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outdoors ottawa

Spring/Summer 2011


Your guide to the local outdoor adventure scene

Ottawa, Ottawa Valley, Gatineau, Quebec

The truth about adventure Training for Tris Your first triathlon

Camping in wet weather

Fun or not, don’t miss the experience

You can stay dry

Hauling the kids A look at bike carriers

WIpN lete

A com

package outdoor t

ten - 4-persong stove - camping bag - sleepin - lantern ur Enter o raw! d birthday

Happy Birthday




outdoors ottawa

The truth about adventure

The shake-out self-rescue



~ Features

~ Articles

7 8 10 11 12 14 15 16

4 Publisher’s Letter

19 20 23 24 26 29 32 36 39 40 47

The truth about adventure Outdoor activities and happiness Beware of deer ticks Shake-out: a self-rescue technique Lightning kills Spring is murder on mtn bike trails Pump it up! When weather gets wet, you can stay dry The Perth kilt run Training for tris Matches are for sissies Hauling kids on bikes Island-hopping on Lake Champlain Cycle with full ID, just in case Banish your blisters From Ottawa to the CN Tower Staying fit, bit by bit Camping tips for novices and experts Descend like a pro mountain biking

Enter our 10th anniversary contest! $500 MEC Camping Package


Training for Tris


5 10th anniversary poster 6 10th anniversary contest

Outdoor Gear Healthy Lifestyles

17 Memory lane 18 Summer getaway: pedalling around Perth


30 Outdoor gear and healthy lifestyles 35 Outdoor news 42 A look at e-scooters 44 The back pages 47 Outdoor clubs


Now you can get each issue e-mailed direct to your inbox!

it d a e R ne!


It’s TOTALLY FREE too! There’s loads of info, videos and more about the local outdoor adventure scene, all delivered in this extremely cool animated version. Just go to to sign-up at the top right of the homepage and we'll send you a digital version of the print issue. COVER PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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Ottawa Outdoors Magazine turns 10 years old! To think it’s been 10 years since Ottawa Outdoors Magazine first appeared. It’s pretty unbelievable, and how the years have flown by since our very first issue (see cover image, right). I got friends to pose for the cover photo, pulled in the first team of writers, and gathered the support of outdoor stores all over the region. Since then, as you can see from all the magazine covers on this page, there have been many issues since. It’s been a real privilege, and I look forward to your support and readership in the years Dave Brown, ahead. Publisher In addition to a huge thanks to the Editor-in-chief dozens of writers and photographers who’ve brought their skills to these pages, I hold in high esteem the editors who’ve helped fine tune these words into the consistent voice we have today. Thanks! As always, please enjoy this, the first of our 10th anniversary-year issues. To begin with, I hope you enjoyed the bonus publications inserted in the bag with this copy. Be sure to support these advertisers, as they are long-time supporters of the magazine and of outdoor enthusiasts in our region. I’d like to give a shout-out to illustrators Keith Milne and Gord Coulthart who created the awesome poster on the opposite page. I wanted this issue to be something special, and this poster includes many of the outdoor activities we regularly enjoy and sums up our attitudes perfectly. Whether you’re reading this issue on your couch, in a hammock, or on a park bench over lunch, remember how fortunate we are to have our health and the great outdoors so close to home. If one article motivates you to take up a new sport or activity, or inspires you to encourage another to do so, then as publisher and editor-in-chief, I couldn’t be happier.

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PUBLISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: DAVE BROWN EDITOR: ROGER BIRD WRITERS Allen Macartney, Craig Macartney, Andrew Westwood, Tony Hogeveen, Kathleen Wilker, Rick Hellard, Sheila Ascroft, Eric Martinat, Deirdre McKie, Colin Peden, Chantal Macartney, Dave Stibbe PHOTOGRAPHERS Hap Wilson, National Capital Commission, Paul Villecourt, James Johnsonart, cactusmelba ILLUSTRATORS Keith Milne, Gord Coulthart ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Dave Brown, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Ottawa Outdoors Magazine is an independent publication published seasonally every four months and distributed FREE at sports stores all over the region, as well as at 100 other locations. E-mail: Tel: 613-860-8687 or 888-228-2918 Fax: 613-860-8687 HOW TO GET PUBLISHED Ottawa Outdoors Magazine welcomes story and photo contributions. All photos should ideally be shot with a high-resolution digital camera, but otherwise scanned at 300dpi resolution and burned onto a CD-ROM or e-mailed. No unsolicited contributions will be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Publisher may publish any and all communications with Ottawa Outdoors magazine, and may edit for clarity and style. Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index ISSN No. 1204-69556. © Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any materials published in Ottawa Outdoors Magazine is expressly forbidden without consent of the publisher unless otherwise agreed between partners. Printed in Canada.

Enter the Ottawa Outdoors 10th Anniversay

Camping contest!

and win cool stuff!

To celebrate the 10 years we’ve been bringing you outdoor adventure articles, we’ve partnered with Mountain Equipment Co-op to offer this deluxe $500 Camping package as a prize to one lucky reader. To enter, just send an e-mail to: – that’s it. We’ll draw a name from all the entries, and if your name is chosen, it’s all yours. Good luck, and thanks for the support these past 10 years! Dave Brown, publisher/editor-in-chief Ottawa Outdoors Magazine

ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERSHIPS Ottawa Outdoors Magazine aligns with local and international environmental groups. Recently Ottawa Outdoors Magazine joined and supports the following groups. We encourage you to do the same. Leave No Trace Canada is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Leave No Trace builds awareness, appreciation and respect for our wilderness areas. One Percent for the Planet is a rapidly growing network of companies that give at least one per cent of their annual sales to environmental causes. Their commitment provides vital resources and awareness to organizations that work to keep us on a sustainable path. 1%FTP provides members with a straightforward and powerful way to become part of the solution. We are proud supporters of One Percent as a movement as well as their members which include Mountain Equipment Co-op and more than 20 other businesses across Canada.

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The truth about adventure BY ALLEN MACARTNEY



was the most miserable canoe trip ever. It poured almost every day during last fall’s seven-day solo canoe trip into Algonquin Park. Right from the start, dark clouds hung low and heavy over the hills. Big fat rain drops splattered and bounced on my tarpaulin stretched over the canoe, and ran in rivulets into the lake. After a first happy “rush,” my mood settled into the depths. But three days into the trip I learned a secret about adventure that transformed unexpected misery into excitement with real-life application.

For the rest of the trip, despite the rain, I couldn’t stop grinning and it all started with an adventure gone wrong. So just what is “adventure” anyway? It’s often uncomfortable, wet, lonely, cold, sleepless, and brimming with uncertainty. It isn’t fun and certainly not easy. Adventurers often ask themselves, “Why am I doing this? This is crazy!” Hobbits have a better understanding of adventure than humans. “It’s a dangerous business going out your door,” Bilbo told his nephew Frodo. “There’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Adventure looks better from a comfortable distance.

