Episode #9: Deer and Bikers and Bears?

In episode 9 Leah talks about an eventful few days with another group of riders including an almost run in with a deer and maybe a bear? She also tells us about her visit to her old summer camp and why she loved it when she was a kid.

Episode #8: Meet the Breuers

In our eighth episode we have 2 very special guests…Leah’s parents! Debra and Robert tell us what it was like joining Leah on her ride through some of Ontario’s toughest roads, including a very unique moose encounter. Oh, and Leah is halfway done!

Episode #7: Making Friends on the Road

 

In our 7th episode Leah tells us how she spent Canada Day with Mike Ranta, a man (and his dog) paddling across Canada in a canoe! Leah also talks about what its been like meeting other cyclists on the road and how she feels about being a month into her ride.

**Webmaster Here…sorry for the delay in this post.  Enjoy!***

 

Episode 6: Happy Birthday Leah!

Next in Leah’s Great Canadian Adventure….Leah spends her birthday in Winnipeg during Aboriginal Day, her route gets washed out 🙁 , and she’s finally in her home province of Ontario!

May 25, 2016 – Snow Creek to Coombs, BC

This morning I was greeted by a bald eagle, perched on a tree before flying by – my first encounter with the local wildlife! After leaving Snow Creek Campground I was met with a nice long downhill to start the day.  That, combined with beautiful weather, was a great beginning!  I saw my first bear of the trip, too!  Sadly I could not take a photo before she ran off, but it was pretty perfect; She was sniffing around on top of a large rock about three stories above the road.  So cool.   Two moderate hills aside, it was mostly cruising all the way to Port Alberni where I stopped for lunch, a massive and delicious tuna burger at Pescadores Bistro in Port Alberni (so good!!!!!!!) and when I left I realized I had a nice sharp hill in front of me… on a very full stomach.  After a quick visit to the Visitor’s Centre I started climbing for what seemed like forever but it really wasn’t, maybe 3km or so.  I call it “Rockies Training”.  Once the 300 m of climbing was over I was rewarded with a nice, long descent into Macmillan Provincial Park.  With old douglas firs lined with moss as far as the eye can see, it is impossible not to be in awe.  I took advantage of their nature trails, snapped a few pics, and continued on.  Grabbed some ice cream at Whiskey Creek and began to notice a funny trend: Chatsworth Ave., Melrose Rd., Burbank Rd… Methinks someone here had an affinity for California.  I rolled into Coombs Country Campground and because they are empty except for one other family, they let me crash here for free!!  No complaints here!  All in all a great day.

One quick thing to note:   I know it’s always hard to trust directions, but it’s hilarious when you realize how wrong people are, regardless of how well-intentioned they may be.  A kind woman warned me about an upcoming hill: “I see people having to walk their bikes up it all the time.”  I didn’t have to get out of my big chain ring to climb it.

 

Road report:

Conditions were more of the same as yesterday; well-paved roads, not too wide shoulders but usually enough, generous traffic.

Distance: 45 miles / 72 km
Climbing: Approx 3700 ft / 1,127 m

A beautiful view of Cameron Lake
A beautiful view of Cameron Lake
Walking around in Macmillan Provincial Park
Walking around in Macmillan Provincial Park
Totem Poles on Tseshaht First Nations land.
Totem Poles on Tseshaht First Nations land.

 

March 19, 2016 – Second bike camping training ride

North Hollywood to Sycamore Canyon Campground
54 miles

Redeemed!! As I sit here in my tent before bed and hopefully a full night’s rest, I am in a much better place than I was last week, both figuratively and literally.  I am spending the night at Sycamore Canyon, about four miles up the Pacific Coast Highway from Leo Carillo.  I am the only occupant of the hike/bike site (last week the sites were packed and we all got little sleep due to noisy neighbours).  Cat stopped by for a short visit which was incredibly sweet of her.  The ride today was relatively uneventful albeit long.  I need to find a way to balance filming the ride whilst maintaining good time on the bike.  I would expect that I won’t shoot nearly as often as I am doing this weekend as I’m trying to get a lot of footage out of only two days.
I’ve always wanted to ride Las Virgenes through the mountains and it met my expectations. Not as difficult when taking one’s time.  Tomorrow I will wake early and take the same route that Wesley and I rode last week up Encinal to Decker, through the mountains to Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, and then the San Fernando Valley.  It’s a lot of climbing but it’s incredibly beautiful.  I’ll be taking a lot of pictures.

Please, God, no flats!!File_000 File_001

March 13, 2016 – Riding Home

Leo Carillo to North Hollywood
50 Miles

Wow, what s great ride!  Wesley guided me through the Santa Monica Mountains and into Thousand Oaks.  The views were incredible, and the downhill was awesome.  I learned a few things from that crossing: My seven gears couldn’t hold a candle to Wesley’s nine.  I’ve climbed much of that road before and compared to others it’s not a big one; riding loaded has changed the dynamic of my ride and I’m going to need to add gears to my bike if I expect to climb the Rockies.  The downhill taught me a lot, too: My brakes suck.  I rode them the whole way down and was too scared to pick up speed for fear they wouldn’t be able to stop me quickly if need be.  At one point we had to pull over to let my burning rims cool off – if they overheated too much my tires could blow up.  So I’m going to have to look into getting better brakes for Bruce.  On a positive note, no flats!!!!!!
Once entering Thousand Oaks we stopped at Jamba Juice for a smoothie and a rest.  From there we rode to Calabasas and I treated him to a thank-you lunch at a local favourite for cyclists called Pedaller’s Fork.  Wesley has been cycle touring for a long time and it was invaluable learning his habits.  After Calabasas we ride to the San Fernando Valley where we parted ways.  Thank you Wesley for the guided ride and the education!!! Happy Tailwinds to you!

File_000

March 12, 2016 – First bike camping test trip

North Hollywood to Leo Carillo Campground
50 miles  11 Miles

I can’t call my first cyclocamping experience a complete failure because I learned a lot.  I learned that my tubes aren’t the right size for my wheels — that’s a big deal!!  Sadly it took me having to deal with three flats within two hours to learn this lesson… I think I need a checklist for future rides.  Things I forgot this time around: Patch kit, cable to charge my phone… Maybe that’s it.  There are a lot of people at the hike/bike sites.  One guy has a cool chair, someone else has an inflatable solar lamp. It’d be nice to have something to drink with dinner aside from water but it’s not necessary.  I’m going to try to ride part of the way home with a guy named Wesley.  Hopefully I can keep up with him.  In the meantime I plan on riding to Leo Carillo again next week, and I’ll be damned if repeated flats derail my ride again!

Kind strangers lend a hand
Kind strangers lend a hand
The third flat was the final nail in the coffin... only 11 miles from home!
The third flat was the final nail in the coffin… only 11 miles from home!
Waiting patiently at the bike shop
Waiting patiently at the bike shop
This is NOT how tubes are supposed to look!
This is NOT how tubes are supposed to look!