Author Topic: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++  (Read 3331 times)

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2019, 02:17:05 PM »
Quote
And lots of buds on the trees, but no proper leaves yet...

Happy to report, Bill, that our neighbourhood trees burst into leaf between Monday & Friday :)

Weekend is fully booked--not sure how this happened, it's not s'posed to be like this when you're 70-plus--but on Monday or Tues I'll head into the hills once more in search of trillium blooms, definitive evidence that spring really is here.

After subsiding a bit, the Ottawa River has surged again, past historical peaks upstream near Pembroke. D'you need any water in the foothills?

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2019, 05:05:16 PM »
Just this week we had freezing nights but today I got an engaged signal when I tried to call a pedalpal: she was calling me! What spurred such synchronised gregariousness was a forecast of eminently cycle-able weather. It turned out to be 13C at 1pm and 14C at 2pm, and remained there, with only 19kph wind, which we know how to defuse by riding at right angles to the wind up one of the many sheltered valleys. Not quite shirtsleeves and sandals weather but the pedalpal ventured shorts and didn't freeze. Super ride up a valley that a week ago was brown and now is green on the trees and purple under them from the bluebells. The fresh air is valuable at any time, of course, but the trees and plants kitting themselves out in spring finery besides lifts the spirits.

No photo because we didn't stop as we were in a hurry since my pedalpal had to attend a funeral. But here's a sketch of a set of bluebells I made:


***
Further to John's pal Steve and by Bill counting the days since they last saw such good weather in Canada, we had some oddly out-of-season days in February, when the cherry trees beside the street on which I live blossomed, but not the ones in my orchard about a hundred feet away. My bike already has 393km I put on the clock in the interstices of the few dry, not too windy days in even the disturbed weather of the beginning of this year. But all of next week is forecast as excellent cycling weather: today was the real start of the cycling weather in Ireland.

Hallelujah!

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2019, 01:35:27 AM »
Splendid water colours, Andre!

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2019, 11:39:22 PM »
Late summer rides in the Ottawa Valley

Day rides in the hills across the river have been been limited in the past several weeks, with lots of very welcome family visits here and away, and the not-so-welcome but regular and inescapable prep for autumn and winter. This year, the to-do list features rehabbing old windows and setting up the installation of a big new one, and completing the last parts of our spiffy and efficient new furnace system. (Winter evenings in the basement workshop are now vastly more comfortable  :))

In the past three weeks, though, I've managed a few shorter rides up into the Gatineau Hills. We've had sunny and warm-to-fresh days, with cool comfortable nights. Midday temps in the low 20s, and night-time lows around 10-12--ideal for cycle-touring, but see above for why I haven't done that.

With motorists on holidays elsewhere, even the roads in the hills have been pleasantly uncrowded, often with more cyclists than cars. But the bike paths through the wood have been delightful: the trees responded to our cool damp late spring by growing a rich thick green canopy that is still almost completely intact. The bike paths beckon a rider -- they're cool, and dappled with sun and shadow.

Below, I've attached several photos from a couple of rides in the hills, as well as two late-evening views of the Ottawa River, taken from its southern shore.

Both humans and bears are doing their annual prep for the cold to come, so the parks people kindly set out reminders to cyclists and hikers to be alert to les ours noirs. (#1) I see them occasionally, but I also take care to let the bears know that there are creatures that they should watch out for:  The Rohloff's freewheel at 40 km/h down a long downgrade in 14th sounds like a large swarm of African bees, angry and moving fast.

Bears like blueberries, of course, but by late August, those are all gone, as are the redcurrants in the roadside bushes on the lower slopes. The sumacs are just starting to turn (#4), as are other bushes and shrubs, so there are welcome splashes of crimson along my route (#5).  If you don't suffer from allergies, goldenrods (#2) make a nice contrast to the green, though they are fading by the time the reds appear.

