Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CCCTS Bike Ride of July 8th 2009...soggy fun!

The Cross Country Cycle Touring Society (CCCTS) is a biking group that I have joined this year. While the group is primarily based in BC, the Ottawa Chapter, rides on Tuesday's . The riders are generally retired, ultra fit individuals who share the same passion that I do for bike touring. It is great to see other bikes with fenders and brooks saddles!

Today, July 8th 2009, Martin, Mike, George , Emerson and I embarked from PJ's restaurant in Arnprior under slightly rainy skies. We all imagined the rain would stop as it was summer after all. The rain persisted, stopping only to fog my glasses and pause before raining anew. The scenery on this tour from Arnprior to Portage du Fort and Norway Bay was beautiful. There is very little traffic and on the occasions where the rain had paused its assault on we five, you could actually smell the clover in the fields.

The scenery is pastoral and offers splendid views as you climb.

Norway Bay is home to the Pine Lodge, a beautiful 1930's wooden hotel with a charming dining room. You can imagine this as a movie setting. By the time we arrived, soaked tired and muddy a hot meal was most welcome. Prior to arriving, I had decided that if the rain would not stop I would ask my husband to pick me up. I had reasoned that this was silly. The heavens cooperated however and the rain did stop but had ridden some 60km in mostly wet conditions! Best of all, the Pine Lodge had a drier and we dried our sodden jerseys and in my case rain jacket for the princely sum of 75 cents. Mike and Emerson stayed outside the restaurant without shirts while their jerseys dried.

I don't know why I dried my rain jacket. I don't really understand the purpose of a rain jacket when I am biking. Cycling rain jackets are an enigma. We all carry them, but we have to wonder if they are useful. In my case, I was sure I was far wetter on the inside than the outside. Yet we carry them.

The lunch at the Pine Lodge is well worth waiting for. I had a delicious paninni with salad and pots of hot earl grey tea. I had ridden some 60km in rain and at this point was questioning my sanity. Mike came back and reported that the skies were clearing and the rain had stopped. Encouraged by the news, I ordered another pot of tea and put on my dry CCCTS jersey. The rain had indeed ended.

We rode 20km to the Quyon ferry and some 23 back to Arnprior. On our ride to Arnprior the sun was in front of us, but behind us there were inky black clouds with rumbles of thunder. I had just loaded my bike on the car and put my key in the ignition when the rain started.

Overall, this is a beautiful route in a part of Ontario and Quebec that I did not know very well. The Pine Lodge in Norway Bay is a small treasure, well worth the stop.

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