faffyrd007

My New Moose Bicycle

My New Moose Bicycle

and the book: Just Ride by Grant Petersen

My New Bike

In 1968 or 1969, I forget which, one of my best friends and I hopped on the GO train and took it to Union Station in Toronto.  From there we managed the subway system to Bloor Sport & Cycle.  I’m pretty sure that it no longer exists but there are several others in the same area. Or maybe it was renamed. Not sure.  

My friend and I bought identical bikes.  We each purchased a Dawes Galaxy 10 Speed – Black.  It had centre pull brakes and a Brooks leather saddle.  We each paid $159.00!  You can’t buy the saddle for that anymore. 

We managed to ride the streets back to Union Station and took the bikes on the Go Train back.  At the time this commuter train didn’t go all the way to our town so we rode the last few miles.   The ride from Toronto to our town would have been about 30 miles, a distance we were doing pretty regularly not too long after our purchases.  

The next couple of years I did a couple of good summer road trips on my bike; one through Vermont and upstate New York and another from

Dawes Galaxy

My Dawes Galaxy and Gear at Lake Louise

Calgary to Vancouver.  In Canada in case your geography ain’t so good.  That last, out west, was other worldly.  I really should do a separate post on that; I remember it in such detail even though it happened roughly 50 years ago.  10 speeds up and down a couple of the highest passes in the country.

I lived in Calgary for almost 10 years more recently and drove those roads from Calgary into and through the Alberta and BC mountains a hundred times.  I could never get over the fact that I biked up all those mountains.  I even cycled up the road to Lake Louise.  With all my gear!  Back then, early 1970s there were dozens and dozens of people doing the same thing.   We saw the occasional one, very few, more recently.

I’ve had these types of road bikes since the Dawes Galaxy.  Nishiki, Bianchi, Schwinn and more recently a Raleigh. All with the gear changers on the down tube of the frame and usually centre pull or side pull brakes.  

I’ve watched the evolution of bikes over the years and never really liked what I saw.  When I was sizing my bike and setting the seat and handle bars, we had rules of how to to that.  Seat height was: 109% of the distance measured from crotch to floor.  Use that measurement and with pedal extended in line with seat tube, go from centre of pedal axle to top of seat.  When you are sitting on the seat with your toe on the pedal, your leg would then be very slightly bent.  

Then raise the handle bars so the top of the headset is level with the top of the seat.  Place the seat forward or back using this measurement: tip of your fingers to your elbow = length from front tip of seat to just touching the handle bar stem/headset.

One could do minor adjustments from there.  

After riding these road bike for 50 years or so, I was searching for a bike where I wouldn’t be practically upside down.  I’m sure I’d last about 10 minutes before my hands would go numb and I’d have neck issues that I’d never recover from. 

Moose Gravel Bike

In my searches, I found moosebicycle.com  It took me a year of research, comparing and waiting to make sure I wasn’t ‘impulse buying’.  They make a nice touring bike but I eventually opted for their Gravel Bike.  I liked the geometry and some other features.  It has larger gravel tires but if I want, I can put road tires on those rims.  Or get another set of tires to switch out. Or just fix up my old road bike.

On same day that I received my new bike, I came across and downloaded a great book called ‘Just Ride’ by Grant Petersen.  His website and blog, are here https://www.rivbike.com  The blog is equally amusing as the book.

You can likely find the book at the library, hard copy or digitally or you get here:

Book Just Ride

‘Just Ride’

 

 

 

I love Petersen’s irreverence.  I agree with so many chapters of his book.  He lays waste to the false standards that the Bike Racing industry has set.  His ultimate goal seems to be to keep it fun.  And still use cycling to get and stay fit.  Filled with good, useful tips and a hoot to read at the same time.

I’m not retiring my old road bike just yet.  The frame is still excellent; I just have to figure if it is worth getting new components, wheels etc.  I like the geometry and not sure I’ll be able to get what I want otherwise. We’ll see.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter! If you can’t find that on the right, then check out the contact page. 

Thanks for visiting.

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Kayaking 15 Mile Pond

Kayaking 15 Mile Pond

Kayaking 15 Mile

There are so many rivers in the Niagara Region. Not as many as I’d like are accessible.  There are a couple a little further afield for me, like the Grand River and Big Creek which runs into Lake Erie at Long Point.  There a few nice places to drop in a kayak there but it’s a two hour drive.  I like that river as it is small enough, you get the trees overhanging and plenty of bends and twists to keep me happy.  

