First ride of the fall, and man, I got soaked!

Today I went out for my first mountain bike ride of the fall!

It was pouring out, and I got soaked! The ride started out dry enough. It was cloudy with sunny breaks. Once we got into the trees, though the skies opened up. I don’t know why I love it so much, but once the rain starts on a ride, I get a smile on my face…It must be a remnant of my childhood I can’t quite put my finger on.

Summer is a time most people get outside and get active. I’m kind of the opposite. I hate exerting myself in the heat. I have no energy in my legs, and my bike stuff just reeks. The trails are dusty, traction is poor, and I end up getting cramps from dehydration.

But fall is the fix for all these problems! The first rains of the season firm up the trails, traction is epic, and the temperature in my area is usually in the mid teens. Perfect!

Another great thing about riding in the fall is that the ground hasn’t been soaked for months. There aren’t huge puddles, tons of mud, and the bad wind storms haven’t blown down trees and debris yet. I find that once January or February comes around, the rocks and roots are slippery with pre-mossy slime and wipeouts are more frequent.

There are only a couple of times a year where the sun and moon line up for mountain biking. The fall and late spring!

Today was fantastic out there!

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When Logging Companies Piss me off.

Cleacut logging of old-growth forest as seen i...
Image via Wikipedia

Today I was out for a mountain bike ride in an area that many people hike and bike on. There was a new sign at the start of the trailhead. ‘Private Property’ – Island Timberlands. Right next to it was a sign about some ‘partnership’ to protect sensitive areas signed off by Nanaimo, the BC Government and Island Timberlands. Continue reading “When Logging Companies Piss me off.”

What inspires you? Let me tell you what inspires me…

Hiking Friends
Image by adwriter via Flickr

Well, yesterday was quite a busy day for the blog! Almost 2,000 hits and tons of comments and encouragement. Thanks!

I went for quite a mountain bike ride and felt quite inspired. But it also got me thinking about what inspires people? Is it one-act of bravery? Someone showing empathy in troubling times? An artist painting the perfect picture?

On Sunday afternoon, I took my 8-year-old and my 10-month-old for a hike up Mt. Doug in Victoria. I put my little guy in a MEC back carrier and we hiked up the ‘goat’ path to the top. It was quite a workout to say the least…We decided to walk down the road on the way back to the van. On the way, we bumped into a little 80-year-old lady walking/hiking up the road! I stopped her, and said, ‘wow, how often do you walk up to the top?’. She says, ‘oh, about 3 times a week.’  Most healthy adults would take about half an hour to walk from bottom to top, and her pace wasn’t nearly as fast. I usually feel inspired when I see how hard someone worked to get to an end result. But with this woman, it was the journey that was so inspiring.

My fiancee and her family lost a close family member this week. When I look at his life, he got the greatest enjoyment from helping and being there for others. He was always there for people.

But, it wasn’t always that way. He struggled like the rest of us to build burnt bridges, to heal wounds. His passion for life, his kids and grandkids, the love and caring he showed everyone, and his ability to accept his mistakes and move forward in new directions,  are a legacy for those that knew him. Cancer took him far too early.

What do my father-in-law and the 80-year-old lady have in common? Life. They represent the struggles we all face. Metaphorically climbing the mountain over and over again. Never giving up. Taking new paths. Silently demonstrating how to successfully journey through life. Giving others that spark to carry on…

Inspiration.

Experience Cycling and the History of my Bike

I don’t mean for this to sound like an ad. It’s not. For most of the people that follow my blog, you notice I don’t talk about mountain biking very often. I spend most of my time on here talking about more global and virtual events. My personal experiences online, with a computer, a web app, an operating system, or a review of something far away from single track and mud. Well today I want to talk about people closer to home. People that I deal with on a regular basis, that make my number one passion outside my family a reality.

The old cliche is that a picture is worth a thousand words. The above picture is of my beloved mountain bike. I really love it. In an unhealthy, creepy way, to be honest. I have had my 2007 Brodie Loki for a few years now and it has been the best bike I have ever had. So, when I send it into the bike store for a repair or for a more extensive upgrade, I count the hours until I can get it back.

Most of my friends and family know about my passion for cycling. A couple of days ago it was my 40th birthday, and they all got me very generous gift certificates to my favourite bike store, Experience Cycling! So, in I take it for some upgrades! This is where the story really begins. From the moment you walk into Experience Cycling, you feel important. It is this care and attention to the customer that has brought some well deserved accolades as the top rated bike store in Canada!

The entire staff has the same passion for cycling as I do. So, yesterday when I wandered in after my birthday ride looking to upgrade my front fork, Jim took care that I would have my bike back as soon as possible. Understandably the winter months are slower, but he even offered to get it done same day if I needed it! From the picture, you can see it is snowing out. I won’t be doing any riding in the next week or so(damn you Winter…), but that doesn’t matter. They know I love to ride.

The entire staff think this way. From Matt who talked to me for half an hour on the phone about the brand of fork he felt would fit with the type of riding I do(and giving me 3 different choices), to Jim, that greets me every time with a smile and a hand shake, to Dale that made sure he got the bike ready for me before his day off. Not to mention the young guy that helped me out to the car with the bike and even put it on my bike rack because I had my baby with me. This care and attention to detail is why I come back, over and over again, for the last 25 years.

How does a small store in a small town like Duncan get it so right? The answer? Will Arnold. The owner. I have talked with Will on numerous occasions and he is a man that loves what he does, and you see it when you go into the store. Jim, his brother, shows the same passion. I am still kicking myself that 15 years ago I didn’t take that mechanics job Will offered me dangling like a carrot…

So why write about my bike store? It’s just that I don’t know of any other store I’ve been to that treats their customers so well. With the advent of big box stores, online merchants, Walmarts and Costcos EVERYWHERE, and mom and pop shops going out of business, how do little companies stay in business? From word of mouth. So though I glow about my little bike store to everyone that is looking for a bike, I wanted to do my part in spreading the word in the virtual world…

Experience Cycling is getting an online presence. Here is their site. http://www.experiencecycling.ca/

Check out their Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Experience-Cycling/140829112611352 Here you will find repair tips, bios on the staff, and updates of sponsored riders, and Will’s trips to various bike events.

If you like bikes, or like me, you love bikes, and you are on Vancouver Island, you need to do yourself a favour, and head to Duncan to Experience Cycling! Tell them Jamie sent you…

If you listen to my advice, you will look like this on your next ride…Happy…