Monday, April 19, 2010


It's good to have some goals, right? I have been daydreaming, since midwinter, about taking a day or two out this summer to take some long road trips. Now, I know Mike needs a serious tuneup before that happens. Today, on my way to Vanier, I realized that I can't even really rely on him to change gears when I want him to. (If you saw a cyclist around 6:45 AM on Alta Vista, her legs madly flying around like she was desperate, it's just because I couldn't shift to a higher gear to save my life.) But once Festival wraps up, it's off to the bike shop with Mike for an overhaul. And then, I think I want to start covering some serious distance.

I know he's not really built for the long hauls the way those leggy racing bikes are. Meh. I bet Mike can handle it. And I'm just masochistic enough to try the long distances on a mountain bike that weighs ... I don't know what he weighs. A lot.

So, I've been eyeing the University of Ottawa Heart Institute's Bike for Beats charity ride. I'm looking at the 100 km ride, actually. I mean, why not? Last Thursday, at a conservative estimate, I did 24 miles in a day (what with needing to get to work, and rehearsal, and my radio show, and other errands.) That's like 38.5 kilometres, as part of my regular getting around. Is an extended ride different? I guess I'll find out. If I do sign up, rest assured I'll let you know.

I occasionally also have these mad fantasies about, say, biking home to New Brunswick for a visit. I've always admired the people that do long un-automated journeys, whether it's hiking the Appalachian Trail or sailing across the Pacific on a raft. I've always been sort of envious of them. I imagine the stillness that must eventually settle in, the rhythm, the enforced slowing down of the brain that happens when you're no longer whizzing along at 120 km an hour; when you simply can't whiz along at that speed. The exhaustion and the pain too - I can be (ask some of my friends) annoyingly enthusiastic about pushing myself to my limits. I've dragged friends up mountains that I maybe shouldn't have.

But there is also something about consciously crossing distances, and taking the time to get somewhere. I heard that the author Will Self insists on walking into town from the airport whenever he lands in a new city, because that's the best way to ground himself in the new landscape. I can... um... kinda see where he's coming from.

But before I run off into the Blue and get myself drownded, as the hobbits would say, I think I'll set my sights a little nearer. Like biking 100 km in the fall.


  1. 100km in a day isn't, really, all that much if you're in shape for it. And, you should be in shape for it.

    I did some 80-100km days on my Europe trip. Ok, by the time we did those days, I'd probably been cycling 40-60kms/day 2 days in 3 for a month or two. But, still, I came into that trip with essentially no training. With the amount you're riding -- you really shouldn't find it all that difficult.

    I've, also, walked 50km (again, much much younger) with no training or lead up to it. I would say that riding 100km should be way easier than walking 50km.

  2. I haven't quite done 100km - I think my record for a single day is about 90. I felt a bit of a bump around the 60km mark...

    Of course, I made the big big big mistake of remembering an appointment about the 2/3 mark, and having to sprint the rest of the way. Attempting to sprint, anyway... I've done the same distance at a more leisurely pace several times with no damage since!

  3. Yeah, I figured 100 was probably totally within my range. I wonder how long it would take me? I do think that I'll get some thinner tires for that, though - just because the fat tires suck momentum like nobody bidness.

    Oh, yeah, and it's SO tuneup time for Mikey boy. My right-hand brake is squishy and the gearshift is just wrecked. . . so before I go too far, I think I'll get him straightened out.