The Welland River has a few spots to drop in and there is Lyons Creek off that near Chippawa.

But I’m always looking for something new to explore.  Do lots of hiking and driving around see some, what look like good rivers to kayak but nowhere to get in.  Not sure which website showed 15 Mile Pond, it may have been, https://www.peninsulapaddlers.com.  Hook up with them and you can go out with some groups.  

So, back to 15 Mile.  There is a small dock at the bridge crossing the river on Glass Avenue, just west of Gregory Road. If you are coming off the QEW take the immediate right to service road then south on Gregory.  A little ways down it forks.  The right fork is Glass.  Down the hill there is a small parking lot.  Built into the dock there, is the perfect way to get into the river with your kayak or canoe.  Some genius built this thing.  

From the dock you can go up river (south) or north toward Lake Ontario.  We didn’t go north but apparently one gets as far as the QEW.  About 2.5 KM.  Most were going north so we went up river.  My Paddle App wasn’t working, so not sure how far but I’m guess we got about 2km. It was pouring rain and as it was our first outing on the kayaks, we thought we’d had enough.  Couple of bridges.  The one for the railway is an amazing structure. Cut stones making an arch.  Should last another thousand years.

Someone has seen fit to go up there with a chain saw to keep as clear path. So whomsoever is doing that, I thank you.  

A few photos here.  One of us waiting under a bridge for the rain to stop.  Didn’t help much.  

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Horse Selfies

Horse Selfies

Horse Selfies

Horse Farms Near Ganaraska Forest

Roaming around yesterday up near the Ganaraska Forest (Ganaraska Forest is just east of Highway 35/115 about 30 minutes before you get to Peterborough.)  Great horse country just south of this forest.  Horse country is just about everywhere if you are looking.  Wonderful, curious, friendly animals.  I’m sure that some think that my phone is food when I’m doing the selfie thing.  If they are not trying to nuzzle me and kiss my neck.

These photos are all from yesterday.

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Rocky Mountain Horses

Rocky Mountain Horses

Rocky Mountain Horses

Fall Fun Taking Horse Photos

In the last two years, since moving to Ontario, I haven’t been taking as many equine photos. There are plenty of horses in the areas that I roam but life and routines changed. In Alberta, I had areas that I’d go knowing I would get some great shots of curious and friendly horses.

Yesterday we had scheduled to visit a friend that raises Rocky Mountain horses. She had to go out on an emergency but told us that it was quite fine to show up and shoot some horse photos. She knows that I’m comfortable with them, and they with me, so has no problem me going into the field and walk about. A few of the photos are below. The little one would hardly leave me alone. Loved having his hips massaged. Mama is a grey and you can start to see the colt losing some of his colour.

Lots of selfies which I’ll post separately on Instagram. @faffyrd or search my full name.

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Ball’s Falls Fall Colours

Ball’s Falls Fall Colours

Ball’s Falls Fall Colours

This is the perfect place to go whether you want a short or long walk or hike.  Parts of it are on the Bruce Trail.  And there is a short walk up the river to the Upper Falls that, in this time of year is quite spectacular with the Fall colours.  The reds are a bit late in coming this year, so I had to tweak the photos a bit.  I hope you don’t mind.  The parking is $8 a person.  We have been there at times past 4:30 when the office closes and ended up not having to pay.  Not sure if this is usual or not.  Seniors are $6 – that helps a bit.  Although, I don’t mind paying really as it goes to support these beautiful places.

There are a bunch of old buildings there – old mill, house, blacksmith barn, etc but none have been open any time we have been gone through the park.  We went on a 10 km hike a couple of weeks ago from this location –  north along the Bruce Trail but decided we just wanted a day of puttering around and enjoying the scenery and taking photos.  It was the perfect day for this.  

If you are ever in the Niagara region and want to check some of these places out, please contact us and we’ll try and go with you.

