Last fall, as members of Brampton Cycling Advisory Committee and BikeBrampton chatted in the parking garage under City Hall after a committee meeting, I overheard John and David talking about planning a cycling trip from Ottawa to Brampton for Canada’s 150th birthday. My ears perked up. I have long dreamed of cycling across Canada since meeting a cross-Canada cyclist on our family trip trip driving through the Rocky Mountains in 1983, but for one reason or another I have never managed to do a trip by bike. I asked them for details and they asked me if I would be interested. I replied that I would.
Fast forward eight months and we are about to set off on our adventure. The cyclists include David and his wife Dayle, John, Rani, Nelson and me. John’s friend Jim will be driving his van pulling a trailer with all our bikes and luggage. Nelson is Brampton’s aActive Transportation Manager and the rest of us are cycling advocates who are passionate about cycling. John will travel to Ottawa with Jim and Nelson, and the rest of us will travel on VIA Rail.
John and Jim have made two trips in a car scouting the route and had the great idea of collecting bike boxes to keep our bikes safe in the trailer on the drive to Ottawa.
We dropped off our bikes and luggage at John’s house this evening.
Here’s a picture of David and Dayle removing the pedals from my bike so that it will fit in the bike box. We had a small hiccough when it seemed that one of my pedals wouldn’t come off, but a rubber mallet came to the rescue.
This is the inside of the trailer with everything loaded, except for Nelson’s bike and suitcase, which will arrive with Nelson tomorrow morning.
Finally, a picture of the gang, absent Nelson, who doesn’t live in Brampton, and Rani, who had already dropped her things off and left. From left to right – Jim, Lisa, Dayle, David and John.
Here’s Rani dropping off her bike.
We will spend Sunday traveling. On Monday David has arranged a number of meetings with government officials to learn about the national cycling strategy and to make sure that key people in Ottawa are aware of the fact that there are advocates and staff in Brampton working hard to improve cycling in the city. We will also be getting a tour of Ottawa cycling infrastructure. Tuesday is a free day in Ottawa. We can see the sights, pick up anything we realize that we have forgotten and rest for the trip home. On Wednesday we start riding.
Wednesday – Ottawa to Merrickville ~ 75km
Thursday – Merrickville to Kingston via at the Thousand Islands Parkway ~ 125km
Friday – Kingston to Belleville ~ 87
Saturday – Belleville to Port Hope ~ 79
Sunday – Port Hope to Ajax ~ 83-88km depending on route
Monday – Ajax to Brampton ~ 68-94km depending on route
I realized after riding over 3700 km last year, including one ride of 120 km, that I needed to do some work to strengthen my neck and shoulders over the winter. I worked on it on my own for a few months but felt I wasn’t coming along as quickly as I wanted, so I consulted my physiotherapist who told me that I had a “head forward” position which I needed to correct with stretching, strengthening and better posture. Under his guidance I have made significant strides but don’t feel I am quite as far as I would like to be for this ride, so while I am very excited for this trip, I do have some trepidation about my ability to ride this significant number of kilometres for six days straight, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
The most I have ever done before is 200 km in two days or 390 km in one week. However I have done over 2500 km in the last four months including over 800 km in May and over 1100 km in June. I have done my best to prepare.
Wish me luck. I will try to write a blog post about our adventures each evening. I hope you enjoyed following along.