Yep. It’s spring in Ottawa. Finally, finally it’s warm here, and Hubby and I are back in the saddle again. The bike saddle that is. We ventured out for a couple of rides in mid-April after we came home from North Carolina. But not since. That’s because the beginning of May saw really cool temperatures with snow, even, in some places. Akkk. I am so not into riding my bike in the wind and the cold. 


But that unpleasantness seems to be behind us, thank goodness. And since yesterday we are, as I said, back in the saddle again. We tried a new twist on one of our favourite routes. Parked the truck near Kemptville (about 20 minutes from our house) and pedaled this woods trail until we hooked up with River Road. 

High Heels in the Wilderness: Back in the Saddle Again


We love riding River Road. At least this section of it, which is not busy and meanders along the Rideau River to Burritts Rapids and eventually Merrickville. Both historic towns on the Rideau Canal system.


High Heels in the Wilderness: Back in the Saddle Again
The view from my saddle, above. Jeeze, my handle bars are getting a bit rusty. You can see just a thin blue line of the Rideau in between the farmer’s field, and the trees on the far side. The shot below shows one of several man-made platforms for ospreys to build their nests. The resident osprey, is at home. But what the picture doesn’t show is her mate perched nearby. Last year we cycled past several times over the season, and were pleased to see several tiny heads in the nest later in the summer. 


High Heels in the Wilderness: Back in the Saddle Again
Yesterday, we stopped for a snack at the Burritts Rapids lock on the Rideau.


High Heels in the Wilderness: Back in the Saddle Again


was pretty quiet. Only one boat tied up, the owners unloading their picnic lunch onto a nearby table. It’s lovely, isn’t it? A couple of picnic spots were occupied by people who had driven here for lunch and were relaxing in their lawn chairs enjoying a quiet read. 

High Heels in the Wilderness: Back in the Saddle Again
While I sat at a picnic table eating, and Hubby chatted with the lockmaster, I thought about how many times in the past few years we were afraid that our biking days might be over. What with Hubby’s totally unexpected heart problem in 2013, my recurring back issues, and then Hubby’s shoulder injury and subsequent surgery last year. Besides Hubby’s heart surgery, none of our health issues has been life threatening. But as I mentioned in a post about all of this last fall… they were definitely life-style threatening. And stressful. 
But sitting there on that picnic bench, eating my almonds, and watching the river slide by, I felt pretty lucky. Make that very lucky. Lucky that unlike the problems of some of our family and friends, our problems have been fixable with surgery and rehabilitation. Or if not totally fixable, then “manageable” with the help of physiotherapy, massage, and a good exercise regimen. Hubby and I both do our physio exercises religiously. And those exercises and stretches are the key, for me at least, to staying active. 
And speaking about rehabilitation… the shot below is of the flowering crab apple tree in our back yard. That’s Hubby’s Kevlar canoe resting in the notch between the branches. He’s been practicing portaging. He straps on his canoe-pack, hoists the canoe over his head and walks up and down our road. Just making sure he’s in tip top shape for his upcoming canoe trip. I swear, the look on his face when he came into the house a couple of weeks ago, after his first attempt to lift the canoe…well… he looked just like a kid. So excited. And isn’t he lucky to have been able to make such an amazing come-back? Of course it’s been hard work. But still. Lucky. 



High Heels in the Wilderness: Back in the Saddle Again
And you know, when I think about it, every day like yesterday is a gift.  A perfect, sunny, warm, spring day. Perfect for biking. And for contemplating our life and its challenges and its many advantages. We didn’t stop for long at the Burritts Rapids lock. Just ate our snack, soaked up some of the peace and sunshine, and hopped on our bikes again. 
So grateful to be back in the saddle. 
The historic Rideau Canal and lock system has been designated as a world heritage site. If you’re interested, here is a great link with everything from the history of the Rideau Canal, and great photos of all of the locks, to an explanation of how a canal lock works.  


What are you up to these days folks? In the saddle or otherwise?



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29 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle Again”

  1. I grew up in Ottawa but have lived in the Boston area for the past 30 years since my marriage. My sister still lives in Ottawa, near the river too. Sadly I don't get to visit much as my husband, although in good health, is elderly. (Of course, I haven't aged at all in the past 30 years!! ) I do get "homesick" now and then, so it is such a joy for me to have found your site, Susan, and I can follow your adventures along the Rideau, and even further afield. I also enjoy your fashion postings. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Seize the day!

  2. What lovely countryside! I'm so glad you're both able to get out and participate again in the activities you enjoy most. We just tuned up our bikes again and on Mother's Day went for a ride on the bike path along a nearby "creek" (a dismal concrete wash, actually) to the beach. Except for a couple of day excursions when traveling, we haven't biked regularly in probably a dozen years or so, and it felt so good to be doing it again.

  3. We shouldn't take our physical health for granted. It's a blessing. Ride on!
    I love to hear of your travels through Ontario. It was home for me before retiring to the west coast. We took many a ride through the back roads on a weekend, enjoying the bucolic scenery of pasture and small town.

  4. What a lovely place and great that you and hubby can enjoy these pursuits again. A combination of work weather and a natural disinclination towards energetic pursuits have kept me away. However I do love being outside in nice weather. Highly amused by the image of hubby walking up and down the road with the canoe on his head. That could be the start of a great story! Iris

    1. The sight of Hubby walking with the canoe on his head must be a surprise for anyone who happens down our little road…. that's for sure.

