Tuesday, September 28, 2010

peterborough to cobourg

once a year i ride my bicycle down to my mum's home in cobourg.
i see her more often than that, but this is a ride.
which means it takes extra effort.
so there's a form of satisfaction in not only getting there, but getting back home.

leaving my own family is always hard.

but then there's the open road, a bicycle propelled and steered by myself.

so the trade-off of a small amount of misery for a large amount of happiness works out - eventually.

to get to cobourg means crossing lots of long rolling hills. if you look at these two photographs, you should know that the hills in the distance are the height of land also known as the oak ridges moraine.

there are many other steep climbs and racing descents before i even get there.

riding almost entirely through countryside. the road is fairly quiet and you can hear the birds, the crickets, cows, the odd bit of farm machinery, the wind rushing past your ears,
and of course the sound of the tyres on the pavement.

and then the scenery does change abruptly when you enter the ganaraska forest.

there's a rich hush about the rows upon rows of conifers.

and then magically after a long climb around a sweeping bend you get your first glimpse of lake ontario
(it's just right of centre in the image).
on the africycle ride, bike buddy michael prepared me for this moment.
it's so simple,
this matter of the sharing of the very simplest and most astonishing joys.

and then before you know it you're in port hope.
in port hope there's a lovely coffee shop called dreamers

where you can get a really good americano and a crazy cookie (yep that's what they're called)
that like many baked goods, tastes a lot better than it looks!

nicely fueled up it's back on the road and across the bike lane beside highway two to cobourg!

here's the google map link for my ride from peterborough to cobourg.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the pacer

in the last week of july i visited prince edward island with my family.
it's the first trip we've taken like this as a family.
you see, we always travel with other families but this time we went on our own.

prince edward island is beautiful.
visually beautiful and beautiful in the way that places can be that have somehow managed to retain their innocence - an informed innocence -
but an innocence that has much to do with life as it was lived some time ago.

the place we stayed was just outside a little community called french river.

here's french river.

of course, i didn't have a bike there and when i mentioned this to the gentlemen who we had rented our cottage from he took me over to his barn assuring me that somewhere inside its dark and musty depths was a bike. actually, there were two bikes as it turned out.
he hauled the one nearest to him out for a look see.

it's a pacer!

a ten-speed pacer!

in the light of day - which i think it was seeing for the first time in nearly two decades or more - it was covered in leaves, cobwebs going back generations ad infinitum, mud and of course rust.
i pushed off what i could and wiped it down.

after clearing off most of the obvious detritus,
i tried to roll it along the ground but the front brakes had seized and rusted shut.
so with his permission i gave the brakes a kick and sure enough - kachoing! - they parted enough to allow the wheel to move, catching once every rotation as the wonky wheel swivelled from side-to-side.

here are the front brakes, temporarily released from their rusty purgatory.

the gear changers had long ago given up any intention of working so the derailleur was stuck in a gear that made riding on anything other than flat ground and with a good push start nigh on impossible.

but it was a bike!
i did try one abortive attempt at riding it.
sadly and predictably, it was just not workable.
the brakes didn't actually work - front or rear.
as i mentioned earlier, the gears didn't work, and the owner suggested that i carry a humungous
floor pump with me to ensure that the tyres remained inflated!

so back it has gone to the barn . . . .

i feel a little sorry for it actually.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

bike ride to the liftlock

it's strange that you can live somewhere for a very long time and not go see one of its main attractions.
i bet i'm not alone in that experience.

for example, in this town we have the peterborough liftlock.
it's the highest hydraulic liftlock in the world - big news if you're into hydraulic liftlocks (which i'm not!) -
but actually very cool to watch in action.

so the other day i decided that i had to see this thing at work.

here's what i saw.

what's amazing to know is that there are 1700 tons of water in those containers going up and down.
that's a whole lot of water!

park a few boats inside and there's a lot of stuff going up and down.

the boat in the pictures - the white one coming down the right-hand side - is a sidewheeler tour boat that cruises around the local area waterways.

well worth the bike ride over to see!

here's the google map for hardy souls wanting to make the journey.

Friday, September 10, 2010

back to school

this piece is for my bloggy chums who may be interested in the commuting part of my cycling life.
you know, the ride that gets me to work (and later on gets me home).

