Well today threw me for a loop. I woke up today and it was pouring down rain, and I do mean pouring. The rain was coming down in buckets, solid sheets that soaked everything and sent rivers flowing through the streets. So it was with a turtles crawl that I donned my riding gear and my sadly inadequate rain gear. The rain stayed, on and off, until around eleven o’clock and at times I seriously feared drowning. Surprisingly I was not the only rider to brave the downpour, and I exchanged knowing glances and grins with a huge number of other riders all morning.
Around lunch the rain quit but the riders didn’t. The bike paths were as busy as a highway as the day moved on and the weather got nicer and nicer. Everyone from hardcore road and tri riders to families out for a weekend ride were cruising along and enjoying the afternoon sun.
By early afternoon I was almost wishing for the rain again as the temperature gauge climbed past the thirty marks and the sweat flowed down my face at a comparable rate to the morning rain. The heat was passing over me in waves, even the breeze was warm and offered no reprieve. I know what you are thinking, won’t I ever be happy, all I do is complain. You misunderstand, I could not have been happier, the sun was shinning, the road was smooth and the terrain was beautiful. I met a number of very nice riders as I went along, although our conversations were hindered on two levels; first, the heat make you breath harder and therefore it is harder to talk and second, the further north I go the fewer people there are that speak English so the term “blind leading the blind” comes to mind.
I crossed the St. Laurence over the Pont de Québec, just south of Québec City. This is one of two major bridges that run right next to each other and the only one that allows cyclists. The bike path across the bridge consists of a sidewalk just wide enough for one bike to traverse safely; of course, this path is for bikers going both ways and pedestrians as well, so it makes for an interesting situation. Bikers pass each other with inches of clearance between handlebars and pedestrians cower against the side rails trying to make themselves as thin as possible. I am glad the sun had dried out the rain from the morning because I wouldn’t like to experience that steel surface slick with rain.
Once on the south shore I found myself in a world of garage sales, I can only describe as a village market that lasted for twenty km. Every other yard was packed with merchandise ranging from old records and broken furniture to home made jams and baking. Everyone had their own way of attracting customers, including one yard featuring a formal three-piece Irish dance troop. The streets were so packed with cars, people and bikes, it was one lane traffic and I had to keep two eyes out for people running and playing in the streets. Where the yards ended and the towns started, there were people sitting at one of a thousand patio restaurants and pubs enjoying the summer weather. Needless to day it was slow moving, but wonderful and interesting riding; everyone I passed had a smile and a wave to give to a passing road rider.
Activity Tip: Exercise can be a family affair. Take time to get out with your parents and your children and enjoy sport and activity together.