Author Topic: RIDES 2018 — add yours here  (Read 8226 times)

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #180 on: September 20, 2018, 03:01:44 PM »
Quote
the impression that Canadian cities are mostly green belt

Thanks, Andre. I tend to take photos of the scenic spacious bits -- of which, happily, there are many. And, I've learned that in Eastern Canada at least, one gets vistas mainly on or beside water.  (Ontario's highest point is only 2200' above sea level. Curious fact, useful for very obscure games of Trivial Pursuit.)

One of the reasons I moved to Ottawa in the late 1970s (aside from getting a job!) was that it was a manageable size, and offered great opportunities for outdoor sports all year round. (The year-round sport remains, the manageable size rather less.)  So, yes, there is a lot of green space here, and beside or on the big river especially, you can easily forget you're in a city of a million people.  Also, the Gatineau Park across the river is only 15-20 minutes by bike from my place, with all but about 5-7 minutes of that on a bike path. Visitors to the Gatineau are astonished by that particular treasure (I often meet them at Champlain Lookout, at the summit), and I never take it for granted. 

The green space everywhere is always under siege from "development"--variations of urban sprawl, the curse of every Canadian city I know--and the flip side of our green space is that Ottawa's cycling infrastructure is heavily biased to recreational cycling.  There are very enjoyable bike paths on both sides of the Ottawa River (about 200 kms in Ottawa alone), along the three-main-rivers-and-a-canal that dominate the landscape here.  If you want to get around the city by bike--say, to and from the core or a 'burb for work, then it's a different matter.  The arterial roads are ghastly dangerous affairs, monuments to the Hegemony Of The Car, and you're risking your life if you use one.  I use an old hybrid as my city bike, occasionally my Raven or the Eclipse for longer errands, but I use only secondary or back streets which I know.

Come visit sometime--I'd be delighted to show you around ;)  (Same goes for all members of the Forum.)

Cheers, J.

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #181 on: October 03, 2018, 02:07:33 AM »
Across the river and into the hills & trees: last Thursday, I did a 50-km canter on my derailleur bike, hoping I might see some turning foliage.  I had refreshed the bike, a ti-framed light touring Eclipse, hoping to use it Down Unda next March/April. My Raven was the reference point, especially its comfortable (for me) positioning of the bars, about 90 mm above the nose of the saddle, and its low-low gearing (15.3 gear-inches in Rohloff #1). To make the Eclipse more comfortable and better for climbing the hills of the NSW border ranges, I raised the bars about 40mms to ease the stress on my back, especially on the drops; lowered my gear ratios by replacing my 24T front granny ring with a 22T item, and swapping out my rear 11-32 cassette for an 11-34; and replaced my 700 x 32 tires with a set of 700 x 35 Marathon Supremes.

So, I was seeking out some hills, to check the effects of the lower gearing; and more generally, to see if the higher bars and wider tires made the bike more comfortable.

The Gatineau Park had been off-limits for the better part of a week, as we had just experienced a very rare "weather event", as they're called:  six (!count 'em!) tornadoes in a 4-hour period, to the north and west of Ottawa, and one in the city itself.  Tornadoes are not uncommon in southwestern Ontario, but very rare in these parts.  One, north of Ottawa on both the Ontario and Québec sides of the river, was especially large and destructive, with hundred of homes damaged or destroyed by winds in excess of 250 km/h.  Within the city itself, the urban forest took a battering, but thankfully, there were no serious injuries, and prolonged power cuts were more of a big inconvenience than anything. (Sunday before last, there seemed to be at least three times as many cyclists on the streets as usual.  People had left their cars at home, as most gas stations had no power, hence couldn't sell the juice. The neighbourhood was marvellously quiet -- seemed a little like the dawn of a low-carbon age.)

