Monthly Archives: February 2011

Deceptive Sunshine, Powerful Wind

Today the sun was shining so brightly and we just wanted to cycle.  But we couldn’t.  The kids had a day off school and I had a funeral at the church.  Because of a Valentine’s Dinner the night before I couldn’t set up and had to go in to get everything in place before 10:30 a.m. when the last visitation would be occurring just prior to the funeral.

It was also my sister-in-law’s birthday.  So on the way home from church, while picking up milk from my husband’s work and running it home, I text-ed her and said we’d like to come by and drop off a hug and the cot that we borrowed from the farm.  I did this while filling up the van with gas and was dressed in short sleeve top with tank underneath.  It was glorious but the wind was strong.

We ended up running over to the farm.  We brought the puppies and they had such glorious fun being allowed to run and run and run without having to be held on a leash and tug us along.

By the time we got home again it was 4 p.m.  We decided to grab the bikes, head to the bike shop to pick up a cable I had ordered that would connect into my bike’s frame/O/Dutch lock.  I also did end up buying myself a D lock to provide an extra measure of security.  From there we headed back to the church.

I wanted to get the tables and chairs put away so that I/we can concentrate on cleaning tomorrow.  So we did.

But while the sun was delicious and wonderful and made us all talk like winter was gone, the wind was dangerous, dastardly and nearly deadly as my daughter nearly was blown into traffic several times.  Oh, and spring fever must be to blame for the lovely treatment we got from drivers.

Sun warm, Wind strong, Drivers selfish.  What else is new?

The sun, ah the glorious sun

Son rides a KHS Green Bike and Daughter rides a vintage blue Raleigh that we had a 3 speed drum brake hub installed in the back and drum brakes in the front too. This improved the braking for her considerably. She finds the weight of this bike very comforting. Her ‘basket’ is a milk crate that I bought when I was 15 and travelled with me now for nearly 20 years 🙂


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Cycling in a Fast Paced World or Does cycling change you?

While I sit here and moan inwardly at the flash-freeze that has seen a 17 degree Celsius temperature drop today which keeps me from cycling tonight I let my mind wander. [Cold weather weenie tonight! I’m okay to admit it!]

What came to mind is a conversation I had with a friend on Sunday. We talked about the cycling culture. About cycling as parents and as a family. We shared about how we’ve adapted and changed. Then one of asked, “Did we change how we approach things because of cycling, or was cycling just one part of a conscious choice to change our lifestyles?”

We concluded that it’s not a chicken and egg topic. For both of our families we came into cycling somewhat deliberately and somewhat reactionary.

For both of our families cycling became the best option for us because we were not wealthy and when our vehicles ceased to be a viable source of transportation In her case: it was old and broke down. In our case: it was stolen, destroyed and too old for insurance to pay enough to replace it.

Still, both families had moved into cycling before those circumstances. For myself, I had cycled a lot from high school on. I’m not certain about the other family’s specifics but I remember meeting up with them during the summer before their vehicle had to be retired.

So, we were making deliberate efforts to cycle.

However, when we had to cycle we changed because we were cycling. Having lived rural, I have very good habits when it came to grocery shopping and errand running. I take the car out once a week and do several errands in one go while trying to arrange to go to one location and walk out from there.

Cycling meant that I continued to do that but to seriously consider the items I was taking home with me. I’d point out to the kids that I wasn’t willing to cycle home a case of pop. So we’d get one there and split it as a true treat. Sometimes Daddy would come with and because we had more legs and ability to distribute weight, we would come home with a case of pop or whatever. So the change was more careful ‘consumerism’ and family participation.

Cycling changed how people react to us. We find (all of us) that we do a lot of defence. Now, until recently we home-schooled, so we’re well practised in explaining our choices.

We’d still get invited out to people’s houses. In fact, I think we got invited out more than we do now. Only the invitation would come with a, “We’ll come and get you.”

And we’d explain that “Honestly, we can bike as it is really not that far!”

The concession we made, in the summer time and would be outdoors, was to ask if we could bring the dog. This was because we found the main change was that our visits would last longer. Instead of quickly running over for lunch and then leaving to hurry home, we’d stay. We’d really get to know our friends.

And then, we’d have a riot riding home together. Giggling, laughing, and if it was late at night, flashing the drivers. [Bad joke, our rear lights are set to flashing but the joke amused my 9-year-old immensely!]

The change? Overall, cycling had the effect of slowing us down, but living more deliberately. We choose our moments and tried to have purpose to what we choose.

But, those changes were and are a part of an intentional choice to change our lives. These choices go far beyond the choice to cycle.

Note: In all fairness, both of the families now have vehicles. Theirs was gifted and we bought a really old vehicle that was rebuilt by mechanic students. Both my friend and I feel that in Ontario, during the winter not having a vehicle and having young children makes cycling a poor choice for year round transportation. Also, we have bus transportation in our city. I’m actually scared about using it (my goal for the year) but they use the bus to transport just one of them or when they need a second vehicle.

