Monday, May 16, 2016

First Bicycle Ride on the Cowichan Valley Trail

Last Friday we picked up our new 7 speed Electra Townie bicycles at a local bicycle store called Cycle Therapy.  It has been 25 years since we last owned and rode bicycles, and let me say I was very nervous as these bikes are bigger and differently shaped than the 21 speed Norco bikes we owned then.   But they do say that one never forgets how to ride, so we set out in a quiet area to ride our new bikes.  I was white-knuckling it and was very shaky at first, but it slowly came back as we traveled the roads of this quiet residential area.

I am not ready now, and it will be some time before I am ready, to ride my bicycle on the roads near our home.  My reason is that I tend to drift towards the middle of the road and that could be deadly.  Also, it has been my experience when walking this road, that some people who use bicycles as transportation and not for pleasure or sport, do not possess any bicycle manners.  They do not let you know that they are coming up behind you, and they are going way too fast.  A few times I know that if I had stepped further into the walking lane I would have been hit and seriously hurt by some of these people who do not let you know that they are coming.

I remembered that there was a trail head to the Cowichan Valley Trail about 10 minutes from our home, so yesterday we loaded up our bikes and went to the parking lot.  And what a wonderful experience it was to ride part-way up this trail.  There was forest on both sides so the path was shaded.  The surface was tightly packed small gravel, quite easy to ride on.   It was up-hill but it was so gradual that I could barely notice except it was a bit harder to pedal at times.   I rode to the sound of sheep baaaaing in the distance,  at one point a horse and rider passed us, and a few bicycle riders who were obviously more experienced than we were.  (We being my husband and myself)..  and it was then that I saw the difference between a sport rider and the transportation riders that I have seen.  One man who was riding up behind me called out to say “rider coming, passing on your left”..    what a pleasure that was, to know that someone was coming.

We rode until we reached a place where the trail reached another entrance spot and then on the return trip it was obvious that we had been riding up a gradual hill because we coasted pretty much all the way back to the trail head.  I hit my rear brakes a couple of times not wanting to go too fast.  Two more riders came up behind me and let me know by ringing their bells.  I was grateful for that notice, and I was thankful that I had also purchased a bell when we went to pick up our bikes from the bike shop.   When we returned home, my husband figured out that we had travelled 3 miles in total, which was not bad for our first ride as senior citizens.

Later in the day we left our bikes home and drove to another place on the Cowichan Valley Trail to check it out.  It was beautiful, but the signboard said “you are in bear and cougar country”  so we decided not to ride there until Summer weekends when there will be more people.

Here is a link to the Cowichan Valley Trail on Vancouver Island, and below that, a photo of our bikes with me on mine.

With these bikes, you can sit on the seat and place your feet flat on the ground because the pedals are more forward.  This position also allows you to sit up straighter than on a mountain bike.  In this photo I am sitting on the seat.  These bikes are perfect for old fogeys like myself who just want a peaceful, quiet, pleasureable way to spend some quality time.

Here is another link to Cycle Therapy where we purchased our bikes.

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