Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cycling and Mountain Biking Season in Review

I know it's not over yet, and with the winter bike it is never over, but I feel it's been a great season so far and now is as good a time as ever to put my thoughts down in print.

The time will come soon enough when the trails are no longer rideable and the salt is being dumped on the roads and paths, that I will have to bring out the winter bike. Last year my last mountain bike ride was on November 11th in the South March Highlands and my last hybrid ride on November 22nd, my first winter bike ride was a week later on November 29.

Last years total was 3175 km, 475 on the MTB and 2700 on the hybrid and winter bike from January to December. So far this year, since January, I have done 2630 km, 930 on the MTB, 1410 on the hybrid and 290 on the winter bike.

Will I actually beat those numbers this year. In a sense, I probably already have when you consider that I have almost doubled the distance on the MTB which is considerably more intense riding than hybrid riding. Of course, last year I was off the MTB for 9 weeks and off both bikes for 6 weeks, after the incident (broken arm).

But I am hoping, considering how dry the trails have been this year and still seem to be, to see an extended season before the fall rainfall and slow drying effect of the fall weather come into play.

The season started well with putting the winter bike away at the beginning of April and about a month of hybrid riding to prepare for the CN Cycle for CHEO. I really enjoyed the improved route this year, even if there was more climbing. They certainly improved the way they handled the route across the downtown core. Unfortunately the organized mountain biking participation has been steadily declining since we had 5 teams raising $15,000 at the peak of MTB Kanata. I may simply ride independently next year.

My first MTB ride this season, on the GFR trails and Trillium Woods Trail, was the day before the first OMBA South March Highlands group ride on May 12. After missing most of the SMH rides last year due to the incident I got off to a good start this year, enjoying the Thursday night rides up until they became night rides and I decided to restrict my night riding to the Greenbelt.

But perhaps what I am most pleased about this season has been the enthusiastic participation in the Tuesday Night Greenbelt Rides, and no broken bones yet. We have a great regular group of riders, sometimes joined by others, that enjoy the casual pace of just tooling around the flowy Greenbelt trails, with some technical sections thrown in for added fun. I finally got my new batteries for my Magicshine lights, which I had hardly used before. What an improvement over my old NiteHawk lights, for the same (aprox $100) price. It is a real joy to ride with these and I am really finding the continuing night riding to be a great experience.

The Greenbelt rides have also led me to find a new riding buddy, that shares my local trails and rides at about my same pace and technical ability, so riding with him has been great fun. I have to get him to expand his riding preferences though - get him out to SMH and into distance riding the on paths and roads.


I'm going to have to say, what some in OMBA might consider to be blasphemy, but I also prefer the Greenbelt to SMH for sheer enjoyment, probably because I can ride to the trails from my front door.

I believe I have only been to one OMBA SMH trail day this year but I have spent some time working on the Greenbelt trails clearing dead-fall. What a season it has been in both SMH and the Greenbelt for storms bring trees down over the trails. I have plans for early next season to get into Middle Earth on foot and clear out what is certain to be a lot of dead-fall in there and to do some discreet trail work near Old Quarry to connect up two sections of trails that are calling out to be connected and clear another section of trail that is difficult to follow, especially at night. And then some new trails to take the Tuesday Night group out on.

A report on riding would not be complete without talking about my Richard's GPS Trail Maps project to map all the western Greenbelt trails as well as other trails. I never did get back to mapping the Bruce Pit Trails, as planned this summer, as I got sidetracked into unplanned mapping at SMH in response to the clear-cut of the Beaver Pond Forest trails and the impending development of the old Kanata Lakes Trails. I also was made aware of a neat little trail system by Lytle Park that has been added to the collection.

In regards to the GPS Maps project, about a year ago I was contacted by the people who produce the Backroad Mapbooks who wanted to use my trail maps in a new GPS map product for Garmin GPS units. The end result of that was that I agreed to let them use the GPS data with no conditions and they graciously provided me with a free copy of their Ontario GPS map product. I have only used it for about a week but I have to say that I am very impressed and a full review will appear soon on "Richard's GPS Trail Maps" site.

Had a really nice ride today on a nice cool afternoon. The next two weeks are still looking pretty good, especially both Tuesdays. See you on the trails.


Update (2011-11-10)

I just realized I had a formula error and my hybrid distance was incorrect.
My corrected totals as of today are:

Hybrid: 2632.20
Mountain Bike 1004.75
Winter Bike 287.50
TOTAL: 3924.45 Kilometres

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

This Land is Your Land - The Uncensored Version

Occupy Let Freedom Rain: Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello to join Occupy Vancouver Wednesday?

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

Chorus:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

Chorus

I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

Chorus

The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me

Chorus

As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

Chorus

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me.

Chorus (2x)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

If Don Cherry is Right it Means Banning Hockey

I have always tried to give Don Cherry some credit for his knowledge of the game so I listened when he said fighting was necessary as a relief valve for players because otherwise they would take cheap shots and inflict even more violence when the officials were not looking.

As we learn more about the impacts of violence in hockey, including fighting, and particularly concussions, I am convinced that we must ban fighting in hockey and if hockey players really are the neanderthal brutes that Cherry seems to believe they are and they just turn to greater violence to replace fighting, then we have no choice but to ban the game.

It is time to find out if Don Cherry is right or just the fool he appears to be.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Bought My New Winter Bike

Well my old Supercycle winter bike finally died after two winters and I decided to go searching for something better to replace it with, something with a somewhat better derailleur and switchers.

I went to look at bikes at the Ottawa re-Cycles and found a bike in the Cycle Salvation stock. Both shops share the same space and sell each others bikes.

Cycle Salvation is a social enterprise operating under the umbrella of Causeway Work Centre. Our business strives to achieve a triple bottom line (profit, people, planet) by providing training and employment in the field of bike mechanics to people who are economically disadvantaged, while at the same time diverting bikes destined for scrap and landfill sites. Our employees refurbish donated bicycles using a multi-point inspection process. Bicycles range in price from $100 to $350. Please note that we do not offer repairs or tune-ups.

Cycle Salvation is co-located with re-Cycles, a volunteer-run non-profit community bike shop. re-Cycles sells refurbished bikes and parts, takes donations of the same, and provides a space where people can learn to repair bikes, either their own or donated bikes.
I found myself a classic Reflex STX from around 1990.

I had never heard of it before either till I found it at the Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology. It comes with a Shimano Exage 400 derailleur from 1990-1992.

It's a bit small for me, but was about the largest they had in stock and with some adjustments to the handlebar and seat height I have it set up about the same as my mountain bike, which should be fine as my winter riding is usually confined to under 20 km rides around the neighbourhood. It's all ready to go now with the winter studded tires installed.

(click on images to enlarge)









But I'm hoping it will still be awhile before I have to take it out in response to the deluge of salt on the roads as soon as we get a sprinkling of snow.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Let us make one thing perfectly clear

Ontario is parliamentary democracy, albeit within it's own constitutional jurisdiction. As such it is the Ontario legislature that determines who will be in the government and form the Cabinet. As in all parliamentary democracies a government is legitimate if, and only if, it has the confidence of a majority in the legislature. This majority can be made up of members of one party or, as is actually more common in western democracies, be made up of a coalition of members of several parties.

There is nothing illegitimate about a government that represents, and has the confidence of, a majority of the members of the legislature. Indeed, it is the only form of government that is legitimate within a parliamentary democracy.

It's too bad none of our political leaders are willing to stand up for democracy.