Quite a pairing My wife, Janice, and I enjoy bike touring and are always on the lookout for places to cycle. When I saw the “10 Dream Rides” on the cover of your February/march issue, I quickly flipped to the article. I must compliment you on matching Sam Whittingham’s Naked Bicycles with the Barossa region tour. When we retired from teaching i n June 2009, we had Sam, who had been a former student of ours, build us a couple of steel-frame road/touring bikes. In October 2012, we flew with our Naked bikes to Adelaide and, along with another couple, embarked on a three-week adventure. The goal was to seek out fine wines by cycling to as many wineries as possible. We planned a loop from Adelaide that saw us cycling through the Mclaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Mount Benson, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Eden Valley and Barossa Valley wine regions.
Manfred Hensel Campbell River, B.C. Boost for a beginner At the age of 44, I took up cycling with my husband as a way to join him in his hobby. I could barely ride 5 km that year. At 46, I entered the 20-km Paris to Ancaster ride. At 47, I entered the 22-km Hardwood Singletrack Classic. I was overwhelmed and inspired by the support from the other cyclists in the race. As a beginner, I was clearly out of my league and struggled to complete the event. The other cyclists shouted encouragement that kept me going. I finished. My next goal is to enter a road race. I am not an athlete, but I am now a cyclist. Cycling has given me confidence and taught me about perseverance and being part of a great community where you are accepted no matter your skill level. Cycling is a great way to stay healthy both in body and mind. I love cycling. I tell others that they should try it because if I can do it, they can, too. Priscilla Cochrane Mount Forest, Ont.
A great escape from the city In summer 2017, I did a ride that changed my perception of Kitchener-waterloo, Ont. I’ve lived here for years, making the move do my PHD at the University of Waterloo. Before coming here, I sold my car, thinking I wouldn’t need one. I figured I’d rely mostly on my bike and transit when weather was not good. But, when I got here I realized quickly that owning a car would be crucial to my wellbeing, particularly in order to access nature. Kitchener has some natural areas, but they are quite difficult to access by bike (due to safety on busy highways) and the transit system is spotty. So, I resigned myself to either not getting a dose of nature on a regular basis or to purchasing a vehicle so that I could get out of the city. I was feeling pretty isolated, which is compounded by the fact that cycling isn’t particularly safe in my city.
But, one day, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to bike out to Cambridge on the river trails. I’d never really thought about it, but decided to do it with her. Getting out of Kitchener was kind of tricky, and at times, dangerous. But, once we got out to the trails, it was pretty blissful. Given that Kitchener doesn’t have good separated cycling infrastructure, I’d forgotten the joy of riding without having to worry about dodging cars. That, in concert with the greenery surrounding me, made for an amazing day out on the trails. On the way to Cambridge, we biked past some pretty old stone buildings and even spent some time near the river. The whole experience was just a wonderful reminder of how a bike ride in the woods can rejuvenate you. Since then, I’ve decided against purchasing a car and regularly try to get out on the trails. It’s changed my perception of my city and access to nature.
Robin Mazumder Waterloo, Ont.