Author Topic: RIDES 2018 — add yours here  (Read 10136 times)

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #165 on: July 17, 2018, 12:20:38 AM »
Idyllic.

One almost expects to look up and see a Spitfire overhead...

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #166 on: August 01, 2018, 01:21:14 AM »
Haven't managed many day rides in the past few weeks, what with a mini-tour in south-central Ontario, some serious heat'n'humidity, and a long weekend chasing cultcha in Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake...

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

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

We did the basic up-and-back ride from my place to Champlain Lookout--one can take loops to lengthen the ride and add hills. As is, it's a nice three hours of riding plus a break at the top for a snack and for consideration once more of the odd feeling that comes from knowing that, a mere 10,000 years ago, our favourite viewpoint was under a mile of ice.  If we'd visited a couple of thousand years closer, so to speak, we'd have been at the seaside, as the Ottawa Valley-to-be was the seabed of the Champlain Sea, left behind by the melting and retreating glaciers.

JimK

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #167 on: August 13, 2018, 11:01:28 PM »
I rode out to Antelope Island yesterday, camped overnight, and rode home today. About 35 miles each way. Not quite sub-24 hours but only about an hour over the line.

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










John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #168 on: August 14, 2018, 01:34:58 AM »
Super stuff, Jim, wide horizons there...

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

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

Cheers,  J.

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #169 on: August 14, 2018, 05:54:34 AM »
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. John's sentimentally evocative canoe and Jim's powerful pylons are both stunning photographs in different ways.

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

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

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

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

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

Like I say, no photo, because a flash in Foxie's eyes would be thoughtless and very likely considered hostile by him. But here's a portrait of Foxie I drew last year:
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 10:18:14 PM by Andre Jute »

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #170 on: August 14, 2018, 02:13:28 PM »
Love it, Andre -- your painting is a low-impact record of nature's beauty. (Soft paths, leave-no-trace of our passage.)  Generations of Foxies will thank you :)

Will send you a PM on All This -- adding more here takes us some distances from "Rides of 2018"...

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #171 on: September 09, 2018, 10:23:56 PM »
Second week of September, and we've had some of the first signals of the arrival of fall. Beyond the obvious one of the neighbourhood kids going back to school, in the past week or so I've seen and heard a couple of Vees of geese wheeling and honking overhead as they run through their formations and signals for their great trek south. And, we've had a couple of nights with the temps down to 8 or 9° -- combined with clear, sunny, and cool days, it almost feels like July on the Southern African highveld.

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

It was up to the sumacs, as usual to give us the first blush of autumn, but that's all it was. (See #'s 2 & 3 below.) We'll see if and when we get the standard-issue blaze of glory on the hillsides--the long, hot, dry summer may simply stress and dry out the trees. TBC...

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #172 on: September 09, 2018, 11:46:14 PM »
What I like best about your post, John: "TBC" -- to be continued, an abbreviation freighted with meaning.

Actually, autumn is my favorite season: cool enough to ride, variegation of the overwhelming greens of the landscape here, and where I live not a high rainfall season.

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #173 on: September 10, 2018, 12:13:04 AM »
great photo's lads  8)

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #174 on: September 10, 2018, 01:27:14 AM »
Thanks, guys.  Andre, I'd like to claim something more profound, but TBC here means only that "There'll be another chapter; what it is will depend on the weather."

September is often a delightful month for cycling in these parts.  October can be iffy, with spectacular fall foliage mixed with cold rain and/or snow.

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #175 on: September 19, 2018, 11:32:15 PM »
This past Sunday morning was clear, bright and warm, with a light easterly breeze, a fine late-July day in mid-September.  I forsook my usual weekend ride across the river and into the hills, reckoning that the Gatineau Park would be chock-a-block with motorists seeking the widely renowned, but elusive and shy Great Fall Foliage Spectacle. Instead, I took Osi the Raven on a delightful three-hour canter eastwards along the Ottawa River, through the city and out the other side, just less than 50 kms in all.
 
