Tag Archive: bicycling

Bicycle instead of driving

BYCICLING or Cycling – one of the most rewarding activities and exercises. Once the bitter cold slowly gives way to (rather late spring), we see more bicycles on the road. Today was my first cycling trip for this year 2022 since last Fall. Until then, my bike only sits still in my office.

We had one of the coldest winters last winter on record. It still is cold. But with layers of warm clothing, it works. Meanwhile our City had built and installed many cycling lanes, roads still shared with cars, but priority for bikers.

Since last year I have been getting stiffer with arthritis problems also in both hands. I was afraid that my 21-speed would give me problems for operating the gears with my fingers. It damn well hurt. However, as usual, cycling makes you always feel good. Especially after you come home. Here in Victoria, Vancouver Island, we have lots of steep uphill climbs, because this entire island is of volcanic rock. That was tough. The first hill did not get up all the way, thought I get a heart attack.

But I know, it always gets better with regular practice. And it really makes you feel good.


UPDATE 19 August 22: BIG SHOUT-OUT for the nice ladies who helped me two days ago when I fell, with my bike. After stopping and trying to get my left leg over the frame – it’s a step thru, but not low enough, causing me again to loose my balance and fall hard onto my back and injure my lower spine and right knee. What a bummer ! One of the ladies (Lexi) walked with me through the Park, the other lady told me she is a nurse. So nice – muchos gracias to you. After slowly walking my bikem at the other end of our big Park, met another lady, asked her for cold water – it was very hot. She also turned out to be a nurse at the Jubilee Hospital, Victoria. Her name Doris. She gave me a knee brace and helped me put it on.

Again MANY, MANY THANKS TO ALL THOSE NICE LADIES. After hours, slowly walking home, I made it. What a day !


Bicycle Theft

Cycling season Victoria and regional area has started. And so have the occasional – if you don’t watch out – theft activities of bicycles and cycling accessories. I always have two lock chains (cable) for the front parts of my bicycle and for the rear part, locking up the wheels with the saddle and helmet, and the front with the frame and to a fixed post.
The other day while taking a short break from a trip home and re-organising myself, I must have dropped one of my cable lock chains, could not find it anywhere.
Actually went back that quite long trip next day hoping someone found it and left it on that bench. Not so. Hilarious, because the (3) keys for that lock are right here in my home. Question is: how useful is a bike chain without the keys ? Talked to my bike shop, asking if it is possible to actually break a lock with some hair pin or other little tool to steal a bike which is locked up. They told me, never heard of that, as each lock is calibrated to operate with a unique key. Whoever took my cable lock chain, come on over and pick up the keys. I bought a new lock chain next day.

Bicycle friendly cities

I love bicycling – right now I got myself my third bicycle, an Opus Cervin European style – love it. Each bicycle for a different function and purpose, one just for grocery shopping (has a basket), my mountain bike for off road trails mostly, and my new latest bike for good trails. It cruises along just fine. I also watched when in Europe which cities are bicycle friendly. Just found among many sites, this site: [ http://www.virgin-vacations.com/11-most-bike-friendly-cities.aspx ]. I have not been in all of those cities, but some. Must say, that whatever constitutes ‘bicycle friendly’ refers to bicycle infrastructure and facilities more than how many cyclists are sharing the bike lanes (roads or other) making cycling either comfortable or unsafe.
Berlin for example, I spent over 4 months (2010) mostly walking on the side walk, my head turned backward to avoid getting run over by a bike. There are still lots of old cobble stone streets on which a bicycle would have a hard time to ride, therefore they simply ride (rather speeding) on the side walk among the pedestrians. While the cycle lanes on those wide major traffic streets share with public transport – buses nilly-willy, wow ! Scary stuff.
The Netherlands – I had rented a bike for 3 months and using the cycle lanes – separate from the main traffic. Fine and good. But, again so many people, so many bicycles. Difficult to move. In fact, although I cycle a lot – there I accomplished to actually fall over with that bike – to the amusement of the Dutch watching me. The bicycles over there having different brake systems than North America.
I would love to try somewhere in Denmark. Here in Victoria BC Canada, it still is a killer operation. Very few bikes among the traffic, which may be more dangerous than too many. [Safety in numbers.] Despite having bike lanes pasted directly onto the tarmac, which a vehicle driver does not always see or observe. We also out of courtesy give priority to public buses. What we have lies outside the city core – many miles of dedicated bicycle/walk trails, some through wilderness. But one must first get there from home – through heavy downtown traffic. The wonderful thing about our outlying trail system is, that there are now many water fountains, and even bike tools for repairs – for all cyclists to use.

