Author Topic: RIDES 2018 add yours here  (Read 9108 times)

John Saxby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1480
Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #195 on: October 17, 2018, 02:56:54 AM »
Thanks, Andre. You're right -- the landscape is compelling, but without some reference point, can be hard to appreciate.  (It's sometimes hard to photograph, too, especially for amateurs like me, pausing in the middle of a bike ride.)  But that's why I included the dock & its boat.  On the other side of the bridge, the old piers of an earlier bridge stick up like so many teeth -- see the photo below, taken by my cycling buddy Dave.

Lake Champlain is a beautiful body of water -- heavily populated along its shores, though.

In a similar vein, a friend and colleague here, Mark Schacter, has published a superb photo-essay on the Great Lakes, and it's well worth seeking out.  Its title is Sweet Seas, borrowing the name the French gave to the lakes, les mers douces.

All that said, Anto, I find the landscapes of Europe, for example, with their centuries-old evidence of human settlement right there in daily life, compelling in a different way.  A few years back, hiking with our daughter Meg in the Spanish Pyrenees, we camped beside a young German couple.  When they found that we were from Canada, they said, "Why would you come here?"  We said, we don't have anything like your 2000-year-old footpaths and bridges at home." (We have canoe routes which are centuries old, but that's a different matter.)

On another related tangent, some years ago, a South African colleague was visiting, and we went to a conference in Banff, Alberta. We had a day off, so I rented a car and we drove north along the Icefields Parkway to the Columbia Icefields.  She said, "John, I learned about the Rocky Mountains for my A-levels, but I never thought I'd get to visit them. This country has a feel of Africa about it -- it has great power.  You wouldn't want to make a mistake here, would you?" 
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 03:07:24 AM by John Saxby »

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #196 on: October 17, 2018, 03:59:41 AM »
Dave's photo proves the point powerfully. That's a photo that deserves to be printed at Imperial size (yes, there is still an Imperial sheet of paper: 22x30 inches, made by paper mills in England, France, Italy and intermittently in Germany, for a market -- watercolorists -- that isn't big enough to warrant replacing centuries-old machinery).

I like your friend from South Africa without even knowing her name: one of the most difficult things about Africa (and other extreme places, like Canada and Alaska and Australia) to explain to people from small, long civilized countries in Europe, is that despite the spotty, thin veneer of civilization which to them may just look like lusher version of "back home", danger lurks lethally just out of sight, in Australia just under the toilet seat (redback spiders) even in the suburbs.

A cyclist is nearer these dangers than most other passersby. Here in Ireland throughout the summer I wear sandals; I've been bitten by a dog but only once, and an eel crossing the road between two streams snapped at me when I rode across it but did not connect. (I made a fool of myself by capturing it and rushing it to college to demand from an appropriate expert what sort of snake it was... "Aren't you guys always telling us that St Pat chased the snakes out of Ireland?" Well, I found it on land!) But I remember as a schoolboy cycling the hills outside Pietermaritzburg and a boy from the UK being told to go inside and put on shoes because it was easy to startle an adder sunbathing which would then strike out. I worked with a fellow who before lunch would handle his black and green mamba in a show on the lawn for visitors and then, without washing his hands, handle the cheese in the directors' dining room; when I told him about the puffadders in the foothills of the Drakensberg, he called them "Filthy vipers," as if by comparison mamba were hygienic!

John Saxby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1480
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #197 on: October 28, 2018, 01:56:41 AM »
Last ride of 2018?

Friday afternoon was sunny and cool-to-cold, with a brisk northwesterly, so I decided to take a run up into the hills across the river.  The forecast signalled deteriorating weather, with light rain turning to snow on Saturday night, and as we near the end of October--well, who knows how many more riding days we'll have?

My ride was short, just 30 kms round trip, a couple of hours' break from the prep-for-winter chores around the house and yard. These include cleaning the gutters from the accumulated crud of the past year-plus, renewing weatherstripping on storm doors, taping the cracks on a couple of quaint-but-ill-fitting wooden windows, raking and bagging huge piles of leaves from the half-a-dozen trees on our corner lot. (The latter is best done to the accompaniment of the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four", "Hoein' the garden/Rakin' the leaves/Who could ask for more?")

I'd hoped that the roads in the Gatineau Park would be closed to motor traffic--they usually are at this time of year--but there were a few cars and trucks, along with a good many cyclists. The only hazard was a two-kilometre trail of oil from some prior crankcase, early in my climb. One of the park's maintenance guys overtook me and stopped his truck a couple of hundred yards ahead of me. He flagged me down and cautioned me--''Soyez prudent, m'sieu, c'est un peu glissant"--and I thanked him for his consideration.  I said I was a motorcyclist, and alert to this sort of thing. (I'm no longer a motorcyclist, but the habits remain.)

Much of the trees' foliage is on the ground now, and the afternoon sun filtered easily into the forest.  The woods are full of light in the late fall, the winter, and the early spring.  No seasonal streams these days, though--we've had a dry autumn.

I stopped at the first lookout, at Pink Lake.  The lake is blue or green, depending on the time of year--"Pink" is the name of the first settler, a guy from Vermont who'd acquired logging rights in the early 19th century, after The Great Unpleasantness of 1812-14 had settled down.  On the deck of the lookout, two young women were grumbling about the fact that this beautiful spot had been named after some white Anglo who'd the necessary connections to make him a settler-cum-lumber baron. "Bummer, eh," sez I, overhearing their conversation. "Victors' history, they call it."

