2016 Year End Cycling Summary

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Not the best selfie…but it is a last day shot…

Yesterday, temperatures climbed into the low 20’s (degrees C) and a little bit too close to the end of the day, we got on the tandem and rode down the road. It was a little too late in the day, because darkness comes so quickly now, the sun sliding all too rapidly toward the horizon. By the time we had made our short ride, dusk was falling.

Today it is snowing. A snow squall warning has been issued for tonight and tomorrow morning. Temperatures are now in low single digits, with negative numbers predicted.

I think our riding season is over.

The season shows some pretty good distance, but really, we didn’t ride as much as we have some other years. The trip from home to Halifax occupied more than four weeks of the early summer and contributed around 2500 km. 72544331-cc17-431f-b31c-c91d7b5439c2Living in two places, without bikes at one of them, really pushed down the amount of cycling we got in. It would be even less if it wasn’t for a wonderful group of friends who kept us riding many Friday mornings, always with great conversation and often butter tarts along the way.

We sold a set of bikes this year as well. Stuart and Marg tried our touring bikes during the summer, made a long trip to Ottawa with them, and decided not to give them back. Stuart has caught the bug in a big way and will be riding one of those bikes Sea to Sea next summer as part of a fund raising project to end poverty. You can find his page here. He would appreciate your support.

The final numbers:

Tandem: 3663 km

Touring Bike: 127km

Road Bike: 23 km

Total: 3813 km

The tandem continues to win as our bike of choice. We do enjoy being together, biking together, exploring together.

With our upcoming move to Prince Edward County, we are really hoping to be able to use our bikes more often as a means of transportation. Our new home is a short bike ride to groceries and other errands. Hopefully bikes will become the wheels of choice more often.

2015 Cycling Summary

I think the cycling season is over.

We’ve had a few days in the last month where it seemed that we should get out, but, all the factors (temperature, wind speed, precipitation, sunlight, time to get out, motivation) didn’t line up to make it happen. I did get out a couple of weeks ago for a short ride in our new neighbourhood, but since then the bikes have done little more than collect dust.

Today we have a snow fall warning. It has started to come down and the world is turning white.  It just seems like the right day to declare the 2015 riding season over.

J and I started cycling somewhat seriously, in a fair weather way, in 2008. Since then we have done a number of long trips. This year crowned them all with our plan to cross the continent. Circumstances did not allow us to finish that trip, but the accumulated kilometers make 2015 our biggest riding year yet. The tandem has become our bike of choice which really shows up in this year’s numbers.

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Here they are:

Tandem: 6091

Road bike:119

Touring bike:189

Hotel Courtesy bike: 35

2015 Total: 6434 km

Next year, if the stars line up properly, we hope to finish the cross continent trip

An Open Letter to Truckers

Good Morning,

First of all, I would like to thank all of you. My wife and I just spent nearly two months biking through the western and central parts of the continent in both Canada and the U.S. For the most part you and your fellow truckers were tremendously courteous to us. You gave us space on the road, you slowed down a bit, and you didn’t honk your horns angrily. One of you even pulled up beside us to encourage us on our journey. Thanks to all of you for keeping us safe.

We do have a bone to pick with you though. It has to do with litter. We understand that you really don’t have a lot of control over the thousands of tarp straps along the road, or the tire shreds with all their little wires sticking out, or the pieces of tie down strap, or even the odd chain binder or chuck of chain. Things break, they wear out, they come loose in the wind you create. For these you can be forgiven.

You cannot, however, be forgiven, as easily, for the hundreds of bottles of p*ss that litter all of the major,  and many of the minor, roads we traveled. We’ve mentioned this before and actually had people come to your defense for not stopping your trucks to deal with bodily functions. I do understand that many of you are paid by the mile and that a stop would cut into your hourly pay. Travelling the roads, we do understand that rest areas can be far apart, maybe further than your bladder reach and that stopping on the shoulder would be a dangerous thing to do. We know many of you are on tight schedules, harassed by demanding dispatchers, and driven by wives who would really like to see you get home to spend time with them and the kids. We get all of that.

We really have no problem with you driving at 90 or 100 kilometers per hour while manipulating your clothing and body parts to aim a steaming stream into an empty Gatorade bottle. You are professionals and I’m sure you know what you are doing and can do it safely.

These two bottles, just by coincidence, landed very close to each other. We saw them at a rate of about one every other kilometer on the busy roads.

These two bottles, just by coincidence, landed very close to each other. We saw them at a rate of about one every other kilometer on the busy roads.

Our problem comes when you screw the cap back on the bottle, roll down your window and hurl the bottle toward the ditch where it will lie holding its yellow cargo for the next millennium unless some highway worker with a strong stomach comes along to gather it up.

Tossing these half filled bottles along our roads is a disgusting habit. Surely, after putting the cap back on the bottle you could just return it to the cup holder it was in when it was empty. Big trucks do have cup holders don’t they? If you don’t want to look at it, toss it into the foot well of the passenger seat, most of the time the seat is empty anyway. Then, when you get to that rest stop, or your destination, clean out the cab and put the bottle in a proper garbage can. If you must throw it out when you are driving, at least leave the lid off the bottle so that nature, over time, can wash the bottle out.

You’re doing a great job moving things from place to place, and we realize that if it were not for truck traffic many of the roads we traveled would likely not be built to the standard they are. We also realize almost all or you would never throw a half filled bottle of yellow liquid out of your window, but unfortunately, the few who do are staining the reputation of all of you. Sorry if it seems like we are yelling at all of you for the sake of a few, but in this the few are acting for all of you.

Be safe,