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Hello. Which rider are you?

Hello.  The countdown is on for the RLCT – 125 days. Are you ready? I hope not – not to be selfish but if you’re ready now then what’s to become of the rest of us. At the other extreme, I hope you’ve maintained at least a modicum of fitness this winter. I’ve found from personal experience that it’s very hard to start at zero and work one’s way into form in April when so many others have been active walking, swimming, running, skiing, or on indoor trainers. It’s not too late though to take-up the cudgel. You still have seven weeks before we hit the road. Don’t panic; just start your fitness programme now with a goal to ride 100 kms right out of the blocks in April. Gone are the days when we eased into the 100 km rides. So, there you have it – a shot across the bow to alert you to the quickly approaching cycling season.

I expect this year to be one of the best (for personal) reasons. I’m determined that age will not hold me back, yet. I also, expect to see the weekend group rides expand in size, with many of you already signed up for the RLCT. To that end, I’m proposing regular rides in the Gats (twice a month in the lead up to the RLCT and once a month thereafter), with a focus on hill work for that extra training edge. Proposed start at P3 by 7:30 am and riding to Chelsea via Pink Lake and the Corkscrew to the Champlain Lookout, with a return to the junction at Champlain and Gatineau Parkway. At this point, we’ll do a second loop. Total distance 63 kilometres and 1169 metres of climbing. Excited. I am. Can’t wait, but, really living in the now now. That’s the only way, right! Where else would you rather be? I know my Christian friends would answer this question differently as they hunger for the rapture but for me the end is the end, so to speak.

Been thinking of this, of late, as I continue to learn to soak up the entirety of each day and limit fruitless thoughts. Connection with others is paramount; connection with the natural world is essential. Favoured are those who have a boon companion – “We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” Thomas Merton

A few good friends make a difference in one’s life. Our small but dynamic cycling group is a big part of my life, and my enjoyment – especially as I’m increasing alone in off-season fitness pursuits. One day, you may join me in Mallorca? Life is like a funnel – open at the conical mouth and constricted at the end. I’m doing my best to hold off the inevitable entropic spiral to the bottom. I therefore express my gratitude to you all for your gravitational pull upwards.

Okay, Stay fit! Bye-bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

Hello. This is just a reminder that registration for the 2018 RLCT opens on January 31. Here is the link: http://www.ottawabicycleclub.ca/rlct/regnow. FYI, most of us sign up for the Classic route on the registration page; but, we actually only ride the classic route to Kingston; we ride the Cruise route back to Ottawa. This is a nice variation on the out-and-back Classic route and affords a welcome change of scene. As well, the Cruise is not as heavily travelled as the Classic. Others choose to ride the Century from Perth. Whatever route you choose, you’ll be ready for the RLCT if you join us on our weekend training, beginning April 2018.

With that in mind, please don’t leave your annual bike tune-up until the last-minute. Do it now when you have lots of time and no need for the bike. A well maintained, clean bicycle is a safe bicycle to ride. This is absolutely paramount when riding in a group. Don’t endanger yourself or your cycling friends by riding an ‘unfit’ bicycle. That means a total check-up and overhaul by your favourite bike mechanic, and includes the inspection of the frame for scratches, cracks or dents; checking all bearing systems: hubs, bottom bracket, headset and pedals; checking quick releases, cassette and chain rings, spokes; truing wheels; checking bottle cages for tightness; replacing cleats and chain as necessary.

If you have carbon rims, use only approved brake pads for the specific wheel rim. Finally, well almost (the list is endless), treat yourself to new bar tape, and helmet, maybe. Check it out anyway.

As well, now’s the time to kit out your saddle bag. Remove the detritus from last year and resupply as necessary. Keep it simple – a spare (working) inner tube, tyre levers, tyre boot, patch kit, master link, CO2 cartridge, multi-tool, ID, some spare cash. That’s about it, unless you’re the safety guy, in which case you can add a  medical kit – bandages, medication, etc.

Okay, you know all the above anyway. Right? So, why bother with this post. Hey, I got things on my mind and needed to talk to somebody. That’s as good a reason as any.

Okay, Stay fit! Bye-bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

Saturday’s ride (130 kms) will be quite a bit longer than we’re used to. The elevation gain is around 1000 metres. We’ve topped a 1000 metres a couple of times already; so, all told, we should be okay. I’ll post details on Friday afternoon. Meantime, just wanted to remind us that safety on any ride is paramount. We can’t control the vehicular traffic. But, we can lessen the likelihood of an accident by riding in a predictable manner. This means observing the highway traffic act, looking our for each other, and following the best practices for safe group riding.  Let’s not put our fellow riders in jeopardy. Please read and memorise these points:

  • Be predictable
  • Don’t ride directly behind the wheel in front; ride slightly to the left or right; leave a gap
  • Do not overlap the wheel in front of you
  • Don’t stare at the wheel in front you; look beyond it
  • Hold your line
  • Ride over small obstacles rather than swerving to avoid them
  • Maintain the flow of the pace line by upping your cadence
  • Minimize/avoid use of brakes
  • Don’t slow down or stop suddenly
  • If you have to slow down, stop, turn – use hand signals to alert fellow riders
  • Don’t send you bike back when changing from seat to standing position

Okay, bye bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

Well, hello.

