On of the things that come to mind at this time of year, this time of year when bicycles slip, slide, and clatter their way down the road, studs pinging off of asphalt, are memories.
Memories of rides gone by.
One of my favourite quite rides takes me south through the city on a mix of MUPs and quiet roads and culminates on a gravel rail trail in Cambridge. Following this can take me further, to Paris, Brantford, or even Hamilton. The run from home to Brantford and back is approximately 136km, and makes a nice traffic light ride.
The rail trail from Cambridge south towards Paris and beyond largely follows the Grand River. It is quite a bit higher than the river for most of its journey, and provides some spectacular views over the water.
Places to rest abound. Benches dot the place should the need to rest arise. Usually, I don't bother to stop and sit, but will if an urge to be lazy overcomes me, or if I want a picture or two.
The setting is ideal for a cyclocross bicycle, or any bicycle which can be ridden in comfort over rough roads for a long stretch. It would be interesting to ride in this context on a bicycle designed for races like the Paris-Roubaix with their inherent ability to absorb road shock. But is it needed? No.
Once Paris is cleared, the MUP ceases to be a rail trail proper and becomes a regular MUP, following the contours of the land. This means hills as the trail climbs in and out of the river valley and over landscapes sculpted by glaciers long ago.
But always, views are worth looking at. Especially in early fall when this ride happened.
And always, ever, the trail system stays near the Grand. This particular bit is very pretty, with nicer shaded places to rest should the need arise.
In the new year, or rather later this year, I will ensure that the phone comes with me on more rides and that more rides get documented.
All of these pictures were taken with a BlackBerry Z10.