Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kingston to Selkirk Shores State Park (i)

Sleeping in the pew was a bad idea but it had to be done. The opportunity might never present itself again. I kept telling myself that as I slowly dragged myself out of the half-sleep I'd experienced through much of the night as people shuffled to the washroom and the kitchen, started packing up their stuff and generally started the day.

Jerrett the wonder chef appeared with aviator glasses on that did not leave his face for a very long time. Jerrett scored major cred for preparing a huge batch of French toast while being seriously worse for the wear after a very long night out with Dave and Ben.

There were several reminders to make sure we had our passports handy as today we got to cross the Lake into the U.S. The Ride for Africycle is really well-organized, but it can be a very laid back affair in terms of getting started each day. This was no exception! After saying our goodbyes and thankyous to the good people at the Next Church,

we eventually made our way through the sleepy streets of Downtown Kingston to the ferry, which we observed making its way across the outer edges of Kingston Harbour. It had left about fifteen minutes before. The next ferry? Fourty-five minutes.

For future riders, here's a handy-dandy ferry schedule! Oh well. Michael, Ed and I decided to go for a little ride and made our way through downtown and then along the shoreline, picking out little paths and byways until we got back to the ferry dock. After a bit more waiting, the ferry returned and we walked our bikes on and

found places to enjoy the brief journey to Wolfe Island.
Wolfe Island is home to a massive windpower generating project. Wiki says there are 89 towers.
The RFA wind turbine counting team says easily more than a hundred.

When we got to Wolfe island we got back on our bikes and rode across to the next ferry which would take us across to the U.S. When we got to the dock we could just see it making its way into the harbour on the U.S. side. No problem! Look at the beautiful day we were getting to enjoy!

Even the bugs sitting on this capstan knew enough to just chill and enjoy the sun.

Eventually the little ferry returned and the Captain remembered us from last year! How cool is that!
Here he is (in the window) and there's Scotia. We're right on top of the border.

Passage through the little shack at the border was quick and easy and we made our way over to our favourite cafe in Cape Vincent for coffee and baked goods. A slow day slowed down even more and when we realized what time it was (a couple of times) we got back on the bikes and started off for Selkirk Shores State Park.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day Two: Presqu'ile to Kingston

When you reach the advanced age I've attained, a night on the ground in a tent necessitates something of an acceptance of pain or at the very least, discomfort. But that quickly disappeared as I woke up and remembered where I was,

why I was there, and who I was with!

The weather for today was expected to be on the gently moist side, so after breakfast, we set off along the bike path out of Presqu'ile

to hook up with Hwy. 2 headed for Kingston. There were smiles everywhere and lots of quiet early morning talk and beautiful rural scenes helped the kilometres go by.

This is Stephen VanDerHerberg who joined us for the two day ride.
We're hoping that he can join us for the full ride in 2012!

The drifting rain eventually stopped and we dried out as we rode.

The stops along the way are almost as important to the ride as the cycling itself. On this day there were two key stops. The first was at this fruit and vegetable shop where superb homemade donuts are sold in paper bags to people who honestly think that six is all they'll need!

The next stop was at the incomparable Bloomfield Bicycle Company. For those of you familiar with "The Hobbit" it draws a close comparison to Rivendell in its fantastic almost magical qualities.
Here are the Ride for Africycle bikes all gathered together on B.B.C.'s cool rack.

After a nice chat with the owners and a guy cycling from Calgary to Montreal, Ed set a new local record for the most graceful flattening of a bike display by selecting the key bike in a row of bikes and sending eleven others that were somehow linked together, in a slow-mo tumble to the turf!!

After reassembling the display, we headed out of Bloomfield to catch the Glenora ferry that would carry us across the Bay of Quinte. We were super happy to find that lunch was waiting on the other side, nicely set-up inside the RFA Hospitality Tent by Dave, Ben and Jerrett.

Without getting too graphic, by this point my butt had developed a problem known by many terms - "Monkey Butt", "Rider's Rash", etc. etc. It's an exquisite sort of pain (if you're into pain and I'm not really), comprised of thousands of red-hot needles stabbing into the fleshier portion of the butt area. The solution is simple - chamois cream. The timeline is undetermined as far as when the relief begins. Much to the delight of my fellow cyclists, I shared the process of repair and the suffering in detail.

After Lunch we rode along County Road 33, a beautiful stretch of road that is locally named The Loyalist Parkway


and before long we were riding past the beautiful limestone buildings that Kingston is famous for while working our way towards our evening accomodations at The Next Church who had graciously offered to have us back again!

An awesome dinner of the most incredible beef stew was followed by some quiet time and then we headed out to enjoy a little bit of Kingston night-life. My set-up: a church pew, a copy of The Rider, a beer, and a container
of Pringles.

Tomorrow we take the ferry from Kingston to Cape Vincent, NY, USA!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day One Part Two: Peterborough to Presqu'ile (ii)

As I mentioned in the previous post, I dropped away from the official RFA route to see my Mum.

Here we are sharing a hug.
There's a combined 134 years of mutual admiration looking right at you!!!

