Ah, it’s quiet now. The beaches are empty, the roads less traveled, the beauty of our surroundings is breathtaking. This is our reward for living here in rural Nova Scotia. The summer is gone in a flash, stuffed with doing – people visit us because we live in paradise. Tourism services abound. We are all tourists in our own neighbourhoods, enjoying festivals, concerts, events – we slurp up every ounce of summer’s nectar.
Now, we are putting our nuts aside, stacking the wood, repairing our leaks, and hunkering down for the long haul!
Summer highlights from the seat of my Magic Bike…
Girls rides! Ride one: We went to the valley and rode from Port Williams and all around (in search of flat roads), eating lunch in Canning with the highlight: creme caramel!! Oh yeah! Ride two: Our faithfully pleasant and easily accessible ride from Indian Point to Mahone Bay is always a favourite, with biscuits (and more!) from the Biscuit Eater cafe. Ride three: We begin in Mahone Bay and cycle to Second Peninsula and back (any excuse to go back for more biscuits…) (are you catching the drift that our Girls Rides have a lot to do with food…?) Our fourth and final ride from Summerville Beach to Carter’s Beach and back is the one we dream of through the cold winter months. This year we basked in the hot sun, ate our packed lunches after cold swims at one of the prettiest beaches in the world, and enjoyed a fun visit to the hostel nearby, buying homemade wool mittens and hats made by locals …just in time for…now!
Father’s Day Ride, with prizes, great weather, and wonderful family turnout was a great success for the eighth year running. This is one of the few times I get to ride with my boys, now in their early 20s, and it’s not even Mother’s Day!
A quiet bunch rode together in the annual Ride of Silence in mid May, commemorating those who have lost their lives or been seriously injured while bicycling. Many are honoured, and close to our hearts here on the Aspotogan we remember local resident, Peter Brock, who died after he was hit by a car while cycling just past Bayswater in December seven years ago. His widow, Margaret Archibald, is still an avid cyclist and joins us annually for the ride. She also hosts our valley girls rides every spring!
A bike skills and yoga workshop attracted a wonderful group here in The Lodge on a drizzly day in June: yoga at the Sail Loft, and practising our cycling skills along the Mill Cove Shore Road. Of course, there were delicious squares involved, and coffee…
Seniors Yoga! We had such a lot of fun at the Fox Point Community Centre with “chair yoga” for seniors (well, over 55, hardly “old”), with 25 plus participants weekly over the four week “trial” period. (Of course, I ride my bike there!) The community centre had received a government grant to promote healthy activities in the centre, and I was invited to teach. The program continues…every Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until December 17th: $2 drop in! This combines perfectly with my regular Tuesday music lesson commute with Bonnie McCuaig in Hubbards: bike, piano, tea and goodies at the Trellis, yoga, and back home by bike, sometimes with a freezing swim on the way home…barring a snowstorm….
Yoga at the Hubbards Sailing School: What a place to practice yoga! We met on Friday mornings at 9:15 a.m., just after the kids got settled into their boats for the day, and saluted the sun on the deck of this gorgeous new building. This is an amazing facility. After yoga, we had treats from our Freewheeling kitchens (there are usually a few leftovers around at this time of year!) with tea and conversation. Another opportunity to ride my bike: I love commuting to ‘work’ by bicycle!
I cycled to the Hubbards market at least 20 times this summer – just goes to show how great the weather was. Beginning on Mother’s Day weekend, which was practically winter, the days got nicer and nicer, then cooler and cooler. On Thanksgiving turkey pick up day, I brought my “bob” trailer to bring back my purchases. In addition to the 20 pound turkey, I bought 20 pounds of apples, along with my regular purchases: bread, coffee, and flowers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered, as I made my way to the Save Easy to purchase the weekend newspapers, that I was a road hazard (ie couldn’t cycle in a straight line). However will I make it up Shatford’s hill, I despaired. That’s when I was very thankful to find a friend in the parking lot who was just heading my way…thank you, Jane! Next up: the chilly Christmas market rides!
Freewheeling Adventures! I went “on tour” – guiding, that is. It’s been many years since I had been “on the road” as more than ‘fluff’. I thought I might still have what it takes to be a Freewheeling guide extraordinaire! With ten people cycling the Cabot Trail in five days, my trusty assistant guide, Brin, and I did our best to facilitate (with lots of chocolate, tire pumping, and huge feasting afterwards) the group’s epic undertaking of this classic route – you know, it’s been listed many times as one of the world’s greatest bicycle rides? Our group treated the journey like the Tour de France: serious business. We tried to get them to swim, explore side roads, linger over lunches, have naps, meet the locals, and take lots of pictures, but it was all we could do to keep up with them in the van! Brin and I managed four out of the six…but it’s uncommon for Freewheeling guides to get to linger over lunches and have naps….
In September, a Bike and Yoga trip developed into a big group of visitors and locals. Beginning with the Aspotogan Peninsula, we cycled our way to Port Mouton, yoga-ing throughout (and eating lots of goodies) over five days. Arriving at Summerville Beach late in the day, some of the participants were moved to tears by the beauty of the full moon on those crashing waves. We ate, slept, yoga-d, swam, and ate some more with the sound of the ocean a constant companion – sometimes, we need others to remind us just how fortunate we are to live in the midst of amazing beauty.
Magic bike blog will occur more regularly now that I am officially retired from the summer season – until next spring. I hope I will see you out and about this winter!