I truly have met some amazing people at MS Bike Tour. Besides playing squash together, they periodically cycle together which are typically organized by Mustafa & his family.
For the grand finale of summer, Mustafa organized a bike ride around St. Catharines today. The route is part of the 57km Thorold-Welland Loop. Luch invited me for this ride only last Thursday. I jumped on this last-minute opportunity without hesitation. We arrived at the start point by 9:40am at Burgoyne Woods Park. There were about 15 people, many were young children. I didn’t know anyone, except Luch, Mustafa & his family. However, all of them knew each other for many years through squash & basically treat each other like one big family.
We were off after some quick introductions & last minute bike repairs. Mustafa was the only one with a GPS. With him riding in the middle of the group, we were already yelling at people (ie. Tony!!) to turn back at less than 2km from the start! Biking with a huge group is fun. However, the group separated quite early into the ride due to various cycling levels. We would stop every 5km or so to wait for those behind us…..mainly to wait for our GPS leader!! 🙂
I eventually ended up biking with 2 others. At 15km, we were in Effingham (Love that name! Probably named by someone who hates ham!! 😉 ) in the Town of Pelham. No one was behind us. We decided to wait because our gut told us we missed a turn. 5 min….10 min….15min…..nothing. 😮 We consulted our map but we had no idea which step we were on. Suddenly, we saw someone biking up a hill towards us with hands waving in the air. Tony came to save us!! We back-tracked and met up with a couple more people, one of them being Mustafa. Apparently, half of our group missed the turn. Mustafa and Tony worked their magic on the GPS while talking on the phone with the other half of the group who were behind us but were going the right way. We ended up doing a detour & the group behind us went an extra distance to meet up with us.
Getting lost in a group ride is really part of the fun! How could I ask for anything else when I was biking through such scenic roads?? Just absolute bliss!! 😀
It wasn’t long before we took a short break at a convenience store. The kids & some “young at heart” adults enjoyed some ice cream. I was searching for washrooms…..no luck there! 😕
There were more instances of getting lost….A LOT more instances. Where is Mustafa?!?!?! Us in the front really have NO IDEA when to turn. We just kept going straight! We eventually met a gravel road. Yikes!! I wasn’t too thrilled. I was nervous about my road tires. This was the ONLY stretch of road when the kids & those riding mountain bikes were ahead. All of us roadies were going at a sloth pace! 😆
Near the end of the ride, we were kind of traveling in a group. Not a tight group, but at least within eye-sight! Waiting at a busy intersection calls for a ‘worm’ break…..a ‘sour gummy worm’ break that is!! 😀 All you’d hear was “Who wants worms?!?”
We still had about 4km left. A couple of us needed washrooms bad!! We made an urgent stop at a gas station. No washrooms AGAIN! 😮 We kept going and finally, the glorious McDonald’s came into view. Believe me, it’s rare for me to get excited about McDonald’s!
Smooth-sailing from there! All of us were a pack of hungry wolves when we arrived back to the start. Mustafa & the gang got the BBQ started. Picnic in the park! LOVE IT!!! Lots of food and great chats. 🙂 We finally packed up & said our good-byes by 5pm. Didn’t want to go! 😦
I had such a good time & the weather cooperated. My bike had some mechanical problems though – I couldn’t backpedal & my chains kept slipping off track!! 😦 I hope I can get some derailleur adjustments before my ride next weekend!
Huge props goes out to Tony for riding a bike that’s about to fall apart & wheels ready to explode. Koodos to little Evan for being a stellar rider on a bike that’s less than half the size of mine – you must’ve tripled my RPM! Huge thanks to Mustafa for organizing the event & everyone for bringing truckloads of food. Another huge thanks to Luch for the invite, the car ride, the morning coffee, & the chocolate-dipped fruits!