Riding along the bike path in the hills, I found a hairpin bend where a micro-burst (a concentrated, violent windstorm) had knocked down large conifers and hardwoods in a patch of forest about 100 metres square.  Big trees were jumbled up like a bunch of pick-up sticks, some of them snapped clean through. Sobering stuff.

At my turnaround point, all was calm and beautiful in mid-afternoon, with just a hint of the colours still to come.  The hillside you see below is often a riot of orange, red and gold in mid-October.

The tweaks to my bike worked quite well.  The raised bars made the seat and pedalling position much more comfortable--not quite as comfy as my Raven, though--and the lower gearing (low gear is 18 gear-inches) let me climb most of the hills (8% or so, with just one short'n'steep 12%) on the middle ring. I used my 22T granny ring a couple of times, just to see if the tiny wee thing performed as expected.  It did, and my original-spec T105 front derailleur (now 15 years old) nudged it up to the middle ring as required. The 35mm Supremes measured about 33mm inflated, a couple of mm wider than the 30-31mm actual width of the previous tires.  At 50-plus psi at the front and 55-plus at the rear, they were more comfortable than the tires they replaced (a Bontrager and a Marathon Racer).

So far, so good.  More to come from Down Unda in March & April.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 12:54:21 AM by John Saxby »

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #182 on: October 03, 2018, 03:28:50 AM »
Thanks for the invitation in your previous post, John. If I ever take up travel again, Canada -- always a favorite -- would be on my shortlist of countries to visit.

I always look forward to your elegant, yet comprehensive descriptions. Those tornados gave me the shiver.

JimK

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #183 on: October 08, 2018, 03:29:03 AM »
Just back from my fourth overnight trip this year. This was my first loop - the others were out and back.

My actual route was pretty close to what I'd planned.

Saturday: https://www.strava.com/routes/15379369
Sunday: https://www.strava.com/routes/15368587

A few photos:

The dike road along Willard reservoir - kept me off US-89 more:



The Wellsville range, from UT-30, coming into Cache County:



Avon-Liberty road from the summit, looking back north where I'd come from:



Just past the summit - this was an insane descent. Very steep and quite rocky. A serious test of equipment! If a rack was going to break, this would have done it!



Definitely pushing my limits here, but I got through and saw some fantastic country!

geocycle

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #184 on: October 08, 2018, 09:56:12 AM »
Thanks for sharing Jim, some fantastic routes there!  Hope you get some good autumn/fall weather to extend the riding season.
 

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #185 on: October 08, 2018, 02:22:52 PM »
Great stuff, Jim!  Especially liked the view of the valley in your last photo.  In 2013, I took Hwy 89 southwest from Bear Lake -- it was a beautiful ride.  BUT, I did that route on my '86 airhead, and I recall thinking at the time, "Not sure I'd cycle this route..."

Matt2matt2002

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #186 on: October 08, 2018, 03:02:22 PM »
Raven waiting for me half way up a forest track near Huntly, Aberdeenshire. I was out geocashing and decided to park the Raven as the slope and track became tricky. I'm sure she could have made it with a rider willing to risk a burst tire.or broken spoke.
Found 2&1DNF. [Resized and uploaded reduced photo to keep under Forum size limits. -- Dan.]
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 07:21:44 PM by Danneaux »
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

JimK

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #187 on: October 08, 2018, 07:02:41 PM »
Hwy 89 southwest from Bear Lake

yeah US-89 from Bear Lake over to Logan - I've just driven that once & my thought exactly was: no way I would try biking this. Busy, narrow, twisty.

I use strava heatmap a lot to scout out routes. I just plotted an alternate route from Cache valley over to Bear Lake: https://www.strava.com/routes/15754576

I got a look at the mouth of Blacksmith Fork canyon yesterday:



Maybe next year I'll try riding that way!

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #188 on: October 16, 2018, 07:11:21 AM »
Busy, narrow, twisty.

And the fourth word of the litany is -- nasty.

