Monday, 17 November 2014

Hybrid Rides and Dancing Deer

Most of my bike rides lately have been on a trainer.  I've been itching for any reason whatsoever to take one of my other bicycles for an outdoor ride.  Well, on this particular Sunday the temperature was only 2C.  But it was sunny and the roads were dry after days and days of rain.  It seemed like the perfect excuse to bust out my hybrid bicycle and hit some of the waterfront trail.

Dirt road complete with crater sized potholes.

The route I was planning on had mixed surfaces.  Some of it would be paved bicycle path.  But a lot of that pavement has buckled, cracked, broken and formed "eggs" (giant bumps in the road).  Some of it is dirt road pocked with hazardous potholes.  Some of it is stone dust with a smattering of gravel.  As the area is pretty flat there is little change in elevation.  Almost all of it follows a river and has plenty of ponds, marshes and other wetlands.  In other words, perfect for my hybrid bike.

An "egg" in the road.  Easily kill your wheel hitting it.
It was also a blast from the not-so-distant-past for me.  I started this journey on this bike and this route.

Clothing wise I had good ideas.  MEC Ardent jersey, Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Tights, thermal beanie, MEC Ace cycling liner, Mirelle trail running shoes and SmartWool socks.  I wouldn't dream of this combo at this temperature on the Valence.  But the Hybrid is a lot slower than the Valence so cutting the wind is a lot less of an issue.  I brought extra layers just in case.

Not sure why the cone is there?  I survived crossing twice.
I started to regret skipping the maintenance when I started pedaling on the bike.  I found lots of resistance but just chalked it up to being spoiled with a super light road bike.  After trying to tough it out for a while, I stopped and noticed my rear tire was really low.  I pulled out my hand pump and learned why it's so important to have a pump with you.  I also learned why people use CO2 pumps because pumping up tires with a mini pump SUCKS!

Pretty unstable ground here, back tire slid a fair amount.
On the way back while climbing a slight incline on stone dust, I saw a deer.  I have run into wildlife on a third of my rides in this area and had been hoping to see something.  When it dashed into the tree line I saw a second deer follow it in.  I noticed the tree line was actually just a line of trees blocking an open field.  One I would have access to another 10 or so meters up the path.  So I biked into the grass and aligned my video camera to see the deer...

... and I kid you not, they started leaping about playfully!  And I have some poorly recorded proof of the encounter, courtesy of my budget action camera!  It's a bit hard to see due to the sun.
Sorry about the bad sound and shakiness.  I need to get a better video editing software to clean up these clips.  I'm getting a helmet mount so the view should be more directional (and less shaky).  I also have a better camera on my wish list.

Trail gets washed out with old leaves and pine needles.
On my way back, I could see in my mind's eyes places where I huffed and puffed with exertion.  I was so much slower then.  I'd be wearing a smattering of sweaty workout clothes and a look of determination.  Now I'm more than 40 lbs lighter than the man I was; I'm leaner, more muscular, more fit than I've been in my entire adult life.  The one thing that hasn't changed an iota is my determination.

The bike ride was perfect.  I really missed riding outside and it was nice to do it again.  The deer incident really put a smile on my face.  I'm looking forward to doing it again soon.


  1. Deer are strange creatures: there's a very suburban (many houses, lots of traffic some parks, ballfields, etc..) area that I commute by car through where the deer are plentiful and run out in front of cars frequently. Last week, while stopped at a light I looked over into a yard with a playset with swings and a slide to see a doe playfully prancing around the swing, whacking at it with her head, bounce around it in a circle and then hit the swing again with her hooves like it was a pinata.
    No fear.
    So strange.

    1. We're swamped with them here. I discovered just how many last week riding the very dark waterfront area.. My headlamp lit up lots of pairs of eyes from the nearby woods.