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More Wellandport Kayaking

More Wellandport Kayaking

Kayaking near Wellandport – Niagara Region

There aren’t that many places to drop in the rivers around here.  Google maps helped me with this one.  There is a little park on the east end of Wellandport, just to the left of the Library when you are facing south.  Follow the road to the loop at the end, not very far at all.  Generally, it is not busy there and there is parking with an easy spot to put in your kayaks.  A couple of weeks ago my brother in law and I went upstream about 4 km so this time Yvonne and I tried the downstream stretch.  I wouldn’t have tried this in the Spring when there was so much rain as this river was really moving then and I don’t like coming back upstream.  Something to think about when you are planning a trip.

The river is really quiet right now and quite muddy.  We went in the evening – started about 6:30 PM and got back just after 8.  We didn’t want to be coming upstream in the dark.  Might miss our exit!  Sun was low which was nice as it had been a very hot day.  Chatting with a fisherman on the edge of his property who told us that we could take a side route a little up on the left and on into Wellandport.  But we found the river too low presently to traverse it there.  So, did an easy one down the lazy river about 2 km then back.  No bugs as it is late enough in the season.  Pretty quiet in spite being near the road in parts.  When it is a bit cooler we’ll start early enough that we can go further.

Here is a few second video.  You can see how muddy the water is.

And here are a few photos of the evening. You can see how muddy the river is.  The photo with the sun, yeah, that is tons of algae on the water.

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Kayaking Welland River

Kayaking Welland River

Wellandport Kayaking

Peter and I went out on the Welland River last evening for about 2 hours.  There are not that many places to put in a boat along there but a few weeks ago on a drive-a-bout Yvonne and I found the perfect spot near the Wellandport Community Center/Library just outside of Wellandport.  

If you are coming west along Highway 20, just past Fonthill go south on Canborough Road.  About half a mile before you get to Wellandport on the left hand side of the road (south side) is the Community Center.  To the right (west) side of that is a gravel road/lane that goes back along the park.  Follow that to the river.  There is a loop there with parking.  And a small spot to put in boats. 

We put the kayaks in about 6 PM – it was still very hot for the first hour.  We went up the river for about an hour – did just over 4 km going up the river.  Wind and current coming toward us.  Coming back was nicer as the sun was lower and there was some shade.  And it was a lot easier as we weren’t fighting the current.  

It was a very pleasant evening.  There were some houses in the town that back onto the river and we got some friendly waves.  And we got to watch a bunch of kids working on getting a pontoon boat unstuck.  It had been parked at their dock when the river was about a foot higher it looked like.  They were using boards to lever it out.  I didn’t think they would be successful but about 25 minutes later they were cruising along behind us. 

Generally a nice quiet evening. Total a little over 8 kilometres.

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Kayaking Welland River

Kayaking Welland River

Kayaking Welland River

We finally had some nice weather and got a decent few hours of kayaking in after a crappy Spring.  We didn’t want to  make our first run in one of the swollen rivers in the area.  Just wanted an easy day of it.  Went to a small park along the river between Chippewa and Niagara Falls.  North side.  If you go south on Dorchester from McLeod and turn right when you get to the end you will follow Chippewa Parkway around.  Once you are going along the river you will see a small park with a spot to launch boats.  If you get to the Canoe Club (George Bukator Park) you have gone way too far.

The river is quite wide and open so if you are out on a sunny day long sleeves or some sunscreen might be in order.  And a hat.  Was a nice breeze so kept the bugs away whereas a smaller enclosed river at this time of year, with all this rain, well, makes for lots of mosquitos.  We went about 4km along the river. The first bit you are going with a current until you get to about the railway bridge and the QEW bridge.  Check out the bridge, though.  It is an old one that would rotate to let boats pass.  Past there it is pretty easy going both ways.  We saw nowhere along that stretch for putting up the kayaks.  There are a few private docks only.  Not too many people out on the water. The benefit of going out during the week, I guess.

Lots of bird life.  You can see the ‘Egret’ video below.  This video was done with Adobe Premiere Pro.  I just downloaded it.  I have no natural intuition with these programs.  I have a son that edits movies for a living.   He was a natural since he was 12!   Not me so much.  I do like the program.  One can do so much more that with simple free  programs.  Looking forward to really learning and using the program.

Below the video are a few photos of the river.

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Hiking Ithaca, New York

Hiking Ithaca, New York

Buttermilk State Park, Watkins Glen State Park

Buttermilk Falls, Watkins Glen and other waterfalls

Hiking Ithaca, Watkins Glen water falls.

