Saturday, 26 June 2010

On why I sometimes regret my chosen transportation lifestyle

As my readers may know, I don't own a car. Instead, I own two bicycles and live relatively close to downtown and very close to a Metro station. Much of the time, this works out for me as I have little need of a car, and what little need I have can be met by a combination of a car co-op, regular car rental agencies and mooching from friends and family.

Family, in the form of my parents, was in the fore earlier this weekend as they came into Montreal to participate with me in the Défi de Vaudreuil-Soulanges bike event. They arrived noon-ish early yesterday and we all went off to Ikea to buy a chair for my sister on behalf of my brother Stephen. Contrary to my expectations, Ikea was very busy for a Friday and my father rather bristled at the experience. My mother and I managed to locate and buy a Poäng chair.
I later photographed the chair's packages with my Kiki the ferret plushie on top of it. For those of you not in the know, "poing" is the onomatopoeia associated with her, as she bounces through life and her acquaintances' apartments and labs.

The weather today featured a lot of sprinkle showers, accompanied by a fair amount of wind. While the route of the Défi took us downwind from our starting point (generally a bad idea), the clever people at Vélo-Québec put us on a wooded road for the return leg. This event marked the first time I have bicycled in Ontario for many years. The last time being in 1997 when I was living in Guelph. I jokingly note that there was a cut-off that allowed hardcore sovereigntists to remain in Québec. I would also like to note that this map contains a number of inaccuracies, such as the fact that the Optionnel 4 departed from Saint-Lazare and went through Hudson rather than Pointe-des-Cascades and Vaudreuil-Dorion.
Along the way, there was a mailbox which had two special boxes for certain types of mail.
I took the number 2 route option which added about 27 km to the course. Near the end of it, I saw a rather damp coyote. The parents rode the baseline route (a nominal 101 km). I arrived at the lunch stop (85 km for me and 56 for them) just as they were finishing their meal. I asked a passerby to take a picture of us for the record.
Note my blue MEC Slicker Long Sleeve Jersey given to me by Stephen and Margaret. Thanks to them, I now have them in all the primary colours. (Please note: I have a sufficiency of cycling jerseys for the time being.) ;-)

The parents left long before I had finished my lunch. As expected, coming back to the start was a bit of a slog, though I managed to draft behind a peloton for at least a dozen kilometers. A little after I passed my mother (only a dozen or so clicks from the end), I got something of a cramp in my left calf, just below the knee on the outside ascending a hill. I managed to get past the pain, but when I got to the finish (a minute or two after my father), I found the effects of it made walking, especially down stairs a bit of a chore.

I am now back in my third-floor apartment, bathed and showered. The parents have driven back to North Hatley in order to babysit my niece. Unfortunately, there isn't a really decent meal in the kitchen. I am too tired to shop.  With my fatigue and leg issue, I am loath to get on my bike to hunt down supper. I could order in, but I am not in mood for pizza or Chalet-Bar-B-Q. I could take the Metro, but I lent my Opus card to Margo and it hasn't arrived back yet. (Curse you, Canada Post).

It is times like these that I wish I owned a car. Times when I have ridden 132.1 km at an average speed of 25.0 km/h. That is 132.1 km of pushing myself.

(The nit-pickers will note that the advertised 101 km + 27 km equals 128 km not 132 km. However, 132.1 km is what my bike computer says I did.)

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