Sunday, January 30, 2011

Willow River Snowshoe

Beaver Lake

Today I spent another great day outside.  The sun was shining brightly even though it was a bit cooler then yesterday.  This time I made sure to wear my heavy duty North Face Snowshoeing boots, and 2 layers of socks.  I had 1 pair of merino wool hiking socks and some wicking liners.  For the most part, my feet were warm.  Even though they got a bit cold during lunch break, unlike the last time I went out with my other boots, my toes warmed up quickly.
I wore my North Face Snowshoe Boots, nice warm feet!

Even though it was -18 or so, 14 of us went on the snowshoe trip, which last about 4 hours.  We snowshoed from Willow River Interpretive Trail to the Wildlife lookout, which was 7 kms West.  We had vehicles in both locations so that they could shuttle the drivers.  Even though it started out cool, but the time we hit the highway, we were sweating as it was so warm. It's now -11c.  I had to loosen my scarf and I didn't need both layers of gloves at the end. I love the sunshine, even in Winter it warms you up.  In the bottom photo, you can see the Rocky Mountains in the distance, that's where we hike lots in the Summer.

I can't wait till next week's snowshoe.  Watch for my report here. If you haven't tried out snowshowing, you should!  It is a lot of fun!

The snow was hard and crispy, so no sinking in up to my knees.

We had picnic tables to eat lunch on, a real treat!

Look at the size of these tree roots.  Amazing!

We went the last 1 km along the highway to the Viewing Point parking lot.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What a difference a week makes!

Path to the Aquatic Centre
It's been a week since I last posted and it's amazing how fast the snow is melting.  It was a balmy 4 c during the week which made things really wet and slushy.  It felt like Spring!

It is now colder again, with a high today of only -8c, which I think is perfect.  Today it was sunny, so I really wanted to spend the day outside enjoying it.  I first took the bike out to do some shopping at the grocery store nearby.  The road was mostly bare with a few icy patches which I tried to avoid.  It was easy going.  As you can see the bike lanes have reappeared.
There is hardly any ice on the side streets.

There is a bike lane again!
After I finished with shopping, I realized that I wasn't ready to hang around home like I do lots in the Winter.  It was too nice a day to do that!  I recently was introduced to Postcrossing by my Sister-in-Law, so I wrote up a postcard to a lady in Finland.  Postcrossing is a site where you send postcards to random places that the site gives you (you have to register), and after the recipient receives the card and logs it online, then other people from around the world will send you a postcard- 1 for each one you send out.  (it is quite secure..only 1 person gets your address when requesting a random address to send a postcard to, for each postcard you send out.)
Sending latest postcard to Auli, in Finland

You are only allowed to send out 5 postcards at a time, although the more you send out, the more the limit grows. I think it's a cool idea!  It reminds me of my penpal days.  I have sent 3 out so far, one to Finland, one to Germany, and one to NYC.  I can't wait to see where I get postcards from.

After mailing the card I went for a ride. I was nice and warm, bundled up.  I then realized that it would be a GREAT day to do some geocaching as I haven't geocached since last Autumn.  I loaded one on my GPS with the coordinates of one new cache and off I went.  Before going, I registered my first travelbug that will be sent from cache to cache. It's called PGPunchbug.  I found the PERFECT geocache to send it off from.  I can only hope that it doesn't get lost like so many travelbugs do!  Wish it some luck.  I still have one more to send off in the future.
PGPunchbug Travel Bug

As I was biking I noticed this man skating on some ice. I love Winter!

This is where they take the snow taken of the City Roads.
It was great day to be on a bike, I even managed to visit a friend for a bit before sun started to set.  Tomorrow will also be great. Even though we have received no new snow, I'm going to go snowshoeing!   After last weeks disappointment of not going, this will make up for it.  And the temperature will be just right. I will take some more photos for you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spring like bicycling in Winter.

