Monday, June 12, 2017

Spring Rides with the Kids

I had hoped the last post would kick off some regular posting about our cycling shenanigans... alas...

We have been getting out and riding a lot more this spring - like, for fun, not just to get around. I've been going for morning rides most mornings - sometimes on my own, other times with Finnegan. There have been a few afternoons where I've gone out for rides with both kids.

Here are a few pictures of some of the afternoon rides I've gone on with the kids over the last few months. I'll post some more pics from morning rides later.

These first pics are from a ride in early April when we had a few unseasonably warm days. One of those afternoons I said, screw it - let's get out and go for a ride..

Got the kids trying out some new (to them) bikes. Finnegan's riding Amanda's old Soma Double Cross and The Girl is riding the Kona Jake 24 we picked up for Finnegan a few years back. The Soma looked a tad big this first ride, more recently it's looked less big. I'm hoping by the end of the summer it will totally fit.

Getting out of town via Spadina Cres.

We only went as far as Valley Road and turned around... Not bad for their first time out this way on new bikes.

Heading back into town.

Bit of pavement.

Bit of gravel!

Lots of stopping to check blood sugar and have snacks...

Took a bit of a longer route home through Gabriel Dumont park.

Everything so brown and grey - but most of the snow gone!

The girl enjoyed this first outing on the 'cross bike. I'll turn her into a gravel rider yet!

Once again in early May we had a couple of really warm days. One of those afternoons we once again dropped everything and went for a ride! This time we just did a tour of the Meewasin Trail - heading north to the Circle Drive Bridge, across and back up the other side of the river to the new South bridge, and then back home on our side of the river. (There may have been a bit of a detour through campus and over the Dragon's Den Games before rejoining the trail...)

Heading north along the Meewasin Trail.

Crossing the Circle Drive bridge at the North end of our loop.

Heading South again.

Stopping for a break at the Diefenbaker Centre.

Another stop for snacks at Gabriel Dumont park.

Finnegan riding off ahead of us.

The Girl following along behind.

South Bridge in sight!

Crossing the South bridge before heading for home!

This last batch is from just last week - things are considerably GREENER!

Heading out Spadina Cres again...

There was some debate as to whether to take mountain bikes or 'cross bikes... The Girl eventually settled on the 'cross bike as I had her lift both this 'cross bike and the mountain bike and she noticed how much lighter the 'cross bike is!


Geese, goslings, and a crow...?

Some rolling gravelly trail south of the train bridge on our way out to Chief Whitecap Park.

Trails through Chief Whitecap park - mostly used by off-leash dog walkers.

Most of the pictures are of The Girl because she is slow and Finnegan just rode off ahead of us...

Occasionally he stopped and waited for us!

See that little dark dot in the background - that's Finnegan riding off on us again. Don't go thinking he's a super speed demon - when I ride with just him, it also feel like we're going super slow... it's just that The Girl is even SLLLLLLOOOOOOOWWWWEEEERRRRRRR.. if that can be believed...

I do try to be encouraging and not bother then toomuch about trying to go faster... my hope is as long as they have fun, they'll want to keep going for longer rides with me and eventually we'll get going faster... or at least NOT SO SLOW!

Snacks and blood-sugar level checks at the far end of Chief Whitecap Park.

Heading back.

The Girl did complain that these trails were "very bumpy" and wished a few times she'd taken her mountain bike...

There weren't many climbs - but there were two she had to walk - which also made here wish she'd brought her mountain bike (more gears! though, honestly, I'm not sure she'd have made it up with the mouantain bike on either of the slopes she climbed...).

More Geese and goslings - which put a smile back on The Girl's face!

Another Mama goose and some smaller goslings.

Swimming away all together!

This next week we wrap up the last of our regularly scheduled activities with one last violin lesson on Wednesday, a dress rehearsal for Irish Dance on Thursday - followed by the final recital on Friday. Next Tuesday we have our meeting with the Home Education coordinator guy for the kids portfolio and to turn in our summative report and stuff - then we have a couple months with nothing in particular to do... well... no regularly scheduled activities... Each of the kids are going to a Theatre "camp" at Persephone School of Theatre and Finnegan is heading to D-Camp this summer and there's a little vacation planned to Prince Albert National Park - for some mountain biking! Also I have to do some serious cleaning and organizing in the basement over the next few weeks in preparation for the demolition and ultimate renovation of the kitchen... but other than that, we should have some significant free time on our hands - and hopefully that will mean MORE adventure riding!

