Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Looking Forward to Next Biking Season

The Season in Review

As the snow falls and the salt trucks prepare to dump their loads of corroding crap on the roads and paths it is time for my season end report. I did my first below freezing ride Sunday and it was not too bad. This is the latest in the year I have ridden in recent history and I just might not stop yet.

Overall I have ridden 2684 kilometres (175 hours) this year, 508 (45) on the mountain bike and 2176 (130) on the hybrid.

My season had a poor start though with my riding only the 30 km route in the CN Cycle (formerly Tour Nortel) and dropping out of the first Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) South March Highlands (SMH) Group Ride and never getting back into them. My first attempt at organizing a Greenbelt group ride also proved unsuccessful, hopefully just due to poor timing.

CN Cycle for CHEO

Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA)

But things did pick up and I got into the swing of things. The early part of the season saw a lot of rain and muddy trails so I spent a lot of time on the hybrid putting the kilometres on. When the trails dried up I did a lot of Greenbelt riding and ventured into the South March Highlands. I made a point of getting out on the old Kanata Lakes Trails to ride them before we lose them, as well as riding the upgraded Rockhopper Trail. I also had an interesting ride riding along the new Terry Fox Road right of way, after it was bulldozed for surveying.

Terry Fox Extension Caterpillar Track

Near end of the season I tried out a night group ride in the Greenbelt, where I managed to lose my helmet light. But that did get me back interested in night riding and the search for a new light began, and just as I decided on a new light to buy my light was surprisingly found on the trail by another rider. But it was too late, I had already decided to buy the better replacement light. That is until news of a new better and cheaper alternative was posted on the OMBA website. That is now my new light of choice, I'm just waiting for some trail reports from other riders, who are buying this light in droves, before I purchase it, likely in the spring.

OMBA :: Topic::Latest in lights....

My wife has decided that snowshoeing into work from Kanata to Stittsville just takes too long in the morning so we got ourselves a winter bike - a $100 Supercycle with $200 worth of studded tires for her to ride the two days a week she goes to Stittsville. So I might take it out sometimes during the rest of the week, as long as the weather does not get too cold - but that's a big "might" right now.

Another experience I had this summer was discovering the undocumented Stittsville Trails. And I use the term discover here in it's true meaning, just as the early explorers did - I found something that I didn't know existed but that others knew about and have used for long periods of time. It was still fun exploring them and mapping the trails to add to my collection of GPS Trail Maps.

Stittsville Trails

GPS Trail Maps Website

This was part of the impetus to reorganize and redo my trail maps and move them to a new home. The site can be found here:

Richard's GPS Trail Maps

It started with establishing a new site on blogspot and deciding to add trail descriptions as well as annotating the actual maps with more information. That led to adding photos and actually redoing some of the maps. I then decided to make the GPS data available which meant creating GPX data from the Google Earth kmz files for my earlier maps as I did not save the GPS files for them, as well as cleaning up the GPX files by removing overlapping tracks as much as possible. The project just sort of mushroomed, including photo sessions especially for the project.

And now I am looking at adding additional map views from different maps and satellite images, possibly over the winter, since I discovered another mapping program to add to my collection.

OMBA :: Topic::TopoFusion

Mountain Biking Advocacy

I was also busy this season blogging and making submissions to the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission on Mountain Biking Issues, in particular the South March Highlands Management Plan and the Greenbelt Master Plan Review.

My blog postings and submissions can be found here:

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Greenbelt Master Plan Review

THE FIFTH COLUMN: South March Highlands Management Plan

I will be presenting further submissions on both of these issues.

Other Mountain Biking News

This season saw OMBA's catweaver formalize her after school rides into MTBCAT - Mountain Biking Children and Teens to provide opportunities for children and teen to experience adventure through mountain biking and other outdoor activities. MTBCAT believes every child deserves the opportunity to explore the great outdoors so they provide the equipment. This is a great program that not only gets children interested in a great sport but also brings them into contact with nature, two things that many children today are missing. The program provides proper equipment to youths who otherwise would not have access to proper mountain bikes to learn on, as well as teaching them bicycle maintenance and repair skills.

Mountain Biking Children And Teens

MTBCAT and OMBA sponsored this years International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on September 26th.

This season also saw the announcement of the Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park in the Greater Toronto Area, much closer to Ottawa than Ray's in the United States.

Joyride 150

As well there was the announcement of the closure of the MTB website a silvertouch and it's replacement by PrivateerMTB.

PrivateerMTB

Talking about MTB websites, the grandaddy of them all, MTB Kanata, is still around but struggling. Check it out.

mtbkanata.com

Looking Forward to Next Season


So here I am already thinking ahead to the spring and next biking season.

First thing on my mind is keeping and getting into shape and doing enough early season training to complete the full 70 km route in the CN Cycle for CHEO.

I also hope to get back into the OMBA SMH Group Rides as well as do more riding in SMH by myself, including the old Kanata Lakes Trails before they are gone. Maybe this year will be the year to get around to riding Outback again. My hope is to do a nice easy paced beginner group ride of Outback with the pace set by the slowest rider, and just hope it isn't me.

I also expect to do a lot of Greenbelt riding, in particular the mapping of Trail 10 and area near the Ottawa River and Trail 29 and connecting trails at Bruce Pit. I also plan to re-activate my series of weekly Greenbelt Rides rotating through the western Greenbelt Trails, including some night rides.

One ride in particular I have been planning for years is a 40 km marathon Greenbelt Trail ride of the western Greenbelt Trails. Maybe next season. Hopefully.

Finally of course will be lots of hybrid riding when the trails are too wet to ride. This past season I didn't get any real long 100km hybrid rides in, so hopefully next season.

Happy riding to all of you riding throughout the winter and see you on the trails in the spring.

4 comments:

kanatarider said...

Sounds like a pretty kick ass season all said and done. I managed to convince my now fiance, and infrequent cyclist, that we should ride to kingston...and we did! It was pretty awesome.

I'd say go for the winter riding. Even if it's only a few minutes here and there, you learn alot about handling of your bike when riding in snow. Plus it's awesome fun!

rww said...

I did my first winter ride today on the winter bike - Just a short 8 km ride to test it out. I find it harder pedaling in the cold so I needed to put it into granny gear, which was hard to do on the cheapo bike but once in there the gears shifted remarkably well.

I tried to ride every bit of ice I could find and the studded tires worked great. The bike handled pavement, snow packed pavement and cleared paths with packed snow really well. The back wheels started to fishtail a couple of times on looser snow but straightened out on their own almost immediately.

I did try the Trans-Canada Trail where the snow was only packed down by walkers and it was doable but really tough going so I gave up on that. I hope to try out the snowmobile packed section some time to see how that works.

The bottom line is the bike is great on roads and paths that are cleared, even with some packed snow on them. I' m hoping to be able to get out for at least 10km a day when the temperature is above -10. Maybe I'll be able to do more than that.

kanatarider said...

To add to my post on MTBK...

I find that getting distance in the iwnter isn't usually that hard if the snow is reasonably packed....it's just accepting that it's gonna take a while to do that distance.

Also, I personally find SS a more comfortable option for winter riding, at least in regards to commuting; frozen derrailleurs suck. But I may be biased ;)

Anyways glad to hear that you enjoyed it enough to keep at it!

rww said...

The winter bike project is a work in progress and we are trying to keep the cost of the winter "salt" bike as low as possible. I do need gears though - probably three would do, equivalent to low, mid and high granny gears so I might be able to do that with one ring up front. that's something to look at for next winter if the bike gets enough use this winter.