.  OK, it isn’t as dramatically scenic as many other areas, but it makes up for that by having many picturesque quiet roads and a decent network of off-road routes. My touring seems to naturally fall into one of two types – Either a riding tour, where it’s mostly about the cycling and most sightseeing is done from the saddle, or a sightseeing tour where cycling becomes a means to tour between the sights. 
This one was like the mural says
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51208207071_343eb04da6.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m26rTV)Ride hard (https://flic.kr/p/2m26rTV) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

Day One
I live near the river Trent, the UK’s third longest river and the plan for day one was to link all the place names “Upon” and “On” the river starting from home (There’s several others South of here, they can wait for another day!) Bit of a damp day, but I luckily managed to miss the worst of the rain.  Mostly quiet roads, though I took a different route into Nottingham, which made a change to the usual, though the last few miles were more urban. 
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51207492972_4df158c241_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m22MBS)trent-1 (https://flic.kr/p/2m22MBS) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr
Although I was following the Trent names, I wasn’t often in sight of the river (I’ve done that one before) It’s not easy to get photos of the river without a line of pylons!  It’s no surprise, this area was at one time known as Megawatt Valley, it’s proximity to the UK’s major coalfields is one of the reasons that gives the area it’s industrial heritage.  And many of the cycle tracks were at one time coal carrying rail lines.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51209272925_eb51b56b86_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m2bUJH)Sunny Trent (https://flic.kr/p/2m2bUJH) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51207493397_14edd0b92b_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m22MKc)Another power station (https://flic.kr/p/2m22MKc) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

The day ended on the outskirts of Scunthorpe, in a bargain Premier Inn Hotel, somewhere bikes are always welcome. 105 miles of which 25 were off road, mostly well surfaced, though some a little less so.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51208206926_179028b7b2_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m26rRq)Sustrans roue (https://flic.kr/p/2m26rRq) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

Day Two
Not so lucky with the weather today, never hard rain, but a persistent drizzle for most of it.  Tonight’s accommodation was only a forty mile ride on a direct route, but I’d planed a trip to the coast on the way.  It was a temptation to take the easy option, but I knew I’d end up sat in the hotel with regrets.  It turned out to be a splendid ride despite the weather.  Crossing the Lincolnshire Wolds (Twice) was tougher than I was expecting, though I say that every time I do it!  However, I rode through mile after mile of fantastic forestry that I just wasn’t expecting and plenty of almost deserted roads.  The one frustration was the number of cross roads at the bottom of hills before climbing the other side, but that’s being picky!  Reached the Lincolnshire coast at Mablethorpe and followed it for about ten miles before heading back inland
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51208207186_3a944e94cb_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m26rVU)Empty beach (https://flic.kr/p/2m26rVU) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

The second crossing of the Wolds was into the rain, which required frequent glasses cleaning stops despite wearing a cap.    I joined the excellent Witham River cycle path in Bardney for an easy 10 mile finish in Lincoln, where another welcoming Premier Inn awaited. 106 miles with all but those last ten on road, but miles of it without seeing any other vehicle.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51208408458_dc5a91b3cc_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m27tL7)Quiet roads (https://flic.kr/p/2m27tL7) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

Day three
Lincoln to Derby is around 60 miles, I’ve done it several times, usually as a return, often enough that I think I’ve covered all the direct options. So, to make a change – head off in the opposite direction!  I retraced a little of yesterdays route, then carried on along the river path to Woodhall Spa, before crossing my favourite Fen, the featureless nature of which is the feature.  The wind direction can make this a pain or pleasure though today was somewhere between.  The rain had cleared though the promised sunshine had yet to appear.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51207493282_b393c8ae9c_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m22MHd)Favorite Fen (https://flic.kr/p/2m22MHd) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

From here on, I was on and off familiar roads, the rolling countryside between Grantham and Melton.  The sun had at last broken through and was very welcome, even my shoes dried out.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51208969334_afc21b586a_z.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m2amuo)another good bench (https://flic.kr/p/2m2amuo) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

I had planned to return via Loughborough, which gives a very easy last twenty miles, but found myself on a road busier than I was expecting (I’d only ridden it before on a Sunday) so I cut North and used a well known shorter (Though not as flat) route.
100 miles to home where a cold beer awaited me (OK, I did have to detour through the park to avoid it being 99 miles!)
............................................
What can I say about the bike? I didn’t give it a single thought from start to finish, which is just how it should be.  Though it’s now in need of a good clean!

The planned routes, if anyone is interested, though they don't include a couple of detours, intended and otherwise!

https://cycle.travel/map/journey/223815
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/223814
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/223816




Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on May 29, 2021, 12:40:24 AM
Thanks for the detailed report, Paul, and the super photographs.

Today the waiting period after my second COVID-19 injection ended, and tomorrow I'm servicing my bike which has been standing unridden since I discovered the mask mercilessly steamed up my spectacles whatever I tried. But I'll change the oil and the grease in the klickbox anyway. A few painting expeditions by bicycle before spring turns to high summer seems a good way to get back into the swing of regular cycling. 16C forecasts with clouds and a few showers, but if one concentrates on the 16C...
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: energyman on May 29, 2021, 07:08:55 PM
Yes Timberland Fen is the good one as long as there is an easterly wind !
Next time you pass through Bardney try the sausage rolls from the Butcher on the corner.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on June 05, 2021, 12:36:07 PM
On and Upon the Trent part 2.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51225937409_22f5d4cffb.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m3Ejvp)Joey (https://flic.kr/p/2m3Ejvp) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr
I don't usually post my non Thorn riding, but as this a continuation of the above, here goes even though it's on my Airnimal Joey.
The Trent South of Derby has three "on" and "upon" places, Stoke on, Walton on, Burton upon.  I used the Joey to take the train to Stoke, which was also the first opportunity to use my new Senior Railcard :)  The Trent and Mersey canal passes alongside the railway station, so I didn't see much of Stoke.  The canal path starts out a bit slow, Tarmac broken up by tree roots, but it soon settled into a lovely route, reasonable well surfaces and so pretty, with many stretches tree lined.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51226238515_a498ca8907.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m3FS1T)T&M Stoke (https://flic.kr/p/2m3FS1T) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

I left the canal after about ten miles, just before Stone, but not before observing the cows drinking from it, but they can only do so as a boat passes by and the wave raising the level.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51225171176_2960854716.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m3AoJu)Cows on the canal (https://flic.kr/p/2m3AoJu) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

The objective was to visit the place names, rather than follow the river, it's forty miles between the first and second, a lot longer if you follow the meandering river.  I cut across some rolling countryside, often within sight of Cannock Chase, but not visiting it on this trip.  Very rural, with either grass or gravel up the centre of most lanes, long stretches without seeing a car. I called into Cobwebs cafe on the outskirts of Abbots Bromley and treated myself to the most indulgent cake on offer, chocolate and orange :o
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51226431508_490e052251.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m3GRom)Cobwebs cake (https://flic.kr/p/2m3GRom) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

By now I'm back on home turf, another dozen rural miles and a bit of B road, through Barton Marina, over a bridge built as a temporary structure about forty years ago and through Walton on Trent. Alongside the Trent to Burton upon, where I got probably the best view of the river over both rides.  Burton is renowned for it's beer brewing (And Marmite from the waste!) the distinctive taste (Beer not Marmite) is attributed to the Trent water. 
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51225381738_e545353ff3.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m3BtjS)Burton Trent (https://flic.kr/p/2m3BtjS) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr

I used to commute the 14 miles between Burton and home, it was the reason I first bought a Thorn, the trip has several variations, and the option of a train! Just like after the end of a long shift I considered them all, and chose the easiest!! A short stretch of the same Trent and Mersey canal, a dirty cyclepath alongside the A38, through a couple of villages and back home. 
60ish miles, a lovely day awheel, I now have a full set of Trent place names and am considering the Avon or Severn for a similar theme. I don't think I've ever used the train like that before, for a day ride, now the railcard makes it cheaper I'm likely to do more of that.