Sorry for the tense changes. Most of this is written thinking about things that have happened in the past. Some of what happens today. And its late and my daughter has been sick but I still wanted to write!

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Filed under Cycling, Musings

Getting Ready for Warmer Days

Today the family and the dogs got in the van and headed off for a nice sunny Saturday drive to a bike shop we love to love on-line. Its just too far for us to really consider our shop but if we lived in TO, I know we’d be hanging around this shop lots!

We were heading out for two reasons, first because my husband desperately wanted this picture:

Plus Curbside Cycle was having a sale, the Bike Love Sale :).


Because second, we had been hoping for the Basil Basket for the puppies and wanted to take advantage of the sale prices. Unsure of how much we’d save we made a list of some of the other items we have been desiring for quite some time and I had a rough figure of how much we could afford.

We ended up scoring some great items. My daughter was thrilled to get a child’s Basil Pannier set in blue to match her Blue Betty, and my son was mollified with a Dringdring bell when I wouldn’t allow him to ask for the dried Piranha fish.

Josh ended up with a set of Brooks ring handle grips, and I got a Po Campo. I’d been wanting one for ages but felt the cost slightly prohibitive. I’d saved up funds for one, so was hoping for a bit of a deal. I was thrilled with what I was offered and while drawn to the Green Damask rack bag ended up getting the beige version because it would suit the aesthetic of my Batavus.

Summer ride

All in all, we’re all looking forward to warmer days and cycling everywhere, all the time, everyday. Except Bitsy. We still have to convince Bits she’ll like bicycling.

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Cycling the MS Bike Tour, Grand Bend to London and back!

This year my family is again going to ride the Grand Bend to London and back to Grand Bend MS Bike Tour.  The point is to raise funds for the MS Society to fund research into this disease.

My son and I posing after the first day's ride. Sunburned but happy!

My son and I rode the Tour in 2008.  He was 8 years old and cycled every inch on his own two wheels and they were 24 inch wheels.


My beloved Grandmother (Oma) had passed away and he needed something he could pour his grief into and this tour seemed the best way to direct this energy.  My mother’s cousin had MS so we knew something about the disease.


I had promised my daughter that she could ride the tour one year as well.

A few short months ago my Aunt learned that she has Progressive MS.  Its been hard because we knew something was happening.  To put a name to the something doesn’t make it easier though.

This year my daughter decided is the year we’re going to ride.  My son and daughter have convinced my husband, brother and his wife to ride with us.

I registered us under the team name of my children’s choice.  Being that we’re of Dutch heritage… the name kind of makes sense.  We’re the BFG’s (Biking Friendly Giants).

If you have funds you’d like to put toward this cause, you may donate to directly to the MS Society via our webpages.  These have just been set up and sadly my brother’s last name has been misspelled at this point.  I’ll get that fixed!

My son’s page

My daughter’s page

My husband’s page

My brother’s page

My sister-in-law’s page

My page

Interesting enough, if you’re a cyclist you might be interested to learn that Sheldon Brown had MS. He wrote some very inspirational words here. Thanks to Lovely Bicycle for posting about that. I tried to get my Aunt to read his words but she’s still processing and not willing to look at it yet.

My reaction after my son leaned over and licked my face

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Change the Batteries

It appears that my policy of the last two years regarding our digital camera has backfired.  I’m hoping to be wrong but I think our digital camera is broken.


Still, my computer hard drive is filled with funny pictures taken by my kids.  Silly little videos made by them while they play with the playmobile and lego.  So I am far from complaining!


It got me thinking.  I think I’m at that stage.  I need to ‘change my batteries.’


Often it seems like I live from crises to crises.  Currently an Aunt of mine who lives close to me but is close to me as well has been diagnosed with progressive MS.  It’s a very quick-moving disease and she’s basically given up.

Then there is the change we went through in September.  I’m supposed to be sending in the form with our intentions for next year and I have it sitting on the coffee table and I really don’t want to send it in at all.


Teasingly I asked the daughter if she really wanted to go to school next year.  She came out so strongly in favour of school that it hurt.  I shouldn’t have set myself up for that one!


I’m really grateful that today is a quiet day.  The first Wednesday in a long time that I’m getting a chance to just be.  I’m going to turn on the audiobook shortly and just knit and listen.


Try and change those batteries my friend!


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Snow Cycle

So I shared the plan. Here is another goal I have had. Since March 2010 I’ve managed to cycle every month. I also cycled in January of 2010 but not February.

This morning my daughter woke up determined. We were cycling to school and that was that. Mistakenly I had told her that it would be warm enough to cycle. What a silly mistake that one was 🙂 Just kidding of course as it was absolutely wonderful and other than a major fail on my bike completely worth the effort!

From BlackBerry

Here is some of the scenery, enjoy!

From BlackBerry
From BlackBerry


From BlackBerry
From BlackBerry

My absolutely favourite view, I’ve taken shots of this location year round 🙂

From BlackBerry


Filed under Cycling, The Bridge