After having a tough week with snow (I didn't bike much this week due to it), I finally got a chance to enjoy some riding.  Even though I kick myself for not going snowshoeing, it was a GREAT day to go for a bike ride!  The best part?  I didn't need to wear gloves, how cool is that?  I think I even overdressed too as it was warmer then I expected.  The sun sure feels nice after all the cloudy days that we have been having.  It was supposed to be overcast, 6c, and snowing.  But instead, it's a high of 3c, and sunshine.  Can't beat that!  Sometimes I am glad when forecasts are incorrect.
Check out how much snow we got.

The bike lanes are completely covered in snow.
I biked to Northern Hardware, where I got the chain for the bike.  I wanted to buy fenders and a rack as it's sorely needed.  There wasn't much for stock, but they said they will get new stuff in February, AFTER they do inventory.  I decided to wait even though it will be messy riding for the next few weeks if it stays warm.

I then biked around town for a bit.  It was quite a nice ride and I saw a few other cyclists out there.  I suppose I should have gone snowshoeing, but at least I got out and maybe I'll go out again as I have left bicycle tied up outside

Some side streets were good to ride on while others were not.
How many of you are out riding today?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

a year in the life of me 2010 photobook- treat for myself!

I decided instead of printing out my photos from last year's adventures (including Tour De Jasper) that instead, I'd take up Shutterfly's offer for a free photo book.  I rarely print photos these days, but they are the best way to 'back up' important photos.  I'm terrible with photo albums, I have some from year's back that I had to take out as the photo books were aging.  They are still sitting in a box!  I think this is a good way to look at the memories for me and others.

I had sent my Dad this book as he doesn't use a computer and it was a nice way to share my photos of this year with him.   He has Parkinson's so it's also hard for him to 'read' a book these days.  Hopefully this worked for him.  I want to see what I sent him, I can't wait until I get it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cold and Frosty Snowshoe

We had to break trail today which is hard work!
We had a good snowshoe today, despite colder weather.  I was a bit hesitant to even go out today, but since I chose to be the 'leader' I didn't have a choice. Half the adventure was just getting to starting point and finding a place to park.  We were originally going to snowshoe North of the city, but the road conditions were not good, so it wasn't a good idea to go too far away from the city.  We ended up by UNBC.

There were 7 of us who came which isn't too bad a turnout on such a cold day.  We snowshoed for 3 1/2 hours.  I was getting frozen feet, so we didn't end up taking the scenic route.  I was worried about frost bite, but I found after being the person for a while breaking trail in the deep snow, that my toes started thawing out.  But I guess it's better to be safe then sorry!  We still had a nice day and there were others out there too enjoying the fresh snow.  I tell you if you need to have serious weight loss, snowshoeing would do the trick as you use an unbelievable amount of energy snowshoeing, especially when breaking trail.

So much snow has fallen that I think that I will walk to work tomorrow. The main road and sidewalks may be clear, but if more falls tonight, it might not.  As we were driving to the snowshoe trail, the roads were deep in snow....too deep for bikes I think.  I am lucky to live close enough to work to be able to walk to it.  And it's warmed up now too.

This Photo courtesy of Nowell S.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Riding- how it's going so far

This is my second Winter that I've been riding a bicycle in. Last Winter didn't count, due to the warming from El Nino.  There wasn't much snow last year, most fell just in December, so the roads were bare and easy to ride on.

Not this year!  Lots of snow has fallen and stayed on the ground.  I think it's going to be like that for the rest of Winter.  As I was having problems Winter riding with my Rocky Mountain, I bought a beater bike.  All I had to do was put on a new chain and it was good as new.  I will buy a rack and fenders later this month.

Riding has been great despite all the snow that has fallen.  I find that just after a snowfall, it's easier to walk as the road isn't always cleared.  I live on a main street so it's plowed pretty quickly after a snowfall, but usually during or just after a big snowfall, it's hard to bicycle in the deep snow.

I am glad that I live near a main street that takes me to work as it sometimes takes the City 4 days to a week to clear the side roads.  If they aren't cleared, I will usually walk the bike if I have to cross an unplowed street.  Despite not having studded tires at this time, I have no problems with ice.  I plan to get studs next Winter.  There's also been a few really nasty storms which force me to walk as the wind is so strong and blinding!  But it's been good, this week I biked every day and unless deep new snow tomorrow, will bike to work again.