Route here is anyone is interested
https://cycle.travel/map/journey/222554
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on June 05, 2021, 09:47:17 PM
Super ride -- and photos! -- through what ye olde rural England must once have looked like.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on June 06, 2021, 01:37:49 PM
Nice pictures and trip details.
May I ask how pictures are inserted within the text.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/13435413@N00/51342799197/in/album-72157719607092304/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/13435413@N00/51342799197/in/album-72157719607092304/)
Mine usually appear at the end.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/13435413@N00/51342799197/in/album-72157719607092304/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/13435413@N00/51342799197/in/album-72157719607092304/)

Best

https://www.flickr.com/photos/13435413@N00/51342799197/in/album-72157719607092304/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/13435413@N00/51342799197/in/album-72157719607092304/)
Matt

Trying out instructions for posting a hyper-link picture from Flikr.
In prep for next tour blog.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on June 06, 2021, 01:54:42 PM
Nice pictures and trip details.
May I ask how pictures are inserted within the text.
Mine usually appear at the end.

Best
Matt
Thanks.
My photos are hosted on Flickr rather than uploaded here, what you see is a link.  Details in this thread
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4313.0

If this was the only place I wanted the photos displayed, I'd just upload here.  But if you want to show them elsewhere, it's easier to have them hosted in one location, I use Flickr (The free version), but there's other options including Google images.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on June 06, 2021, 02:11:36 PM
Nice pictures and trip details.
May I ask how pictures are inserted within the text.
Mine usually appear at the end.

Best
Matt
Thanks.
My photos are hosted on Flickr rather than uploaded here, what you see is a link.  Details in this thread
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4313.0

If this was the only place I wanted the photos displayed, I'd just upload here.  But if you want to show them elsewhere, it's easier to have them hosted in one location, I use Flickr (The free version), but there's other options including Google images.
Thanks. I think I have a Flika account. I'll check it out.

Best
Matt
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on June 12, 2021, 05:50:19 PM
Early June, and only yesterday did I finally manage to get across the river and into the trees and eventually, to Champlain Lookout in the Gatineau Hills.  Champlain is my usual turnaround for a 3-to-4-hour ride from home in Ottawa, the time required and degree-of-difficulty (i.e., hills) depending on which of several routes I take.

As a rule, I make this ride a month earlier. This year, all sorts of things conspired to delay me--travel restrictions 'cos of COVID, a lot of pressure on my time because of commitments to domestic and civic life, and to friends in need.  And, unseemly behaviour by the weather gods: last week, for example, we had several consecutive days with the humidex at 40 and above. That's dangerous territory, and a reminder that Ottawa's latitude is just a couple of degrees north of the south of France. Our climate regularly reminds us that there's a swing of 60-plus degrees between midwinter and midsummer.

But 'nuf of excuses and grumbles -- no one's listening, anyway.  We had a glorious early-summer day, temps in the mid-20's, low humidity and a light breeze, bright sunshine and a scattering of clouds. And, no motor traffic in Gatineau park. Cars 'n' such are allowed on Wed-Sat-Sun afternoons, but on a Friday, I met only walkers, joggers, and several dozen cyclists.

The woods have their full canopy now, so the ride up was full of green and gold and dappled shadow on the empty roads.  The fifty shades of green are still fresh, despite six weeks of very little rain. (May was the driest month on record, less than 12 mm.) The woods are tinder-dry on the forest floor, seasonal streams no longer exist, and even permanent ones are inaudible, reduced to just a collection of stagnant pools.

But on days like this, even roadside trees and rocks are delightful -- see photo #1 below.

Last year's ponds are this year's marshes, so a lot of lakes and their inhabitants are suffering.  Their sometimes-odd names are unchanged, however.  I've often wondered what lies behind the name in photo#2:  Would that be le grand bourgeois? Or the petty variant? Neither name is very complimentary, though, so perhaps an early settler named the lake so's to discourage nearby neighbours. This address wouldn't have the same cachet as, say, Silver Lake or Paradise Lake.

At Champlain Lookout, the summit 300m and change above sea level, the retaining wall had been rebuilt last year (the Ottawa Valley is an earthquake zone, so the tectonic plates rearrange things now and then) and had a crowd of 3 other cyclists. So, there was plenty of space to lean Osi against the wall, eat an orange, and admire the view.  I never tire of this view. It's our great privilege, never to be taken for granted.  It's constant, but always varies with the season and the time of day.

Just above Osi's saddle in photo #3, looking slightly NW, you see the bend in the river where the Ottawa turns abruptly west from the big north-south reach-cum-lac des Chênes which begins on the western flank of the city.  Roy Macgregor's book, "Original Highways", reminds us that the Ottawa was once, and for a long time, a highway to the interior of the continent.  Photo #4 is a view more-or-less due W. On the Québec side in the foreground are fields, farms and woodlots; across the river on the Ontario side, the blue haze obscures more of the same, as well as lower hills which are also less rocky than the escarpment from which these photos are taken.

So, a little hint of sorta-normal times.

I'll be doing this ride more frequently as the summer unfolds, I hope: I'm still a gear lower on my Rohloff on the slight inclines, and one or two lower on the steeper hills.

Not much wildlife in evidence on this ride, except for dozens, probably hundreds of dragonflies, bless 'em.  These are a paddler's friend, 'cos they feed on horseflies.  Seeing them near my front wheel as I climbed up to the Lookout, I figured I'd find a few horseflies at the top.  Indeed they were there, the brutes; but happily, no more than 2 or 3, 'cos the dragonflies were doing what dragonflies do.  :)
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on June 12, 2021, 06:35:48 PM
Nice ride report, John. Lots of interesting info.
Canada is still on my to do list but no sign of long term Covid improvement here. Plenty of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.
I must write up my recent 3 day mini tour north of Inverness.
No excuses now.

Best
Matt


Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on June 12, 2021, 07:54:49 PM
Another splendid ride report, John. You must have been an excellent teacher, so observant, so comprehensible, such persuasive details.

I think bourgeois was an aspirational term until Marx arrived to befoul the language with dialectics. Emile Zola was probably the first important and at least semi-respectable intellectual to turn on the bourgeoisie. It's very bad economics because history teaches that the largest possible bourgeois class is the main creator and guarantor of the social stability that percolates wealth downwards.

Yo, Matt, like you say, no excuses!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on June 12, 2021, 08:23:05 PM
Interesting report John, Sounds a great day out, particularly the lack of traffic!
I think bourgeoisie originally had something to do with where you lived rather that what you were, though the two may be linked. Within the town walls, or something like that.
 
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on June 12, 2021, 10:01:22 PM
Thanks, Matt.  You're always welcome!

