Back on the Bike

After taking some time off from exercise I’m slowly easing back into it starting with cycling. It’s a little different now in winter as many of the trails I would ride before are slippery with snow and ice. Still it hasn’t kept me indoors and I’ve even been out on the icy paths.

There are rewards. In the middle of a nearby park I saw that someone had decorated a random tree and even after the holidays it still was looking beautiful.

But as you can see below it’s a little slippery. Last week we had snow followed by weather slightly above freezing in the daytime and then back below freezing at night. The result is that the snow melted then froze.

Riding a bike on ice isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You must go slowly of course to minimize any issues if you fall. Sudden turns, acceleration or even leaning is not a great idea either. So just slowly move forward.

A few other cyclists were out, mostly on “fat bikes” – bikes with extremely wide tires designed for better traction on snow and ice and there was a bit of camaraderie as we greeted each other.

At one point I wanted to capture a photo of the state of the path to share. I barely used my brakes lest I immediately skid and have my rear wheel go out from under me. The stopping was easy but I was shocked to notice that when I stopped it was slippery even to just stand. Fortunately I was able to retain my balance and take this photo.

Then it was time to start off. Standing on the pedals to start made my rear wheel spin in place so I pushed off with my feet, sat down and gently pedaled and soon I was moving again. And then I was moving – at slightly more than walking pace but still moving. All good until one second later I found myself on my back on the path.

The fall was so unexpected and swift that I had no time to tense up or anticipate it. Because of that, there was no pain. It felt as if I fell back on to a mattress and then I was looking up at the sky. In the ravine there are no streetlights and the banks are steep so there is much less light pollution but even knowing this I was surprised at all of the stars I could see.

At “street level” I’m usually able to see only 1-2 bright ones or planets like Venus so seeing this many was a treat.

I was so surprised by the fall and the beauty of the stars that I just started to laugh. I considered just lying there looking at the stars but then imagined the next person riding through on a fat bike who would either think I’d had a catastrophic accident or maybe not even seeing me at all until it was too late and so up I got and turned back, carefully riding on the icy trail.

Minutes later I found myself in the ravine behind the Ontario Science Centre, and stopped to look at the snow. As I stood there I heard a beautiful sound coming from near the river. And now I know that in the ravine just below our house lives a Great Horned Owl.

As always, animals I encounter don’t seem to want to be photographed – I couldn’t even see this one, I could only hear it in the distance. For those who don’t know – this is what they look like.

After that I’ve slowly increased my activity .On the weekend, Daegan and I did a 6 kilometre hike, and on Saturday I cycled almost 25 kilometres doing vegetable deliveries. All of the pain is gone so I’m considering slowly returning to running next weekend.

6 thoughts on “Back on the Bike

    1. In Toronto specifically, yes, it feels like it is not only snowing less, overall the temperatures are feeling milder. On the other hand, my friend north of Montreal (600-700 km east of us) just got 30-40 cm last weekend so they’re certainly having their share of snow!

      1. More and more here. I find everything seems to be shifting. Winter starts later and ends later, it seems.

        I’m conflicted. I really do appreciate there being less cold, snowy, icy weather. But I really don’t like what it means in the bigger picture.

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