Pansy and I

For those of you who know me personally, you will know that I have a tendency to name inanimate objects…cars, computers, anything that I use on a frequent basis. Recently, I purchased my first adult bike – a purple-hued hybrid bike (the lovechild of a mountain bike and a road bike) – and because of her shade, I have named her Pansy. She is lovely (though I popped her tire tube the first time I took her out) and I look forward to many adventures with her.

A few weeks ago, I took her on two adventures – a more urban one on the Wednesday, and a more trail-oriented one on the Friday. Both were over 10 km roundtrip, and were fun rides (except for the slow and brutal climb back up Centennial). Work has made it so that I haven’t taken her for a longer ride again this week, but I am planning on making a trip down to Lemoine’s Point when the weather clears up.

This was my urban ride. It was shortly before lunch, and my intention was to go for a quick spin, heading down Centennial as per my usual route, then swinging back around at Queen Mary to go home. However, when I got to Queen Mary, the beckoning of separated bike lines was too strong, and I made a right and headed further on Queen Mary towards Johnson. After a slight uphill climb, I decided I would go to Portsmouth and Johnson and turn back. But as I rounded the corner towards the intersection, I could see Sir John A. in the distance, and figured that since I’ve already come this far, why not keep going? I pedalled through all the way to church, where I stopped in for a quick chat with P.Lo. It was a nice little break, and after about 15 minutes, my grumbling stomach told me it was time to head home. I headed back the same way I came (with a few small route changes) in time for some grub at around noon.

Friday’s adventure was quite a different story. Again I headed down my normal route, but after turning on Queen Mary, I ventured down a cul de sac to the access to the Rideau Trail.

About a week prior, I had ridden the Rideau Trail on the other side of Queen Mary, past the condos and up to Parkway Ave. It was pretty underwhelming, so I was hoping for a more riveting ride this time around. And let me tell you, the trail did not disappoint. Before I go any further, let me show you the sign that I came across at the bottom of the trail, after I had completed the ride…

In my “research” I had neglected to notice that this trail was meant for hiking only (That totally explained why there was a weird gate contraption present on the other leg of the trail). This accounted for why the conditions of the trail required me to dismount my bike approximately 17 times over the course of my ride (reminder: I have a hybrid bike, not a mountain bike). Large rocks, unforgiving tree roots, puddles and mud littered the trail, and I knew my wheels would not be able to handle it. On multiple occasions, I considered turning back, but every time I decided to press on, even when I encountered my first large obstacle…

The trail cuts across the railroad tracks not once, but twice. Each time, I had to lift my bike up the hill of gravel (with some degree of difficulty), cross the tracks and hope no trains came through while I was there, and walk my bike down the hill of gravel to the other side. I’ll be honest, part of me was hoping I would see a train go by, because that would have made for a really cool pictures, but alas that did not happen.

I continued on a little ways until I hit my second obstacle. This one really shocked me, partially for its beauty, and partially for the uncertainty of whether I would be able to traverse it…

That wooden bridge is less sturdy than it looks in the picture. I almost tripped over a loose board, and I kid you not when I tell you that if you fall off, you fall into marshland, the depth of which I do not know (and do not care to discover). It seems that this trail likes to do things in pairs, as there was another similar wooden bridge later on along the trail. Needless to say, I took my time here, stopping to take in the scenery and to take a few pictures, including one of Pansy waiting patiently to be walked across.

The rest of the ride was fun, some highlights of which included passing another pair of cyclists on the trail (they had real mountain bikes though, and one was carrying a guitar on his back), peering through the woods and onto the grounds of the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club, and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. While Pansy endured a bit of a beating, I endured an overwhelming amount of biting. I was originally going to post a picture of the 10+ bites that I had received on my arms and legs, but decided against it to save you all the aggravation. Something I discovered on this ride: it’s really hard to swat bugs on your legs when you are cycling…

Anyways, I made it down to the trailhead, and looped back around on Country Club Drive to get back home. It was an enjoyable ride, though I think I will opt for hiking the Rideau Trail next time instead of biking it. Another route on my to-do is the K&P from the 401 up to Elginburg (and maybe beyond). Excited!


2 thoughts on “Pansy and I

  1. fun bike adventure! i was really excited about my bike in the fall, but became afraid of city biking after my tire got caught in a streetcar rail and i wiped out in the rain in october…you’ve give me motivation to give it another shot (with helmet and without rain)!

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