Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just another...

...fun day at the beach...

Sunday was both sunny and warm but without that crushing, stifling humidity. The Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bike day would be on in full force and we would be out there too - but with a slight difference.

Because my MS often results in me getting terribly fatigued by early afternoon and because Adam and I are morning people by nature we are very often some of the very first people to get to the closed-to-motorized-traffic barriers. Sometimes we get there before the scheduled 09:00 am closure and it's not uncommon for us to be on Colonel By and zooming down the road only to see the (very) occasional car trying to sneak off the road at the last possible second. This time, however, we were planning to head out for a picnic lunch, not at Mooney's Bay which is too close to our place to make it worthwhile but way the bejeepers at the beach of Lac Leamy.  Lac Leamy is over the river into Gatineau but it's still not really all that far from our place. The beach/picnic area is 21.7 kilometres using a combination of the closed Colonel By Road and bike paths that trace curving routes around the area. At my current triking speed, we figured that if we left by around 10:30, we'd get to the beach at Lac Leamy by around noon.

This is precisely what happened. I packed a fairly light but nutritious lunch for ourselves and then headed out on a gloriously sunny mid-late morning. I have to admit that it felt a bit odd passing some familiar landmarks, like the Frank Clair Stadium, at such a late time of morning compared to when we would normally be there but it wasn't anything anxiety provoking.

We exited the Colonel By road and went right onto the Corktown foot bridge that crosses the Rideau canal, continued north towards the locks and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of some kind of festival featuring Celtic music and more tourists there than I was expecting even for a long weekend.

There is one lock which will allow users to transport their bikes across but it is a bit more of a challenge for recumbent trikes and my Catrike was no exception. However, it wasn't all that horrendous and the free flow of boat traffic was in no way jeopardized by my having to take a little longer time getting across. We were prepared for the next major event of this trip...crossing the Alexandra Bridge.

The last time we crossed the Alexandra Bridge on our trikes, the condition of the bike lane was - well - alarming. The lane itself seemed to consist of a washboard set of rumble strips whose effects were as tough on a trike as they were on one's body. Specifically, cyclists of all kinds would have to stop once on the other side to allow one's eyeballs a few minutes to stop bouncing around and this is what we both expected. However, we got a really nice surprise.

Someone, somewhere got it in their minds to perhaps fix the bike lane on the bridge so that people wouldn't have to put their internal organs back in the right place and our crossing over the Alexandra Bridge went very smoothly. Our next step was to maneuver around the Museum of Civilization, which lies just at the end of the bridge itself on the Quebec Side which is what we were expecting. What we were up against, instead, was a sign proclaiming the bike lane closed "due to construction". A minor annoyance, to be sure, but that did mean we'd have to cycle up to the traffic light and cross Rue Laurier to regain the bike lane.

There is a park there and bike lanes course and meander through it. We found ourselves there and immersed in some kind of art display. We're not Philistines per se but do object to the idea of someone passing off what looks like scrap steel painted in bright colours as art. No matter, the day was sunny with a few building cumulus clouds and continued warmth. The beach/picnic area at Lac Leamy wasn't too far away and we were both getting hungry.

From the park, the trail curves, climbs and settles through a lightly treed forested area until one emerges from the green forested area, goes under a few highway overpasses and then comes out by the beach. There were a number of other people there but the place wasn't packed to capacity.

We enjoyed our lunch, despite our having forgotten a couple of items in the fridge at home, and took a few minutes to just relax after a good 21 kilometre venture, crossing a much improved bridge and negotiating the very public display of scrap metallic...things...

Going home was a simple matter of retracing our steps back with the sole exception of not re-joining Colonel By Road after crossing at the Corktown foot bridge, for the road had been re-opened to motorized vehicles. That meant we would be relegated to the bike path only which neither of us minded at all.

We pulled back into our driveway at around 2:45pm, having left precisely 4 hours and 15 minutes earlier. Our total distance was 42 point something kilometres and, frankly, we were both ready for a shower.

I don't photograph well and that's evident in this picture. I am actually enjoying the ice cream; it just doesn't look like it.

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