Most times when reading adventure stories we’re viewing events through rose-coloured glasses. We’re reliving the trek in front of a warm fireplace, maybe with a nice drink. We know how the adventure turned out. We know the hero survived the rapids, lived for days in the forest without food, struggled against the odds and stumbled back to civilization a hero. But the person living the adventure didn’t know how it was

going to turn out. Adventure doesn’t look so appealing when a shark bumps your sailboat at night in mid-Atlantic. Its appeal fades when you’re huddled under an overturned canoe in mud up to your elbows with hail pounding the ground. Can you imagine Indiana Jones in such a disreputable position? I think not. The wisest among us understand this. Days after finishing a 760-kilometre wilderness canoe trip in the

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Yukon, one mosquito-bitten woman responded to the question: Was it fun? “Not really,” she said, shaking her head. “But it was a great, life adventure. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.” Adventure can either defeat us or make us fully alive to life’s possibilities. It can make us complain and turn us bitter. Or it can transform us into a puppy with its head out the car window and its tongue flapping in the wind – delighted with life, and overjoyed with the possibilities. Last year’s solo canoe trip proved one of the coldest, wettest and windiest ever. After three days of cycling through every miserable emotion, it dawned on me: I was stuck in a real life, uncomfortable, unexpected adventure. From that moment onwards my attitude changed. I embraced the experience. I started looking for drama everywhere, and found it. I learned to savour each unexpected soggy moment. On the last day, paddling out in the rain, wearing a silly grin, I was saying, out loud, “What a fabulous trip!” Adventures can make you feel like a Jedi Knight or a Greek hero, but you don’t have to battle a death star or assault a fortress. Your adventure might begin by deciding to lose 10 pounds and keep the weight off for five years. Or you could start a new business, or build a sailboat in your garage – some dream you’ve always nurtured. Don’t just think about it in some vague way; set clear markers that will spur you forward. Your hiking boots are only 48 hours away from being anywhere, anywhere in the world! But you have to take that first step. Choose your adventure wisely, then go for it! (Allen Macartney is planning a 2,000-kilometre solo canoe trip into the Arctic.) /OO 8 ottawa


Science links outdoor activities and happiness Research close to proving what we all suspected BY CRAIG MACARTNEY

Could a 10-minute walk outdoors make you happier? We interviewed John Zelenski, professor of psychology at Carleton University, to find out. He and PhD candidate Lisa Nisbet have carried out their own research and have come to believe that outdoor activity does that, and much more. Ottawa Outdoors Magazine (OOM): How has your researched proven that outdoor activity boosts your mood? John Zelenski (JZ): I don’t think you can really point to one study that proves this, because they are all limited in scope. It’s more the culmination of studies that consistently support this research. We approached this from a couple of different angles. Over the course of two months, volunteers filled out broad questionnaires every few days about their mood and their activities that day. We also took volunteers for 10-minute walks inside Carleton University or outside by the Rideau Canal. Obviously weather makes a difference as well as other things, but we saw significant mood improvements when people were outdoors. We also found that people who spend more time outdoors feel more connected to nature, and viceversa. These people consistently report more positive emotions. Our research also suggests that people who spend more time outdoors are more environmentally conscious.

OOM: What is it about the outdoors that affects people? JZ: More research is needed to pinpoint this exactly, but in nature, people tend to have a soft fascination with things. It’s not very common that something in the outdoors demands immediate attention, whereas downtown you have to navigate crowds and busy streets. However, the impact of nature goes beyond just removing stress. It actually creates something positive. It’s worth mentioning that people who exercise outdoors are impacted slightly more than those just sitting. OOM: Is there a minimum time for this effect? JZ: More time is definitely better, but a ten-minute nature walk significantly boosts your mood. Other studies show even the sight of trees or water contributes to job satisfaction. Obviously there are bigger factors in life, but nature’s effect is still noticeable. OOM: Do wilderness trips have greater effect than walking in the city?



JZ: I suspect so. However, so far our research is limited to city green space. We have found walking in a park boosts your mood significantly over walking downtown. Spending time outdoors helps relaxation and restores attentional resources. Other studies conducted in the projects of Chicago suggest that living near green space eases symptoms of ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. Similar studies suggest people living near green space live longer. OOM: Do you have any advice for our readers? JZ: If you’re having a rough day, find some nearby green space and take a quick walk. I’m pretty convinced that a 10-minute walk in nature is a great way to reduce stress, provide a positive mood boost and refocus your attention.

 In the 1920s, doctors noticed marked improvements in psychiatric patients living in tents on hospital grounds. Similar improvements were noticed with troubled youth sent on structured camping, hiking and canoe trips. Adventure therapy, a recognized science for 40 years, boosts selfesteem, self respect, teamwork and problem-solving, while decreasing depression and even easing emotional trauma. Outward Bound and similar organizations have used these principles to help build and encourage youth and adults for decades. /OO


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those nasty forest hitch-hikers BY ALLEN MACARTNEY It might be time to give serious thought to deer ticks. Ticks in general – and deer ticks are the most likely in our area – are tiny, blood-feeding parasites that live in forest grasses, bushes, dried leaves and low vegetation all over the world. Where you find deer, you’ll likely find lots of deer ticks. And deer ticks carry Lyme disease, which is no joke. These insects are less than one quarter the size of the end of a match stick and often go unnoticed by hikers or campers. They can go unnoticed until, a few days later, the host gets a rash or a fever or both. They don’t fly or crawl around looking for an animal or human to attack. Instead, they let the animal come to them. As a host brushes by, it sinks curved teeth into the skin

to act as anchors, and it starts to drink blood. Ticks will latch onto deer, birds, reptiles, amphibians or humans, as long as it can find blood. They’re more active in warm weather, and are more abundant near water (where animals drink) and meadows and scrub (where animals graze). So what? you might think. No big deal. Nothing more than just another biting bug to annoy us, like a nonflying mosquito. Wrong. Deer ticks carry several serious viruses, including Lyme disease. Untreated, a deer tick infection may lead to serious health problems. So the sooner you get a tick off you, the better. Here’s how. Use needle-nose tweezers to grasp the tick by its mouth as close as possible to where its tiny jaws are clamped onto your skin. Gently pull straight out until the tick lets go. Don’t crush or squeeze it while it’s still attached because this could force infected fluids into your body. After you’ve removed the tick, and any embedded mouth parts you can find, wash the area with disinfectant liquid, and apply antiseptic cream when you’re finished. Wash

your hands and tweezers too. Then put the dead tick in a container, with the date. If you do get sick, having the corpse on hand will help a doctor diagnose what’s ailing you. Watch the bite area for infection, and monitor your health for changes. See a doctor if you suspect an infection. Prevention is better than an awkward tweezer operation, so wear boots, socks, long pants and longsleeved shirts when walking in grass or beside shrubs, and stay in the centre of trails, away from tall grass or leaves that might brush against you. Check your clothes and body for ticks – light-coloured clothes will make them easier to see. Sticky tape is a quick way to get one off cloths or socks. Insect repellent might help keep them at bay, but opinion is divided on how effective it is. And if you’re hiking with a pet, give it a break, and check out Fido as well as yourself for ticks. There are many species of these creatures, but it’s best to assume that the tick latched onto your leg is a deer tick, and dangerous. Err on the side of caution. /OO

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Beware of deer ticks,

Shake-out A self-rescue technique BY ANDREW WESTWOOD PHOTOS BY PAUL VILLECOURT If you capsize you may need to use a self-rescue technique called the shake-out. Effective with solo or tandem canoes, the shake-out is best performed by just one paddler because co-ordinating the movement with a partner is difficult. After the canoe has capsized, turn the canoe over so that it is in the upright position. Grip the canoe at one end and push it forcefully downward and forward. This sloshes the water out of the canoe. After repeated thrusts the water is progressively emptied from the boat. This method of draining the canoe may not be as effective as the Capistrano Flip; however, it is somewhat easier to perform. Even if the canoe is only partially emptied, it can be re-entered and bailed, or simply paddled to shore and emptied. An alternative to doing the shakeout from one end of the boat is to complete a similar self-rescue from the side of the canoe at mid-ship (see photo sequence). Hold the gunwale near to the center thwart and push down and away from yourself. Thrust downward repeatedly until you’re satisfied that you have shaken as much water out of the canoe as possible. Once again climb in and bail the remaining water, or paddle to shore to finish the job there. /OO This is an excerpt from The Heliconia Press’ new release Canoeing – The Essential Skills and Safety (soft cover, 144pgs) available for $14.95 US at 888.582.2001 or

