Last Sunday, I spent the better part of the day on my bike (well.. bikes) “training” for my upcoming ride to Montreal and our family bike-camping trip. I registered the family for the CHEO 35km bike ride in the morning and in the afternoon, I booked off some “mom time” and rode to the Chelsea Pub with a good friend.
There were lots of cyclists out for the 35km CHEO ride. We arrived early before the 70km group left and there was a lot of spandex on display. There were many fancy road bikes. For our shorter ride, I wore my new Lole dress (with spandex shorts underneath – turns out 35km requires a bit of cushion). Despite the distance, I wanted to attempt a bit of ‘cycle chic’. The dress worked out great and I even got a compliment. Who says you can’t do a bike tour in a dress? I’m packing it for Montreal. (THUMBS UP!!)
The CHEO ride was a good test ride to see how many kilometres the kid could tolerate pedalling, and more importantly, how many kilometres I could stand pedalling with a 40lb kid in the Weehoo. And perhaps the biggest test of all, could my Raleigh commuter bike cut it for our camping trip?
The kid was a trooper. He thought the ride was a race, so we didn’t stop at any of the food stations, but I insisted on having a couple of water breaks. There were no complaints from the back seat, so I’m confident he’s going to be an excellent bike camper. I’m less confident about the bike. My Raleigh makes a great commuter bike, but after 20km, it didn’t feel so great. My hands were going a bit numb and with only 8 gears, even minor hills were a challenge.
My bike conscience is telling me to run out and buy my dream camping bike, the Surly Troll, rather than simply raising or swapping out the Raleigh’s handlebars for something more swoopy. So far, my spending conscience is winning so far. I really want the new bike.
It was also good to know that towing the Weehoo for 35km works up a serious appetite. After the BBQ part of the event, I went home and ate an entire package of Jarlsberg cheese. (Note to self: pack lots of cheese for Montreal!) On a related note, are there any energy bars on the market that don’t taste like roadkill covered in chocolate?
At home, I swapped bikes for the afternoon’s adventure. I pulled my Steelwool out for the first ride of the season and attached my Arkel handlebar bag for the ride. I’ll do a full review of the bag in another post, but suffice to say, it’s a great bag but I don’t think it works well on the Steelwool. (Too much bag for too light of a bike.) I probably would have been better off getting a seatpost bag. Ah well, live and learn.
To avoid the not so fun ride to get to Gatineau Park, we plopped the bikes on top of the car and headed off. (Yes, I know there are ways around the not so great bits, but sigh, it was nice to get a drive.)
With the Parkway closed to traffic, it was a great day to be riding. Except for the climb to Pink Lake, which I am pretty sure is much steeper this year. The Weehoo towing in the morning did not make me a very good hill climber. Although, I’m not a great hill climber on a good day.
I stopped to “take photos of trilliums” rather than admit “hey, I’m spent, let’s stop for a few minutes.”
I’m a much better coaster than a climber. I’m also a much better ‘sit on a patio with a beer and eat salmon gravlax’er’ than a climber.
All in all, there were 65km covered on the bike. My trip to Montreal will be almost twice that distance each day, but I feel that without the burden of Weehoo towing or Gatineau Hill climbing, I’ll be able to tackle this.
And I biked to work on Monday without needing any Advil. A positive sign.