Author Topic: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++  (Read 7102 times)

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #75 on: September 25, 2020, 11:57:50 PM »
Signs of the changing seasons from a brief 3 hour ride across the river and into the trees of the Gatineau Park. 

One of the unexpected-but-welcome effects of the pandemic has been the decision by park authorities to close the Gatineau Park to motor traffic for all but Sunday afternoons between early May and late September. Cyclists, runners, walkers, cross-country skiers with their inline training wheels, parents with kids in strollers--we've all been giddy with pleasure and slight disbelief, enjoying the park without having to worry about cars and trucks And All That That Entails.

As Lincoln Steffens might have said, "I have seen the future, and its roads are full of bikes."

But tomorrow is another day: on Saturday/26th, Carmageddon resumes, and Bad Carma descends upon the park, as the roads are opened to the motorized cavalcade of foliage seekers.

Today I rode up into the hills for One Last Peaceful Ride with my buddy Dave. We did a three-hour there-and-back to the village of Chelsea for a mid-afternoon kaffee-mit-date square.

The day was mixed sun and cloud, a mild southeasterly breeze, and felt a bit cooler than the nominal 16°.

We enjoyed the glory of the late September colours -- see the photos below, one of a hillside above a beaver pond (the beaver lodge is on the right side of the photo, just above the foliage reflected in he water), and another of a couple of maple trees near the riverside bike path on the way home.

The forecast for October is a good one -- sunny and above-average temps -- so we may have some more rides in the next few weeks before November's dark'n'wet.

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #76 on: September 26, 2020, 11:03:03 AM »
Great that you got in a ride before the winter, John. On Thursday the oil man, delivering, said it was the first day of the winter here. Wind, rain, the usual. It was like cutting off the late summer with a knife: sunshine, shirtsleeves one day, sweaters and rainjackets the next.

Besides the beaver lodge, your Fall Hillside photo is notable for not one but two Loch Lomond monsters, pale albino types, fractionally short of the right edge of the photo at about a third of the way up. Amazing what you can see on photographs if you're "cocooning", which is what the Irish government calls their recommended regime for sunset warriors.

energyman

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« Reply #77 on: September 26, 2020, 01:43:03 PM »
.........OHHHHHHH  the colours John.......

John Saxby

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« Reply #78 on: September 26, 2020, 03:16:26 PM »
Thanks, guys, for your kind words.  When I visit the park, at pretty much any time of year, I'm reminded how privileged we are to have this place on our doorstep, its entrance just 15-20 minutes away by bike.

Quote
not one but two Loch Lomond monsters, pale albino types
 

I think you mean the pale vertical bits, Andre?  These are connected to a drainage structure--not created by the beavers--of which the horizontal part is just visible. As the beaver pond rises and falls, the drainage whatsit is less or more exposed.  There are multiple streams, ponds and marshes in this immediate are of the park.  The Gatineau River is just 3 kms or so away to the east -- the hillside runs more or less N-S.  The Gatineau is a tributary to the Ottawa on the Québec side, and a splendid river in its own right. Below, a photo of that river from a three-day mini-tour in  mid-July.

Cheers,

J.

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #79 on: September 26, 2020, 05:45:42 PM »
Fortunately the weather held for my recent over night bike and camp out at Portsoy on the coast 40+ miles to the north of my home, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.
 A lazy ride over the rolling hills took me through Turrif to Banff and then alongside the seashore to my destination.
No hurry, so enjoyed the rural views of harvesting the oats and corn. It's been a poor year here in UK for grain growth but our local area appears little affected.

Arrived at my usual spot to find a campervan bang in the middle of the grass patch. With less than an hour before sunset I had to quickly conjure up plan B.

A nearby spot was located, so it was off to the local fish and chip shop for a carry-out and then back to set up the Hubba Hubba over looking the sea.

Nearby is a disused seawater lido. I guess the demand fell away and the Council closed it due to lack of demand. Or costs?

Sunset around 1900 and after a short stroll taking in the fresh sea air, I was tucked up snug with my FM radio and Kindle.

Undisturbed during the night apart from the sounds of crashing waves.

Dawn around 0700 ( it was our equinox ) and the Jetboil heated my water for coffee and muesli.

Bonus was a perfectly dry tent. Amazing.

Packing up I chatted to a few locals, one of whom ( there for his early morning swim ) almost convinced me to buy a kayak.
But that's another story.

A slow ride home through a stiff headwind with a couple of coffee and cake stops to support the local economy.