On the western segment of my ride, I followed the tarmac bike path beside the Ottawa River, heading east toward Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, and the National Gallery.  At the Gallery, the route joins a city street, Sussex Drive, which runs past the dwelling places of the high and mighty—the Prime Minister’s residence, various embassies, and Rideau Hall, the Governor-General’s residence (being Canajan and all, this is also home to a public skating rink, a ditto cricket pitch, and Sunday evening concerts, where you can picnic on the lawn and listen to the likes of Natalie McMaster dancing with her fiddle.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next door to the balancing rocks (which, it must be said, are not a patch on those in Zimbabwe’s Matopos Hills—but they are a lot closer) is another sculpture, “Sprout”.  (Photo #4.)  I quite like the splash of colour and the spiky contrast with the rock art.  Will it last through the winter, I wonder?  Things not made of rock or sturdy metal tend not to do so well here in the Valley…  If you can stand the suspense, stay tuned for a springtime sequel in “Rides of 2019”.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 11:35:57 PM by John Saxby »

Matt2matt2002

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #176 on: September 20, 2018, 08:51:52 AM »
Great pictures John.
Over here in UK there is a lot of controversy re standing stone piles.
Do you or your countrymen bother about it?

There are groups here that dismantle small stone structures.
A danger to wild life.

I only build them below tide lines on a beach. Washed away at high tide. I guess the fish don't mind.....
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

geocycle

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #177 on: September 20, 2018, 01:49:07 PM »
Thanks for the report John.  I really like those stones. Nice to see some late summer sunshine as we head rapidly to autumn.
 

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #178 on: September 20, 2018, 01:53:41 PM »
Your superb photographs give one the impression that Canadian cities are mostly green belt, John. That empty road beside the river should be a walker and cyclist's paradise. And your detailed description is a huge bonus: I liked the bit about the boy prime minister relegated to the gate lodge of the vice-regal palace -- and skipped over the imputation of its size.

Matt, we have standing stones dotted here and there, and on one of the lanes I ride, someone has built a brand-new circle of standing stones in his garden. I've been meaning to stop and ask him where's the horizontal slab for the blood sacrifice. It's the sort of crack that hereabouts gives one a reputation as a wit.

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #179 on: September 20, 2018, 02:40:41 PM »
Quote
controversy re standing stone piles

Thanks, Matt.  So far as I know, the stones you see here are loose, from the river itself -- the water is not very deep there.  The river has a mix of shale rock close to the shore, and rounded granite.  I'll look into Ceprano's website to see what more he has to say.

In the southern parts of Canada at least, we don't have standing stones such as you see in the Celtic fringe of Europe.  In the north country, it's a different matter.  There, the inukshuk, created by the Inuit, is an integral part of culture and the landscape. Now, the inukshuk is becoming embedded in popular culture (not yet to the same extent as the canoe or the kayak), and you see replicas/interpretations popping up all over the place, in gardens, in "the wild", anyplace that there's a fair supply of stone.  (And in large parts of the countryside, rock-and-water is the default mode--Canada's landmass is only 4% arable.)

In the grounds of G-G's palace residence, for example, there's an enormous, magnificent example, the better part of 8 feet high.  You sometimes see miniatures on hiking trails, instead of the small cairns/rough piles of stone used as trail markers in rocky terrain.

Personally, in this domain, I tend to be conservative in my habits:  When I'm hiking, I'll place a stone atop a small cairn if it looks like it needs one.  I don't know enough about inukshuks to try to make one.  It would be out of place in our garden, anyway, as there's not a rock to be seen -- well over a hundred years ago, our place was a farmer's field (bits of clover still in evidence), a few inches of topsoil, then ditto blue clay, then shale and gravel.  We have instead a well-worn hardwood sculpture of a guinea fowl, from Africa, and a fabulous 3-ft high welded concoction of 3/8 chain and leftover bits from an engine--flywheel, piston, conrod--which Marcia found in NYC forty-odd years ago.

Cheers,  John