Pink Lake, atop the first big hill and at the first lookout, is named for a settler some two hundred years ago. It is a rarity, a meromictic lake--there's only a handful of these, among the gazillion lakes in Canada--devoid of oxygen below about 14 metres.  Pink Lake is a beguiling blue in spring and early summer, but the accumulated runoff of phosphates during the 60s and 70s has left it with a perennial crop of green algae each August.  You can see that in #3 below.  I swam in Pink Lake in late August as a teenager in the early '60s, but you can no longer do that.

One place you can swim is the Ottawa River.  At the end of August we visited friends who have a cottage on the south shore of the river, about 60 kms northwest of Ottawa.  It's a magnificent river, especially in the early evening light, and on my visit, even the clouds co-operated :)
 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 11:41:21 PM by John Saxby »

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2019, 11:44:47 PM »
Remaining photos from "Late Summer Rides in the Ottawa Valley", above.

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2019, 12:49:46 AM »
My, what colourful verges you have in your part of the world, John. But a fellow who lived with Elephants Crossing signs, and Do Not Leave Your Car When Lions Are About, surely can't be disturbed by a cuddly teddy!

Number 6, the stretch of the Ottawa, is a super panorama of a genuinely mighty river. (When we lived in Adelaide, we joked about the "mighty Torrens" which had been re-engineered from little more than a mean stream outside the city to a fairly respectable river directly below Parliament House and the Festival Centre, and the bridge over it visible from both was styled to suggest an even mightier river.)

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #51 on: September 23, 2019, 02:51:22 PM »
Today, 23 September, Autumn/Fall starts, so the riding days are on count-down for the rest of this year.

In West Cork at 1430 the weather is so typical that it sounds almost as if Autumn says, "I'm here!"
Temperature: 19C
Risk of rain immediately: 45% and rising
Humidity: 87% and rising to 98%
Ground underfoot: Wet*
Wind: SW 28kph veering SSW later**

* I won't be riding today because of the difficulty of bending over my bike to wipe wet gunge off the area around the bottom bracket. But it is good that on the first day of autumn, actually my favourite riding season, it rains heavily enough to wash the summer's gunge off the tarmac. Most of the lanes I ride have heavily cambered, narrow tarmac, so one or at most two good rainstorms clean them remarkably well, and most of the summer rains are light enough to ride in and arrive home with a clean bike and ofttimes with the bike wind-dried on the last descent.

** Wind speed is irrelevant to me because I can choose to ride in valleys across the direction of the wind, so I catch the wind for only a few minutes at the beginning and start of each ride, and the electric motor stands in locus legs (more particularly, the highest heart rate the medicos will permit). Wind direction is irrelevant to me because, in addition to riding in valleys, I can combine valleys and roads on ridges to ride a choice of figure-eights from my door to have the wind behind me for all but very brief stretches. In the last several years I've turned back only once because of a fluke wind direction and speed coinciding, blowing a couple of ladies riding with me to a standstill; and one, who grew up on a farm, correctly forecast heavy hail within the hour so it was a smart decision to turn around and watch the hail at home on the skylights.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 05:08:39 PM by Andre Jute »

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #52 on: September 23, 2019, 04:41:28 PM »
Andre, a memory comes to mind when I read your weather report:  Early in Thomas Flanagan's splendid book, The Year of the French, there's a paragraph which begins, "It was one of those days on the west coast of Ireland when the whole world seemed to have turned to water."

Light rain and muggy here today, English weather :(

Cheers,  J.

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #53 on: September 23, 2019, 04:53:21 PM »
Early in Thomas Flanagan's splendid book, The Year of the French, there's a paragraph which begins, "It was one of those days on the west coast of Ireland when the whole world seemed to have turned to water."

Helps to have gills.

