Tuesday, 26 January 2010

On the gifts of our parents

This entry is only vaguely related cycling, but I feel it is important to say it. In a previous entry, I mused on whether my father had seen the "naked" mountains of the Rockies prior to embarking on a career as a geologist. In the last couple of days, I finally got around to asking him directly if this was the case. It turns out he had only been as far West as Guelph, Ontario prior to making the decision. In fact, he first saw the Rockies close up when he was only slightly younger than I am now at which time he was PhD. I guess it only goes to show.

However, in the process of discussing the rationale (he wanted an intellectual job that got him outdoors) behind his career choice with him, I realised that because of him, I have much more awareness of geology than most people, tossing terms such as the Champlain Sea around with comparative ease. I never took any courses in geology because I didn't have the desire "to be like my dad". As well, as he was my father, I already knew more than enough to satisfy my curiosity about geology. Not that I don't still ask him the odd question about the subject, but enough to get bored with it. The fact remains, however, I have a fair amount of geological knowledge tucked away in my noggin, some which comes out as speculation whilst traveling as to the nature of the geologic structures I am seeing. This in one of my cycling mental "road games". And it is a gift of sorts from my Father.

When I started this entry, I wracked my brains for something to mention about a gift from my Mother. I think I had something more profound, but all I can think of is that gave the gift of the knowledge how to follow a recipe and the wisdom of knowing when not to. These, of course, are the two fundamental skills required for cooking, as least in my humble opinion.

I am going to post this unfinished as it is bedtime.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

On bringing the Castafiore home

Before Christmas, I took the Castafiore to Recycle cycles to have her stripped to the frame in preparation for her transformation to a memorial. I got a phone call earlier this week to say that she was ready to be picked up. I stopped by the shop after work on Thursday. Graham, the young guy who works there, was discussing repairs needed on a bike with another customer. I perused the eclectic assortment of bikes there for a few minutes before noticing the Castafiore amongst the clutter.

After I picked up the frame with a certain possessiveness, Graham inquired if I had the receipt ticket for her. Unfortunately, I had mislaid it. However, he accepted my driver's license whilst apologizing for the need to be sure the right bike had left the store with the right person. He admitted that it was unlikely that I wasn't the right person as I had picked out a specific (broken) frame out all the stuff in the store and knew the phone number on card. I then pointed out that the frame had the number of my driver's license engraved on it. This was doubly in my favour as not only did the numbers match, but it wasn't a very obvious thing to know about it.

I slung the frame over my shoulder as I walked to the nearest Metro station. With my burden and a certain amount of smug silliness, I cheerfully walked past the disingenuous signs welcoming bikes in the Metro, (except during rush hour or other times that the STM arbitrarily decides that bikes aren't on the Metro, such as during the Tour de l'Île, Carifest, etc.) It was in fact still rush hour, and I was sort of taking a bike on Metro. Then again, the Castafiore, was sorely reduced in size, so I really wasn't taking something as large and bulky as a bike on the Metro. Suffice it to say, no one stopped me.

Now I have to clean the gunk off of her, prepare the images and hang attach them to her. After that, I will have to decide which wall of my apartment deserves her presence. My plan is to use hooks such as you would use for an active bike to hold her onto the wall.

Monday, 11 January 2010

On biking in the new year, names and possible logos

Well, the holidays have come and gone since my last entry and with them a number of possible plans for bike trips. Prior to the holidays my rough plan for bike trips in the new year had been to fly to Deer Lake, Newfoundland in June. I would celebrate my sister's wedding there and then bike to St John's and then fly home. Depending on a number of factors including how much vacation time I will get in the next fiscal year, I might have also biked from Calgary to Winnipeg during the late summer.

However, as it now turns out that my sister will be getting married in North Hatley instead of Norris Point (though still in June), those trips are now on hold. My current thinking is that I should go ahead with an even earlier idea of biking from York to Campbeltown via Edinburgh in late May and early June, getting back to Canada in time for Alice's wedding.

In thinking about this trip and looking at the map of the projected route, I am slightly unnerved by the fact that much of it covers places I went to on my very first trip to Great Britain. That trip took place just about 30 years ago (August of 1980). (I have very fond memories of that trip, though at times I am worried about how little I really understood about what I was seeing and exactly where I was. Don't get me wrong, I remember a lot, but not everything I feel I should have. Then again, I was only 9. I also pray that Granpa (my maternal grandfather who paid for the trip) understood just how thrilled I was to be there: i.e. well beyond my ability to articulate at the time. I hope he could see it in my eyes.) I am also somewhat annoyed at Air Canada as the ticket prices for Brits coming to Canada are far cheaper than those for Canadians going the U.K. at the same time.

My brother Stephen gave me an MEC Slicker long-sleeved shirt in royal blue for Christmas. In addition, he (and possibly Margaret) had prepared a choice of logos to go on it along with a list of the places I had been on my cross-Canada tour. These logos were based on the idea that my bike is called "Fledermoose" and featured moose with bat wings or bats with moose antlers. I had to inform them with regret that my touring bike is Leonardo whereas it is my city bike that is Floria die Fledermoose. However, it is an ill-wind that blows no good as one of possible logos caught my imagination. I am going to make a sticker out of it and put it on Floria. Stephen has gone back to the drawing board and is working on a "Bikemoose" type logo. This is my favourite of the "Fledermoose"logos, but I think I should edit the ears a bit. (Not that I think it is bad, but just that it could be better.)

Stephen also informed me that the "die" in Floria die Fledermoose, should be "das" or "des" or something. He took German in CEGEP. I must check with my German colleague about that. Then again, I could make her name "Floria la Fledermoose", "la" being Italian for "the". Possibly "Floria di Fledermoose" and she becomes "Floria of Flyingmoose" not "Floria the Flyingmoose".

Oh, yes. I looked up musical oeuvre known as the "Die Fledermaus" on Wikipedia. For some reason, I had been under the impression that it was an opera by Wagner. It turns out it is an operetta by Strauss. A little embarrassing, but hardly life-threatening.

Stephen's unfinished gift idea also precipitated an idea that had been lurking in my head about giving my cross-Canada project a snappier name, especially as I am now even less enthusiastic about Northern Ontario. "A Mari Usque Ad Mare, Just Not In That Order" has a certain perversely appropriate ring to it. "From sea to sea, but not in order" is pretty much what I am doing. As well, the source of the first part suggests a Canadian trip while being literally vague enough to allow using American roads to avoid the dreaded NorOnt T-Can. "Usque" makes a nice assonance with "Just". AMUAM JuNITO could be the acronym and possibly a war-cry ("Ah-MU-am ju-NI-to!") should one be required. ;-)

Update: "Die" is in fact the proper German for "the" in this instance. Consequently, I think I will stick with "Floria die Fledermoose."