In Canada, a neat bike city had been Ottawa. Or even Edmonton. Effort is being made to improve the situation like Share the Road Program [ http://www.sharetheroad.ca/bicycle-friendly-communities-p138264 ]. I always have the feeling here in Canada, that in spite most people own bicycles they do not use them too much because they do not feel comfortable, because cars still rule. To become comfortable and therefore also a safe rider, one must cycle a lot, at the same time obey the rules. (Incidents do occur: see also my post on “Attacks on cycle trails.” )
[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2014/08/18/cycling-around-langford-bc/ ]

CYCLING – now and then. I cycle whenever the weather permits. I also love my bicycles. Now in Canada distances are extreme. Thinking back to my youth when we made one week cycling tours with a school class, we may have only covered up to 30 km in one week. Today, 30 km is a trip of 2 hours, taking my time.  Just the other week I got myself a new bicycle, with larger wheels and smaller tires and lighter than my mountain bike. Here in Canada – even in the city – roads go up and down, sometimes quite steep. Lots of leg strength needed. Since I do not got off-road anymore, I preferred a lighter, faster and still comfortable bike. Testing the other day on  the trail, I love it. Around Vancouver Island we have many good and long bike trails outside the city, some going through stretches of wilderness. Lately a couple of cougars had been roaming around the outlying areas where cycle trails are, one of the big cats unfortunately got shot (to protect cyclists).  That is why I now mostly go up north of the city towards the end of this peninsula. Not so lonely. Of course you always must watch out. Inside the city, also unfortunately some nasty people who dislike cyclists had strung wires across some city streets, that tripped cyclists.  With cycling, it is always WATCH THE ROAD and around you (s.a. my previous post [ http://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/cycling-tips-observations/ ] ).  Here is a nice little tidbit from the past: During WW2 bicycles were at a premium, because the military machine had confiscated all cars from their owners. Thus, the bicycle was often the only means for civilians to get to a bunker during the heavy bombings by the allies. Bicycle theft was also severely punished, often with the death penalty. Good stuff !  [A couple of cycling photos included.] image0096 image0101tofino_2011 007

Bicycling – little tips

BYCICLING or Cycling – one of the most rewarding activities and exercises. Once the bitter cold slowly gives way to (rather late spring), we see more bicycles on the road. Not like in some European countries, though, which have more bicycles on the road than automobiles. Here, just a few. But we are blessed with a rather long out-of-city (Victoria, Vancouver Island) trail system, shared by bicycles and walkers. Because there are not so many bicycles sharing the rather busy vehicles road system, nor are there sufficient inner-city dedicated bicycle lanes, cycling becomes more dangerous. Road safety tips:
Always wear brightly coloured clothing – preferably bright red or yellow. Bicycle helmets are mandatory (unlike in Europe). Regularly look over your shoulder, even if you have a little rear-view mirror somewhere. Know your right ‘to share the road’ – meaning if you are on a bicycle on a major city road with three vehicle lanes, stay in the outer right lane, but not too far over; a car will always take your rightful space and push you even more over to the right. When turning right or left, use the proper hand signals.
One trick I learned that can save a life. When coming up to an intersection with traffic lights: If the light ahead is still green and, while you approach, the pedestrian light is already flashing red, I slow down already for the yellow. Meaning, never cross that intersection on yellow. In other words, not only do I look at the large overhead light, but also at the pedestrian light.
As far as theft goes; the rule is: whatever is easiest to steal, will be stolen first. Easy items are = the bicycle seat, the front wheel, anything detachable. I invented the use of two bike locks, one to lock the seat together with the rear wheel (more difficult to take in any case) and hang up my helmet with that lock. The second lock chain goes thru the front wheel, the frame and one stable object concreted in (or whatever is there to park you bike).
I also always take with me: a small bike pump and a set of Allan keys (for repairs), or even better, yet, a spare tire tube, and small change for the bus (in case my bicycle becomes incapacitated). Our regular buses all have a front rack system to mount two bikes. Which is wonderful, with those distances here. I put my bike up on the bus rack, take the bus, go somewhere, and cycle back. Going out of town into the more secluded areas (where we do have the occasional cougar), it is also wise – while cycling on the trail system – to look up once a while, not only ahead (in case a big cat looks down on you from the rocks). Not kidding, really !
In May we have the “Bike to Work Week”. I’ll be sitting that out, of course. Might be too dangerous. I cycle alone, it’s safer.  HAPPY CYCLING !