Discoveries 2018 #1

I didn’t get in one of these during the month of January, so here we are on the first of February with the first “Discovery” of 2018. Something to “get out of bed for”.



Out and About by Bike: A Story

Saturdays I get off work early, but even so, with the shorter days of the season by the time I reach Magic Road* it is dark. Taking Magic Road is two kilometres shorter than other options, but with low-light and a couple of centimetres of fresh snow and no maintenance at this time of year the route is a challenge. Even so it is still my preferred commute. Two kilometres is substantial on a bike, and besides its a beautiful part of the ride.

A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday as I low-gear-wobbled up the rise to the crest of the high point of Magic Road a couple of snow mobiles passed me. At the crest of the rise, 10 meters ahead me, they stopped. In the beam of my head light they looked back at me and then took off dragster style. Rooster tails of snow and exhaust spewed in my direction.

“Show offs!”


(These pictures showing where I was passed by the the snowmobilers were taken a week earlier on a morning ride in, . Where the bike is parked is my regular break spot, except going home I would have the bike facing the other way. Unfortunately the grade of the route is hard to portray.)

Taking my usual break at the crest I then continued on my way. Some minutes later, as I approached the intersection of Magic Road and a plowed road, I came upon the two snowmobilers.

A chagrined “Could you give one of us a lift”.

One of the machines had broken down, and there was no real need to give anyone a lift. One of them had already called his Dad to come pick him up.

They wondered how I could ride the route. Did I have an engine? No engine, but I did point out the fat tires and low gears.

When assured that they were going to be okay I took leave of them and rode on. Home was still a ways away.

*Magic Road has featured or appeared in a number of posts on this blog and on the blog for the shop at Art Brûlant.

Discoveries 2017 #14 – Cycles

Its time for another one of these. Especially since as we approach the end of the year “cycles*” become important. With January 1st we start another year, yet we also start another cycle. It is new but not.

The last post of this type was Discoveries 2017 # 4 from April 5th of this year. This set starts April 9th, 2017 and ends Christmas Eve, December 2017.


*Though they are important this does not refer implicitly to “bicycles”

Out and About by Bike: Introducing a Newbie to Winter!

Getting “beyond the back door” under my own power often involves a bicycle. The new bike (a few months now) hadn’t seen winter yet. With the recent weather I have been able to remedy that.

So the newbie, the Kodiak, the Big Bear, meets winter.


I had thought to make another post, but since this is still early in the winter for the Kodiak I’ll add some more pics here.

Despite the regularity of the routes that I use the riding has been quite variable. From “mostly-walking” one day to “almost-easy” the next. Even on the same stretch. From dried out 10-15cm powder that gave no traction to frozen hard-pack with a 4-6cm fresh snow cover. From “will-this-never-end” to “this-is-fun”. Sometimes the deer trail was the best option.

Then again there is the engine and the rider…………..

Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge 2017: Summary

This year seems to have revolved mainly (#6 being the exception) around my main commute route. Side roads, detours or spots I may not usually stop at to or from work. Except for #’s 4 & 5 all of these places have no maintained winter access. As per the regs these are all ‘cafes without walls’, since actual cafes or places to actually sit down and enjoy a good cuppa are few and rather far apart. Literally!

As for the coffee I usually make one up in an insulated cup from the shop, or I make one at home made from the same bean source.

For the most part this is a beautiful time of year to be out on the bike as we move from summer to fall to winter. The fall colours as they change are a real antidote for the coming winter ‘blues’. (See Chris Rea) But the weather at this time of year can be iffy as well, going from rain to snow to freezing rain, wind and sub-zero temperatures. On that note, the temperatures recorded here are from the local weather report and refer to the closest town/village where I work. The temperatures at home are usually at least 5c less.

Something else that the Challenge seems to coincide with in this region is the yearly deer hunting season. This presents an extra challenge. Evidence of the season is everywhere.

The bikes:

  1. New to me. By John Morciglio. The Kodiak, the Great Bear model. A LWB (Long Wheeled Base recumbent) Fat Bike. I have been enjoying getting it and me ready for winter. Despite appearances there have been enough comments to warrant a “the bike is not electric” response.
  2. The MetaBike. My main ride for the past few years, a SWB (Short Wheeled Base) recumbent high racer. Set up with mountain bike tubeless wheels/tires as a sort of ‘Gravel Bike’. I suspect that the MetaBike was happy about the happenings from Coffeeneuring # 2, since she has become my main ride again!

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 1

Date: October 14, 2017. On the way home after work Saturday.
Coffee: Americano from Art Brulant
Route: Side road/trail off one of my commuting routes.
Total distance: 21.17 km – including the commute
Temp: 15c


I took a side road going north off of my regular route that I have never ventured up despite having passed it innumerable times over the years. The route was relatively good except for puddles and some mud.

I found out that it ends at two gates on the two branches of a fork. Both gates were within view of a logged over red pine plantation. One gate had more bush beyond it, the other a harvested cornfield.

Drinking my Americano I watched and listened to the geese overhead. The cornfield seemed to have geese in it as well.

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 2

Date: Saturday October 21, 2017. On the way home after work Saturday.
Coffee: Americano from Art Brulant
Route: I decided to take one of the north/south roads that intersects the PPJ Cyclopark, and then double back towards home.
Total distance: 10.02 km
Temp: 21c


The lack of images reflects the events of this coffeeneuring outing.

