Towards sustainability and beyond

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Sustainability has been part of the vision for Humdinger since day one. However, if the truth be told, I did not initially know what that meant or how to implement it. Since Humdinger’s inception in late 2017, I have learned a lot about sustainability, and what is and is not feasible to implement in the current context. As part of our sustainability journey, we were certified recently as a living wage employer by the Ontario Living Wage Network. I am so proud of this! Now seems like a good time to talk about sustainable business practices and sustainable development in general, and what I am trying to accomplish with Humdinger Bicycle Tours. A commonly used definition of sustainability, from The Bruntland Report, is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own […]

Add some science to your goal setting

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Happy New Year, Happy New Decade! It seems to have become an annual tradition that I write something about goal setting and goal achievement to kick start the year. For 2020, here is an overview on what the current science says about goal setting. What is a goal? Quite simply, a goal is a target, an aim, or an objective. It is something you want to do. It is not a wish or a need, but rather a more concrete entity that results from the conscious consideration of wishes and needs. Often the goal is articulated or written, but it can also be kept in mind without being externalized. Just having a goal is believed to impact our actions. We become energized and motivated, and we focus more on activities that are relevant to the goal. Does goal setting work? […]

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 […]

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! […]