Booked a concert to go see in Ithaca, New York this for this past weekend.  A finger picking guitar legend named Leo Kottke.  He played at the Hangar Theatre last Saturday night.

As my wife and I are avid hikers we thought it would be good to see some of the sights while we were in the area.  I did some research before leaving on the trip and found that there are an amazing numer of spectacular waterfalls in the area of Ithaca and Watkins Glen.  All around the Finger Lakes area.

On our way in to Ithaca, along the west side of Cayuga Lake, we stopped at Taughannock State Park.  We first drove up to the top overlook to see the falls from there – tall!  Then drove around the hiked in from the parking lot.  More of a walk than a hike really. Only took 10 minutes.  One of the highest drops of a waterfall east of the Rockies apparently at 215 feet.

From there we checked in to our AirBnB in town and got some dinner.  After that we hiked Buttermilk Falls.  We started at the top and hiked down to almost the park at the bottom then back up(obviously).  We take a lot of photos so going the first direction takes us about 3 times as long as coming back.  We were there on the Friday evening, a little while before dusk, which makes for much better light than the middle of the day.  I liked this one as there weren’t too many people as opposed to Watkins Glen – that was packed.

I didn’t have much choice of the weekend I wanted to go because of the concert but going again I would not choose the graduation weekend.  So many parents hiking about with their graduates.

Saturday was spent see a bit of the town, Ithaca Farmers Market in the morning where I was able to get my second breakfast of this delicious breakfast samosa.  We went to Robert Treman State Park but the gorge trail was close due to all the rain so we ended up doing a short walk about there.  Couldn’t really see much of the falls.  We circled around and were able to see a bit more at the base but not much walking about.  We went through the university and circled around Bebee Lake. Very Spring like with the students out on the lake in their canoes. If you make that walk around the lake, be sure to go up the short spur just past the bridge along the river and you can see a nice waterfall or two.

It was too early for much in the way of flowers in their botanical gardens.

On Sunday, Watkins Glen, even with the crowds, was amazing.  I have not yet done any research on what went into the construction of the walkways and bridges etc but they were masterful.  You are climbing a lot of stair but this is completely worth the effort.  If you are debating whether to take the rim trail back instead, it is not hard at all and should take you about a quarter of the time to get to the parking lot at the entrance on S Pavilion Road.  

Below are just a few of the photos.

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Rockway to Louth Falls

Rockway to Louth Falls

Bruce Trail End2End – Rockway to Louth Falls

Yesterday we hiked from Rockaway to Louth Falls.  We took only one car so had to hike there and back.  It was one of our more enjoyable hikes.  Well, it did rain for half the time…

We had the trail to ourselves and there was a fair bit of up and down.  More that a lot of the trails here we’ve done so far.  

It started raining about 15 minutes before we got to Louth Falls.  Took us just under 2 hours to get there from Rockway parking lot.  We tend to dilly-dally taking photos and such so if you are hiking in earnest it will likely take you an hour each way.  Total was a little over 10K the way we did it.  

My wife brought a walking stick/ski pole.  I should have brought something.  We have good walking sticks but most of the hikes we have been on in the Niagara region, there really has been no need.  As there was a fair bit of ups and downs on this hike and with the rain and all it made for some pretty slippery slopes.  Definitely would have made my life easier.  

Also, the rain made a good argument for carrying a dry shirt and even a light rain slicker.  I was once hiking Ha Ling, up behind Canmore, Alberta.   It was quite warm where we started and I was drenched with sweat by the time I got to the top.  Tough climb.  There were snow flurries at the top. Fortunately I had a dry shirt in my backpack that I could change into.  

I read in some adventure or spy novel once a very smart idea in case of rain when you are stuck in the woods.  If all you had was a large plastic back that was waterproof, you could place all of your clothes in that while it was raining, (yeah, if you are soaked, you are going to get freezing cold anyway), once the rain had stopped, you cold dress in dry clothes and you would actually be much better off than if you let your clothes get drenched.  A simple plastic bag of some sort is practically weightless.

By the time we got back to the car the rain had, of course, stopped.  

We likely only have a couple more good hikes that we can get in before the kayaks come out and we on the rivers and lakes instead of the trails.  

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