Where is the rain, you’re asking? Beats me. It’s an often heard lament. The call was right but the timing was wrong, a bit like unbuckling your seat belt before you’ve stopped the car; or, think equities – buying Bre-X days before geologist, Michael de Guzman, falls out of a helicopter. Well, I guess the timing and the call were both wrong.

Hey, Paul Reichmann got it wrong, too, back in 1990’s when he ran out of cash for Canary Wharf. His vision for a financial district over-extended his cash resources. He had the right idea and the right place but the wrong time,  a bit like the clean-up hitter at the plate (3 and 2 – full count) thinking fast ball but gets a curve. Strike out.

Reichmann brought his project forward during a decline in the world’s economy. He misread the pitch. And, with his London properties half vacant, cash flow dwindling, and investors fleeing, his firm was placed under administration. Eventually, the banks took control and finished the project. And, the rest they say is history. Canary Wharf is to-day one of the most valuable commercial districts in the world.

Now, I’m left to ponder whether my recent property purchase is ill-timed or fortuitous. What about you – how’s your timing?

Okay, so, I’ll be right eventually. It will rain to-day – but when?

But now, to the point of this post. It’s early days yet and I thought it timely to remind us all about some tried-and-true  commandments of safe group riding. Commit these behavious to memory. There will be a test. Timing is everything, right.

  • Be predictable
  • Don’t ride directly behind the wheel in front; ride slightly to the left or right; leave a gap
  • Do not overlap the wheel in front of you
  • Don’t stare at the wheel in front you; look beyond it
  • Hold your line
  • Ride over small obstacles rather than swerving to avoid them
  • Maintain the flow of the pace line by upping your cadence
  • Minimize/avoid use of brakes
  • Don’t slow down or stop suddenly
  • If you have to slow down, stop, turn – use hand signals to alert fellow riders
  • Don’t send you bike back when changing from seat to standing position

Fingers crossed for next weekend. The plan for next Saturday is Quyon – an honest 100 kms. Ride during the week, if you can.

If you wish to subscribe, google arnpriorcycling and click on the ‘Follow’ link at the bottom right. It’s that easy.

Okay, Ride your bike! Ride safe. Bye bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

April 24/16: 71 kms; 2 Hrs 27; 554 Metres; Eight Riders + RT

Two days of riding in less than ideal conditions: one cold, the other colder but both engendering the same upbeat response, “I’ll see you next weekend.”

That affirmation beats the feeling expressed after a heavy meal, “I’ll never do that again.” But, we do, riding to eat, and all.

Now cycling takes the mind away (briefly from food) and from the quotidian minutiae of one’s life. If it’s not the beauty and tranquility of the countryside, then, it’s the intensity of a hard climb or the happy chatter of voices up and down the pace-line or the clever repartee at coffee.

Riding a bicycle jettisons the ordinary with no more effort than swinging a leg over the saddle and dropping it to the pedal. Life is always good on a bicycle, even when it hurts. And, if one’s mind does drift back to the ‘real’ world, then, it’s to see it in greater clarity – to return home with insight or resolve or renewed commitment or with a new way forward.

Riding a bicycle is a mobius strip to another world – different but the same.

Riding a bicycle is about being not doing. It’s going out and coming back different.

Well, where did that come from? I suppose it’s Spring; and life is bursting anew. It’s hard not to get excited at the sight of spandex, and new bicycles even if they’re not one’s own. Congrats to EC. It’s a beauty, and well spotted in the rafters.

Okay, Sunday was good, a bit short on distance but long on climbing for this time of year. Well done to everyone. That’s 10% more mileage than last week. We are on track. Be patient. As the Brits say, “early ripe, early rotten.” The TDF is rarely one in the first two weeks.

Right, that’s it for now.

Ride your bike! Bye bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” A C Doyle 1896

Home and Happy

Home and Happy

Well hello. Christmas has come and gone. New Year’s, too, with lots of food eaten in short order between the two of them. Too much food (too much anything, actually) ruins everything, don’t you think? Like you, I tried to keep up some degree of discipline over the holidays but it evaporated like drops of water on a hot griddle, with just a bit of a dance for show at the beginning, and then nothing.

The good news is that I’ve stopped the spread. I’m holding my own at hole three of my belt. I was at hole four before the eating season began. I’m hopeful that the worst is now over. Also, by Mid January, it usually means a return to the in-door trainer, which has collected dust for about eleven months. This time last year I cycled happily in the basement to the Olympics and the Australian Open on TV. It won’t be as compelling this year. Still, I have to start – and soon.

One muses on such things on days like these when the weather is bleak, with no sun for days; glum inducing, for those with such predilections. Fortunately, high spirits can carry the day(s). One asks where is the sun? Mallorca, Cuba, Alicante, Tenerife. Pick anyone of them. They are all several airports and security lineups away. Yes, travelling tests one’s patience and takes its toll but the prospects of dry roads and warm air in far-flung places is very tempting. I keep my visa card ready by the computer on such days just in case Air Canada or Westjet pop up in my inbox offering last-minute deals.

What about you? How’s it going, eh. Stay fit, firm, fine – always.

Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

Rolling

No ordinary days