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Lightning k ills! BY ALLEN MACARTNEY Each year lightning kills and injures outdoor adventurers – often

Did you know…? • Men have a higher lightning hit ratio than women because they spend more time outside. • Rwanda is the country with the most lightning, while the north and south poles have the least. • “Lightning Alley,” an east-west strip of land in Florida, generates more lightning than any other place in North America. • About 1.2 billion lightning flashes occur annually worldwide.

unnecessarily. It happens out sailing, while canoeing, cycling and hiking,

Dispel these lightning myths

even while sipping hot chocolate around a campfire. Yet protection is

• Lightning often strikes the same place twice. Most years it hits New York City’s Empire State Building about 25 times. • No foam insulation pad under you offers enough protection from the thousands of volts in a lightning bolt. • Caves offer no protection, despite popular belief to the contrary. • Don’t believe anyone who says it’s safe to swim during a lightning storm. Get out of the water – it conducts high voltage over long distances.

remarkably easy. A risk exists, but the odds of being hit by lighting are almost one in a million, and few strikes are fatal. Lightning is all-natural – a powerful electrostatic discharge in the atmosphere. Most lightning bolts last less than half a second, are about 7,200 metres long and 15 centimetres in diameter. Lightning can even travel along the ground, following fences, power lines and big roots. Campers have been frightened of lightning for a long time. The earliest recorded drawing of lightning was found on a rock in the Australia outback. The image (estimated to be 20,000 years old) shows a person whose hair is standing straight up. Horror stories of lightning devastation and folklore methods to escape its power have circulated for millennia. Roman emperors believed that a laurel bush could provide protection. That’s why the emperor Tiberius carried a laurel wreath with him at all times – high tech protection of the day. Caesar Augustus carried a sealskin tucked away in his tunic to ward of lightning bolts fired by the gods.

While your chances of getting struck by lightning are about the same as winning the lottery, decreasing the risk is possible. If violent weather is coming on, head back to the car or into a substantial building if you can. And when you’re inside, stay away from windows, pipes and electrical wiring. If you’re stuck outside, take these simple protective measures. Avoid single, solitary tall trees, and hilltops and take shelter instead under clumps of shrubs or trees with uniform height. Squat or kneel in a crouch with as little ground contact as you can manage, or sit on any backpack with no metal frame. Avoid wide open areas, and space out at least 10 metres apart in a group. Get off the water, and at least 20 metres away from it to take shelter. Ahead of time, don’t set up your tent under a large tree, near a cliff or cave, or on partially exposed roots. And remember, it’s never over until it’s over. Stay alert for at least 30 minutes after the “last” peal of thunder or bolt of lightning – it might not be the last.

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Bas-Saint-Laurent: A maritime regi n f Québec t disc ver O


© Parc-Aventure Mont-Citadelle

© Pilar Macias/Tourisme Bas-Saint-Laurent

© Michel Laverdière

© Jean Sylvain/Sépaq

© Marc Loiselle


The sea, lakes and forests of Bas-Saint-Laurent offer many opportunities for activities: rock climbing, whale-watching excursions, sea kayaking, zip lining, hiking and more! The Route Verte cycling trail, which is well established in this region, is ideal for cyclists of all levels. At the end of the day, relax and enjoy the many good restaurants and charming inns in the region.

Plan your vacation online!

Spring is murder for mountain bike trails Give them time to dry out

After a long, cold, and wet winter, cyclists are itching to get their bikes out and ride. Whether you ride a road bike, BMX, or mountain bike, riders are in their garages or basements, cleaning chains and sprockets, checking brakes, and pumping up tires. But this spring Mother Nature isn’t doing us any favours. In late April we were still being bombarded by snow, hail, freezing temperatures and rain. And for mountain biking trails, things are worse. The wet weather was making forest trails more vulnerable than they are in the best of times. Most trails around Ottawa, including the South March Highlands, cut through forest situated on top of Canadian Shield bedrock with a lot of flat terrain in between. Flat terrain offers little opportunity to build trails on high ground or bench cut into the side of a hill to follow its contours. This means much of the trail system is in low-lying ground that’s wet in early spring and after heavy rains for the rest of the season. The top layer of forest soil is the product of centuries of plant-life cycles, growth and decay, have built up an organic layer 10 to 20 centimetres deep over bedrock or deeper mineral soil. This layer holds and retains water – great for plant life, not so great for a mountain bike trail. Wherever possible, trails are built up with mineral soil or 14 ottawa


with rock armouring to make them stronger, able to dry out faster, and more sustainable. But the reality is that it just isn’t possible to lay rock over every square inch of trails in the South March Highlands or Camp Fortune. This means mountain bikers need to be conscious of trail conditions, not only in the wet spring months, but throughout the year as well. Riding through wet organic soil, churned into mud, creates ruts, allowing water to penetrate deeper into the soil, which predictably takes even longer to dry out. Some riders will try to skirt wet areas and this widens the trail and the damaged area.

This is clear in these photographs taken this spring in the South March highlands, where volunteers from the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) maintain the trails. Damaged trails mean this volunteer effort will have to be expanded before other work can be done. The Association has posted signs in the Highlands and on its website asking riders to keep mountain bikes at home until the trails are dry enough to ride. OMBA holds volunteer trail days throughout the season so members can meet fellow riders and give something back to the trails we all love so they’ll be around for years to come. Join the club! Your OMBA membership fee of $25 annually helps pay for insurance (to cover volunteers) and tools for trail work in the Highlands and Camp Fortune. Being a member also gives you a voice to keep mountain biking as a part of sustainable recreation in the Ottawa area. OMBA hosts weekly and monthly rides on all the local trails. Behind the scenes, its board of directors works with City officials, the NCC and other landowners to promote and protect mountain biking in Ottawa. Find out more at /OO




it up!

Pump tracks build bike-handling skills for anyone on two wheels BY KATHLEEN WILKER For those new to the attractions of pump tracks, they’re like a BMX bike track, but without big jumps or any other dangerous elements. A pump track is basically an outdoors, flat, loop-style track built on hard-packed soil. It should appeal to anyone from the youngest kids on scoot bikes and trikes to talented mountain biking adults. The loop contains banked corners called berms and undulations called rollers. The idea for advanced riders is to build up speed and then ride the loop without pedalling, to use upper body and core strength to “pump” up the berms and into the rollers, increasing momentum as they go. Competitive mountain bikers perfect their skills and build endurance on pump tracks, and transfer these gains onto trails. Children and less experienced riders pedal their way around the loop and learn to take sharp turns on the berms and how to lean into rollers to increase speed. Given the relatively low risk – no cars, no roots, no boulders – it’s the perfect place for a family ride. Mountain biking parents can take the kids for a weekend afternoon and know that everyone is going to get some great riding in. Pump tracks remove the need to choose between a solid, adult trail ride or hanging out with young children. Another benefit comes later on when the kids are old enough to mountain bike on trail with their parents – years of pump track outings will likely

convert young riders into better bike handlers. According to Matt Wood of the Ontario Mountain Biking Association, pump tracks are “a flatland rollercoaster where you don’t need to pedal.” Wood was one of the volunteer trail builders who designed and rebuilt Camp Fortune’s pump track last season. “While we initially started with an L-shaped track, the design had to be re-thought after a few run-throughs with the bike,” says Wood. “In the end we settled on a triangle. The track consists of three bermed corners with two rollers between each berm.” A well designed pump track with good drainage might need minor repairs after the snow melts, but shouldn’t need to be completely rebuilt each spring. Pump tracks need only a relatively small area to be a lot of fun and offer a great workout. Ottawa’s Anthony Bereznai built a pump track at his parents’ cottage last summer. With a load of soil and a borrowed back hoe, an afternoon’s work created a track he and his mountain biking wife and their three kids, then aged two, four and seven, could enjoy all summer. Bereznai would love to see a community pump track in his west Ottawa neighbourhood so kids can practise biking skills without having to drive to Camp Fortune.