Andre thanks for your kind words, Andre. Andre and Phil, as for the little riff on Lac Bourgeois -- my sometime nickname is Wind 'Em Up, Sax.  ;)

I didn't get round to thanking you for your Trent River ride, Phil.  I grew up near the Trent River in Ontario.  It runs N to S, draining into L Ontario just west of Kingston.  Not a very long river, about 150 kms, but it drains a very large watershed.  And, it's one end of the Trent-Severn Waterway, a canal system that runs from Trenton (mouth of the Trent) all the way northwest to Port Severn on Georgian Bay. It includes the Peterborough Hydraulic Lift Lock, a splendid device; and Trent University, splashed by the Otonabee River, part of the Trent system.

Well worth a trip by boat or bike.  Camping at lock stations is just $5 a night. 
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on June 21, 2021, 04:09:55 PM
My heart’s in the Highlands



After one of the wettest Mays since UK records began – I managed a few days away on the Raven with my Hubba Hubba and Jet-boil. Running 38*17 rings on 1.5 Marathons with the Hubba between 2 front Ortliebs on the rear rack.

Living near Aberdeen is great for day rides (plenty of soft rolling hills) but for this trip I planned to head north into the Scottish Highlands. Restrictions are slowly lifting here; my last trip north was in September 2020.

Off to a flying start with a free coach ride to Inverness. Us oldies receive hee haw bus rides in Scotlandshire – as well as free medical prescriptions, eye tests etc.
The driver told me the fare would have been £13. He was my first ‘chat with a local’ as we took a break due to a farmers market in Huntley. As well as the scenery and usual bike tour benefits, I like to engage with folks along the way. Bill, the bus driver, explained how his shifts worked. On long trips, drivers are paid to stay over-night since there are strict regulations on the amount of hours a driver can drive in 24 hours.


With a 9.20 departure, I arrived on the outskirts of the Highland capital at 12.55.
Rather than go into the city centre, I hopped off near the road that would take me across the Tay Bridge.
All went well until a quarter of the way across the bridge cycle path a closed off for maintenance sign appeared. Rather than retrace my tracks I decided to hop over the barrier and chance my luck with the light traffic on the A9. Head down with fingers crossed brought me to safety on the north side of the Tay. Mental note: come back via a different road in case the other side of the bridge is also blocked.

The ride to my first coffee stop in Muir of Ord was along the scenic road through Charlestown and Redcastle. Stunning views along the coastal road reminded me of the trip to Islay 9 years ago. The smell of the sea and sound of the gulls brought back great memories

12 miles brought me to my favourite coffee stop in the Muir of Ord; the Bad Girl Bakery Café. Highly recommended – for the cakes!

The weather had been kind to me – shorts almost broken out of the bags – but rain late afternoon was forecast so I wanted to reach my campsite by 5 to avoid a soaking.
It was 28 miles and a climb/slope of 400+ feet. The A835/832 was light on traffic and pot-holes. A few naughty wee holes to keep me on my toes though.

Good natured waves from fellow cyclists, some of whom appeared to be doing the famous N500 – a long loop around the north of Scotland. I was also joined from time to time by convoys of high end sports cars. Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti; I think some are hired out for a couple of days, (and probably a couple of £1,000).

The rain held off – almost until my destination for the night, Achnasheen. The Midge bite café was about to close but agreed a last minute coffee for myself and a young Spanish cyclist who arrived just before me. Manuel was heading north and appeared unfazed by the on-coming rain or where he would be pitching his tent that night. Oh to be 30 years younger.
The area for camping was a few 100m from the café so during a break in the rain showers I managed to set up the Hubba, fire up the Jetboil for a hot meal& coffee, set out my sleeping gear, and take a short spin around the area. Managed to snap a few Roe deer grazing nearby before retiring for the night.

42 miles.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: in4 on June 21, 2021, 08:12:59 PM
Great share Matt but your photo link leads to a Google photo log in page. Do you have to share a link to a shared folder for others to see your photos? Way above my paygrade that expertise!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on June 22, 2021, 12:41:24 PM
Sorry about picture link issue.
I'll amend soon.

Stay safe folks

Best
Matt
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on June 25, 2021, 02:25:53 PM
Good on ya, Matt -- nice ride and decent weather too! 

Envious that you're out & about -- we're just starting to reopen campgrounds, etc., so I'm aiming/hoping for a late-summer mini-tour in West Qué, hills, lakes and rivers.

Cheers,  J.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: JohnR on July 01, 2021, 09:49:30 AM
Rather than go into the city centre, I hopped off near the road that would take me across the Tay Bridge.
All went well until a quarter of the way across the bridge cycle path a closed off for maintenance sign appeared. Rather than retrace my tracks I decided to hop over the barrier and chance my luck with the light traffic on the A9. Head down with fingers crossed brought me to safety on the north side of the Tay. Mental note: come back via a different road in case the other side of the bridge is also blocked.
Might you mean the Kessock bridge over the Beauly Firth?
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on July 01, 2021, 11:32:11 AM
Nice report and photos Matt.  It's too many years since I've been up that way, it was supposed to happen last year, but...  Maybe next year...
OT - Good choice of pannier colour! I went for the same, they don't look out of place on any colour bike.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on July 01, 2021, 11:56:14 AM
Thanks PH.

Infact it's such a beautiful area, I went back over the weekend. Found a few new camping spots and chatted to some interesting folks.
Sometimes I think I enjoy the encounters as much as the scenery.

On my return home Mrs. Matt asked me if I'd had a relaxing time. I immediately said yes.
But then thought of all the things running through my head as I rode:
Weather conditions and forecast
Wind direction
Road directions/route and surface
Bike condition.
Traffic awareness
Water/ hydration for me
Food situation, now and tomorrow
Where and when to pitch camp
Overall route, times,plan
My physical condition present and stamina for rest of tour.
Mental condition/ well being.
And amazing for Scotland, sun protection!

And I really did have a great relaxing time.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on July 05, 2021, 10:51:54 AM
There’s a new project in England to link all 42 Anglican cathedrals by bike routes.  From the website
Quote
“a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals that will link all 42 Church of England cathedrals in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.”
https://www.englishcathedrals.co.uk/latest-news/cathedral-cycle-routes-announced/

I've made a start, I’m not strictly following the suggested routes, I’ve been having a look and modifying to suit my preferences.  It isn’t always practical to stop and do the cathedrals justice, though some I’m keen to go back too another time.  Not that it matters. I like a theme to my riding and this one is as good as any, some of the rides have been excellent, by the nature of the locations there's a fair bit of urban riding, some a little tedious, but some as interesting as the destinations.
So far, I’ve done two rides, the first from home, visiting the cathedrals in Leicester, Coventry and Birmingham, 105 miles followed by a train home.  I know Leicester quite well having lived there a while ago, I had a decent look around Coventry which meant Birmingham was shut before I got there!  A lovely day out, mostly on quiet country roads, a couple of sections of converted rail lines and canal paths. 
Then last week a three day ride of 320 miles.  I started with a train to York, then rode up to Durham which is very impressive, then on to Newcastle.  Next day back to York, this time via Ripon, both days on some gorgeous lanes and tracks.  Last day, back to Derby via Sheffield, which is hilly!  And I think I must have picked the worst of it.  Into the city I followed a Sustrans route, it was OK, but a bit slow going and I was clock watching as I wanted to spend a bit of time in the cathedral.  Managed that, but the route out of the city was torturous, poor route planning on my part, I think I climbed the same hill four times! Got home quite late and enjoyed a well earned beer!
Anyway, that’s the first eight ticked off, I shall continue till they're all done or I'm bored with it. This month I'm hoping to string together another five over a couple of days, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Lichfield, Chester and maybe Manchester to Wakefield if I have another spare day.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51286893710_cea4d961b9_c.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2m93JG7)Untitled-1 (https://flic.kr/p/2m93JG7) by Paul (https://www.flickr.com/photos/phbike/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Matt2matt2002 on July 05, 2021, 12:13:58 PM
That's a fantastic route/ idea.
I'll take a look at the feasibility of a Scottish one.
Nice picture btw.

