Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A study in contrasts...

That's just a nice, fancy, almost academic way of saying that the last trike trip we did a few days ago was under very different conditions from the time before. Indeed, the trip we took this past Saturday was quite different from the 66 kilometre venture on Labour Day.

For one thing, there wasn't so much as a breath of wind this past Saturday. The winds we experienced on Labour Day would have guaranteed absolute success for anyone wanting to fly a kite! This past Saturday saw us triking in still conditions. Oh, certainly we experienced some breezes and some slight gustiness thanks to convection but it was barely noticeable at the time. Our trip this past Saturday was for a picnic lunch. We weren't intending to go too far - maybe 20 or 30 kilometres round trip, but we did want to head into town along the bike paths. That is where we encountered our biggest challenge!

As I had mentioned a few blog posts ago, the city of Ottawa has seen fit to tear up as much of the bike paths in the city as possible ostensibly for maintenance reasons and not because they hate cyclists. We both understand and appreciate the time and effort put forth for maintenance of the bike paths. However, when the bike paths remain shredded for pretty much the whole season, it's hard not to at least suspect that the city of Ottawa has less than no interest in the needs of cyclists despite the fact that we pay taxes too!

Yet, the fact that we bring maps with us each and every time we head out has saved our skins on more than a few occasions. The Labour Day trip we took required us to find an alternate route home from around the Billings Bridge area. If it hadn't been for our trusty map...(sentence deliberately incomplete to allow readers to complete it as they see fit)

However, this past Saturday had us only having to crunch and trickle our way along a gravelled segment of the bike path for a short period and it really wasn't that bad. It's easier for bicycles to negotiate those sorts of 'path-removed-for-your-benefit' parts because of the high clearance between the ground and the chain/derailleur/gearing/moving bits. In contrast our catrikes have a low clearance - in Adam's case very low. That means that the chain/derailleur/gearing/moving bits sits perilously close to the gravel and other damaging bits and it also demands a fairly slow going along there to at least reduce the risk of any damage. However, the weather remained gorgeous so neither of us seemed to care that we were relegated to creeping along at the amazing speed of a glacier.

Some twelve kilometres into our trip and we found a lovely picnic bench just off the bike path. It was close to lunch time anyway and we were both hungry. The trail runs alongside the Rideau Canal and with the day gloriously sunny, calm and actually nice and warm Adam and I ate our lunch and did some general people watching. We saw a lot of people out walking their dogs, other cyclists a few roller bladers and some who were just out for a nice walk on a gorgeous sunny Saturday. At this time of year, the weather can be sunny, warm(ish) and dry or cool-bordering-on-cold, rainy and gloomy. Today looks to be chilly, cloudy and maybe breezy...but last Saturday was not!


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