Cycling experience around Southern Vancouver Island

Saoirse = Irish Gallic for Freedom

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Cycling Week One

The trip home from Fairfield Cycle Store Fairfield Cycle to my home in Saanichton was surprisingly easy. I had anticipated the ride would be a challenge for a 67 year old senior citizen that had not done any cycling of note for around 45 years. I credit much of that to not only being in reasonable good shape and especially the laid back recumbent style of bike. When I was within about 10 k of home the ride still felt so good that I took a side detour to check out some farm stands along a side road before continuing on Lochside trail to Island View Road where I left the trail and tackled Lifestylthe 13% grade to East Saanich Rd.
When I purchased the catrike at Fairfield cycle the staff told me the big disadvantage with recumbent bikes is hills and not being able to stand up and "power" the pedals. At a couple of spots I "powered out" and had to brake while I caught up with my self and re-positioned my feet for an extra effort to drive the pedals. Finally crested the hill and completed the remaining 2 k home. The following morning a 9 k ride to Sidney to do some business and a ride to the south end of Saanich (almost to Victoria to do some more business along the way and return for a total ride for the day of 44 k. Thursday morning the weather was nice so a ride for me. Start off with a partial lap of the Victoria Airport trail and on to DeepCove MarketDeepCove Market for a short stop to enjoy an espresso. Completing the ride with a cruise along Landsend Road and turning for home at the Swartz Bay Ferry terminal. The ride home would have been uneventful if it were not for the hazard Sidney works crew had placed in my way. Beacon Ave from the Highway to 7 th avenue is far to treacherous to ride in the regular vehicle lanes as too many drivers are to focused on merging with the highway or ready to slow down and watch for slow moving bikes if they are leaving the highway. As the sidewalk for that block has few pedestrians I opted for a short stretch of sidewalk. The Sidney placed obstacles or 2 items: a lamp standard taking a large portion of the side walk with the second obstacle a fire hydrant protruding into the sidewalk partially hidden by the vegetation, almost blocking the sidewalk.

I successfully navigated past the lamp to be ambushed by the fire hydrant. I was flipped by the hydrant when my left wheel connected with it. Fortunately no damage to myself or the bike, although I did need to realign one of the fenders. Yes, one can consider it was my fault to have hit the fire hydrant. My bigger concern is when a mobility scooter hits the hydrant. Road designers go to significant lengths to ensure hazards such as fire hydrants and lamp standards are placed well away from vehicle travel lanes. Shouldn't the same criteria apply to fire hydrants and lamp standards obstructing sidewalks?
Saturday was another relatively long ride to Victoria's LifeStyle Market Victoria Lifestyles market for food. The saoirse (Irish Gaelic word meaning freedom) of being able to go for supplies with out having to wait for the bus. A 40 k round trip for grub can be completed almost as fast as had I taken the bus. I had hoped to rest the bike (and my legs) on Sunday but had to return an item to a store for another 30 k on the catrike.
On Monday I had a good position for the boom and no longer needed the chain tensioner, a trip to Fairfield Cycle to remove it and a few readjustments to the bike made.
Tuesday morning was a hard day starting out before day break to be at the BC Legislature.

to picket regarding an issue with WorksafeBC that affects me significantly and unfortunately far too many others with their claims too. I started day with a 2 foot by 3 foot sign tied to the back of my bike. Yes, the sign had a very large impact on the wind resistance of the bike. The trip in was relatively uneventful except for the gust of wind that hit me crossing Selkirk trestle (a wood decked bridge on the Galloping Goose trail crossing the Gorge Inlet). The wind was enough to nearly stop me riding and did misalign the box I had on the back, I had to stop and tighten my straps on tying the box down. Four hours at the legislature and then the ride home It was a hard day I had hoped to be able to ride in and out every day with the sign on the back of my bike it looks like I will need a bit more physical conditioning to do that. The extra drag of the sign was no particular issue while going up the 13% grade.
Week 1, an estimated 270 K on the bike and not feeling particularly worn-out or stiff, especially considering the extra effort dragging the sign required.


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