Best

Matt
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: lewis noble on July 05, 2021, 12:57:26 PM
Hello P H - an interesting idea!!  I live in Sheffield, about 1/4 hr ride from City Centre (yes . . . . uphill!!  as you say, a hilly city, one of the local beers is called Seven Hills . . . .) and the route south from Sheffield to Derby is confusing and hard to follow.  I have ridden it to Barrow Hill (rail depot near Chesterfield) and got lost several times; very poos surfaces when I last rode it.  There is another route out into the Peak District, and to Derby via Chatsworth, Matlock etc., hilly and I think quite a bit of road riding. 

Good luck with the rest of the project.

Lewis
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: leftpoole on July 05, 2021, 04:39:09 PM
Lewis,
Considering how I’m now it’s hard to think of my childhood in Sheffield. I lived in Crookes and I and a friend and sometimes alone, used to cycle over to Tideswell  and Buxton on a day out aged around 11 or so! Sometimes carrying camping gear ( really heavy) and camping up on the Moors . Sometimes Lodge Moor area in any field available. All I remember now are those hills! Lots of hills. 
Never scared or molested. All this on a 3 speed Sturmey Archer Rudge bike.  Could not do it these days.
Now I’m 71 in a couple of weeks and selling my bikes, this time for good.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on July 05, 2021, 05:24:55 PM
Hello P H - an interesting idea!!  I live in Sheffield, about 1/4 hr ride from City Centre (yes . . . . uphill!!  as you say, a hilly city, one of the local beers is called Seven Hills . . . .)
Lewis
Good luck to you!  I was thinking as I climbed the umpteenth hill that I was glad I didn't live there!
I've ridden Sheffield > Derby several times, usually in a group coming back from somewhere else.  We've normally gone West, it's a tough 8 or 9 miles, but the climbing is over be Owler Bar and then a reasonably flat route on the lanes, or easy riding on the A6 (Which is OK) I'm going to put last weeks ride down to poor planning and not hold it against Sheffield.  I ended up going through miles of housing estates, so there was little reward for all the climbing. 
On a brighter note, the descent into Rotherham down the Doncaster Road was fun. I enjoyed the cathedral, nicely situated in the centre, a popular place with all by the look of it, including a group of skateboarders who kindly kept an eye on my bike as I had a look around.   
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on July 05, 2021, 09:40:43 PM
What a cool idea! Culture and exercise all at once. And the combination photo of the cathedrals is stunning, a layered stack of impressive buildings. Thanks for sharing, Paul.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on July 06, 2021, 09:56:51 PM
Nice idea, pottering' round cathedrals.

A few months ago I had a brief back-and-forth with a group of four bikepackers who had just finished a four-day (I think it was) circuit of Salisbury Plain, following "King Alfred's Way". (If mem'ry serves.)  I asked if they'd visited Salisbury Cathedral; no, they said, the route didn't go there.

I was dismayed by the route-planning -- not the cyclists' fault, it wasn't their neighbourhood.  But, what a missed opportunity: for me, this is the most beautiful building in the world, and as a kid, I had the privilege of visiting it regularly, when we lived in Salisbury. (Our family visits included Old Sarum, Stonehenge, Avebury, usw.)  In later years, nothing else I visited came close to matching it, not St Stephen's nor either Taj; nor any of several mosques in Istanbul and parts of Spain.

So, if you're thinking of following the route, do so -- but follow in my footsteps, as well as t'other John, yer man Constable.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on July 06, 2021, 10:29:09 PM
A few months ago I had a brief back-and-forth with a group of four bikepackers who had just finished a four-day (I think it was) circuit of Salisbury Plain, following "King Alfred's Way". (If mem'ry serves.)  I asked if they'd visited Salisbury Cathedral; no, they said, the route didn't go there.
I don't know what route they were on, but Cycling UK's King Alfred's Way certainly goes to Salisbury Cathedral.  I have the guide book, but I'm undecided if I'll do it, it's a bit too off road for me.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: JohnR on July 07, 2021, 09:44:06 PM
On the 5th day of my leisurely supported LEJOG I passed this sign after crossing the Severn bridge. My legs are feeling weary as it's difficult to prepare for the hills of the first three days on the mainly backroads of Cornwall and Devon where the effort of getting up the hills is rewarded by proceeding cautiously down the hills due to bends, villages or oncoming vehicles. The brakes have had plenty of use.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on July 17, 2021, 11:54:01 AM
Because the mask fogged up my spectacles and one cannot cycle blind, I hardly rode during the year and a half of the lockdown. But now that I'm vaccinated and the lockdown is being progressively relaxed, I'm slowly checking out favourite lanes again, learning where the new potholes are.

Though it's a bit embarrassing to admit among all these major tourers, a regular almost daily, almost year-round ride for me is one of the 8.5km loops or figures of eight around my house, which is about the same exercise as I would get on my treadmill or rowing machine; since I ride in my normal clothes, khakis or tracksuits, such short rides are not inconvenient at all. A regular social outing with my pedalpals and sometimes other friends is in the order of 22-30km there and back. On the hills of West Cork, further than that is enough to put non-cyclists who own a bike (a class I'm sure you're all familiar with) off cycling for life.

But when I say a lane, I mean something probably smaller than you imagine. Real Irish main roads are generally pretty narrow, unpleasant for social cyclists because of the heavy, fast traffic, and dangerous even for experienced cyclists. A big organised ride for charity from here only 22m to Cork along the wide highway had six ambulances tailing it -- I counted -- besides a police presence front and back to intimidate car drivers to give it space. Frankly, I sympathised with the car drivers and the grim-looking, exasperated policemen: those cyclists were a danger to themselves and everyone else, at one point riding six abreast.

(http://www.coolmainpress.com/miscimage/Choices%2C%20choices%2C%20July%202021%20800x600pxw.jpg)

From my house I ride north thirty yards, turn left, ride another thirty yards, turn right, and forty yards later I'm in what most people would consider the countryside, though it's actually just the edge of town. Turn right again and ride a few kilometres until I come to the country extension of the road i live on, which is the old main road to the city. Normally I would cross it and go for a country ride, returning by one of a choice of routes. On this day I turned back and rode home the same way. The photo above shows green all round but there's actually a house on my right, an estate of houses beside the small lane turning off, a big school hidden in the greenery, a cemetery, I can turn left on the lane and down a steep hill to come out on the road on which I live a couple of clicks from home but again I give the busy road a miss and stay on the lane, taking the long easy way home. (I could also cross the road on which I live and speed down a very steep hill directly into the centre of town but from there it is severely uphill to my house.)

