Shifting – March Ride 2 – Throw the chain

22/23 March 2020

98 kms (61 miles)

There are times when you’re riding and the shifting is smooth. The terrain is gentle and there is not much thought or effort required to maintain cadence. And then there are times when the hill is deceptively steep when you are in unknown terrain and you get caught in a gear that isn’t appropriate for the grade. Sometimes you manage to shift into an appropriate gear at the last moment, or with a bit of a grinding clunk. And then there are times when you attempt to shift too much under too much strain, and you end up throwing the chain right off the cogs and finding yourself completely stalled in the middle of a steep uphill. If you’re lucky, you don’t fall off the bike, too, as you throw the chain.

Well, the world threw the chain this week. Read more

Shifting – February Ride 1 – Corrugated

99 kms (62 miles)

21/22 February

There are those moments when your heart catches in your throat. It’s a moment of panic, a moment of ‘oh shit’ realization that something’s gone wrong. The level of panic and the immediacy of reaction reflect the seriousness of the situation.

Luckily, I’ve not had too many of those moments in my life. But we had one on this ride where my heart was suddenly in my throat before it dropped to the depths of my stomach. There’s nothing like that feeling to spur you into action. Read more

Shifting – January Ride 1 – An unexpected treat

19 January 2020

45 kms (28 miles)

The morning begins with thick smoke and an orange tint to the air. It’s been that way most mornings since the beginning of the year.

They’ve said we were going to get rain on a couple occasions now and we got nothing at all. Today they say we’re supposed to have showers developing. We’ll believe it when we see it. We haven’t had rain since the first day of December.

But somewhere around 11.30, the north-northwesterly that should bring that rain strengthens and blows the smoke away. I’ve been working on coursework, but when I see the opportunity to ride, I pluck it right up. Read more

Shifting – Introduction

The road tilts up gently. The wind begins to push hard against your face. You automatically shift into an easier gear to maintain cadence.

Sometimes you can see when you will need to shift. Sometimes you can just feel it. Sometimes it’s subtle; sometimes it’s not.

One of the joys of having ridden for many years is how you know just by instinct when to shift. It becomes automatic and not something you usually even think about.

And so, this year looks like it will be all about shifting. Read more

Plan B – Dec Ride 1 – Last 3 Rides of 2018

23, 25, 26 December 

Total kilometres: 115 kms (72 miles)

Total kilometres 2018: 4006 kms (2489 miles)

We’ve whipped around the sun again. The year is coming to a close. In some ways, the year has dragged so slowly. In other ways, it’s hard to believe that another 12 months have passed. Sliding into the holiday season, I see one final opportunity for an overnight ride before the heat sets in. Read more

Plan B – November Ride 2 – Wind and a cold

24 and 25 November

Total Kilometres: 53 kms (33 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3791 kms (2356 miles)

The low pressure system wound up. It curled into a tight ball with lengthening rain bands and spun its way across the state. On Wednesday the rain came from the north in long north-south bands. On Thursday the temperature plummeted from a high of 15C at midnight to 9C by mid-day. They got 5-6 inches of snow in the mountains. We got band after band of heavy rain that fell in torrential sheets interspersed with moments of sun. The wind strengthened. The rain bands came from the west. On Friday, the rain and wind came from the west southwest. On Saturday, low, scuddy clouds intermixed with the sun, and the wind stayed strong but moved to the southwest. Jumpers (i.e. jacket or sweatshirt) were required. It was our last taste of winter and it was definitely a blustery blast that felt like late July instead of late November. Read more

Plan B – November Ride 1 – So, this is Plan C

3 and 4 November

Total Kilometres: 48 kms (30 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3643 kms (2264 miles)

It’s a change in the wind. It’s the angle of the sun. It’s a smell. It’s the way the cloud moves over a stand of trees. It’s these things, sometimes together, sometimes on their own. It’s other things. But it’s always some flash of familiarity or a momentary stutter of sight, smell and/or sound.

Something makes a neuronal connection and a flash of the present brings forth a memory from the past. All of a sudden I’m in Nebraska in May pedaling against a strong quartering headwind with storm clouds receding. Read more

Plan B – October Ride 1 – Back in the saddle

7 and 8 October

Total Kilometres: 51.23 kms (31.83 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3996 kms (2110 miles)

Time slips away. It silently rolls on while we’re sleeping. It ticks by slowly in the hours at work. It jumps forward an hour in spring. And so, it feels like just yesterday that we were riding through the canola at the end of August. And now, we’re already into the second week of October and daylight savings has made the days seem longer.

Of course, my goal for September was not to ride at all. Read more