Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another gorgeous day, so why waste it?

After yesterday's thorough drenching from the numerous showers, this morning's bright sunlight brought a sudden riot of light green. It also brought with it the promise of a great day to head out triking. With climate change, the seasons become somewhat less predictable so now, more than ever, am I reminded to head out when I can.

I had my usual breakfast of rice and awesome java. Then, once all that was digested, I showered, dressed, put on sunscreen (a must for all days of the year - even winter) and got ready to zip out for a "quick 10 k run". As the day was mine to do with what I wished, I decided to go for a good run along the numerous pathways that lace throughout the city, including here. I didn't so much have a destination in mind as a minimum number of kilometres I wanted to ride and today's was 10 kilometres, no less than 5 out and 5 back.

So, I checked my trike tires for proper inflation and otherwise suited up (meaning helmet, pant straps and sunglasses). I left and immediately found myself immersed in the tail-end of what passes for rush hour here. My trip took me up Bridlepath, crossing Hunt Club and continuing in a generally easterly direction on Daze. I crossed Bank Street, continued onto Cahill and sought the earliest exit onto the pathways, right by a bus stop. Once on the pathways, I encountered very well behaved dog owners who kept their pets on leashes and even picked up after them. Thank you guys.

What struck me was just how many joggers and other cyclists were out there on the path too and that filled me with a sense of expanded safety. It's not that Ottawa is a dangerous city (it's no more or less dangerous than most other Canadian cities) but the bike paths in suburbia can get rather sparsely used so if there is some psycho lurking in the bushes...then I can outrun 'em even though I'd rather not see one in the first place.

The other thing I noticed was that, despite the sunshine and lack of any discernible wind, it was actually quite chilly - and here it is the end of May. The day would warm up substantially later on but I wasn't there yet.

In no time did I find myself leaving the bike pathway right at the library. Sidling through the parking lot edge, it was a matter of a quick left turn onto Lorry Greenberg before I could resume my happy jaunt through suburbia once more. School was on and there were many parents or caretakers dropping kids off on the side of the road so that made for a busy portion of the day's trip. Finally, I got to the corner of Lorry Greenberg and Conroy where there was virtually no traffic to speak of. I guess rush hour ended.

I went straight through the intersection and arrived at Lorry Greenberg and Blohm. A quick right turn and the silence of the street played nicely into the stillness of the growing morning. I kept going, feeling energized by the now warming (but not too warm) air until I got to Karsh Drive. I slid around the corner, taking somewhat of a wide sweep and noticed that my trip odometer read 4.8 kilometres. Close enough, I thought and then kept curving gently around the road until I got back to Lorry Greenberg and Blohm. I turned onto Lorry Greenberg and then kept going straight through, happy that I didn't have to wait long before getting a green light.

It was only a matter of a very short while that I re-acquired the pathways around the library. I hopped onto the pathways and followed them back to Cahill. A right turn onto Cahill and I continued until I got to Albion. I decided then that rather than risk life and limb going straight through Bank and Cahill and onto Daze (I got my reasons), that I would turn left onto Albion and make up the remaining 200 metres I was short when wanting a minimum of 5 kilometres going one way. Besides, I felt energized, and both the trike and the conditions were perfect. I practically flew up Albion until I got to the top of the hill where it meets up at Bridlepath. The rest of the journey home was a speedy trip where everyone I saw smiled at me and me at them. It was truly a lovely and magnificent morning's trip. Best of all, I'm more than 1/3 of my way towards meeting my goal of 300 kilometres - and it's still just May.

Last standing was 203.5 kilometres
Today's tally was 10.5 kilometres done
That leaves me 193.0 to go as of today.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quiet trip on a gorgeous day

It's as though someone flipped a switch and the perpetual chill of a cooler-than-we'd-like-to-see-May became instant summer. It was hot yesterday and it's still hot today. As today's high is forecast to reach 30°C (85°F), we felt it best to head out this morning.

We left and had smooth sailing throughout the whole nearly 14 kilometre trip as much because we were out fairly early in the day as that there were almost no cars on the roads. This is the May 2-4 weekend (aka Victoria Day long weekend) and with awesome weather today's trip was nothing less than gorgeous.

When we were out, the temperature was that exquisite warm where sitting outside wearing only a housecoat and nursing a hot cuppa coffee (or an iced tea) would have been so wonderful. Instead, our trek through numerous neighbourhoods revealed just how richly green all the leaves on all the trees, bushes and gardens are now. Garden plots were a hazy display of multicoloured flowers among that bright green. The very air was infused with that lightly sweet scent of lavender and the warm bright sunshine almost completely washed away that powdery blue sky of almost-late May.

Even though we knew the daytime breezes would start soon, we had no headwinds or gusts to deal with and so our journey all the way home was done fairly easily. What really helped, too, was the relative absence of cars.

Perhaps everyone is out of town for the May-2-4-time-to-open-up-and-air-out-that-musty-cottage weekend.


Last standing was 217.3 kilometres
Today's tally was 13.8 kilometres done
That leaves me 203.5 to go as of today.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Picnics, triking and the quadracycle

Yesterday, May 13th, was Mother's Day. As my 21 year old daughter is in town to visit for awhile, AND the weather was really nice, we decided to pack a picnic lunch and head out. Adam and I have not only catrikes but we also have what seems to be Ottawa's one and only quadracycle. With the three of us heading out, and our quadracycle could only carry two people, we all agreed that Adam and my daughter, would take the quadracycle and I would take my catrike.

So, after packing a good lunch, we headed out. Driving down Bridlepath towards Trapper's the riding was easy. The roads were surprisingly quiet considering it was just around noon on Mother's Day. Perhaps everyone else had already brought their mothers to the restaurant for the requisite brunch and we were the only ones on the road.

It didn't take us long to get to the park. Called Fawn Meadow Park, it's one of those quaint neighbourhood parks with swings, a large jungle gym for the wee ones and, in this case, a large plastic sea monster. Presumably we could climb on it just like small kids. Hmm...

Anyway, we arrived at the covered pavilion, parked the quadracycle and my catrike and proceeded to enjoy our lunches. Admittedly, the breeze was kinda chilly but we had a good time anyway. This is what life is all about, at least to me it is.

Once lunch had settled, my daughter and I decided to go "play on the swings" while Adam took a video of us horsing around in the park in general. After that was done, the three of us decided to play frisbee on the mostly dry grassy field. Like my daughter, I have no talent for frisbee playing but that didn't stop us from having a really good time. After about twenty minutes of that, it was time to go - but we weren't going home just yet. The day was still too good to pack it in.

We then drove east along Queensdale, crossed Bank Street and found ourselves in that small area of Blossom Park we often trek through. We went north on 6th street, to Athans, Levadia and then down that little connecting pathway that joins Levadia to Carriage Hill. Carriage Hill to Sable Ridge and then a quick run down to Hunt Club had us all getting there while the light was still green. We all zoomed through until we got to the library and then intercepted the pathways there. A quick saunter through there and we wound up back on Cahill to Bank Street. Once we crossed Bank Street it was a simple trip up the slight hill that is Daze (pronounced DAH-zay and not DAYS), to cross Hunt Club once again and then onward. The streets remained light for traffic overall and the skies remained that gorgeous blue so typical of May.

The weather is supposed to stay nice for most of this week (plus or minus the odd shower) so I fully expect to head out a few more times. Stay tuned, right?

Last standing was 227.6 kilometres
Today's tally was 10.3 kilometres done
That leaves me 217.3 to go as of today.