From my Mum's place I rode through downtown Cobourg until I got to Victoria Park where the Bus was already parked, lawnchairs were set up and lunching was well underway. My Mum and Aunt made their way over to say hello to the Team. After a superb lunch of salad and potao salad made up by Jerrett the Wonderchef, we made our way out of Cobourg using the fantastic bike lanes that are a part of the Lakeshore Bike Trail. I've used this route several times to get to and from Kingston and I highly recommend it.

The weather held nicely and we made good time through to the little town of Colborne where a stop at Gilligan's loosened limbs and tongues and replenished lost fluids. It's always fun to walk into a bar in lycra bike shorts. I can't get enough of the laughter and the soto voce comments as you leave.

The ride from Colborne to Presqu'ile isn't that far but the ride in off Highway 2 and then past the camp's main gate to the site was amazingly long! I figured we were pretty much out near the tip of the point of the park.

Looking at this map - we were within walking distance of the lighthouse - I'd say I was right!! But you know what. I'd love to be biking along that road right now! We got a huge campsite and quickly pitched our tents.

The bikes all gathered together for a talk about the riders , the scenery, and the next day's ride.

Michael made sure he got a really good faceful of woodsmoke ... it's way cheaper than smoking.

On tomorrow's ride we make our way to Kingston!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Leaving: Day One Peterborough to Presquile (i)

Morning's somehow feel colder when I'm leaving to go somewhere. This one was no exception.
I had spent the evening before packing up my tote box. I'd live out of that tote box for the next nine days so my choices of what to take had been very carefully considered. using last year's list, I felt fairly confident that I'd have what I need and wouldn't be taking anything extra or forgetting anything crucial.

Astonishingly, I slept most of the way through the night. I had trouble eating breakfast but after the painful goodbyes to my children that I dread more than anything about travel, I got on my bike and pedalled off downtown to meet up with the rest of the Ride for Africycle Team.

We had agreed to meet around 8:15 a.m. at B!ke's new location and as I rolled up I noticed that I was the last one there.
My wife rolled up with my tote bin in her car as well as my sleeping bag, tent, sleeping roll and camp chair. I loaded those up by the side of the bus and introduced myself to those members of the team who I had not met yet.

A couple of get-to-know-each-other rides in the week before had helped to bring together the newer members of the ride, so there was a lot less of the awkwardness that goes with setting out on a huge endeavour like this with people you barely know.

The press arrived eventually so a photo and video shoot was set-up.

Then it was time for hugging and waving and whistling and cheering and off we went.
We waved at everyone we passed, talked to people just cracking their first bottle of beer for the day, out walking their dog, or just plain sitting on their porch letting the Sun do the work of waking them up gradually.

No gradual wake up for the riders though as we were soon past the City limits and out onto Wallace Point Road working the kinks out of riding, taking turns up front, getting some photographs, and taking in the beautiful countryside.

One of the highlights of the morning ride was riding along one of the most beautiful roads I've ever ridden on - my camera was in my back-pocket and on this day was coated in my sweat so the images have a sort of fuzzy quality about them which in my view just adds to the magic!

I ducked away from the team just above Cobourg and raced into town for a visit with my Mum - an annual tradition - where I grabbed fresh water, a hug, and a photograph of course! I nipped by Monk's Cove and then hurried along the Main Street to join my fellow riders at Victoria Park for Lunch.

Lunch was our first taste of Jerrett the cook's food. It was amazing and yet somehow Jerrett outdid himself with each meal after that!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

back again!

the ride for africycle 5.0 team arrived back safe and relatively sound in peterborough on sunday, august 14th!

the ride was awesome and fun and filled with memories. i'd do it again. right now in fact!
the weather was really kind to us this year with only one day of torrential rain and one day of headwinds and cross-winds to contend with.
we met all kinds of lovely, fun, and kind people along the way.
the food was nothing short of incredible! having jerrett the pro cook along was a total gift!
the support crew - big dave barber and the incredible ben voss - were super good to us also.

over the next little while, i'll put together the stories and photographs from the trip and share them here and over on the ride for africycle blog itself.

a huge thankyou to all of you who supported the ride with donations, prayers, and good thoughts.
all are received with equal gratitude.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

i'm leaving on a big bike ride!

the ride for africycle pulls out of peterborough at nine a.m. today!
i'll be riding with a small team of cyclists around lake ontario - eleven hundred kilometres -
to raise money for africycle.
when i get back, i'll share the experience!!!
happy cycling.

Friday, August 5, 2011

into august

time for an update here as i've been putting a lot of kilometres on the bike in preparation for the big ride which leaves in less than three days. if i told you i wake up every night thinking about the ride, that it crosses my mind constantly, you'd only get half a sense of how jacked i am to head out and around the lake. oh and nervous!

eleven hundred kms is a long way to ride in eight days and i feel physically and mentally prepared for it but there are variables (like the weather and other things you don't say or write about because it's just plain bad luck) that can change the tone of a ride. being responsible for the mapping of this ride has been really cool and also nerve-wracking because i don't want to take these good people on a wild goose chase up and down every hill in the region!

meanwhile i ride whenever i can which is most days. i'm putting about fifty to seventy-five kms a day on the bike and trying to remember that it's not just about the distance but also about the experience of riding.

so i'll share a few of my favourite photos from recent rides for you to enjoy here.

this is my riding buddies joe and blair dragging their butts up a hill in cavan on a hot day

hay rolls about twenty km southwest of peterborough

the awesome chloe black!!