Derek Heffernan in Hintonburg is another Ottawa parent who would like to see pump tracks in City parks. “I think that youth in my neighbourhood would really benefit from a pump track,” says Heffernan. “It could be a recreational hub for youth from the age of five on up. Specialized mountain bikes are not necessary, and any bike would work, making it an accessible and super-fun exercise option.” Heffernan is working with the Hintonburg Cycling Champions to identify a good location for a pump track. “The pump track at Camp Fortune is in a beautiful location, but is relatively raw,” says Wood of his team’s handiwork. “It’s entirely possible to manicure pump tracks and plant flowers, bushes and grass between the trails.” Wood imagines that elegantly landscaped pump tracks would be appropriate in parks where a wide range of people use the land. /OO PUMP TRACKS IN ACTION • •

Camp Fortune pump track – videos/pump-track-party Professional Scott Bicycles mountain biking team riding a beautifully manicured crushed stone pump track in Italy – see Jay Hoots on community involvement in building pump tracks - look him up on YouTube.

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When weather gets wet, you can stay dry Here’s how BY CRAIG MACARTNEY

The Ottawa-Gatineau area averages eight rainy days a month over the summer, so give some thought to rain-proofing your canoe or camping trip. To stay dry, start inside, not out on the trail or the lake. Before setting out, check the weather forecast for your trip area and pack appropriately – and then some. Rain gear is a must, even when the weatherman calls for sun. This means enough rain coats to go around, at least one tarp, a fly for your tent and extra socks and boots, so some are wearable while the wet ones dry out. If you get caught without a raincoat, punch holes for your head and arms in a plastic garbage bag, pull it over your head, and vow to do better next time. In the pre-season, re-seal all the seams of your tent and fly – camping supply stores carry a range of products for this. Most apply like

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roll-on deodorant or paste, with a brush included. Silicon spray will do the trick too. Then check your tarp for any needed repairs. Think about rain when setting up camp. Find high ground, away from depressions that turn into ponds in a storm, or troughs that can become muddy drains. Avoid slopes with signs of erosion. Love your tarp. Under it is your safe place, the first thing set up and the last thing taken down. Make sure it’s over an area that will not collect water, and angle it to direct water downhill, away from your camp. Then, from the bottom up, get the groundsheet under your tent to keep its floor dry. Tuck in protruding edges so they don’t collect water and draw it underneath. On top, the fly keeps tent and gear dry and provides daytime shade and some wind protection.

To keep your tent health and easy to maintain, air it out on dry days and keep its windows slightly open during light rain to carry off condensation from your breath. Over several hours, condensation build-up can dampen equipment. Store wet clothes or shoes in the vestibule or tent corner to limit their contact with dry equipment. If a menacing storm is bearing down and you have time, consider moving your tent under the tarp. Wherever it is, ride out the storm inside and stay away from the tent walls – touching them invites water to seep through. Likewise, sleeping bags and gear should be clear of the walls when it’s raining. And when the storm blows away, job one is drying out wet equipment. Then you can think about bragging how dry you stayed, when you come out of the bush. /OO


THE SPECIAL GUEST In July of 1996 I was hired by a group of men with decades of experience on Parliament Hill and on northern wild rivers. They had me outfit a Petawawa trip and stern a canoe for a special guest. The guest was Pierre Trudeau. We shared a tent and canoe for three great days mixed with traditional canoetrip routines and laughs. But the stories and jokes based on life in politics was a great experience for this guide sitting beyond the firelight. – Wally Schaber (owner, Trailhead)



TRAILHEAD, THE ORIGINAL. Corner of Scott and McRae.

1960 Scott Street, Ottawa – 613-722-4229

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Pedaling in and around Perth BY KATHLEEN WILKER Each spring about 2,000 cyclists pedal through Perth, Ont. on the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour. Halfway between Ottawa and Kingston, Perth makes a perfect lunch spot – often at the Last Duel park – on the 180-kilometre bike tour. But this historic town is home to so much more, extending a welcome to cyclists in all seasons, making it worth a more leisurely cycling trip or a weekend base for several bike rides. Cycle from Ottawa to Perth to start riding in the region, or down and follow the routes suggested by local cyclists through the neighbouring small towns and villages. Cycling maps with 15, 20, 40 and 90-kilometre loops are downloadable at cycling-route-maps/. Routes range in difficulty from a 15-kilometre flat route along the Tay River to a 42-kilometre loop over hilly terrain to Murphy’s Point where cyclists carrying tents and sleeping bags can camp at this popular spot on the Rideau Lakes. Hikes of all kinds abound in Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, including nature walks for families, and historical traces of mica mining by long-ago farmers who found themselves hard put to make a living on stony, hilly land. Short and flat routes of varying lengths and longer hillier loops are mapped out in the nine different routes that leave from Perth itself and from nearby Lanark. For cyclists wanting a weekend away, bed and breakfasts in Perth and along the nearby routes are included in the written directions 18 ottawa


that accompany the maps. All routes and directions have been designed and tested by local cyclists. Recommended stops like restaurants featuring local ingredients, ice cream parlours and bakeries are included in these directions. You can ride through Balderson and stop at the old cheese factory for a smoky cheddar. No longer manufactured in Balderson, the cheese and other gourmet deli food is still sold in the original factory building. Hans Moor, president of Ottawa’s Citizens for Safe Cycling, says Perth could replicate the type of cycling typical of small towns in the Netherlands, Moor’s homeland. “If you want to attract cycling tourists,” says Moor, “You have to offer more than a few hundred miles of abandoned railway tracks, lined with trees or a shoulder along a highway. Perth has it all: heritage buildings, a farmers’ market, a quiet countryside and restaurants ready to feed hungry cyclists.” Moor says cycle tourists who want a more leisurely pace can find it in and around Perth – he points to

the variety of distances and levels of difficulty in the routes laid out by Perth cyclists. “In the Netherlands, cycling has nothing to do with sport, health or saving the environment – everyone just goes out for a ride with the kids or grandkids. On a sunny day, you’ll see whole families cycling in the countryside, along the coast or touring through small villages,” he says. Local museums like the Middleville Museum and historic churches are part of Perth’s cycling routes and trails to lure you out of the saddle and onto the land cross several of them. Look for the Baird Trail for a short hike on Middleville Route 6 or Kiwi Gardens for a stroll through winding pathways and outdoor art on Harper Balderson Route 3. /OO

An eight-km run connects town to its Scottish roots The year 2010 marked the 800th anniversary of the founding of Perth Ontario’s sister city, Perth, Scotland. When the Ontario Perth mayor challenged his town to celebrate the occasion, Terry and Mary Stewart of the Perth Running Goat’s Run Club took up the challenge big time, and they’re at it again this year. “Terry wanted to host a Kilt Run and go for a Guinness World Record for the greatest number of kilted runners while we were at it,” says Mary Stewart, looking back to when it all started. So they emailed the Perth running community, “and soon we had an organizing committee of seven and the Perth Kilt Run was born.” Stewart remembers the initial committee meeting. “We were sitting around the table talking about how many runners we thought we could recruit for the inaugural run,” she says. “Most of us guessed 100 or 200.” But when runners heard “kilts” and “World Record,” they signed up in droves and soon the race reached the 1,210 cap – the year Perth,

