I got really spoiled with weekend morning outings this year. We started out as soon as there was fresh snow. The best cross country skiing in the region is at the Gatineau Park, but this year we stuck to the Kanata Lakes golf course and the Wesley Clover grounds.
Alas, this year there wasn’t much snow and skiing was icy. That only meant that the Randonneuring season started early…
Temple’s Sugar Bush in Lanark
Followed very quickly with family coffee rides.
For a very rainy year, we only rode in bad weather once or twice. This was one of those times – coffee and hail.
Then there were the early morning “let’s see how much biking we can get in before lunch” rides.
Watts Creek Path – our usual gateway to anything east of Kanata
My goal this year to make these outings diverse and interesting – something for everyone. With that in mind we tried out Orienteering.
Registering at a checkpint in the South March Highlands
I am picky about lake swimming but Meech hit the spot. Also, we did not get eaten by bears so win all around.
Getting kids biking is always challenging what with different levels of ability and interest. Markus’ best effort was eight kilometres on the bike and 1 and a half on a scooter.
Enjoying the Bike Sundays (Parkways get closed to cars)
We visited all of our favourite joints, but also checked out some new locations. Tonique opened in Old Chelsea offering full breakfast just when and where you need it. Britannia and Westboro beaches now both have cafes on site. We made it to a few spots that were on the list for a while such as Equator on Churchill, Edgar in Gatineau and Constance Lake Lodge in Dunrobin. My favourite experience was at the Happy Goat Cafe in Baywiew. It was the morning after Canada Day and the staff handled hangover with enviable panache.
First cup of coffee at Happy Goat (though a series of hilarious mishaps I think we ended up having three)
More than anything I really tried to discover new (to me) places to bike to. We enjoyed both banks of the Rideau River from the Hog’s Back to downtown. We checked out the neighbourhood paths between Bruce Pit the Experimental Farm. We found a better way to get to Manotick (conclusion: Cedarview/Jockwale – bad, Steeple Hill/Twin Elm/ Century – good). We explored gravel roads behind Carleton Place and just missed Dan on Grand Fondo in West Carleton.
View from Morris Island Conservation Area
The prettiest place we’ve been to this year must be the Morris Island Conservation Area just south-west of Fitzroy. If you look at the above picture closely you can see the Cheanaux Dam, another one of my preferred biking destinations.
In actual Randonneuring news, I completed three 200km Brevets. What surprised me the most is that they do not seem to get any easier, at least not at this point. My goal for next year, instead of setting a longer distance, is to be able to eat a meal after I am done with the Brevet. At the end of the Newboro 200 this fall, we all went to a pub where the experienced randonneurs ate a full dinner wile us newbies could barely nurse a beer. Apparently it has something to do with pacing yourself.
There were so many wonderful rides this summer, I am having hard time listing them and not turning this post into a novel. I put together an album on Flickr, so if you managed to get to this point of the post and still want to see more biking pictures you can check them out there.
And with that, I am off to enjoy the ski season that just started…