Publisher viewpoint

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By Mark Buckshon

Publisher, Ottawa Construction News

A few days before writing this viewpoint, I completed a task that I would have thought impossible until the morning it happened. After pumping some air into the tires, and recharging the batteries for the electronic shifter, I set out on a 30 km bicycle ride – on Feb. 27.

Ever since Robert Merkley introduced me to The Ride in 2009/10 (a 100 km-plus annual cycling event for The Ottawa Hospital that concluded in 2019), I have been seriously into cycling. Initially I rode an ancient 10 speed that I purchased as a used bike when first arrived in Ottawa in 1982.  A few years later, I graduated to a solid $800 hybrid city bike, before graduating to carbon frame bikes – most recently one that reached seven figures to purchase.

I also set up a cycling trainer in the basement, a system that combines the bike to a computer-controlled variable resistance device and television monitor, where it is possible to simulate much of the real-world cycling experience. It’s certainly better than a conventional stationary bicycle, and allows me to keep in shape through the cold winter months.

For the last few years, I would bike outdoors until early November, then bring the bike to the basement, accepting that indoor cycling would need to be the routine until sometime in April the next year.

In February, however, I noticed the weather forecast called for temperatures above 10 degrees C. And there wasn’t that much snow on the ground. Could I bring the bike outdoors so early in the season?

Concluding “yes”, I donned my cold weather cycling gear (10 degrees isn’t that warm) and set out on my ride. It was exhilarating. Today, I tackled my second winter ride – somewhat colder at 3 degrees – for a shorter 21 km – returning home in good shape but without the sweat that usually comes with a calorie-burning bike ride.

I don’t know if the capacity to bike outdoors in February and early March is all good news. Is this another sign of global warming’s impact? On the other hand, it’s great to be able to combine solid cardio exercise with loads of fresh air. I’m also thankful that the city’s cycling infrastructure is continuing to improve.

Mark Buckshon is president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies, which publishes Ottawa Construction News. He can be reached by email at buckshon@cnrgp.com.

           

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