Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring is here...let the bike tours begin!


Now that the snow is melting and the sun is warm and the birds are in full breeding plumage, my thoughts have turned to bike touring.

This year, I will organize and lead a bike tour to Picton during the May long weekend. Picton is a pictoral and gastronomic gem with lovely farmlands, and numerous vineyards. They even have a cheese factory that produces goat and sheep milk ice cream and is LEED certified.

After Picton in May, (Twice as I shall lead a tour and go on an organized one), there is the Breast Cancer weekend where I will volunteer as a cyclist to support the walkers. As a breast cancer survivor myself, I am proud to inspire and encourage the brave walkers, each of whom have raised a considerable amount of money with fundraising. During the walk last year, we walked (They walked, I rode) throughout numerous neighborhoods in Ottawa. The most touching were the poorer neighborhoods. As we passed tenements and row houses, people had kool aid, or chocolate bars or popsicles. There were chalk drawings cheering on the walkers on Cummings Avenue and our walkers were treated like Olympians. We were greeted with children who danced. In contrast, when we walked through a wealthy neighborhood in Rockcliff, we were met, by a rather stern woman watering her garden who complained to me that the walkers likely scared her cat and she hoped no one walked on her lawn. I hope the walkers trampled her lawn into mud!

Mid June will have our Bike team riding to Cobden for a bike/whitewater rafting trip.

In July I will lead a tour to Montreal during the Canada day weekend. This is a very easy cycle but it should be fun just the same. The best tour in July will be the Bon Ton Roulet. This is a 6 day tour run by volunteers in the finger lakes of New York I shall ride about 75 miles a day, and camp at night. The money raised helps support YMCA programs for youth. What a lot of fun that will be.

In August there is the two day MS ride. I have worked diligently to secure about 15 sponsors for our team. Our team of 20 will wear specially made uniforms festooned with the logos of our sponsors. Our sponsors (most of them) will also have booths in Kemptville where they will speak of their trade. I will have chiropractors, physiotherapists, white water rafting and a bike shop. The MS ride is from Ottawa to Kemptville and is a fun ride. This year, I don't have the stress of raising the minimum $250.00 required to ride, as this has been achieved through my sponsors.

August will also have one of Barrie Kirks famous NY pannier trips!

Hopefully there will be more in September but so far, none that I have planned.

This leaves March and April for me to burn the rubber in spin classes and lifting weights! There is nothing like a bike season to inspire me!

Biking and bike touring in particular is a zen like experience where you are alone with your bike. Your transportation is entirely in your hands, there is no gas, no GPS (well some do have it). It is you, with your bike, your bags and maps and friends. There is nothing quite like the feel of the sun on your face and watching the scenery roll by. On a bike, you are able to participate in the scenery, you can stop anywhere, go anywhere. Your transportation can be carried up stairs, locked against trees, or lifted on your car's bike rack.

Some say that biking and bike touring is an addiction, but that is not correct. Biking is more like a love affair, passionate, encouraging, and most of all...it is an affirmation of life and physicality.

Vive le velo!!

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