Scotland was founded. The entry fee bought a regulation pleated, belted kilt in the race kit, and there was a choice of four tartans. “I chose the red Stewart tartan,” says Dana Menard of Ottawa, who signed up for the race as soon as she heard about it on the Running Room website. “I invited a friend who has a PhD in Scottish Medieval poetry to join me,” recalls Menard, who also rallied her family and her running partner to join in the fun. “We kilted runners took over the town,” says Menard. “There were more people wearing kilts than not wearing kilts.” Menard has already registered for this year’s Kilt Race and is looking forward to receiving the Scottish Tam that will be included in her race kit. The Perth Kilt Run did indeed set a Guinness world record for greatest number of kilted runners in one place. Having successfully set one record, the organizers are eager to break another. This time it’s for a scone. Mary Stewart says, “The scone we have to beat was three feet wide and weighed 200 pounds.” So far the Stewarts have found a baker outside town with a big enough oven to bake the enormous scone for the runners to eat when the race is over. Now they just have to convince the baker to go for it. This year the featured dress at the kilt run will be Ontario’s blue and green tartan. And the race route will

follow the same eight-kilometre course through Perth, a town settled in 1816 by former Scottish soldiers, many of whom were masons. That explains much of the town’s architecture and its location along the Tay River, just like its namesake in Scotland. “We start at the town hall and run past Alexander Graham Bell’s home, where the first phone call was made” says Stewart. “Then we move out to the golf course,” he says, which is built on the site of the oldest golf course in Canada. Kilt runners can look forward to a fun, historical run, a cardboard castle at the starting line, a route lined with pipers and rowdy cheering sections. If last year’s race is anything to go by, there might even be some haggis stew and traditional contra dancing to go with the record breaking post-race scone. /OO This year’s Perth Kilt Run is scheduled for July 2 at 6 p.m., at the Perth town hall. Photos Courtesy of

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Training for tris Swim, bike and run to better health BY RICK HELLARD When you mention the term triathlon, most people think: Ironman. “You know,” they say, “the one in Hawaii where that lady crawled across the finish line.” Yeah, Julie Moss inspired a lot of people that day in 1982, including me. I figured I can do that, but without the crawling part. I’m better than that, aren’t I? And smarter. I’d never

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let myself get that far gone. More than a couple of decades later, I am happy to report that, although I’ve been reduced to walking a few dozen times, I have yet to crawl in any event that didn’t require it. I wonder if I’m just not tough enough to go that hard — to disregard all signs of bodily failure for the sake of a few seconds and possible victory. I hope never to find out, but I digress.

Triathlon was born in 1979 when three men — a swimmer, a cyclist and a runner — suggested their respective sport required more fitness than the others. They challenged each other to a race combining all three disciplines and duplicated the distances and routes of marathon events held in Hawaii. The Ironman was born, and it was a big baby with a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.195-mile run, which is a full marathon in itself. The organizers didn’t realize that the 112-mile ride on that course was originally intended to be a two-day event. Fifteen people successfully completed that first Hawaii Ironman.

Since that time, tens of thousands have completed an Ironmandistance triathlon. The sport has evolved considerably, but many things remain the same. Ironmandistance events are held all over the place now. They are still the same silly distance. There is still no drafting and everyone must be selfsufficient. The biggest thing that has changed is the equipment: it’s way more tricked-out…and expensive. Ironman is, and always will be, a life-changing experience for most people who enter one. The level of psychological, physical, financial and scheduling commitment is substantial, if not as daunting as the event itself. In my opinion, if it doesn’t change your life in a big way, you did something seriously wrong. You missed the friendships, the hard days, the easy days, the whole experience of preparing for something that could leave you out on a highway, dehydrated in a pile of your own salt, and conquering it all. Triathlon has matured from being as long as imaginable into shorter events that are more achievable for a greater number of people. Triathlons are now set into relatively standard distances. The distances are rough guidelines because it’s hard to find exact routes that are more imaginative than the out-andback format. There are, however, many non-standard distance events on the calendar. As a triathlon coach for more than 12 years, I have had the pleasure to work with a variety of personalities and abilities. I’ve seen nonswimmers without bikes or running shoes sign up for a triathlon with a month to prepare, and do it with a smile. They may not be quick, but the look of satisfaction on their face is hard to mistake as they cross the finish line. More often than not, a triathlon is more intimidating than it is difficult

to do. If you want to go fast, it’s harder. If you just want to get across the line, it’s not as hard as you might think. If you are interested in training for your first triathlon, the following steps will help you get ready. These guidelines pertain to Try-A-Tri, Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon. YOU SHOULD BE MOST CONCERNED WITH: 1. Having fun 2. Getting to the start line uninjured and enthusiastic 3. Getting to the finish line uninjured and enthusiastic 4. Going faster

YOU SHOULD BE LESS CONCERNED WITH: 1. The techno toys (they are not a replacement for training) 2. Looks 3. Comparing times and/or performances with others Assess your current abilities in all three disciplines and focus on your weakest, then the next weakest and pay least attention to your strongest. It should be reasonably safe to assume that if you were a competitive swimmer, cyclist or runner at one point in your life, you can get back into it by remembering what it feels like. If you work up to 1½ times the distance of the actual race, you’ll be fine.

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The swim is the shortest event in the triathlon, so not always the best return for time invested. But if you can’t swim, you can’t get to the bike or the run, so it is very important in that respect. Make sure you can swim the required distance in the open water, which is not the same as a pool. If you get tired on the run, you can walk. If you get tired on the bike, you can coast, change gears and rest going downhill. But if you can’t swim, it’s much more difficult to rest. Three workouts per week in each discipline should be sufficient for a first triathlon up to Olympic distance. Once per week, combine a swim and ride as well as a bike and run. A fourth workout may have to be added when training for longer events, but not every week or in all disciplines. This is where it gets complicated and a coach becomes useful. The science of training can be very complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. The basic principle is simple: train enough to get to the finish line. Once you can do that and you decide to improve your time, add speed or strength sessions once or twice weekly. To do this, pick an intensity you can maintain for 15-20 minutes. Train at that intensity once or twice a week and get used to it. When your system adapts to that intensity, either add a bit of volume or turn the intensity up a notch. Train at the new intensity until your body has adapted and repeat. A few weeks before the big day, start to practice changing from swim to bike and from bike to run. It takes practice to switch physiological activities along with footwear, helmet and sunglasses. When you get on your bike after swimming, there won’t be enough blood in your cycling muscles — it takes a bit of getting used to the feeling of 22 ottawa


NAME Try-a-tri

SWIM (M) 1-200

CYCLE (KMS) 5-10

RUN (KMS) 2-3








Half Ironman









For more information on triathlons in and around the National Capital Region, as well as Ontario, check out the following web sites:

for local happenings and discussion groups

for all race results and schedules

for triathlons and races in eastern Ontario

for information on kids triathlons in the Ottawa area

for official site of triathlon in Ontario

for information on kids triathlons in Ontario

for personal triathlon training

for triathlons in our Ottawa region

empty legs while the body diverts the blood to where it is needed. The same can be said for the transition from bike to run. The more often you do these transitions, the easier they become. When you’re comfortable with the distance and the transitions, you’re all set until race day. On race day, be sure to know the routes — it’s your responsibility. Be sure to understand the transition zone layout. They are not always simple, and are often in a state of mass confusion. The more familiar you are with where and what you are doing, the smoother your day will be. • Know where your bike is located and how best to find it from the direction you will be coming out of the water. • Know where the BIKE OUT gate is located from your transition spot. • Know where your bike is from the BIKE IN gate. • Know the way to the RUN OUT gate from your transition spot. OTHER HINTS • Pick up your ChampionChip from the green ChampionChip tent and strap it on your ankle right

away. This is a computer chip programmed with your race information. When you pass over the mats along the course, your times are recorded for the results. No chip, no time. • No bare torsos except in the swim. • No outside assistance. If something breaks, either you or a race official must repair it. • There is no drafting allowed — you can’t ride within an imaginary box surrounding another cycling which is three bike-lengths long from their back wheel and two metres wide. • Always pass on the left, and then move over to the right. Never pass on the right. • Your chinstrap must be secured at all times while the bike is in your possession. Put your helmet on and secure it before you touch your bike and don’t undo it until your bike is completely racked. This should be the last thing you do in transition on the way out to the run. —Rick Hellard has been competing in running, cycling, triathlon and crosscountry ski races for more than 25 years. He is the owner of Zone3sports: Multi-Sport Training Programs. /OO

