Posted by: Silver | February 11, 2012

Toronto to Ottawa

After my little ‘holiday’ in Toronto, the next part of my winter was spent in Canada’s capital, and it is no coincidence that this is where SOS Children’s Villages Canada has its office: I was there for the express purpose of spending a couple of weeks helping SOS in a way that didn’t involve cycling through snow! First though, Ranger and I did have to get there from Toronto, and although the majority of the journey was accomplished in the comfort of a train (thank you VIA Rail and SOS!*), I still had to ride for an hour to get from the train station to my hosts’ house on the west side of Ottawa. In the dark. At -12ºC. If asked to pick my very favourite cycling conditions, these possibly wouldn’t be them, but the experience was not only a lot less unpleasant than it probably sounds, but it also highlighted yet another advantage of having a trike:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ranger’s gear cable was frozen when he emerged from the unheated baggage car at Ottawa station; slightly more surprisingly, I discovered that rubbing it vigorously with my gloved hand for a minute or so actually did produce enough heat to thaw it. I really was rather glad that this worked, not only because it gave me back my gears, but also because I would have looked rather stupid if it hadn’t… Of course, at such low temperatures, the cable quickly re-froze again, but because I was on a recumbent trike, not an upright bike, the cable was still within easy reach even while I was cycling, and so, in return for nothing more than giving my right arm an unaccustomed workout, and looking slightly strange, I was able to keep my cable functioning all the way home. 🙂

I was surprised and delighted to see that I was far from the only cyclist out on Ottawa’s roads at this time of year, but a conversation with one former winter cyclist (who also happened to be my host!) indicated that most of the others were probably doing it all in just one gear… They were also doing it on bikes that could rust away in the salt without it counting as a major tragedy: Ranger, on the other hand, stayed safely shut away for almost the whole of my time in Ottawa. He did have to make one outing, but that’s another story…

* VIA Rail very kindly provides SOS with some travel vouchers each year, and SOS very kindly let me use one of them to make this journey.

The Ottawa River at sunset: there was rather more snow in Ottawa than there had been in Toronto!

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