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #189 on: October 16, 2018, 07:28:05 AM »
As part of the largest works project currently underway in Ireland -- to floodproof the banks of the River Bandon and build bypasses for the town itself -- they tore down a footbridge I rather liked which was only a 150 years old. The reason I liked it was that it was narrow, with posts at my end, after a long downhill, that made it exactly one wide handlebar width, so it was a test of precision riding. Now it's wide, has new fat rails, and wider parts still as lookouts. There goes terrifying elderly nuns on your bike!

The photo is through the rails of the new bridge to hide some of the devastation. You can hardly believe that just in the front of the truck was the stand from which I caught salmon and trout for our dinner in years gone by.

It'll all be better once they finish and new growth hides the scars of a major deepening operation, and the swans and ducks and other birds are brought back from their temporary haven. I hope the herons have survived the dislocation. I brought the first young heron here in a rack top bag that still hasn't recovered. She didn't like the town much and decamped for a stump a couple of miles downstream, but her descendants colonized the rivers and streams until the only desirable spots were in the town. They bred so well that at one point I came up behind a photographer with a hew-yuge lens standing on the old bridge photographing four herons looping the loop a couple of feet from him, contesting the rights to the river when the salmon began their run (a new salmon ladder is already built and in part visible above the bed of the truck). I said helpfully, "Sir, it would help deblur your photos if you brought a tripod for that big a lens." He finished taking the photograph, and turned to me, a strained smile on his face for an idiot member of the public. It was Richard Mills, who's won the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year a few times, and sundry other prizes. "I should have known it was you, Andre," he said.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 07:46:23 AM by Andre Jute »

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #190 on: October 16, 2018, 03:50:39 PM »
Andre, I guess the "rehab" is all for the better, eventually, but the logic is close to destroying the rive in order to save it...  Nice that you have herons in your neighbourhood, though.

Below, a few photos from a couple of rides in the last week in the hills on the eastern (Québec) and western (Ontario) sides of the Ottawa Valley. The first two, from a week ago, are from regular vantage points in the gatineau Hills, but the view is never the same. (I recall an artist saying, "If you know where in Canada a photo was taken or painting was made, you can usually estimate when within about two weeks.")

The second two are from a ride this past Sunday, around the valley of the Madawaska River, a major tributary of the Ottawa.  The river here is fairly placid, just a few kms from joining the Ottawa. There is one more big set of rapids downstream, neutered by a big hydro-electric dam and reservoir. (See the logic above -- in this case, the rapids sacrificed so we can have power.) Upstream, the Madawaska is one of our great canoeing rivers, its rapids happily protected as a linear provincial park.

We had sunny weather this past weekend, but it was cool-to-cold riding, with a stiff northwesterly a-blowing.  It was a tough slog on the outward leg, and at our turnaround, the Redneck Bistro in Calabogie (!), we were barely this side of the dreaded cold-and-wet-inside.  But, we had a welcome brisk tailwind returning, and a gravel back road through the forest let us avoid the worst of the road traffic. 

Not  sure how many more such rides we'll have.  The turn in the foliage is late this year, so the colours may persist into November -- as a rule, that month is cold and wet, with little cheer in the grey-brown landscape. 

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #191 on: October 16, 2018, 08:05:58 PM »
class  8) 8)

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #192 on: October 16, 2018, 08:51:35 PM »
Love those shades, Anto -- where d'ja get 'em?  ;)

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #193 on: October 16, 2018, 10:31:44 PM »
on loan John  ;) man i tell you that's some country to ride a bike so different than Ireland or Uk .

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #194 on: October 16, 2018, 11:52:54 PM »
man i tell you that's some country to ride a bike so different than Ireland or Uk .

Anto took the words out of my mouth. That's epic country you ride in, John, an expanse in three dimension sometimes not quite grasped unless you include something for human scale, like the jetty in the last photo (not a hint -- just an observation). Autumn has definitely arrived with you.

I've sailed on Lake Champlain, but on the US side. Very beautiful, for the most part.