Along the 10 km of the trail that I covered the fall foliage did its best to keep me distracted. Thinking of the opening lines to “Killing the Blues”. I met one other cyclist. He happened to be part of the local citizens committee that promotes the upkeep and proper use of the PPJ. We had a nice little chat.

As much as it would be nice to have a higher number of users for the PPJ and the advantages a higher profile for the trail would bring (notice and support – citizen, municipal, county and $$$), the lack of other users makes for a very relaxed, contemplative ride.

At 10.02 km according to my bike computer I met Duff Rd as it intersects the trail. As I turned north off of the trail disaster struck. The riser/handlebars and bike separated from each other!

I cussed some and limped the bike over to the side of the road. I wasn’t going to go anywhere with it as it was. I was fortunate to get through to some help (Thanks Renate!). While I waited had my coffee and a snack.

Otherwise only some minor scratches on the bike. None on me.

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 3

With the event of the Coffeeneuring # 2 and the Kodiak out of the game I almost dropped this year’s attempt at the Coffeeneuring Challenge. But this is the first time I have actually had two working bicycles to choose from and I do think that the Metabike was secretly glad things happened this way.


Date: Saturday October 31, 2017. On the way home after work Tuesday, coffee roasting day. This usually means I head home a little early. With the shorter days of the season that is nice.
Coffee: Americano from Art Brulant
Route: A way-stop along the PPJ that I never stop at despite it being part of one of my regular commuting routes.
Total distance: 18.09 km
Temp: 3c

This is a very pleasant place to stop. Picnic table, bike stand and a very nice out-house. With a view. The 3/4 moon even peeked out from behind the clouds.

As I sipped my coffee I realized why I don’t stop here more often. Though with the amenities on offer it is a great place to stop, for me it is too close to where I work and so too close to my destination in the morning, or too close to my departure when heading home after work.

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 4

Date: Saturday, November 4th, 2017 – Full Moon. On the way home after work Saturday.
Coffee: Americano from Art Brulant
Route: A regular stop along my preferred commute.
Total distance: 18.72 km
Temp: 3c


This regular stop along my route seems to be timed very well. Ask many cyclists who regularly ride recumbents and you will find that ‘nature’s call’ seems to be more frequent. It may be the prone position. Then again it may be just an aging male body. The bridge on the 9th Line seems to work just fine. Oh the sacrifices one makes for comfort!

I have featured this bridge elsewhere. Even coffeeneuring. In 2015 it was Coffee # 3, and in 2016 it was added on as extra – “Coffeeneuring Always”.

To get to the 9th Line bridge you need to go via Magic Road. The bio-diversity of the route is quite incredible.

Note: On this particular ride the MetaBike decided it wanted more attention. The rear tire was well below recommended pressure at only the ‘half-way-home’ point. I added more air but by the time I arrived home it was too low again. Next morning’s ride was a repeat despite adding air the evening before – odd thing no air was lost overnight when the bike was stationary. Supplementing the tubeless-tire-sealant seems to have fixed the problem.

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 5

Date: Saturday, November 11th, 2017 – Remembrance Day. On the way home after work Saturday. After the “Daylight Savings” time change.
Coffee: Americano from Art Brulant
Route: A detour off of another of my commute routes. Usually the winter route when my favourite routes are inaccessible due to snow build up. This is the reason for the Kodiak and yet to be really tested. The MetaBike is a great bike, sorry dear, but on unmaintained winter roads tends to get pushed more than ridden.
Total distance: 21.54 km
Temp: -3c The warm coffee was quite welcome.


(By way of explanation. If you look really carefully on that blurry image you can just make out the series of falls below. If you listen you can hear it! Then if you examine the image with the red and white lights you can make out the cranks and BB above the front wheel.)

Though it is on the same river, this bridge is not part of the Chasing Mailboxes Coffeeneuring Challenge 2015 – Seven Bridges, One River.

My apologies for the previous images. I hadn’t been prepared for the ‘dark’ that came with the time change. Here are some from another time.


(Some images from another visit to this spot. The snag is upstream of the bridge. The rapids/falls are on the other side of the bridge.)

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 6

Date: Monday, November 13th, 2017
Coffee: Americano from Cuban Carocolillo
Route: Cottage access roads and snowmobile/ATV trails around some lakes to the north of home.
Total distance: 12.96 km
Temp: 1


I did some of these roads and trails earlier in the fall with the Kodiak. I think the MetaBike wanted to prove something. And no, unfortunately these are not part of my commute! If you follow these routes far enough they also end at private-property gates. A beautiful fall ride.

Truthfully, I felt the pressure of the deadline for the challenge approaching and decided this would be a nice place to go for a cup of coffee on the second day of my weekend (Monday).

Coffeeneuring Coffee # 7

Date: Sunday, November 19th, 2017
Coffee: Americano from Cuban Carocolillo
Route: Around the block to the south of home
Total distance: 7.07 km
Temp: -1


Again, feeling the pressure of the deadline for the challenge approaching and given the weather I decided this would be a good place to go for a cup of coffee on the last day of the challenge. The destination isn’t far from home and is part of a detour I sometimes take on the way home on my regular commute to add a some extra distance and challenge. The little rises coming up from the bridge are at about 20 degrees from level – usually with loose, wet gravel or snow. Again, I think the MetaBike was trying to tell me something!

This particular spot was also the # 6 Coffee of the 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge. The distance recorded there is shorter for some reason. The weather and riding were also less challenging.

What is it about Coffeeneuring and first-of-the-season snow storms!


Thanks for joining me for coffee!