Raven as usual, faultless.
A dream to ride with 2 rear panniers, tent and barbag.

Looking forward to the next mini adventure.
They are enough to blow the cobwebs away and keep me sane during these strange times.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 06:13:29 PM by Matt2matt2002 »
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lewis noble

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #80 on: September 26, 2020, 07:37:01 PM »
Looks good, Matt - photos really capture the atmosphere and the pleasure of a successful trip. 

The area round Gatineaux and John's home looks beautiful and interesting - thanks for contributions.

Lewis - Sheffield - laid up with dodgy knees, I hope they improve.
 

Andre Jute

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« Reply #81 on: September 26, 2020, 10:47:08 PM »
That's a mighty river, John. Not quite what one thinks of as a "tributary".

Super description and photos, Matt.

I trust your knees are improving, Lewis.

John Saxby

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« Reply #82 on: November 07, 2020, 11:54:36 PM »
Today, a Saturday in early November, we had a spring-like sunny day with temps of 19 and a mild westerly wind.  The air was soft--not a word often used to describe Ottawa's weather in any season--but it was all so beautiful that I went with my cycling buddy, Dave, across the river and into the hills to sit on the verandah of "Café Les Saisons" with a coffee in Chelsea, Qué. (I took my derailleur bike so I could stay with him on his old-but-still-sound Klein touring bike.)

We do see mild temps in early November from time to time, but usually no more than 10° at most.  Today's conditions seemed almost freakishly fine, but were no less delightful for that.  Of course we were not alone: the parkways in the Gatineau Park have been closed since mid-October, and with no snow on the ground, the roads and bikepaths were chock-full of cyclists of all kinds, with runners on the grassy/softer verges, and skiers young and old training on their inline skates.

Everyone, it seemed, had a dazed can-you-believe-it? grin, and more than one person said, "It feels like spring!" or, "Maybe we've skipped winter?!"

The landscape has changed dramatically from what appears in the photos I posted in late September. The brilliantly coloured Bliss-Carman-like hillsides of hardwood trees are now a mix of dull greys and browns, with only the various conifers, mostly on the northern slopes, offering us some green. OTOH, with the hardwoods stripped of their foliage, the woods are now full of light, and we could easily see runners and mountain bikers on the trails; up until the end of October, those trails were hidden from sight.

("Bliss Carman" you say?  A lifetime ago, I came to Canada  as an eight-year-old, and finished Grades 5 - 8 in a one-room schoolhouse in the woods near Peterborough, Ontario. For a kid leaving the groomed countryside of Surrey, England, it was impossibly wild and exotic. We had a big thick reader full of stories and poems that I forever associate with those days. The latter included examples of Bliss Carman's charming harmless verse, full of iambic quadrameter and the like. Di-da' di-da' di-da' di-da', thus:

Along the line of smoky hills,
The crimson forest stands,
And all day long the blue jay calls,
Throughout the autumn lands.

My kids had to put up with that sort of things as they grew up, as well as longer bits of Robert Service's Canajan magical realism, such as "The Cremation of Sam McGee".  Have to say he managed it brilliantly well for a bank clerk from Preston, Lancs.)

But back to the thread.  Just a month ago, our back yard in the city had arboreal scenes like the one below--today, we contented ourselves with downhills free of motor traffic, and whipped past hillsides that would have stopped us immediately just weeks ago.

Instead, we basked in the springlike warmth and midday sunshine at Les Saisons, chatting with some of the dozen or more cyclists doing the same.  One fellow told me he'd just finished 35 kms on his inline skates--he was training for his cyclocross season, which typically runs into the snowy-cold-and-wet of of early December.  I congratulated him on All That, saying I'd never quite understood the appeal, but hey! whatever turns your crank, eh?  He laughed, and complimented me on my derailleur bike, saying it looked like a capable touring bike, and was it an early ti-framed Eclipse?  I said that indeed it was, and told him some of its 20-year-old history, and my seemingly endless search for a functional derailleur with usable ratios--resolved, happily, in the last few years--and my decision to join the Church of Thorn-mit-Rohloff bikes for loaded touring.

So there we are -- not many better ways to spend 3 or four hours on a November Saturday :)  The fine weather is forecast to last into the early part of next week, with Tuesday temps s'posed to reach 21, if you please, so maybe I'll get another run into the hills before the winter closes in.


« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 02:57:06 PM by John Saxby »

Andre Jute

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #83 on: November 08, 2020, 05:42:49 AM »
Looks to me like there's still some green on those leaves. Maybe your late autumn isn't wishful thinking, perhaps it'll extend itself a bit further. Good luck with that. You deserve it for your nicely turned description, which cheered me on a day under skies of unbroken and unremitting Payne's Grey, with a deadly drizzle ditto.

John Saxby

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« Reply #84 on: November 08, 2020, 03:00:10 PM »
Thanks for your kind words, Andre.  Those leaves in the photo are from Oct 8, a month ago.  Same trees today have no leaves at all. The sunshine cheers up the swath of grey/brown trunks & branches.  November is usually dark, wet & cold  :(

Bill

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« Reply #85 on: November 10, 2020, 09:13:38 PM »
I ran some errands on my bike yesterday, it was around 0, but the roads were mostly dry.
Temperature is about the same today, but 5 cm of snow and it is continuing to fall.

Might have been the last ride of the season.
 

John Saxby

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« Reply #86 on: November 11, 2020, 04:26:42 AM »
Quote
Might have been the last ride of the season.

And today's could have been mine, as well.

A brief but enjoyable 2-hours-plus this morning up into the hills to the lookout at Pink Lake, a beautiful regular stop.  The days was mixed sun and cloud, with a high (afternoon) temp of 23 (!!?? Mon dieu! What is going on?)

I stopped on an island in the middle of the Ottawa River to make some saddle and bar clamp adjustments.  Photo #1 below shows the scene, all muted blues and greys.

These days, a cyclist on the roads through the Gatineau Park can see all sorts of lumps of ancient granite, as the woods are full of light, with the hardwoods now bare of foliage. Come late early June next year, a canopy of leaves will close off photo #2 below.  (Not a captivating scene, I readily admit, unless like me you find ancient granite reassuring.) (Mind you, I was never a farmer trying to scratch a living from the Canadian Shield.  Our farm was on the sand and loam of the Great Pine Ridge just north of the Lake Ontario shore.)

Photo #3 shows Pink Lake from the lookout, the only green on offer being provided by conifers -- here, cedar and white pine.

And photo #4 shows Osi, my Raven, restin' in the late-morning-early November sunshine.  A few tweaks don't show:  I've embarked on a weightsaving project (=buying lightness). This focusses mainly on reducing the weight of bags and panniers, particularly swapping out sturdy-but-heavy Arkel waterproofs and handlebar bag for ultra-light Altura front panniers and a Revelate Sweetroll handlebar bag. The Raven now has a couple of carbon-fibre components, a seatpost and a stem.  Also new are spiffy SJS Chromoplastic P55 fenders--not a lot lighter than the Velo Orange 52mm Zeppelins they replace, but slightly wider and a better fit than the VO items, which are actually 650B 'guards.  I've swapped out the Brooks knock-off saddle on my Eclipse for a much lighter Selle Italia item, and will see how that plays out.

Wednesday's forecast is for a rainy morning, and another high of 23 (!), with the temp set to drop 24 degrees in 12-15 hours.  I've got a big list of house-maintenance items, so I'll skip challenging the cold front...
« Last Edit: November 11, 2020, 04:30:58 AM by John Saxby »

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #87 on: November 24, 2020, 09:32:47 PM »
I enjoyed an autumnal day out around the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire today. My main task was to tidy up a few of my geocaches and set 2 more, bringing my total up to 182. (I’ve found 700+).
It’s my number 2 hobby.
Number 1 – riding the Raven of course.
The best day is when I can combine the 2 hobbies.

Enjoying my new Schwalbe Marathon Plus 1.50 tires. Down from 1.75 and rolling faster (I think).
£39.99 each from SJS in October.
My previous 1.75’s had lasted around 3 years. I averaged 2,900 miles per year over that time. Down from 4,500 miles per year, 4 or 5 years ago. There was plenty of life left in them, but the good price offered by SJS made me snap them up.

Raven performed as per usual. It’s a real go anywhere bike, for me. As much at home here on the forest trails in Aberdeenshire, as in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka a few years back.

Random pictures today:

I think the camelidae are young alpaca. Although their necks are perhaps too long, so maybe a llama? Expert opinion welcome.
They came over to inspect my Raven - or maybe it was my aftershave?