Matches are for sissies Four unconventional ways to light a fire

Matches aren’t the only way to light a fire, and for tricky (read, wet, windy, soggy fuel) situations, knowing backup methods inspires outdoor confidence. We’ve got four fire-lighting methods to inspire your fellow campers and keep you warm and dry. Everyone knows fires can be dangerous, so think safety and practise these methods before hitting the woods. Build the fire to be. After you’ve gathered tinder and wood, form a nest with the most flammable tinder in the centre. FLINT AND STEEL The idea of flint and steel has a historical ring to it, but it remains one of the most reliable fire-lighting methods. Flint, or fire-steel, is sold at most outdoors stores and resembles a short black spike with a thumb hold. Hold your fire-steel angled down slightly, with the end just above the your tinder nest. Press firmly down with a knife and quickly pull away the fire-steel, sending sparks showering into the tinder. Repeat until an ember glows. Gently blow the ember into a flame, add kindling when the flame appears and gradually build up into a full fire. New fire-steel is often covered with a finish that will not produce sparks, so it may take a few strikes before sparks appear. Use the back edge of the knife to avoid dulling the cutting edge.

MAGNIFYING GLASS Every kid has tried this. Some binoculars have removable lenses that will do the trick, as will a standard magnifying glass, but bright sunlight is required for any lens to work. Place the tinder in direct sunlight and hold the lens slightly above. Gradually raise the lens until the sunlight is a focused point on the tinder. As smoke rises, gently blow on the tinder until it ignites. FLASHLIGHT Requires a large flashlight and bright sunlight. Remove the parabolic mirror from your flashlight. Hold some tinder through the hole left by the bulb and point the mirror directly at the sun. Hold it still. Adjust the tinder to the focal point of the mirror, the point where the light from the sun converges. As smoke rises, blow gently to generate a flame. This method takes patience and precision. FIRE BOW One of the oldest methods, likely used soon after early humans first tamed fire. This one’s for hard-core survival freaks, but it’s cool. A fire-bow has a fire-board (a flat piece of wood about 30 centimetres long), a spindle (a smooth straight stick, 20 centimetres long, sharpened to a shallow point at

both ends), a handle with an indent on one side, and a bow (a stick at half a metre long, tied at both ends with a string and bent into a curve). Gouge an indent in the fire-board to hold the spindle. Loop your spindle into the string and place one point in the indent of the fire-board. Place a green leaf in handle’s indent for lubrication. Hold the top of the spindle with the handle. With one foot holding the fire-board down, press on the handle. “Burn in” your fire-board by drawing the bow back and forth to spin the spindle until smoke rises. Remove the spindle and cut a small notch into the charred part of your fire-board. Place a piece of bark under the notch to catch the ember, put the bow and spindle back in place and spin vigorously until you see lots of smoke. Carefully remove your spindle and using a twig, knock the coal onto your bark. Carefully place the coal in your nest, hold the sides together and blow on the coal. As the sayings go, where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and if at first you don’t succeed, practise, practise, practise. /OO



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Hauling kids on bikes A look at available gear BY KATHLEEN WILKER

When you haul kids on your own adult bike, what you’re doing besides the fun is expanding the car-free, bus-free distance you can travel. There are inexpensive options available for front bike seats, back bike seats, trail-a-bikes and cargo bikes. We’ve tried many of these in our biking family and here’s what we found out. FRONT BIKE SEATS This is one of my favourite ways to travel with a small child. A front seat offers a number of advantages, starting with safety. As long as your child is old enough to sit up and listen, these seats are safe. Also, the bike is well balanced with a child up front, and with the child literally right under your nose, you can keep a close eye on what s/he’s up to. More advantages: Front seats are a fun and friendly biking experience for any child – they get a great view and it’s to chat when your heads are close together. Front seats loosen up space. You can carry gear or groceries in panniers on a back rack with the child up front, and if you can double up with an older child on a trail-abike behind. A disadvantage to front seats is a child can reach gears, brakes and handlebars, so you have to train her not to touch them. Pulling over and delivering a stern lecture on bike safety several times usually does the trick. Two of the more popular front seats available are: iBert It’s made in the United States, and is easy to install and remove. The iBert design 24 ottawa


means the child’s legs are held in moulded “legs” that stretch under the handlebars and out of the way of the adult’s knees. So you don’t have to ride bow-legged with this model. It’s designed for children aged four and under and weighing 17 kilograms or less. $100 Kangaroo from Wee Ride This is the front seat our family used. Widely available (I believe we got ours at Toys R Us), the Kangaroo was cheap, relatively easy to install, and grew with our children. You need to install a support bar across your bike for the Kangaroo to be mounted on. If you’re planning on using it on more than one bike, buy an extra support bar for $20 so that switching the seat between bikes is simpler. You can remove the seat from the support bar by unscrewing a large black screw. Napping is comfortable on Kangaroos with their built-in head rests. My son enjoyed napping here so much I bungeed a small pillow to the head

rest for added comfort – that way he slept even if the ride was bumpy. The Kangaroo disadvantage is that most adult riders have to ride bow-legged to avoid bonking their knees on the bike seat. This didn’t bother me, but some riders tell me it’s uncomfortable. Designed for children under four years who are 18 kilograms or less. $60

BACK BIKE SEATS Although they skew the bike’s balance, back seats still have a lot to offer. They tuck children neatly away from handlebars, brakes, gears and your head. As the child grows taller, it’s a tighter and tighter fit for that little head under yours with a front seat. Back seats can be mounted on speed bikes if you are touring with your child. But back panniers and back bike seats often don’t mix. So add a front rack and panniers to a bike with a back bike seat. It improves balance and boosts storage capacity. A mirror on your handle bar does wonders to keep an eye on your rear passenger. Topeak BabySeat with aluminum rack Child-Carrier/tpk_babyseat This back seat comes with its own rack. Install it, and it’s a breeze to remove or install the seat itself – it just clicks in and out of place. The height and weight

range is higher for a back seat, and if you’re not using it you can use panniers on the back rack. Designed for children up to 22 kilograms. $145 BoBike The Dutch BoBike Junior seat is suitable for kids five to 10 years old in the 20–35 kilogram range. That’s a lot of kid to carry on your bike, but there are certainly times when offering a lift to a young rider is a huge advantage. When you’re not using the BoBike Junior to carry kids, it folds down and can be used to haul groceries. Also available from Bobike are plastic foot guards for $20 for the back wheel to prevent little feet

from getting caught in the spokes. And if you’re dealing with bigger feet on longer legs, these foot guards would be a particularly great idea. $160 CARGO BIKES “Longtail” cargo bikes, like the Kona Ute, the Surly Big Dummy or the Xtra Cycle Free Radical allow you to haul kids and gear, and they are the easiest way to carry bigger kids. The cargo bike’s longer frame allows for a solid skateboard-like back rack over the rear wheel. We installed a second set of handlebars on our Kona Ute’s seat post so the kids have something to hold. We can comfortably transport two kids, combined weight of about 40 kilograms. Extra long panniers can be filled with groceries, school bags or beach balls, depending on the destination.