(http://www.coolmainpress.com/miscimage/Lanes%20Detective%20at%20work%20July%202021%20800x600pxw.jpg)

For my next ride I go further out into the countryside. It's a disaster. In this sort of lane you can't ride on the middleman because you don't know what is under the grass, because the hump is rounded and the grass wet, and you will slip off it and fall into the hedgerow, which looks pretty but hides thorns and sharp sticks from the violent motorised trimmers used to keep the hedgerows from overgrowing the lanes. I photograph this farmer's entry to get the colour combination to consider with artist friends. Note that the upside lane is pretty clear. With my Sherlock Holmes hat on I conclude that the farmer reverses out of his gate, the rear end of his 4WD stopping just short of the fern hanging into the lane on the left (another danger -- those ferns are tough and well rooted, and if they get in your spokes...) and then goes to town the long way round, the way I've just come.

Here is where the farmer would be heading, where I've just come from, in a painting I made a few years ago:

(http://www.coolmainpress.com/andrepaintings/andre_jute_kilbrogan_fields_2014/andre_jute_kilbrogan_fields_2014_oil_on_canvas_10x8in_800pxh.jpg)
Andre Jute, Kilbrogan Fields, 2014

This is the view 180 degrees from my photo of the farmer's gate, where I'm heading:

(http://www.coolmainpress.com/miscimage/Day%20of%20the%20Triffids%20800x600pxh.jpg)

I ride on, rather than turn back, sorry now for all the county council chairmen I've choked a little by winding their chain of office around my hand when I ran into them at concerts and civic functions, to hold them still while I lectured them on the ugly evil of sending the hedge cutters into the wider lanes before the end of October or even November.

You can't see it because it's a bit dull in the overcast early dusk, but the grass on the middleman is wet, so I can't ride there. And the tracks at the sides are overgrown with thorny bushes and ferns with cutting edges. One of my favourite pink shirts won't make it home in one piece... My man in Jermyn street weeps and wonders why he ever took on such a callow person with zero culture, a shirt-wrecker. But I'm more worried about my bike's irreplace historic coach paint. It's a stressful ride to the same main road we've met several times, the extension of the road I live on. I'm not riding home on it because this time of the day the cars and delivery trucks are 10 yards apart at 100kph on a narrow, broken surface that in Germany and America would get the road engineers fired en masse. I just want to cross it to the lane on directly across.

After waiting for ten minutes for a break in the traffic, I take my life in my hands, hold up my hand to a car I know as it comes over the hill to my right, and dash across a good fifty yards in front of the car from the left, who had slowed down for the marked black spot about a hundred yards to my left. The guy in the car I know, which I know because I know him, is brassed off at the horns sounding behind him as he slows for me. He shouts at me, "You're a maniac, Andre." I raise a single finger over my shoulder.

The lane on the other side of this dangerous road has been resurfaced! Ironic, eh, but I'm not smiling. There's loose gravel and now I'm really worried about my steel bike's paintwork, so I ride slowly, saying individual goodbyes to remembered potholes, which will surely reappear in exactly the same places in a year or three. This lane connects with another, and I note with interest that to the left it has also been tarmacced (well actually cheaply chipped and sealed). This lane to the left is one we normally did not ride because while I on my 60mm Big Apples felt no pain, beyond the hill it was dirt with donga-sized (ask John Saxby for an explanation -- thanks, John) water-washed ruts into which smaller bikes could disappear. But if newly remade with blacktop, we could ride down it to a really good road with almost zero traffic which makes up part of a wider loop we like, and miss out on the 200 yards of misery on the dangerous road I'd just crossed.

I turn right and after a few miles cross the dangerous road again right on the edge of town but just before the speed delimitation sign and with decent visibility to both sides, and now I'm on the lane of the first photo and on my way home in peaceful green. The only moving vehicles until I see until I return to the busy road only thirty yards from my house is another cyclist on a distinctively purple bike that I gave away over 20 years ago, who calls out a cheery hello.

You don't need to go to Africa (dysentery and hostile tribesmen) for an adventure...
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: in4 on July 18, 2021, 10:32:31 AM
Thanks for sharing Kilbrogan Fields, Andre. Enjoyed seeing it and ‘reading’ a distinctive style.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on July 18, 2021, 11:49:35 AM
Thanks for sharing that Andre (I think) the photos look idyllic to me but the words paint a different picture.
The cost of Sartorial elegance is too high for me, I don't have a shirt that's afraid of thorns or a bike without a scratch.  I do cycle in whatever I'm wearing (Though some might say I only wear what I'd cycle in), there are exceptions to this, but I can't remember the last one.
I've been to Ireland several times, including a year working there in the mid 80's, though it predated any interest in cycling and I've never been there on a bike.  Even driving, the roads were atrocious and the standard of driving seemed to match, though it was a while ago.  It is on my list, though it might wait it I can stay for months rather than days. 
Here, grass up the middle of a road is a sign of peace and tranquillity, there's websites devoted to such riding
https://grassupthemiddle.com/
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on July 18, 2021, 02:26:27 PM
Thanks for the website link, Paul; those folks have the right idea. I've bookmarked it. That bike leaning against the H2O tank seems to have awfully fat tyres...

It's well worth a shirt and some scratches per ride to get out into the fresh air after so long inside during the lockdown.

If I'd taken the ride the other way round, I would have saved the shirt, because uphill, especially if you have a motor, the wet grass of the middleman is much more rideable than coming downhill on it and braking to control you speed. If the braking causes a slip, even a tiny one, you're a goner. Whereas the motor (with a thumb throttle -- doesn't work with a German style pedelec) helps you keep up just the right tension of forward speed regardless of what's under the grass.

As an experienced long-range cyclist, I think you'll be okay on Irish roads. The standard of driving is vastly better -- but unfortunately also faster -- than it was in the 80s.

I remember my first encounters with Irish motorists of that period with a shudder.

***

I don't want you to think I live in fear or something. I just prefer cycling where people know me, and know that I'll pull off and let them pass as soon as I can. Of course, like other smart cyclists, I stay off the roads when the soccer mums in SUVs too big for their talents are fetching their kids from school -- no point in tempting fate.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on July 20, 2021, 03:10:07 AM
Andre, what a splendid illustrated & cautionary tale of cycling in your otherwise Green and Pleasant Land (and thank you, Mr Blake, sir, for allowing me to carry your timeless words 'crost the Irish Sea).

Your photos and watercolours of the lanes put me in mind of what I remember as a kid in Foggie Olde (Wessex sub-sector), "greenlanes" I think they were called.  Perhaps they still are?

I like the "middleman" tag for that ridge of grass.  A couple of friends in our extended neighbourhood have long driveways on their farmsteads. We drive them with one set of wheels in the middle, one on the side.  But I have to say I can't recall Actual Roads in Ontario with that feature.

Another analogy does pop up, tho' (maybe triggered by your "donga" reference?):  I'm  guessing you'll have driven on strip roads in Rhodesia, back in the day?  Two strips of tarmac, about 24" wide, 36-42" between them?  Delicate control required when two cars approached, each putting a set of wheels off to the left.  Dodgy bizness in the rains...

Pink shirt, eh?  Good on yer.  Our son loved pink shirts and even bicycles when he was a little boy. To protect him from being hassled, we told him we had trouble finding what he wanted in that colour (partly true). By the time he was a teenager and beyond, eventually competing in the 2007 Kung-Fu world champoinships in Beijing, he wore pink shirts without getting hassled for his choice of colours.

Cheers,  J.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on July 20, 2021, 12:06:08 PM
If only the local strips were two feet wide...