(sgnd) Fish-Man

in4

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #54 on: September 23, 2019, 11:42:05 PM »
Oh you have to read Seamus Heaney's Postscript. Almost feel the weather on your face.
https://wordsfortheyear.com/2016/08/11/postscript-by-seamus-heaney/

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2019, 02:15:01 AM »
Oh you have to read Seamus Heaney's Postscript. Almost feel the weather on your face.
https://wordsfortheyear.com/2016/08/11/postscript-by-seamus-heaney/

Nice that, but notice even a poet's emphasis on being inside the warm, solid car. Dreams of cycling the West Coast of Ireland are best confined to high summer. My late friend Stuart, an Australian mandarin, was repeatedly warned by me not to visit us later than the beginning of  September, but one year he got stuck in Africa, knocking together heads for Médecins Sans Frontières, whom he gave a couple of months every year (he was a boss administrator, Postmaster-General of Papua New Guinea at 17, the founder of a government department in Australia before he was 30, the grey eminence behind the election and rule of at least one prime minister, etc, etc, nobody gave him backchat twice), and arrived in mid-October. At the Cliffs of Moher (photo below, a panoramic view you need to scroll) he was literally blown off the edge by a sudden gust of wind and only saved by the iron grip I took on the collar of my cashmere coat he was wearing while we were still ten paces inland... I didn't even think of taking the bikes off the back of the Volvo before we were well away from the coast again. And, at that, when we stopped about fifteen miles inland to help a couple of ladies change a flat tyre on their car, one of them looked at the bikes on the back of my car and said with sublime understatement, "You won't get much cycling here this time of the year."

But if you come at a reasonable time, there's good cycling amid spectacular scenery up the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. You don't need to camp either. There's a government guest-house scheme that is cheap and friendly.

BTW, I met Seamus Heaney at an arts festival we both worked down the road here perhaps 15, 20 years ago. A man of magnetic personality, but not the most dramatic reader of his own poems.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2019, 02:17:06 AM by Andre Jute »

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #56 on: September 24, 2019, 02:54:24 PM »
Magnificent photo, Andre, and a pretty good vignette of your mate and the winds, too ;)

Another account of cycling on the West Coast is Eric Newby's Round Ireland in Low Gear.  He spread his trek over several months -- not a bad idea, esp if you have a Regular Job, as he did.  The result, tho', was that he rode betw September and March (!!??)  His gentle and self-deprecating wit got a pretty good workout, as you can imagine.

geocycle

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #57 on: September 24, 2019, 04:12:17 PM »
Fantastic picture Andre, thanks for sharing that.
 

martinf

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #58 on: September 24, 2019, 07:42:41 PM »
The result, tho', was that he rode betw September and March (!!??) .

Probable advantage is that you avoid the midges.

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2019 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #59 on: October 12, 2019, 01:49:18 AM »
Early fall sunshine and foliage...

And you don't even have to go to Ireland to avoid the bugs :)

Had an lovely 3-hour-plus canter up into the hills last Tuesday -- splendid fall foliage, bright sunshine and a clear blue sky, warm in the sun and, er, brisk in the shade. See photos 1-3 below. There were dozens of cyclists enjoying the ride as well. And, when I stopped for a snack and a drink at the summit--lo!--there on the other side of the wall was an 24" garter snake, just sunning itself (#4).  No puff adders, boomslangs, or mambas, I'm happy to report.

Only downside was a steady crocodile of motorists, out in force to grok the fullness of the foliage. Ah, Jeez, why do they drive as they do?--wandering in their SUVs across the centre line, either going far too fast for the conditions, or dithering, so that the Go-Faster Lot queued up behind begin to lose it entirely.  One hears talk of the need for education and mutual accommodation...but my sense of it all is that "education and accommodation" are non-starters, 'cos a large proportion of Ottawa-area drivers have a structural impediment in their ankle, an affliction that prevents each one of them from lifting their right foot.

Each year, I think, "Maybe this year it'll be peaceful and serene..."  Each year, it ain't.  But, as a rule the park roads are closed to traffic after Thanksgiving w.e. (i.e., Tuesday next), and with luck, we'll have a few weeks of empty roads and the tag end of the colours.  Cross-country skiing usually begins in late November/early December.