Available as conversion kits for your regular bike www.xtracycle. com or as complete cargo bikes, hauling kids and stuff has never been easier. We really enjoyed having both children sit on the long tail and we loved how easy it was for them to hop on and off. Loading up the back of your bike with kids will affect how the bike handles, so be aware of how you’re riding. It’s $600 for a conversion kit and $900 to $2,000 for a complete cargo bike. /OO

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Island-hopping on Lake Champlain Forget boating, bring your bike! BY SHEILA ASCROFT Being by the water makes me feel good. Biking by the water makes me feel even better. If you yearn for watery vistas too, there are great routes for you in the Champlain Islands. Lake Champlain is a big, freshwater lake separating the Adirondacks of New York from Vermont’s Green Mountains. It’s a magnet not just for boats, but also bikes. “The Islands” extend like a ragged finger southward through the centre of the lake. Hiving off from the Alburg, Vt. peninsula, which extends south out of Quebec, are the islands of North Hero, South Hero and Isle La Motte, plus smaller ones. They offer great biking along quiet back roads following the rocky shoreline, vistas of water melding into sky, boats with fishers trolling or casting, sailboats, quaint towns, historic sites and several state parks for camping. The only catch in cycling beside a big lake is the wind. Depending on its direction and strength, the ride can be fast and fun, or a demanding, head-down grind. Or better yet, you might get a rare calm day. The route is pretty much flat and the gently rolling hills don’t require a granny gear. You can ride around the islands by bridge, causeway and ferry, but first you have to get there. It’s a three- to four-hour drive to Plattsburgh, N.Y. from Ottawa-Gatineau, depending on road construction and the wait at the U.S. border, but there are bike loops aplenty to choose from when you get there. I’d planned to use Plattsburgh as my base, but ended up camping at 26 ottawa


Cumberland Bay State Park about eight kilometres north of that city on Vermont Route 9. It’s another eight kilometres from there to the ferry which links Plattsburg to Grand Isle, Vt., which puts you in the middle of the lake. Think of a figure-eight with South Hero Island as the centre. At that point, you can ride a north loop or south loop, or both. I opted for the north loop of about 100 kilometres. It was mid-June, before the high tourist season. My plan was to camp a second night at Cumberland Bay State Park and then ride the south loop the next day (it rained and I bailed early, but see below for details.) NORTH ISLAND LOOP Even though it was overcast and humid, I felt the frisson that accompanies a fresh start on a new route. I cycled from the state park along a well-paved bike path paralleling the road to the ferry, where the trip took about 12 minutes and cost $4.75 U.S. one way (fares etc., are listed at: Off the ferry at Gordon Landing, I took the West Shore Road (flagged by small green-and-white Champlain Bikeway signs) rather than Route 314 into Grand Isle village. Before I knew it, I’d met a friendly local who offered to take my picture by the lake. Her equally amiable greyhound joined in. The road was as close to the water as you could get without getting wet. Water, trees, little islands, shorebirds, cabins, cottages, expensive year-round homes were the norm

as I pedalled around curves and over little hills. The road linked out to the main island road, Vermont’s Highway 2, which has a paved shoulder all the way and is in good condition. I crossed my first (and probably only) drawbridge onto North Hero Island. North Hero, the village, was founded in 1788 by American Revolutionary War “heroes” who served in Ethan and Ira Allen’s famed Green Mountain Boys. The soldiers also were given the whole of South Hero Island. After a stop at the Hero’s Welcome General Store in North Hero, and at a bakery, I headed north, crossing a small no-name causeway where North Hero Island becomes skinny before burgeoning into another landmass. I could see more islands to the east – Hen Island, Dameas Island, Butler Island, and Knight and Woods islands, which are state parks. In the distance were Ethan Allen’s Green Mountains, looking purple under grey skies. Coming off the North Hero bridge to South Alburg, which is a finger of land that drops south from Quebec into the middle of Lake Champlain, I turned west on Route 129 to West Shore Road so I could tour Isle La Motte (a 16-kilometre loop). There’s little shoulder on these country roads, but unless it peak summer, it’s not too busy. Another island in the chain, Isle La Motte is the site of Samuel de

Champlain’s encampment in 1609 (there’s a statue of course). Isle La Motte, which can only be accessed from the Alburg peninsula, is also famous for the world’s oldest coral reef – not that I saw it – and for the “black marble” limestone once quarried here, and for St. Anne’s Shrine, the site of the old French fort built in 1666, which is thought to be the oldest European settlement in Vermont. Enough history. Cyclists are allowed to swim at St. Anne’s sandy beach. I returned to West Shore Road and headed north again to Alburg, then east on Highway 2 to the final bridge to Rouses Point, N.Y. As I pedalled over the bridge to the New York side, I noticed “Fort Blunder” (aka Fort Montgomery) just to the north, built by the Americans on the Canadian side of the border. Later, the border was graciously readjusted by the Canadian government, encompassing the fort on newly declared U.S. soil. Rouses Point, once a thriving border community, is showing wear and tear despite glorious mansions facing the lake. There’s a massive breakwater to prevent damage from spring breakup ice. I kept cycling south on New York Highway 9B until Coopersville where I turned east onto Lake

Shore Road where I could see across the water to Isle La Motte, where I’d been hours before. A slight headwind as I went south to Point au Roche Road, then turned onto Highway 9 and was soon back to my starting point at Cumberland Head. Depending on your personal meanderings, it’s about a 100-kilometre loop. The routes along 9 and 9B have a designated paved shoulder for bikes most of the way, and although there can be traffic, it’s nothing like Ottawa’s. SOUTH ISLAND LOOP Even though I did not ride it, I’ve driven a car around the 100-kilometre south loop. From the Grand Isle ferry, you take West Shore Road south (turn onto Lakeview Road so you don’t miss the castles built by a Swiss gardener) before connecting to Highway 2 and the bridge over to “mainland” Vermont at Sand Bar State Park and then head south to Burlington. It can be dicey on this road in summer, and there is not always a shoulder. Another ferry links Burlington to Port Kent, N.Y., a 1½-hour ride for $5.95 U.S. one-way. On the New York side, it is only about 25 kilometres north on Highway 9 to Plattsburgh. A safer, more relaxing route from South Hero Island is the “island line” – see sidebar. It’s your choice whether to do just the south loop or combine it with the north route into a figure eight. Although there are no more islands, cyclists can even add a third loop further south to the Charlotte, Vt. ferry to Essex, N.Y. and then ride back north, again along Highway 9. It simply depends on how much time and energy you have, and what the weather is like. Officially, the whole Champlain Islands Bikeways includes a major loop through New York and Vermont around all of Lake Champlain and up the Richelieu River north to Chambly, Que. /OO

The Island Line Trail Part of the emerging network of bike trails, this 21-kilometre trail runs from South Hero Island via the Colchester Causeway to the Burlington Bike Path, which takes you into the city of Burlington and the ferry to Port Kent, N.Y. A small sixpassenger ferry transports bikes across a 60-metre water gap in the route, where a dismantled turnstile of the Rutland Railroad once stood. Until regular service can be launched across “the cut,” as it is known locally, it’s available on July and August weekends plus Labour Day weekend. Cost is a “donation” of $6 for a round trip. Call 8026652-2453 to pay for a private crossing on other days. You can ride a pleasant 40 kilometres out and back on the causeway to “ the cut” at any time.