From the side: forest of pines. Very quiet today. However a business that has taken off in our area over the last few years is dog walking. Busy folks who work during the day pay a ‘walker’ to take their pooch out for a ramble. Typical arrangement is for a van to pull up at a forest walk carpark and 7 or more dogs leap out and proceed to drag around a ‘walker’ who continually yells futile commands at the pack.
I always take a few steps off the track and try to put the Raven between myself and the hounds. Invariably I’m told, ‘Don’t worry, they are friendly / just want to sniff you / they’re harmless.
I’m not sure if the ‘walkers’ have to be licensed but I presume they must be insured. For the dogs and passers-by!
Today I passed just one pack and all well behaved.

From the rear: the ferns in the foreground caught my attention. Such a bright green in contrast to the browns of the leaves / pine needles.

Castle background: one of Scotland’s oldest, Hallforest, 7 miles from my home. Dating from the 14th century and built by Robert the Bruce as a hunting lodge, Mary Queen of Scots aged 20, stayed there in 1562. She lived another 25 years, the last 19 as a prisoner to Elizabeth 1st, in Fotheringhay. She was executed there on 8th Feb. 1587.
It’s not a large building, measuring just 48’ x 36’ although the walls are 7’ thick. There were 6 floors and possibly a moat.
I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t pass or planning regs now!

That’s it folks.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a wee insight into my day here in Scotland UK.
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

lewis noble

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #88 on: November 24, 2020, 09:58:57 PM »
Looks a good ride, Matt, thanks!!

The terrain reminds me very much of the riding I did when I had a Raven Tour . . . . . purchased in 2006, when I was planning to do all sorts of rides in difficult terrain when I retired from full-time work . . . . . but for various reasons the rides never happened . . . . . but an ideal bike for those conditions.  The bike never really suited me, a long frame in the days when Thorn were more emphatic than they are now on the 'flat bar / long frame' formula.  My Sherpa (flat bar) is an S and suits my creaking bones better.  My Audax, versatile bike though it is, is not happy for long periods on gravel trails; it will do them, but a hardtop bike really.

You've got some lovely countryside up in Aberdeenshire, thanks for sharing.

Lewis



 

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2020 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #89 on: November 24, 2020, 11:22:46 PM »
Good countryside for ramblin', Matt -- enjoyed your photos!

The seasons they are a-changin' here: Sunday night we had the first real winter storm, 15-20 cms of snow, kinda wet soggy stuff.  Pretty by moonlight, tho'. Then the temps dropped, and now the roads are slick. No fun on a bike unless you're shod with studded tires.

Last Friday, though, saw 13o beneath a pallid overcast, so I managed a 50-plus kms there-and-back westwards along the Ottawa River. No demanding hills or rewarding high vistas, just a mix of late-November greys and browns. But, entering the greenbelt of fields and woods about 11-15 kms west of our house, I saw several vees of Canada geese overhead, wheeling and honking, at least a hundred birds in all. "Whaat?" sez I, "There's snow comin', guys and you better get going southward." Further along, near an equestrian centre, I saw another hundred birds on the ground in a pasture, munching on who-knows-what. Another 3-4 kms further west, I passed a maize field where the crop had been taken off in mid-late October, and there was a huge flock on the ground -- there must have been 300 or more, all hunched down and carb-loading.

I pushed on towards the little village of Carp, just NW of the city proper, and made my turnaround a few kms short of Alice's Village Café, my usual stop for a cappucino-mit-date-square.  I had agreed to meet my cycling buddy, Dave, for a socially-distanced cup of tea on our back deck, and with a welcome tailwind, made it home in good time.

I paused en route to take a photo (below) of an old log farmhouse at a crossroads on the road to Carp. This was built in the mid-1800s, I'd guess, and modernized fairly recently.  These buildings are dotted all over Eastern Ontario.  The clue to its age is the size of the bottom-most log in front of the house -- it sits upon the foundation, which is hidden by a protective sheet of plywood.  The squared log is about 18-20" on each of its four sides, and it meets a similarly-sized mate on the lowest run of the side of the house. The size is similar to comparable logs in the 19th-century farmhouse owned by friends in the Madawaska Highlands northwest of Ottawa, which was built in the late 1860s.  By contrast, the timbers used in log houses made today are more regular in size, and are rounded rather than squared--but they're rarely more than 8" in diameter.

My friend, Dave, is a retired engineer who in the past few years has explored some distant new horizons, travelling to East and Southern Africa several times. He'd never had Tanganda tea, and when I gave him some, he pronounced it the best he'd ever tasted.  May be four or five months before we can enjoy another cuppa on the back deck with the temp in the teens...