Rent versus Schlep

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If you are flying to your next cycling destination, you may be asking: Should I schlep my bike or consider bike rental once I get there? I went through some thinking on this a few years ago, crunched the numbers, and the definitive, mathematically-derived answer was to schlep the bike. We found carbon frame road bikes for ~500$ per person per week, or about $1000 Canadian dollars for a couple. Or, we could bring our own for a $50 charge on Air Canada. Done. Oh, wait. Fifty dollars each way. Per person. So the cost was now $200 versus $1000 for bike rental. Who wouldn’t schlep to save $800? We could borrow one hard case box from a friend, and rent the other from our local bike shop for $5 a day. We were up to $235, but still well […]

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 […]

What gear should I bring on a cycling tour?

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This is not a required list of cycle gear, but rather suggestions for what you may need and find useful to make your supported cycling tour as enjoyable as possible. Nor is it meant to be a comprehensive list – toothbrush is not listed, but bring it and  whatever other stuff you usually travel with. Above all, please pack clothing and equipment that you find comfortable and useful! Do test out the gear you are bringing, especially your shorts/seat, to make sure they are comfortable for the average daily distances you will be riding during your tour – i.e. average 70km per day on the intermediate/advanced tours and average 25km per day on the novice/intermediate tours.  Check out this video for some tips on keeping your nether regions happy and healthy during your ride. Cycling Gear HELMET  is a must! […]

The Haliburton Pints Tour is Shaping Up!

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The Pedal, Pints, and Pubs tour in Haliburton is shaping up nicely!  This 3-day, 2-night tour is designed for more novice riders, aiming for a leisurely 25 kilometres per day with lots of site-seeing and tasting tours at Boshkung Brewing and Haliburton Highlands Brewing. Our two nights will be spent on the shores of Lakes Kashagawigamog at the beautiful Bonnie View Inn. Our trip to Boshkung Brewing will culminate with dinner at their Rhubarb Restaurant. Rhubarb consistently gets rave reviews for food and service, and is FEAST ON designated – meaning it is a business committed to sourcing Ontario grown food and drink. Along the same “local food matters” theme, Haliburton Highlands Brewing is situated on the Abbey Gardens property. Abbey Gardens is a super cool not-for-profit charity that is transforming a spent gravel pit into a sustainable living demonstration project with both for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises on site.  They will […]

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 […]

Switching to Ski Season

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Despite the Mister’s regular hints that he “needs” a fat bike, we remain devoted skiers in the winter. We usually move indoors to various forms of stationary cycling about mid-November, and hit the slopes by Boxing Day at the latest. The first day of cycling in the spring is always a challenge – my bike is usually not yet tuned, and the bike shop has a several day wait since I have left it to the week in which every cyclist except the most organized brings in their bike. So I give it a quick onceover on my own – my skills are pretty much limited to air in the tires and lube on the chain, but it is enough to get rolling. I change the cleats on my shoes, as those I use for winter spin class are a […]

Launching Humdinger Bicycle Tours!

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Humdinger Bicycle Tours has been in the works for several years now.  It is the result of a passion for cycling and traveling, and also a deep love for Central Ontario, particularly the ancient, exposed rock we call the Canadian Shield and all the waterways that fill its crevices. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to many beautiful places around the world, and now I aim to show the world Ontario’s beauty. My travel experiences have been mostly self-guided, but  I have also had the benefit of outstanding guides from time to time.  I dearly love to wander and putter and discover on my own, but nothing beats the depth of knowledge of a passionate local. Who else knows the dives that have amazing food, how to avoid crowds and traffic, the best swimming spots, and, most importantly […]