Stylocycle’s Blog

Yay! Skiing!
December 31, 2008, 3:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

We have made arrangements to be able to get-outta-town for 2 nights and 2 days up in our country retreat. I refer to it as ‘the shack in the woods’ — it isn’t truly a shack, but it’s a modest, incomplete cottage that my father started building in the early 1990’s and left unfinished when he died 9 years ago. Mountains of grad student debt and the long-haul to tenure have meant that I’ve not had the funds to complete the building (or to rescue the other one that he had buil, but not properly, and which collapsed after he died from damage secondary to a fire started by a bad tenant who voided the insurance policy with his bad habits). It’s a long story. Oy.

Anyway, the important thing is that someday in the not-ridiculously far-flung future, I hope to have the funds to finish the building, and to rebuild the other. Meanwhile, I hang-tight to the land, and make small improvements as I am able.  I dream of proper siding and window frames.

We don’t get up often in the winter because the little cabin does not have running water in winter. We are going to brave it this week though, and go up Our only neighbours will be up (with 19 staying at their place!), and we are always welcome to use their shower if we want. However, I think that what I’ll do is book us into the water spa for a session at the end of our downhill skiing day. I am also hopeful that we will get some x-country skiing in. So… the next images I post should be of winter wonderlands and happy me on skis.

Monday will find me back behind my desk and lecturn, so getting some exercise in before then is a welcome way to spend a retreat in the woods.

Have a happy New Year; I’ll see you in 2009.


Photos from Today’s ride
December 17, 2008, 1:32 am
Filed under: helmets, winter riding
With helmet. Yes, people grinned broadly at me on my bike today.

With helmet. Yes, people grinned broadly at me on my bike today.

Under the helmet... "Intellecta" (comes with fork-shaped tongue)-- my alter-ego.

Under the helmet... "Intellecta" (comes with fork-shaped tongue)-- my alter-ego.

Stopped to admire the ice and rushing water

Stopped to admire the ice and rushing water

Heading for Home in the Afternoon

Heading for Home in the Afternoon

Leaving the house: -14 Celsius.

Back in the Saddle
December 16, 2008, 10:58 pm
Filed under: commute by bike, helmets, winter riding

I rode to work today for the first time since my splat-on-the-ice. One of the things I realised while I was nursing my back is that the long-term effects of a serious injury when I was just 12 are exacerbated by too much lazing around. That is to say: my hips begin to ache when I’m not cycling regularly.

So… with a temperature of -9 and a wind chill of -14 this morning, I hopped on the Blue Beauty and rode in. It was lovely. Because I hate being cold, and because we are now in the bone-chillling kind of winter cold I do actually wear a helmet at this time of year. …But… I wear my ski helmet because it’s the warmest thing I have and it is designed to keep my goggles secure so I can ride without getting freezing wind-burn on my face, and don’t have to worry about having my vision obscurred by blowing snow(or rain, sleet, etc).

I’ve also decided that my favourite clothes to waer at this time of year are my long velvet skirts. I can put my fleece lined running-tights underneath to protect me from cold and wind, and wear my usual professional wear in to the office. I just take the tights off once I get there.

I have also discovered that although I don’t find my cute “People Have Spoken” boots (A Canadian footwear and clothing manufacturer) very comfortable for walking, they are perfect for winter cycling. They are warm, the flat rubber soles grip my pedals and the tarmac nicely, and because they do up at the back they protect my feet from wind and slush that can penetrate traditional closures.

I am never the one who arrives at work shivering from the cold.

I still made my usual time into work: 20 minutes. I’m not pedaling very fast, just at a nice comfortable speed that keeps the bike upright and smooth in the running. One of the things that I love about the Batavus design is that the enormous wheels mean fewer revolutions are required to cover distance — and that’s part of the secret to the ride reminiscent of my dad’s 1960’s convertible land-yacht.

On my ride home I was able to stop of at Spouse’s office on the *other* campus, share some latte time with him in the middle of the day, and deliver some good news about a successful grant application. Hooptee!

From there I made my way home, stopping briefly to take pictures of the rushing water in the creek that is splashing up on the red dogwood branches that overhang the water’s edge, making frozen waterfalls off that pull the branches even lower.

I’ll post photos later when my camera batteries have charged.

Hooray: milder weather, clearer roads
December 14, 2008, 6:12 pm
Filed under: commute by bike, winter riding

Today will be consumed by grading papers, sitting in front of the fireplace, drinking too much coffee, and not going out.

Tomorrow, however, promises to have very mild temperatures, slight drizzle, and clear streets. I know exactly how to dress for such weather, so I’ll hop on the Blue Beauty in the morning, take my completed grading into the office, and then lock up my bike for the day while I and the dear husband head into Toronto. I have stocking stuffers to get that aren’t available out here in the boonies, really want to stop in at both Ezra’s Pound (café) and the Frangipani patisserie, maybe the Summerhill liquor store… each for supplies and goodies to share or give over the holidays.

If I don’t come home in the car with the dear husband, I’ll give him the key for my bike so he can pick it up, and I’ll take the Greyhound home on my own later. Unfortunately, my dear friend from here in town is away on holidays so she can’t accompany me; it’s something from Ezra’s Pound that I’d like to get her for Christmas…

Tuesday will also be a cycling day, and maybe Thursday as well.

I’ll take pictures of the roads, the scenery, and whatever I wear for my little jaunts about and between town.

December 11, 2008, 2:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Because I wrote about her here on Nov. 25th, and because she passed away on Nov 27th, I wanted to put up a picture of our lovely Miss Clyde so that people could see the little dear that we loved so deeply but were able to have with us for such a very short time.May those of you who love cats *never* encounter FIP in any of them.

Dearly loved; sorely missed.

Dearly loved; sorely missed.

Not cycling for now
December 5, 2008, 1:41 am
Filed under: hazards, Uncategorized

I regularly hear from colleagues, friends, and family to be careful on my bicycle. Everyone worries that I’ll fall, or get run over… and certainly we are all aware that road deaths for cyclists are common (though perhaps not as common as traffic deaths for car drivers and occupants but I don’t have comparative per capita data on that so I’ll give it a pass for now).

What I don’t ever hear is that I should be careful just walking out the door. Clearly, I need someone to warn me. I was walking out of the house on the driveway Tuesday night; I didn’t see the black ice on the new tarmac and I FLIPPED. It was a spectacular Wyle. E. Coyote style flip with my feet straight up in the air, above my head, and with my torso plummeting. I managed to reach up and protect my head against a meeting with the ground (for, in the end, I really am a ‘brain on sticks’, and can afford for almost anything except my head to be injured), but I landed squarely on my shoulder and bounced on my hip. I was winded, and I seem to be bruised deep in the flesh… still waiting for the marks to surface.  My whole upper right quadrant is pretty damned stiff and sore… so: no biking for me, probably for another week or so.

Luckily classes are over for the term .