I remember those strip roads in Rhodesia, John. And the rainy season. And a huge storm drain that we used to hold races in, must have been on the way to Bulawayo because I remember coining one of my most successful jokes: "Xxxxx, a town so dull, at six o'clock every evening they roll up the pavements," in a wicked Chinese gambling den, which was why we went to such an unlikely place, probably at least 1500 miles from Stellenbosch.

Forty plus years later, sitting in the back of a car with bikes strapped to the back on our way to ride across the mountain on the Durrus Peninsula down the road here, my arms around the two sweeties into whose baskets I had already dropped my water, food and spare shirt (my secret is old age and treachery), the only stranger, an English engineer consulting for a couple of weeks in Ireland, said of some town on the way where we couldn't find anything open to give us breakfast*, "Xxxxx, a town so dull, at six o'clock every evening they roll up the pavements."

* For those of you who aspire to tour in Ireland, if you want a fruit scone, a "local" specialty all over the island, you don't ask for a "skonn" but for a rock, as in "Scone" of Scotland. I mention the fruit scone in particular because it is a superb mix of dried fruit and starch, just what a long-distance athlete needs, especially if heavily buttered. It's basically a superior, more natural version of the Jacob's Fig Rolls which the coach of the British national mud pluggers said was his cyclists' instant, but long-lasting as well, energy food.

Some personal notes about touring in Ireland at http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14293.0 (http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14293.0)

***
I don't hear "greenlanes" here, John, not even as "green lanes". Green isn't an adjective of much value in Ireland, because everything is so green, it is axiomatic, even implied only by exception: "Sad to see the fields so yellow." The only reason that "Green and Beloved" isn't a meaningless cliche for me is that I grew up in a red desert (well, okay, I've written books about colour both as technical interests in reprographics and in psychology, but that isn't the sort of approach we're talking about). The phrase rather than expressing a common Irish emotion -- even though the land as property is very keenly desired by the Irish for historical reasons -- is merely an example of a poet seeing and expressing something no one else has thought to say. But it is much more complex than the obvious interpretation. My granny, who came here with General Smuts -- he was the Henry Kissinger of his day, a statesman so valuable that he was the only man to serve in the British war cabinets in both world wars, sent by Lloyd George to see if he could talk some sense into the Irish --, always referred to "The Green and the Stubborn".

Off to ride in the heat wave beside the river which might have a cooling breeze. I wish everyone else a cool ride as well.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: tyreon on August 02, 2021, 09:09:58 AM
THOSE ARE LANES!!!

Dont have any-many where I now live.

There were some down in Kent way. Lottsa chicanes,blind corners,high hedges and grass-in-the-middle type jobs.

Unfortunately most of Kent is now being built over with add-on villages,roads,motorways or railways. Maybe it wants to become Detroit.

Good precis.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on August 02, 2021, 09:47:10 AM
Thanks, Tyreon. I used to live at Burwell, near Newmarket, not because I'm a racegoer but because it was convenient to Cambridge, specifically because I liked walking and cycling in the East Anglian lanes, and our house on the canal (a good separation from the aggressive flock of geese on the other side!) gave direct access to many varied rides -- with zero hills! But I don't imagine too many of them are there any more.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: PH on August 03, 2021, 10:07:35 AM
Unfortunately most of Kent is now being built over with add-on villages,roads,motorways or railways. Maybe it wants to become Detroit.
I spent a chunk of my childhood and teenage years living in Maidstone, on the rare occasion I go back I don't recognise it!
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on August 12, 2021, 11:37:41 AM
I rode out a couple of days ago but didn't stop to take any photos in my hurry to complete the circuit before the forecast rain fell. When I say I hurried, I mean within my permitted heart rate limits, but I was still happy to hear my heart rate app reporting at one kilometre intervals that regardless of hills (all this circuit I was on is either up or down, no level road) I was covering every klick in the ten-second range 4m20s to 4:30 without exceeding my newly self-imposed limit of 50kph on the downhills.

Yesterday I was otherwise engaged.

Today it looks beautiful out there from behind glass but the eucalyptus nearest my study window is whipping itself up in a rage. Accuweather for once reports what I can see:

Wind SSW 35 km/h
Wind Gusts 54 km/h

For old salts among you, that's the misleading Beaufort* 5 or "fresh breeze", gusting to Beaufort 7 or "near gale". Also, rain, which commenced falling since I started this note.

I'm not planning on riding in gusts of 54kph because virtually every ride from here is at least partly along an unprotected ridge. But it's fair to ask if a fellow who takes 4m20s to cover a kilometre, which is a fraction less than 14kph over the ground, will be blown backwards at c20kp in a steady fresh breeze of 35kph.

*IIRC, Beaufort was an Anglo-Irish officer in the Royal Navy, by definition charming and clever because he rose to admiral. His scale didn't measure speed because the instrument didn't exist but judged the symptoms of speed such as (on land) whether the tips of branches, whole large branches, or whole trees are affected by the force of the wind. The speed ranges were added in the 20th century.

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on August 12, 2021, 02:39:03 PM
Wise choice, André.  I envy you your wind & likely rain, tho': yesterday morning, I did a four-hour ride up into the hills across the river, and by the time I returned at midday, the temp was near 30, and the humidex closing on 40. I was knackered  :(

Your mention of the Beaufort-wallah sent me into Wikipedia to check about the naming of the Beaufort Sea.  Same bloke, tho' the Wikipage doesn't say who bestowed his name upon the defenceless and blameless Arctic sea. Likely some variant of the self-proclaimed honourable society of the great & the good.

Our maps are littered with things like this.  Last year I mentioned an overnight camping stay at a nearby provincial park, Fitzroy--not the cap'n of the Beagle, but his half-brother.  (The cap'n appears in Beaufort's Wikipage, BTW, just to reassure you that the great & the good were careful about ensuring their mutual & ongoing employment.)

All this by way of a heads-up:  My provisional routing for my weeklong mini-tour in W Qué will take me through Ladysmith, QC.  Yes, that Lady Smith: Sir 'arry's missus.  To your great Relief, no doubt,  ;) I'll just be passing through, with no more than an exasperated nod to colonial hangovers.

Cheers,  J.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on August 12, 2021, 06:16:36 PM
"Yes, that Lady Smith: Sir 'arry's missus. To your great Relief, no doubt"

You're wicked, John. Heh-heh. For those a bit weak on the History of Empire, and who can blame them, an explanatory link for John's capitalisation, chosen at random, so don't hold me responsible for its accuracy or bias: https://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/history/the+boer+war/the+devonshire+regiment/the+first+battalion/the+relief+of+ladysmith

What misfortune did Smith bring to North America?
***
A great-uncle, much bemedalled by the time he became a general, told me when I got my first bicycle of a whole regiment of Italian soldiers in North Africa who were bicycle-mounted. He was in the LRDG, the Long Range Desert Group of reckless reconnaissance heroes, and they'd skulk behind a dune hundreds of miles behind Rommel's lines: "You could hear them coming a long way in the still of the night. Shoo-shoo shoo-shoo shoo-shoo their spokes went, sussurating all in unison. Now, boy, there's half a crown on it if you can spell sussurating."


Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on August 12, 2021, 09:35:51 PM
Thanks, Andre.  Took me a while to work out a pun-by-capitalisation, but I reckoned you'd pick up on it  ;)

LRDG indeed.  Serious name to drop. Likewise, "sussurating" indeed -- how often does that verb pop up in conversations??  Or for that matter, Italian soldiers cycling in the desert?? Can you imagine how they would've cursed their CO? (One of the facts of growing up in a military family is that there's a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bizarre and inexplicable decisions/commands, but I have to say I'd never heard of that one...Poor blokes.)

