5.15.2011

Manly Late Night Bike Adventure

  by sonofcoyote
My unfortunate sneakers
It's just about midnight and I am doing a load of laundry, washing a pair of jeans, a pair of socks and my sneakers. Why my sneakers? Well, I had an adventurous day.  It started out terrific. I slept in, then went out and grabbed a Tim's coffee and cinnamon bun and stopped into Canadian Tire and picked out a new seat for my bike; one with a little more padding, and a simple foam tie down rack for my kayak. I was feeling a little adventurous and energetic and the beautiful weather spurred me on to get outside and get a little exercise.  I took my fishing rod hoping that I could find enough open water to drop a line. No luck. My favourite fishing spot, one of the lakes just on the edge of town, was still covered in ice so I decided to hike along the shore for a while, take some pictures and enjoy the scenery. I sauntered along, taking photos and enjoying the weather, the quiet and the solitude. The sky clouded over and a nice breeze picked up, the weather was perfect and I stayed for a few hours, listening to the birds and watching the ice rot. Eventually I get hungry and headed home for supper.

There really wasn't much appealing to eat so I decided to go get groceries.  I grabbed what was on my list and a few other items and headed back home. I finally ended up eating leftovers, as my dinner plans were spoiled by the ferry still not being in*  Disappointed and more than a little frustrated that I couldn't get a burger and a vanilla milkshake I decided that since it was still warm and light out I would try out my new bike seat. I thought it would be the perfect time to ride downtown and figure out how much time it will take me to get to work.   
*Goods can't be trucked into the city during break up and freeze up as there is no bridge over the Mackenzie river. In the spring the river has to melt an the water has to be high enough for the ferry to be able to cary freight across and in the fall the river has to freeze enough for the ice road to be strong enough to support the weight of the tractor trailers. This can last up to 6+ weeks twice a year.

 I left the house at 9:45pm. I rode towards the trail that runs along the lake that is in the middle of town as there is a short cut of sorts that basically will deliver you smack into the downtown core.  I was pretty happy since it takes me at least that long to drive downtown and with no parking at work and gas at 1.39/l (x4=per gallon) I figured it wouldn't hurt me to ride my bike to work during the summer. The trail is paved with little boardwalk bridges over the swampy bits and the views of the lake are really beautiful. I checked my watch and it took me only 15 minutes to get there so I thought if the trail was this nice I would just ride it all the way around the lake and back home.

I rode past city hall and past the museum and the legislature and continued on the now gravel path into the trees. I was amazed at how green things were and how tall the trees seemed. There was a patch of rock that I had to hike over with my bike in tow but thought, eh, the trail will get better soon. And then there was more rock. And then some more. And that was when I noticed that my back tire was losing air. Not so fast that it was totally flat but I was hoping like hell that I would make it home (or at least out of the bush) before it totally smushed.

So now I was hiking through the trees over the rocks with my bike. The trail isn't that long so I wasn't really worried about it. I knew it would be light out for at least another hour so I didn't panic. The trail finally came into view and I rode up a small dirt hill to the top where the phrase "oh shit" popped into my head. The trail was completely covered with water. And when I say trail, I'm not talking paved trail, I'm talking the trees were knocked out of the way....mostly, to make a path across the rocks. So I detoured a bit around the water and back onto the drier portion of the trail. I pedalled through some squishy grass and some moderately deep puddles and then the small swampy lake of groundwater appeared. I'm pretty sure I heard a squirrel laugh.

Now at this point I'm going to say that if I was still being ruled by estrogen it is likely that I would have sat down some place (dry) and cried but testosterone has an interesting side effect. I call it the "Oh, really? Watch this" effect. I'm sure you've seen it, maybe it's even happened to you a couple of times. Someone says, You can't do that, or I bet you won't..., or something to that effect and then the testosterone effect kicks in and you say: "Oh really? Watch this." Well that's exactly what I said to that swamp. My shoes, and my jeans from the knees down however, fell victim to my flat tire and the testosterone effect. I tried biking through it but eventually the flat tire and the eight inches of mud under a foot of water got the best of us and I had to step off the pedal and into the quagmire. And so I walked (dragged?) my bike through the swamp and the mud until we came to rest in a dry spot at the bottom of a steep rock-covered hill. I had lost sight of the trail markers and decided that up the hill was the best option if for no other reason than to figure out where the hell I was.

By this time I was getting pretty tired having basically packed my bike through the bush and swamp and muck for about 40 minutes. At the top of the hill I realized that I had taken the "easy" path through the bush instead of over the rocks but I would now exit over by the airport road and not by the hospital which I had intended. At the top of the hill I found the dirt path that led to the road but realized I hadn't tightened my seat enough and it had been jarred loose by all the hiking. But with wet pants and shoes, a flat tire and wobbly seat I finally biked the last 2 km home.

Tomorrow I think I will stay home, patch my tire and make art. I don't care how nice it's supposed to be!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh man, you are the best story-teller ever!!! Thanks for giving me a good chuckle after a long day! Glad you got home ok! :)