Monday, August 10, 2009


Last summer I came up with the brilliant plan to ride my bike from my house (in the southeast corner of Saskatoon) to my parents' house (in Martensville). It was an ambitious plan for someone who could only qualify as a very casual cyclist. By car it's about a 30-35 minute drive, with much of that at highway speeds.

Last summer, it never came to pass.

But my mom didn't forget, and she's been reminding me of The Plan every now and then.

When this past Saturday dawned sunny and calm, it seemed like the perfect day for ride out to Martensville.

After a quick breakfast I pumped up the tires, donned my bike helmet and gloves, and off I went.

It was a gorgeous day for a ride. I made my way downtown and then took the Meewasin Trail up to the north end of the city, biking along the river the whole way north. Not for the first time I thought how thankful I am to live in such a beautiful city.

As I zipped along, I came across several groups of cyclists. Actual cyclists, with road bikes and dropped handlebars, form-fitting outfits and shoes that clip into their pedals. Going at speeds much great than I.

And they gave me The Nod.

And sometimes even a wave.

You know what I mean - the nod that signifies solidarity in your choice of transportation. Like, "Hey, there's another cyclist! Nice to see you out on such a fine day."

They acknowledged me as One of Them.

Which I thought was pretty cool. And may have had something to do with the fact that I was wearing a yellow tee shirt not dissimilar to theirs, and perhaps they pegged me as a missing link in their peloton.

Whatever the reason, it was nice to feel for a few minutes like I was part of something greater than myself.

Which made me think about how we all need to belong somewhere.

And then I carried on my merry way.

Some parts of the ride were rather harrowing. Choosing a stretch of road with a 90 km/hr speed limit and no shoulder was not a wise option. But I felt myself relax as soon as I turned off onto a gravel road and the sound of crickets rivalled the traffic noises from the highway not too far away. The tall grass and blue sky, with nothing but a straight dirt road stretching out in front of me made me think of when I was a teenager and I would go out for hours and just ride around. No destination in mind, just my two wheels crunching over the gravel, giving space to my daydreams.

I arrived in Martensville safe and sound, happy to dismount for a few hours and have lunch with my mom and dad.

Due to some prearranged supper plans, though, I had to hit the road before too long. I took a different, safer, route home and aside from riding through a brief bug storm, (thankfully I had my mouth closed at the time,) arrived back at my house in one piece.

The round trip took 3 hours, 17 minutes and made me wonder where else these wheels can take me this summer.


Russ said...

Feels good doesn't it? Up until 6 months ago I don't think I had ever ridden more than 10 miles at a time, but then in March when my co-worker announced his plan of quitting his job and riding his bike from here (San Diego) to Boston, I decided to join him for a week. It was an ambitious decision, but turned out to be an amazing trip, proving what you can do when you decide that you really want to do it. It ended up being 400 miles in 7 day, and an experience I'll never forget. And even when I was training I never even went on more than a 3 hour ride, which means that you could ride your bike 400 miles (or 4000) too! :)

Carmen Klassen said...

Hi Russ,
Thanks for the comment. Congrats on riding 400 miles! What an accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

The group of riders you saw likely was the Horizon 100 cycling group. Next May, you should join with the Monday night women's ride, which will introduce you to the skills to ride in a nice group like that.

Check out the club at