  5. Cycling is another skill I never mastered so no saddle for me . York has always been a serious cycling city , perhaps because it is a very flat place , but I was born in the hills to the west & cycling wasn't popular there . The info on the canal was interesting , all new to me . We hired a narrow boat once on the UK canals , an enormous long thing – originally used for transporting goods . Hubbie was the captain , in charge of steering & I was the crew , doing everything else . The big old locks were very hard work to open but by the end of the week I was an expert & we really enjoyed it . Our dogs didn't like it though & kept leaping for the towpath when it was within reach , then the crew had to catch them . So not sure we would do it again .
    Wendy in York

    1. We loved York when we were there in 2005.. and all the gates and bars… once we figured out what those words meant. I can imagine that the dogs jumping ship must have kept "the crew" very busy:)

  6. Sue, I lived in your area for a lot of years. I lived on what used to be called Second Line Rd. That wonderful River Rd. To Merrikville was a favourite drive.Sam Jakes for lunch and or drink. I live on the West Coast now and miss the locks on the Rideau…the colours in the fall, but not the snow. Whenever you show photos of that part of the river…I get a small buzz….not really homesick but….

    1. I know Second Line Rd, Ali. It's not too far from our house. I get the same buzz about places down east… that make me more nostalgic than homesick.

  7. Such a perfect day …as the song goes 🙂 Seems as though you had one of those idyllic days when it seems that all is good in your life. Wonderful that you can share these days cycling together and have the canoeing to look forward to …and hopefully more sunny days! I can imagine have thrilled Stu was to realise he's able to carry his canoe again. An amazing feat for anyone I think …nevermind someone whose had heart surgery. Great news, as I realise how important this will have been to him.
    Thanks for sharing your pictures and the link to Rideau Canal info..Ill enjoy reading it.
    Hope you're having a good week!

    1. Yep..he was pretty excited. Actually although recovery from heart surgery is difficult,m it was the shoulder surgery which really had Stu worried that his canoeing days were done. I thought you might like those pictures of the canal… especially the ones in downtown Ottawa.

    2. Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing it! Re Stu and his canoe ( hadn't consciously thought about the rhyming! …I'm sure a great poem could be written :). ) I was imagining the weight of the canoe and not the position his arms would be in, supporting it. I see now why his shoulder injury was a big concern for carrying as well as paddling.

  8. Leslie in Oregon

    I hope to be back in the saddle again soon with my husband and two dogs, after a fall, winter and spring with ear/sinus infections and a bad cold. Our favorite late spring and summer activities are on or in the water, but we also really like hiking and biking in the nearby mountains or ocean beaches. Torpor can become a habit; thank you for the encouragement to get back out there and move!

    1. Oh dear. I know how dreadful it can be to be plagued by sinus infections, and head aches. Hope you're feeling a bit better soon, Leslie.

  9. I'm so glad that you're back to your wide range of physical activity outdoors — that seems to be so important not only to your individual health and happiness but also to your relationship. I know that's the case for us, and I dread imagining one of us not being able to share that kind of time together. Obviously, that fear hangs over all our heads in these decades, and I guess one of the ways to stave it off is to stay as active as possible and perhaps to begin working under a professional's guidance at the first sign of injury — keeping range of movement is huge!

    1. Thanks, Frances. You're right about consulting professionals when injury occurs… or for me … just a deterioration of certain joints… like knees. And not just dismissing pain as the inevitable results of aging. I've started a course of strengthening exercises to support my knees better and it really helps. I encouraged my mum to consult a physiotherapist for her difficulty getting up from her chair. She does her exercises every morning, and when I was home in the winter, she couldn't wait to show me how she got up from her recliner using just her leg muscles. Yah! That's huge for her ability to continue to stay in her own home.

  10. I so wish we had flat land to cycle around. We're in the country but it's very hilly which would make cycling unpleasurable. That is georgous wilderness that you cycled through in your 'high heels'. It must be a huge relief that you are both able to enjoy trips like that again and treasure every moment of it.

    1. Hills can definitely take the edge off a pleasant bike ride. I like a couple of hills just for fitness reasons… but they're sure not my favourite part of the ride. And they're murder in high heels:)

  11. I do not like bicycling, but I do like all your thoughts on life and injury and illness and the good fortune of being able to recover, even if you need to pay more attention to the corpus now.

    1. I still remember your comment a while ago… that you were a "touch thou no bicycle" kind of gal. Paying attention to the old (and getting older) corpus…always pays off, I think.

  12. Love your blog! I can relate to so much of the content as I too grew up in N.B. and retired to a small town in Ontario on the water. I wondered if you would share your fitness regime. I turned 60 last year and have found that the middle is expanding and everything else going south.

    1. Oh, the expanding middle. That is my demon area. Maybe I will do a post on fitness… although it will only be my experiences… not an expert opinion. I do admit to being guided and advised by an expert; Hubby has a phys ed degree, and has long been my biggest fitness cheerleader.

  13. Cycling is not really on my list of favourites, but I would gladly go for a run in that awesome route of yours. Glad you're back at it! #AllAboutYou

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