Keep the legs spinning all winter, part 1: Give Zwift a chance!

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Zwift makes indoor riding suck less. A lot less. As a cyclist who disdains the trainer, I previously limited myself to one spin class per week and chose instead skiing, snowshoeing or running as winter activities – anything to get me outside and off the stationary bike. But last year, Mr. Humdinger and I decided to buy a smart trainer and try Zwift. And despite having been a confirmed skeptic known to openly eye-roll when Zwifters pontificated, I fell for the game almost instantly. I fell for the experience points, the sweat droplets, the ride-ons, the sprint and KOM/QOM challenges, the “close the gap” messages, and, I am more than a little embarrassed to say, I even fell for the garage. The garage is where you dress your avatar and buy new equipment. Of course, more kits and accessories are […]

Summer Summary and Looking Ahead to 2021

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Thanks for a great summer! A huge thank you to everyone who got out cycling this summer and supported local bike businesses, cafés, restaurants, breweries/wineries and all other manner of small businesses along your routes. In an obvious understatement, it has been a crazy few months.  Like almost everyone else in the tourism industry, March and April were marked by booking cancelations and sleepless nights. Fortunately, with the COVID-19 reprieve over the summer and a renewed interest in cycling, we were able to run tours. To meet 2020’s unique needs, we focused on local day and weekend trips, and custom tours. Pedal, Pints & Pubs Orillia We were really lucky that Orillia and area suddenly became home to two craft breweries this spring, where previously there had been none. This presented an opportunity to introduce a Pedal, Pints & Pubs […]

Family Cycling Vacations

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Are you in need of a fun family getaway after months of isolation and virtual schooling? With many usual summer spots not operational, you may want to consider a custom cycling tour. You can design an adventure within 30 minutes or 3 hours from home, on quiet roads or bike trails, and with as much or as little support as you need. And the best part for 2020 – it is outdoors with minimal exposure to people outside of your social bubble. While cycle touring is not for all kids, many love the sense of independence and freedom they get from having control over their own transportation. On bikes, it is easier to get parents to stop to check out a sight or sample some ice cream than it is in the car, where adults often whizz by, either notified […]

Tiny and Tay Route: A Trail of Two Dogs

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Tiny and Tay townships in north Simcoe County are known for their rich history, adjacency to Georgian Bay, and… being the namesakes of dogs owned by the wife of the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1818-1828. Today I am sharing a route that is  part of our Georgian Bay – Muskoka tour, so you can start planning ahead for easier times. It is  a delightful, moderate-difficulty point-to-point trip that cuts through both townships, starting just outside of Waubashene and ending in the town of Wasaga Beach, with an optional extension to Collingwood. It is mostly flat, with the notable exception of a hill out of Midland. Much of the ride is along the scenic shores of Georgian Bay. The route is 75km one way. There is a route map and link to a mapmyride file at the end of […]

Ten benefits of e-bikes

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In the Limburg region of the Netherlands a couple of years ago, I found myself cycling behind an elderly woman on a heavy-looking touring bike, laden with shopping bags. I assumed I would catch up and pass her on the moderate slope we were climbing. I did not. If the truth be told, she gradually pulled away from me despite my increasingly desperate efforts to close the gap. When I got to the top, winded from the ego-bruising chase, Mr. Humdinger said, “You know she was on an e-bike, right?” No, I did not know… Since then, e-bikes have been turning up in my world very regularly, and causing me much less frustration. At last winter’s Montreal and Toronto bike shows, many large manufacturers had them front and centre in their displays. Humdinger guests have brought e-bikes on tours, either […]

Considering a cycling tour in Ontario? Consider fully supported and guided!

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I have been an active tourism industry consumer essentially my whole life, starting in the 70s, bouncing around untethered in the very back of a fake-wood-paneled station wagon on Ontario’s Highway 401, with thousands of other eastbound families planning to spend March Break skiing in the mountains of Quebec or Vermont. Cycling tours started later, about 1992, when I went on a bike-packing trip to Denmark. It was a self-guided tour. We planned our trip around where we wanted to go in Denmark, not where the cycling would be best. I learned that Denmark is mostly, but not entirely, flat, and that the winds off the North Sea are, well, windy. Since then, I have had the joy of many cycling trips and tours, including road biking in the Netherlands and France; seeing Berlin on a cruiser bike on a […]

Summer Summary 2018 and Next Season Sneak Preview

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Happy Labour Day!  This unofficial end of summer seems like a good time to reflect on our very first season. It started off with a bang in June when an enthusiastic group tackled the Haliburton Pedal, Pints, and Pubs (PPP) tour head-on. The three day tour started off with a fairly gentle ride on Day 1, with, admittedly, a couple of “slopes” that provided a nice challenge to kick things off. The group rode hard and caroused even harder for three days, enjoying beer tastings and great food, and providing Humdinger with a fantastic, formal launch.  PPP ran again in July, and despite persistent pleas to the Universe for fair weather, Day 1 came with heavy rain. We had a number of indoor back-up plans in place, but this game group of women wanted to ride, and ride they did. […]

The devil is in the details: Building the Georgian Bay-Muskoka 6 day tour

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The short version of this post? The Georgian Bay-Muskoka 6 day trip is cool. The last couple of weeks I have been making phone calls, sending emails, and going on field trips to finalize various details, and can confirm that this trip is a humdinger. It visits not one but two UNESCO biosphere reserves (Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands and the Niagara Escarpment), the oft-National-Geographic-featured Muskoka, and the world’s longest freshwater beach, Wasaga (part of Cycle Simcoe’s 7 Beaches Route). It has over 400 kilometres of cycling on scenic, mostly low-traffic roads, boutique accommodations, boat cruises, delicious food, and so much more! The trip has a soft start with a meet-up in Orillia and a van ride to Parry Sound. Then things get busy. We have to fit in a trip to the very cool Parry Sound Bikes (and a visit with the […]

Beyond setting goals…

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Ah, the New Year, and its barrage of advice on resolutions, self-improvement, and goals… I apologize for jumping on the New Year’s goal-setting bandwagon, but it is as good a time as any to get some things off my chest on this subject, particularly about some the more nuanced concepts of mastery goals versus performance goals (aka ego goals), and a perhaps more important piece about using metacognition (planning, monitoring, and evaluating) to ensure you actually attain your goals. Mastery versus performance goals An example of a performance goal or an ego goal is “I want to be the fastest rider at our club” or “I want to win this race” or “I want to get an A in calculus”. By contrast, mastery goals would be “I want to ride the Rosseau Lake loop 5 minutes faster this week” or […]