Yep. It’s spring in Ottawa. Finally, finally it’s warm here, and Hubby and I are back in the saddle again. The bike saddle that is. We ventured out for a couple of rides in mid-April after we came home from North Carolina. But not since. That’s because the beginning of May saw really cool temperatures with snow, even, in some places. Akkk. I am so not into riding my bike in the wind and the cold.
But that unpleasantness seems to be behind us, thank goodness. And since yesterday we are, as I said, back in the saddle again. We tried a new twist on one of our favourite routes. Parked the truck near Kemptville (about 20 minutes from our house) and pedaled this woods trail until we hooked up with River Road.
We love riding River Road. At least this section of it, which is not busy and meanders along the Rideau River to Burritts Rapids and eventually Merrickville. Both historic towns on the Rideau Canal system.
The view from my saddle, above. Jeeze, my handle bars are getting a bit rusty. You can see just a thin blue line of the Rideau in between the farmer’s field, and the trees on the far side. The shot below shows one of several man-made platforms for ospreys to build their nests. The resident osprey, is at home. But what the picture doesn’t show is her mate perched nearby. Last year we cycled past several times over the season, and were pleased to see several tiny heads in the nest later in the summer.
Yesterday, we stopped for a snack at the Burritts Rapids lock on the Rideau.
It was pretty quiet. Only one boat tied up, the owners unloading their picnic lunch onto a nearby table. It’s lovely, isn’t it? A couple of picnic spots were occupied by people who had driven here for lunch and were relaxing in their lawn chairs enjoying a quiet read.
While I sat at a picnic table eating, and Hubby chatted with the lockmaster, I thought about how many times in the past few years we were afraid that our biking days might be over. What with Hubby’s totally unexpected heart problem in 2013, my recurring back issues, and then Hubby’s shoulder injury and subsequent surgery last year. Besides Hubby’s heart surgery, none of our health issues has been life threatening. But as I mentioned in a post about all of this last fall… they were definitely life-style threatening. And stressful.
But sitting there on that picnic bench, eating my almonds, and watching the river slide by, I felt pretty lucky. Make that very lucky. Lucky that unlike the problems of some of our family and friends, our problems have been fixable with surgery and rehabilitation. Or if not totally fixable, then “manageable” with the help of physiotherapy, massage, and a good exercise regimen. Hubby and I both do our physio exercises religiously. And those exercises and stretches are the key, for me at least, to staying active.
And speaking about rehabilitation… the shot below is of the flowering crab apple tree in our back yard. That’s Hubby’s Kevlar canoe resting in the notch between the branches. He’s been practicing portaging. He straps on his canoe-pack, hoists the canoe over his head and walks up and down our road. Just making sure he’s in tip top shape for his upcoming canoe trip. I swear, the look on his face when he came into the house a couple of weeks ago, after his first attempt to lift the canoe…well… he looked just like a kid. So excited. And isn’t he lucky to have been able to make such an amazing come-back? Of course it’s been hard work. But still. Lucky.
And you know, when I think about it, every day like yesterday is a gift. A perfect, sunny, warm, spring day. Perfect for biking. And for contemplating our life and its challenges and its many advantages. We didn’t stop for long at the Burritts Rapids lock. Just ate our snack, soaked up some of the peace and sunshine, and hopped on our bikes again.
So grateful to be back in the saddle.
The historic Rideau Canal and lock system has been designated as a world heritage site. If you’re interested, here is a great link with everything from the history of the Rideau Canal, and great photos of all of the locks, to an explanation of how a canal lock works.
Now have a listen to Gene Autrey singing my song. There’s a bit of a pause before the music kicks in… but it’s worth waiting for… if only for the sound of that old slide guitar. Love that.
What are you up to these days folks? In the saddle or otherwise?
High Heels in the Wilderness is for women like me. Women who love clothes. And books. Who dream of travelling to amazing places. Who want to explore their own lives, and their own potential, now that they aren't twenty (or even forty) anymore.