6:18 a.m.
wha . . . whatimeisit? ohmannnnnnnit'stimetogetup!!!

oh hey!!
it's a school day.


the morning begins with coffee - always coffee!!
two mugs of joy juice are good for me.

which mug to choose? i have six.
each has been carried over a great distance.
mostly from the black dog pottery in kingston.
i'll bike great distances to have some of marc's handiwork!
because he's my favourite potter!!
this one usually wins!

toast, bagel, either way with butter and peanut butter or jam
or sometimes cream cheese.
some days i cook an egg in butter.

i take a slow walk through the land of blogs and try to answer as many comments as i can on my own blog
before scanning the manchester guardian online, bbc online, wired, lost at e minor, and dgm.

next up is to find my lunch in the fridge where i
tucked it away the night before
(i always make my own and i used to make all my kid's lunches but
now they prefer the autonomy of creating their own),
my macbook, my dayplans, and anything i might need for the day
get stuffed in my panniers.

kisses and hugs and love to everyone.
it's really hard for me to leave my family.
really hard.
i've never grown out of that as people said i would
when my children were very little.


in the garage now.
which bike to ride?

this one gets me there in twenty minutes but carries nothing .
hmmmm gotta take the panniers today.
i've got a lot of stuff!!!

better take this one instead.

down the street.
across and through the long shadows.

in fact, i'm just a shadow of myself at this time of day . . .

to the top of cherryhill.

i get a really nice view of the city from here
but today it's a bit hazy
with the early morning mist spreading from the river across the city.

travelling east down cherryhill.
wayyyyyyy down.
i can move at fourty to fifty km/h down this hill
but there's a sharp right at the bottom
and some days i can take it without braking.
other days i feel my mortality and slow down.
it's all intuitive.
i trust the moment.

a kilometre or so later.

to the top of lansdowne hill.
again, i can usually see across the city from here but it's a hazy early morning.
still travelling east. down lansdowne hill.
wayyy down lansdowne hill.
(remember reader,
what goes down must come back -
at the end of the day -
with a load of marking, a laptop,
maybe some beers from the shop tucked
away in my panniers!
these hills are true tests of character!)

through fastfood alley.
which despite its more nightmarish features
does have a really good eighteen hole mini golf course
that ranks high on my personal fave list.

i've played mini golf in scotland, wales, england, holland, germany,
several of the united states,
and of course at many lovely courses here in ontario.

a few kilometres later
i take the bridge
over the otonabee river.

turn right and go south down river road.
so named because just behind those houses at the right
is the otonabee river i just crossed.
these lucky people have gorgeous back property
that unfolds right to the river!!!

and finally,
here i am!!!
my school.
otonabee valley public school.

i've had the privilege and joy of teaching here since 1991.

thanks for coming along!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

up to trent

every so often i get asked to work up at trent university.
it usually involves facillitating the learning of teacher candidates in trent's school of education.
it's among my most very favourite work!

the ride there is lovely as it involves a quick descent out of the west end of peterborough.

note the blurry quality due to the high speed!!!

i stopped at the last bit of hill before descending into the misty environs of the
"downtown" core for a look at the sunrise.

which i didn't really see until i was right beside the otonabee river.

this particular day had an early start as i was meeting my co-facillitator cathy for breafast at the east city coffee shop. the east city coffee shop goes back in my own experiencing to 1979 when i first started stopping in there for peanut butter on toast and coffee to start my day. it's been going steadily along ever since although i've hardy been back to be honest.
the owners are super friendly people who put together a really excellent breakfast!
we ate a leisurely breakfast during which we mapped out our work for the morning and then - as neither of us wear watches - the sudden realization arrived that
we needed to be biking fairly quickly in order not to be late. so we got going.

photos were taken on the fly - i usually take pictures on the bike on a point and shoot but i had my big dslr with me, so balancing that in one hand and managing the bike with the
other led to some wobbles. so sorry 'bout that!!

here's cathy (a.k.a. dr. cathy bruce) flying up the path!

which was quiet and beautiful.

a pause for reflection as we crossed the bridge over the trent canal.

and finally we arrived at the front doors of otonabee college.
ready to think and learn out loud.