My plan is to get out for at least a couple rides each week, pushing further and further out of town. Hopefully by the end of the summer we might head out on a few overnighters...?

I hope in the next week or so I'll get to posting all the pics I took on morning and weekend rides with Finnegan over the last month or two and then I'll try to post more regularly - maybe weekly or fortnightly updates on where we've been off to!

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Thursday Morning 6:30am
-4°C (Windchill -7°C)

I met a shadow on the road today.

I couldn’t help but laugh and think, “Hey look - it’s a shadow of my former self!”

(I know, corny and cliched… but....)

A shadow of a former self that was in somewhat better shape.

A shadow of a former self that got up every damn morning at FIVE am to meet friends at six and ride for an hour and half.

A shadow of a former self that thought nothing of getting up on Sunday morning and riding 100 Km on a 54x22 fixed gear!?

A shadow of a former self that was damn near 20kg lighter!

(yes, Kilograms – we’re in CANADA… We use METRIC… get over it!)

(also, 20 Kg doesn’t sound nearly as bad as 40lbs)

A shadow of a former self that didn’t get passed by old people on TOWNIES?!

(In my defence, I was keeping pace with a ten year old who was riding a brand new bike… and they had electric assist motors!)

A shadow of a former self that wasn’t always so anxious and depressed ALL THE FUCKING TIME!?

Hello shadow, it’s good to see you again. It’s been too long. We should do this more often. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Summer Tires

March always feels like a little game of "Chicken" with Mother Nature. Snow melts... and then there's a  blizzard... and then that melts... and then...? And with ever melt and stretch of warmer days I begin to wonder: Is it time to switch tires?

It is irritating listening to the constant clatter of spikes rolling over pavement or bricks. It is the sound of slowing down. It is the sound of expensive tires being worn down to nothing. Should I change them? Is this the last we've seen of the snow?

Ice starts breaking up on the river.


I mean there is going to be those weird piles of snow that last a bit longer.

And the occasional shaded pathway that remains treacherously icy after it seems like all the other snow is gone.

But when everything else is just wet...? Do I change them yet? Are we going to see more snow again? will I need to change them back again for another week...?

Buskers start showing up on Broadway... That's got to be a sure sign that spring is here?!

Amanda and Finnegan now have dedicated winter bikes (fat tire bikes) and The Girl doesn't ride in the winter - so the question for all of them is a bit different: Which bike do I ride today? Is there sufficient snow and ice remaining to warrant another soaking? (Fat tire bikes throw a LOT of water up on your backside when riding through puddles!)

Amanda and both the kids have been riding summer bikes for a couple weeks now, and I've been riding... other bikes (with smoother tires)... but I left the winter tires on the Yuba until yesterday morning - just in case. As I'm not hauling The Girl anymore I only really need to use a cargo bike once or twice a week (to get to violin lessons and groceries). But this last week has been so warm I just couldn't stand another day of metal studs clattering on pavement.

New Summer Tires.

I picked up some new Fat Franks at Bike Universe last fall during a big sale - they were 50% off! I thought it was time to treat myself to some new summer tires for the beast. I had been riding mis-matched tires. One of the original (black) Fat Franks that were on the bike had a sidewall failure some time ago. So I'd replaced them with some tires I'd had on my 1FG briefly - Arrow Racing Launch - before deciding they made it feel like driving a tank (compared to previous tires I'd used...). but after a summer or two of riding those - one of them had a sidewall failure and I put the remaining Fat Frank back on.

The new ones are cream coloured - as soon as I tried putting them on I started regretting having bought them - I'm too much of a slob to have light coloured tires. They were instantly covered in black stains - brake gunge spread from the dirty, dirty rims... I tried my best to clean them up, but as I said, I'm a slob - they'll probably always look dirty... So stupid. What was I thinking?! Gah!?

Then I got out and rode on them.

Putting one summer tires after riding on a pair of super knobby, studded tires all winter is like riding a whole new bike. So fun to ride. Coasting more than five metres before having to pedal again to keep going and remain upright. Using more than the lowest gear. I fell alive again. I actually LIKE going places again and want to get outside again.

I'm warming up to these new cream-coloured tires...