Mr & Ms Smith left a couple of map references, one in QC and one in BC.  Both are small dots on de map, neither as significant (for all I know) as the Soufafrican one.  (Nor is there a Spion Kop overlooking a road to Ladysmith. One is enough.)

Until I went to live & work in Central & Southern Africa--for which I'm eternally grateful, though no-one should blame the kind people of the region for whatever I do or say--the only "Harry Smith" I knew about was a guy who played defence for the Trail Smoke-Eaters, World Hockey Champions of 1961. He had a fierce shot from the point. He was never knighted--steelworkers don't usually get such things.  Ladysmith, BC, is on Vancouver Island, about 725 kms due west of Trail by bike and ferry.

Cheers,  J.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on August 19, 2021, 09:47:46 PM
Earlier in the week, the weather broke, and last week's hot'n'muggy blanket dissipated, dispersed by dry northwesterly winds.

This week, I made a similar ride up into the hills, taking my Raven to check a couple of tweaks before my mini-tour a few days hence.  The ride was a bit demanding, as always: the hills on the northern side of the ridge are a kilometre or so longer and a % or so steeper than on the southern/western side.

No matter:  it was a glorious late-summer day, temps in the mid-20s with a light breeze, and a beguiling mix of sunshine and shadow on trees, road, rocks and cyclists. (A couple of sample fotos follow below, taken on a "step" in the approach.)  No motor traffic, glory  be--that's banned in the Gatineau Park on Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri, and mornings of Wed-Sat-Sun.

Osi the Raven was smooth and comfortable, ready for next week's five-day excursion in the extended neighbourhood.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on August 20, 2021, 04:04:20 PM
John, if it weren't for the orange stripe in the middle of the road aligning the photos on the West side of the Atlantic, you could have taken those in the Green & Beloved Isle.

We have white strip in the middle of the road, separating lanes, and orange lines indicating the hard shoulder, beloved of cyclists; the photo shows a small road already too big and busy -- the council doesn't paint lines on the best roads for cyclists -- for social cyclists because the "hard shoulder" is non-existent and there are lots of blind spots where a speeding driver won't see cyclists until he's right on them. That road is only suitable for hardened acolytes of John Forester's "Take the lane" persuasion. Tell the pol responsible for banning cars in the Gatineau we have an honoured place for him in Ireland.

(http://www.coolmainpress.com/miscimage/Irish%20road%20markings.jpeg)

We look forward to your report of your mini-tour. May all your hills be downhill and may the wind ever be behind you.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on October 10, 2021, 02:04:33 AM
Andre, the notes and photos of my mini-tour are not quite finished...

Instead: Last overnight camping trip of the year

On Tuesday/Wednesday this past week, I took advantage of a benevolent weather forecast to make one last overnight trip of the year: an afternoon ride N and W of Ottawa to a campsite in Fitzroy Provincial Park, on the south bank of the Ottawa River, returning home the next morning via the Québec side.  Total distance would be about 115 – 135 kms, depending on the return route.

The weather proved to be nothing short of brilliant for riding: sunny and warm, with temps around 19 or 20 and gentle winds.  And, the foliage was just beginning to turn. Photo 1 below shows the Old Carp Road, leading NW out of the city towards the small agricultural village that has now morphed into a suburb within the extended boundary of the metropolitan area. 

Photo 2 below is in West Québec, a view across a field of canola (or mustard?) towards the Eardley Escarpment, the ancient granite ridge that parallels the northeastern bank of the river.  (Most of my photos of this area are taken from atop that escarpment, usually from Champlain Lookout.  A plaque there informs the reader/viewer that 12,000 years ago, “The spot where you are standing was under 2200 metres of ice.”)

Leaving Carp mid-afternoon on Tuesday, I saw a touring bike and rider coming my way.  He waved me down, and I stopped to chat.  Andrew was riding from BC to Newfoundland, and could I give him directions to a motel in Kanata, a western ‘burb of Ottawa?  I couldn’t but I could tell him how to get through Carp to a main street in Kanata, where he could almost certainly get the info he needed.  He was riding a heavily loaded Surly Big Dummy – see Photo 4 below, with his bike posed beside Bay Lakes in Banff.  Andrew told me he was 50, riding across Canada after finishing a career in the military.  He’d been a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne, so we compared notes briefly, myself and my wife from military families, but not members the armed forces. He mentioned that he’d been born in Uganda, and I asked how that had happened. His parents had been missionaries, and he’d been born just as Idi Amin had seized power; and after that, his parents had returned to Canada. 

What a spooky coincidence:  I had been in Kampala in January 1971, around the time he was an infant.  At that time, I was ¾ of the way through a grand hitchhiking-bus-train-and-boat journey through East Africa, from the Luapula Valley in Zambia to Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, Nairobi, and Kampala.  That city was full of mobile gangs of armed men, some in uniform, some not, and there was a Seriously Bad Vibe—although at that time, regular citizens had no sense of the horrors to come.  I left as quickly as I could, taking the SS Victoria across the big lake, and then train and buses back to my teaching post in Luapula. 

We exchanged phone numbers, and I wished him bon voyage and good weather.  If/if the weather holds, he could reach The Rock by the end of October.

Fitzroy Park was maybe 10% full, so I found my favourite campsite beside the small carp river, near its confluence with the Ottawa. Photo 3 below shows Osi the Raven in Updated Touring Gear mode:  Lightweight Altura Vortex 30-ltr panniers in front; a Revelate Sweetroll 11-ltr handlebar bag attached to my Thorn Accessory bar, stuffed with my rain gear; a small (4 ltr) Axiom handlebar bag atop that, carrying odds & ends but also serving to protect my Sinewave charger from the elements, because the Sweetroll left it exposed; and my medium Revelate Tangle frame bag replacing the usual large ditto.  The Arkel Ultra-lite panniers at the rear are unchanged, as is my Tubus Vega rack and my Tarptent Moment one-person tent.

Pretty much everything worked well, with one exception. The Vortex front panniers offer a considerable weight saving (almost 3 lbs) over the Arkel Dauphins they have temporarily replaced.  Their fastening apparatus of straps and clips is fiddly in the extreme, however, a world apart from the Arkels’ hooks-cams-and-cord mechanism.  As an example: My Arkel Ultra-lites use an elasticated hook to mate with the lower V of my Tubus rack.  Why could Altura not use something similar with their Vortex bags?  Instead, the rider has to thread a Velcro strap through a clip, and to do so by feel, as there’s a pannier in the line of sight.  It’s lighter than an elasticated hook, I guess, but after spending some minutes trying to get it to co-operate, it felt like an unnecessarily elaborate rip-off.  :(

The night in Fitzroy was memorable for not-so-happy reasons. The setting was beautiful, and the birds—especially the geese, prepping for their southerly trek—magnificent as always.  But, the night was more humid than anything I can remember—heavy dew, buckets of condensation everywhere, and dense fog.  Anticipating a long steep (12%) climb up the Eardley Escarpment, I had cut a few corners on weight, too, including departing from my routine of packing a tarp.  A “good idea at the time” turned out to be a classic false economy – the tarp would have ensured a much drier breakfast and quicker packup.