The colours of a two weeks ago have largely receded, leaving brown, grey and some tired patches of gold. The lake is quiet and reflective, though, beautiful as always, and the cliffs and afternoon sun on the far (eastern) shore make a nice tableau. (See # 1 below.)

I leaned Osi the Raven against the bench, and took a photo to mark the end of the year's rides. (#2 below) Happily, the sun caught my shiny VO fender, and shows off my spiffy new Tubus Vega rear rack.  This weighs all of 360 gms, nearly half a kilo less than the Topeak rack it replaces.

With dusk coming early now, I headed back downhill about 3:30.  Leaving the park's southern gate 20 minutes later, I noticed a couple of cars moving slowly & aimlessly near my junction with the bike path that would take me away from the road, into the forest and down to the river again.  Gaining the path, I slowed down and looked around.  There was a young walker/jogger just ahead of me, and she was doing the same.  Off to my left, maybe 50 metres away in a hundred-metre-square patch of pasture (this area was farmland not so long ago) was, of all things, a black bear, head down, munching on the vegetation and looking for all the world  like some stocky cow.  It was a teenager, I guessed, maybe 150 lbs, and utterly unconcerned about us.  This is odd--bears are usually shy, reclusive creatures, and here was this one in late afternoon, with people and vehicles close by.  In all the thirty-some years I've hiked and biked and paddled in the park, this was only the second bear I've seen, and the first at fairly close quarters. Then again, it was getting colder, and s/he was probably feeling some urgency about getting their prep-for-winter chores done, in this case, laying in the necessary calories to cover the next five or six months.

A nice closeout for the year's day rides  :)
« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 02:02:52 AM by John Saxby »

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7553
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #198 on: October 28, 2018, 02:08:12 AM »
Lovely photos and ride account, John. Osi is looking handsome as usual.

All the best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #199 on: October 28, 2018, 07:32:03 AM »
Last ride of 2018?

Ooh, I hope not, John. I look forward to these descriptions and photos of yours.

7 degrees Celsius here but worse, a 31kph wind. It might have been rideable without the wind but here we don't ride when the temperature falls much below 10C because the previous night's ice doesn't melt in the shadow of the hedgerows, where the road-level temp is usually below zero from mid-October until the spring. Or at least we don't ride alone in these dicey conditions, because that ice is black, not easily seen, and if someone comes off it helps to have a companion to flag down cars, call the ambulance, and so on. Still, without the wind, I could have ridden one loop of an accustomed figure of eight starting at my door on which the road is wide enough and so oriented that by midday the frost of the night is gone. But that road runs on top of a long ridge, and the topography is such that a northern wind gusts unpredictably over it at right angles.

I would have been forced to ride alone, as one of my two most regular pedal-pals died last week (age 78) and the other one the week before slipped on wet grass while playing golf, broke her ankle, and is consequently in plaster of Paris. So your ride and photos make a welcome diversion indeed. (1)

Back in the 90's we cycled until almost Christmas and a week or so after New Year started up again. Bring back global warming!

(1) I was sitting here waiting for the MotoGP race on Phillip Island to start, feeling sorry for myself, wondering whether I would end up on the golf course with Anto, remembering a 3am ride in another miserable winter, when I was going stir-crazy so much that I put on padded Carhart overalls that I last wore dogsledding in Alaska, and at -7C cycled down the centre of the icy main road (where in daylight we never go because the traffic is lethal) to the next town. On the way back a police car came up behind me and stayed behind me all the way to my house. Value for taxes!

jags

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #200 on: October 28, 2018, 12:47:22 PM »
It was bitter cold yesterday on the course,its only a few years ago I was cycling with theocal group all year round hail rain or snow I must have been mental :D.the pitch and putt gets me out of the house and it's great exercise and pain free.be careful out there andre not worthgetti.g injured get you walking shoes on

jags

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1425
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #201 on: October 28, 2018, 02:40:49 PM »
Just finished washing servicing my Audax put her upstairs in the spare bedroom with my Terry Dolan I reckon they will be there until next summer.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: RIDES 2018 add yours here
« Reply #202 on: October 29, 2018, 05:05:11 AM »
be careful out there andre not worthgetti.g injured get you walking shoes on

One of the advantages of riding so much in the country lanes around one little town is that you get to know every pothole and every wellspring under a road. We have one underground stream that keeps breaking through no matter how often they rebuild the road. It turns about 40 feet of the entire road width into black ice -- ask me, I was halfway into it before I realized my mistake: fortunately my bike has a low stepover, and I just planted both feet on the road and held the handlebars straight and slid back to a safe surface. We turned around and headed back. We stopped a couple of cars to warn them. The first was a woman whose children were on their farm up the hill; she said all the other roads were already closed or appeared more dangerous and asked me twice to repeat my instructions for driving on black ice (a high gear, smooth pressure on the accelerator, no sudden inputs with the wheel, don't brake at all, remember if you're sliding backwards to turn the wheel into the camber of the road). She got through and her husband stopped us on the road a week or so later to thank us. The second was a guy in a big Audi who jerked himself up and said, "I know what I'm doing!", which he didn't as we heard him crash and saw the police and the ambulance, which we called when we heard the crash, go by.

Surprising thing is that since heart surgery several years ago now, I have been steadier on my bike than on my feet. Must be some kind of gyroscopic effect of heavy touring rims, big Sapim Strong spokes, heavy tubes in heavier Big Apple tyres, all spinning like mad.