I had to ride on the sidewalk this morning as the plows, snowblowers, and trucks hauling snow were out in full force and I didn't feel safe biking on the road near them.

All this snow has been great for snowshoeing!  It's nice not to have to snowshoe on hard crusty snow, the fresh soft snow is much softer to snowshoe on.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Resisting temptations

I've never had a car.  But, I do have a licence and I occasionally rent a car or practice driving with my friend's or Sister's car.  Instead, I have been biking for 20 or so years.  Once, years ago, I had thought about buying a car, but was talked out of it by a customer.

The reason I've mentioned this is that I was recently offered a car by my Mom.  My Dad has a Honda Fit and due to his health, has been unable to drive it.  I am proud to decline the offer of the car as it would be a very big expense for me.   I also feel that it would be too much of a temptation and would pull me away from bicycling.  There would be no such thing as insuring it for a Summer road trip, I'd end up insuring it year round.

I would be less in shape, it wouldn't be as enjoyable as riding my bike, I wouldn't be so nice to the environment, I'd have less money to save, and unlike a bike, I'd have to refill the tank.  The maintenance would be prohibitive too as the car ages.

I think most people in this situation would be taking up the offer with open arms, but I have stood up and declined.  How many people could do that?  I am so proud of myself, as it wasn't an easy decision to make.  Yeh!  All my bicyclist friends out there who sold their cars have been my inspiration!  Not many could do what you did.  So if you can sell your cars, I can resist getting one.

(I shouldn't have told my Mom I bike in the Winter, she doesn't like that..but I told her I am careful and more and more people are doing that)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Pack-Rat Cargo Trailers- Made in PG

A while back, when I was visiting the local Farmer's Market, there was a  guy doing surveys about Bike trailers.  I've been considering getting one at one point.  I am particularly interested in the Croozer because it converts into a cart to take into the store.  But it weighs 25 pounds, which is a lot when you have to pull it by muscle power.

The guy who did the surveys was going to be making bike trailers locally.  He now has a website where you can order them.  They are about the same price as the Croozer- $200.  But weighing only 9.4 lbs, they are much lighter!  Unlike the Croozer trailer, they don't transform into a cart, or fold up so you can store them without taking much space.  And they are flat bedded so you provide the 'box', ie rubbermaid container, suitcase, etc...  That would make it more flexible.

I guess there are pros and cons to everything.  But I must say the light weight is a big advantage.  The fabric is made of hemp cloth which according to the website is durable and mold resistant.  And the frame is aluminum.  You have a choice of resin wheels or alloy wheels.  I would choose the alloy wheels.

The company is called Pack-Rat Bicycle Cargo Trailers and the website can be found here.  I think it's cool that there is a local company making them, right here in Prince George, and the trailers are reasonably priced.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Snowshoe into the New Year.

This Winter I was determined to snowshoe more as last Winter I didn't even touch my snowshoes.  The hiking club I belong to has been getting more into snowshoe trips and they now have a full Winter schedule!  Most of them until later on in the season, are easier ones.  I've always used excuses like "I don't have a good pair to climb up a mountain", or "I don't feel like being gone all day".  Well, there are no more excuses!

The easy hikes that they have scheduled leave at a decent time, 9 am, so I can sleep in.  They are short snowshoes at 3 or so hours each, so they don't take much of your day.  My Costco's special snowshoes are great for flat/hilly trails.  I get to enjoy good company, and some fresh air, so why make excuses?

The hiking club had even scheduled a 2 hour snowshoe on Christmas Day, and 10 people showed up!  I was quite impressed.  That snowshoe was a warm day, I didn't need gloves going up and even my thinner Winter jacket was too hot.  The later snowshoes were a bit cooler, but not below -15 celcius.
10 people came on the Christmas Day Snowshoe up Pilot Mtn.

I'm on top of Pilot Mtn.

Jan 2 snowshoe to Korky Lake

Rest Stop.  Pat, on the right, is our leader for the day.   

Bjorn, who created the trail in the 60s and named the lake after his dog.

The ice is thick enough on lake that we can safely walk on it.


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