As it turned out, I left the campground an hour-plus later than I normally would, and decided not to climb the scarp after all, opting instead for a shorter return route.  Happily, that included part of Québec’s Route verte cycling network, which led me past the colours in photo #2.  And, I dodged an often busy secondary highway, reaching home instead via the cycle paths on the Québec side of the river.  The Eardley climb will still be there next year.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on October 10, 2021, 04:38:16 PM
Osi the Raven is very elegant on his own shooting stick! And I hope you have an email address for the cyclist you so fortuitously met on the road, John; that's a postcard-perfect image of his bike against an almost incredibly pure background. Such whites in the clouds...

Another fascinating report, for which thanks. Is that rape-seed, the acid-yellow stuff? A few years ago we had fields and fields of the stuff here when there was some kind of a EU bounty on it for use in making biofuel.

From the icy lines down the mountain (left over from last year or has it snowed already this year?) it looks like your estimation of further touring possibilities this year is spot on.

We've had a miserable week, rain, cold, wind -- and then suddenly a lovely few days of late summer - if you overlooks some clouds, always an Irish condition -- in West Cork in October. During the misery, on the principle of what you can't see can't give you the willies, I went for a ride before light but dawdled along the way to sketch an inquisitive calf so that I reached home at dawn, just at that moment between night and day in which my bike-Olympus, wide-open, could capture some details of a late-Medieval village, including what a good job the BUMM Cyo lamp was doing: 

(http://www.coolmainpress.com/miscimage/Andre%20Jute%20Kilbrogan%20Hill%202021%20800pxh.jpg)

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on October 10, 2021, 06:06:46 PM
Thanks, Andre - always enjoy reading your comments!

Yes, Andrew's photo nicely explains why Banff is so celebrated/mythological.  A comparable cross-reference:  Some years back, the CBC ran a contest, asking listeners/viewers for their "Seven Wonders of Canada".  One of the Splendid Seven--justly so, I think--was "Prairie Skies".

Closer to home, there's no ice on the escarpment yet, though there are some permanent streams and many more seasonal ones, which flourish in the spring run-off.  This photo does show the stark granite face of the scarp to good effect.

The field is likely canola, renamed from rapeseed. The "ca" first syllable is a nod, I think, to the colossal production of the seed on the prairies -- that is, in years when the "normal" rainfall of 10-12 inches comes as it should in late spring.  This year, it didn't, and I understand that the crop is down about 75-80%.

And thanks too for your village-hill-at dusk photo.  Jeez, I'd nearly forgotten!:  the gloom calls to mind the timeless comment by Yogi Berra, shifted from catcher (=WK) to left field in the old Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, after his knees could no longer take the crouching behind the plate: of the shadows which made the ball often unplayable and caused him to miss an easy catch, he said, "It gets late early out there!" (Apologies for that run-on sentence...) [two colons, indeed  :( :( ]

Cheers,  J.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on October 10, 2021, 10:06:39 PM
Some people will never be forgiven two colons; with those who write better two colons aren't even noticed.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on October 10, 2021, 11:09:21 PM
 ;) 👍
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on October 30, 2021, 07:40:44 PM
Last ride of 2021?

Maybe not yet -- last year, I was up in the Gatineau Hills with my buddy Dave on Nov. 8, and in past years I've been there in mid-November. Either way, though, there's a good chance that in six weeks' time, people will be cross-country skiing on the parkways.

Yesterday was a bright sunny-and-cool late fall day, a brisk northeasterly signalling the forecast rain to come.  Busy with with domestic chores and administrivia, I took just a short two-and-a-half hour ride up to the Pink Lake lookout.

The geese are still out in their numbers, munching the grass beside the river and poo-poohing feeble human claims to hegemony over the bikepaths.

In the hills, the  autumn foliage is now very muted.  The dominant colours are brown and grey, with some splashes of red or yellow remaining, along with the green of the conifers (though even they are looking a bit tatty). On a more positive note, the woods are once again full of sunlight for the first time since spring.  (Photos # 1 and 2 below.)
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on October 31, 2021, 06:35:05 AM
What more can you ask in the northern hemisphere than a spot of sunshine at this end of the year? You deserve it for the cancellation of your trip Down Under.

Misery here, lashing rain for days on end, one day of inconveniently-placed part-sunshine when I've already done my penance on the treadmill, makes me, as it does you, yearn for years past when the stopped cycling deep into November or even almost until Christmas, and started up again not too long after New Year. We were harder then. Curse the pandemic.

I've been meaning to ask you about Pink Lake: every time you show it, there's a deep vertical edge, and the whole thing looks like a spent volcano catching the runoff. Is it a swimming lake, or are there no shallow ends to it?
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: John Saxby on October 31, 2021, 02:57:55 PM
Thanks, Andre.  A little about Pink Lake:  it's named after an early European settler, who got a land grant in the early 1800s. (There were a number of such grants made to Irish and U.S. settlers in those days -- there are a few hillsides in the Gatineau where apple trees signal a former farm orchard.)

It's a meromictic lake, one in which the layers of water don't mix.  I understand that in Pink Lake, there's no oxygen below about 15 metres. It's steep-sided, and fairly deep, over 30 metres, I understand.

Swimming is no longer allowed -- since the 1960s, phosphate runoff from the road has encouraged the growth of algae, so that the lake turns green from early June onwards.  One summer in the early 1960s, when I was in high school, I visited my older sister and brother-in-law, who were living in Ottawa at the time, and we went for a swim at the northern end of the lake.  There's a convenient shelving rock there, one of only a couple of points where a swimmer would get easy access to the water.  It was a lovely swimming hole, as I recall--cool, steep dropoff, no algae when I was there.

The Gatineau area--much of Western Qué, across the river from Ottawa, is full of outcrops of the Laurentian Shield, obdurate ridges, cliffs and crevices of ancient granite. Their absolute height above sea level is limited--highest spot in Eastern Ontario, for example, is a round-top "mountain" about 650 metres high--because the glaciers did such a thorough job of gouging, scouring, and flattening the PreCambrian rock.

Some wildlife relics of that era remain: Pink Lake harbours a little stickleback fish which once lived in the saline Champlain Sea that once covered the area after the end of the last Ice Age.  It has since adapted to the desalinization of the waters. (How it manages with the algae on one hand, and the lack of oxygen on the other, I don't know, but it's obviously a resilient little thing.)

Cheers,  J.

Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on October 31, 2021, 11:23:54 PM
Thanks John. Great knowing someone who knows all the words. I realized long since, of course, about when I took up hillwalking and then cycling in the countryside, that I didn't have the topological and geological vocabulary, and it was impressed upon me again when I recently read Stephen C Meyer's books, which starts (for me anyway -- his description of the key event begins in an early chapter of Darwin's Doubt) with his demolition of Neo-Darwinism at a visit to the Cambrian Shale in the Canadian Rockies made famous by Walcott of the Smithsonian -- that I had learned less than I might have; for many years scientific friends held a hatchet I took decades ago to statistical cheatery in Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker, which undermines his entire argument. Still, I spent the time cycling instead...

Good on you, cobber.
Title: Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
Post by: Andre Jute on April 02, 2022, 10:53:57 AM
This thread has now served its purpose of collecting all sorts of rides in 2021. Thanks to all for keeping up such good spirits these last two years.

The 2022 thread is here -- click on either line:
+++ Rides 2022 +++ Add yours here +++ (http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14555.0)
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14555.0 (http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=14555.0)