Contacts • Lake Champlain Bikeways, c/o Local Motion Trailside Center, 1 Steele Street, # 103, Burlington, VT, 05401, or (802) 652-2453. Provides maps and routes on request or can download from web. • Details about where to stay, • inlandseaweb.pdf Shows the state parks in the Champlain Islands • cumberland_bay.html Cumberland Bay State Park camping • islands.htm Tells a bit of history of the Hero Island name • Info on lodging, dining, events, etc. • Tourism-g48411-Plattsburgh_ New_York-Vacations.html Plattsburgh travel advice, lodging, dining, etc. • www.lakechamplainbyway. com/travelthebyway.html Lake Champlain Byway

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It was during the split second before my helmet hit the pavement that I thought: hope my helmet stays in place, hope nobody runs me over, hope someone can identify me… Fortunately everything turned out OK – this time. But as I lay in the road with car tires swishing pass my head, I knew I’d been lucky. What if I had been hit? Had a concussion? Would anyone know who I was? Would they find my emergency contact information? Would they know I had health insurance? Or that I’m diabetic? Even though I carry a home-made emergency card inside my seat bag, would it be enough? Probably not. As I struggled home with a broken helmet, bent shifter, ripped tights and a sprained thumb, I realized I needed to be a smarter cyclist. After I cleaned up, I searched for that old card in the seat bag. It was there – what was left of it – partially disintegrated, water stained and inksmudged. Sometime back over the past few seasons I’d been caught in the rain and apparently my seat bag had been soaked. In short, the card was pretty much useless. Dumb. And, would someone even think to search my seat bag in the first place? TIME TO RETHINK SAFETY I knew about MedicAlert bracelets and had considered one back when the doc said “diabetes.” But those bracelets are ugly, pricey and seemed awfully, well, medical. Made me feel like an invalid, not an athlete. I had seen ads aimed at non-invalids in Bicycling magazine

about something called RoadID. I’d just never paid much attention until now. Road ID is designed for athletes and comes in different styles so you can just about wear it anywhere: bracelets for wrist and ankle, dog tags around your neck, and a Velcro strap for your shoe laces

or shoe pouch. I checked out the details online and then bought the wrist sport model. Unlike the basic version, which shows just your name and emergency contacts, I chose the interactive upgrade. This lets me load it up with my name, an alert about my diabetes

and asthma, and a special phone number and website for first responders to access my medical history, medications, family doctor, emergency contacts and any temporary medical problems. Each Road ID has an individual serial and pin number that is the access code to the medical information. I can update all this info anytime I want. Road ID is run by the fatherand-son team of Edward and Mike Wimmer in Kentucky. They think carrying an ID should be as common, and as important, as putting on a seat belt in a car or strapping on a helmet before a bike ride. Even if you don’t ride solo, your friends may not be able to help much in an accident. Would they

know who to contact, know your medical history or what medications you take? Safety should be your own responsibility. So, my attitude now is I’d rather wear ID and never need it than to need ID and not have it! It could save your life. /OO First published on by Sheila.

ottawa outdoors 29


Cycle with full ID, just in case


PIPELINE – $270 With a lightweight, sleek new design, and breathable, open temples, the Pipeline is ready for action on the road, trail or water. Julbo’s Performance category encompasses multisport sunglasses for running, cycling, hiking, watersports, and climbing. Julbo couples this innovative new frame design with its most technical, performance lenses to meet the demands of athletes in any condition, in any situation. Look for it at

SUPERTOOTH HD - $129 The most advanced Bluetooth speakerphone on the market, with three times more power and the ability to send Facebook, Twitter, SMS and e-mail messages via voice. Produces amazing audio quality in both emission and reception, featuring Twin Speaker V Array Technology and built-in dual microphones to pick-up voices more clearly. Three times more powerful than any other speakerphone with state-ofthe-art voice commands for a hands-free solution for drivers, allowing them to answer incoming calls, call pre-dialed phone numbers, check battery levels or retrieve voicemail, all via voice. Provides 20 hours of talk time and compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled phones. Requires zero installation – just clip the SuperTooth HD to your sun visor and pair it to your phone (comes equipped with USB cable and in-car charger). Look for it at

SUPERTOOTH DISCO – $149 The only portable speaker on the market to wirelessly stream 28 watts of explosive sound. It’s sleek, compact design ideal for use on-the-go; easily slide it into a purse or bag. It’s also integrated rechargeable battery ensures 3-4 hours of non-stop high-volume music or up to 10 hours of moderately played tunes. Forget the wires and cables – it’s compatible with the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and any other phones, PCs and MP3 players that support Bluetooth A2DP. Boost your bass with a simple click of a button. It measures 89 mm height x 315 mm width x 70 mm depth. Look for it at

GIOBike E-SCOOTER – $299.00 STARTING If you love biking around the city on the paths then you’ll equally love scooting along as well. It follows the same rules as a regular bike, so no licence is needed, but you must be 16 and wear a helmet. Loaded with safety features (horn, signal), limited in speed (24-32km/hr) to keep all safe, and loads of storage for your laptop or can’t miss. So if you don’t want to get too sweaty when you get to where you’re going (like your job), then this is your ticket to ride. Look for it at

SPORT-BRELLA CHAIR –$39 The Sport-Brella Chair is the ultimate chair for any outdoor setting. It is a portable fold-up sport chair, but has an attached 360 degree swivel umbrella which can be moved from one side of the chair to the other and can be swiveled at three different points at the push of a button to offer complete coverage from the sun and wind at any conceivable angle. The umbrella has a UPF 50+ lining for maximum sun protection and a built-in cup holder, bottle opener and item pouch. Look for it at

SPORT BENCH –$89 The Sport-Bench instantly expands to 6.5 feet wide to accommodate 4 people. It’s accordion folding design allows for compact storage and easy portability. Use almost anywhere- sporting events, camping, the park or beach. Look for it at

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HEALTHY LIFESTYLES MERRELL – $135 The uber-lightweight speed hiking Avian Light Lace is comfortable meeting any challenge. Mesh antimicrobial lining and waterproof nubuck manage moisture inside and out. Technical comfort and cushioning underneath manage ups and downs. Look for it where Merrell products are sold.

MAGELLAN EXPLORIST 610 FOR CANADA – $479.99 The newest addition to the eXplorist family of dedicated outdoor GPS receivers, the eXplorist 610 for Canada provides unparalleled outdoor navigation. Find your way using the 1:50,000 scale topographic map of Canada or the World Edition map that includes coverage of more than 200 countries.  It features a 3.0-inch color and sunlight readable touch screen, a 3.2 mega-pixel camera with auto-focus, microphone and speaker, which allow adventure enthusiasts to navigate to outdoor destinations, record georeferenced images, videos, voice notes, and share their experiences online. Rugged and waterproof, the eXplorist 610 for Canada combines high sensitivity GPS reception with aesthetic mapping and accurate navigation, along with 4-corners user interface, making it one of the easiest to use handheld GPS receivers! Look for it at

JOBY: GORILLATORCH – $29.95 Flexible tripod mounted 65 lumen flashlight with magnetic feet to illuminate anything, anywhere. The famous Joby rubberized leg joints bend and rotate for numerous standing and mounting options. This water resistant torch features a dimmer light operation and is powered by 3 AA batteries. The magnetic feet create a powerful connection to affix to most metal surfaces, and it’s great for the home, car, outdoors and almost any other activity requiring bright light. Available in Blue, Gray, Yellow and Orange. Look for it at

DYSON DC23 – $649.99 All Dyson upright and canister vacuums have many features including: no loss of suction as you clean; no bags; so there are no costly bags to replace; come with washable filters and free shipping, and a 5-year warranty including parts and labour. Look for it at

SPORT-BRELLA – $89.00 A beach umbrella, sun tent, rain shelter and more. On the sidelines or at the beach, the Sport-Brella gives you instant portable protection from the sun, rain, and wind with UPF 50+ quick shade protection. It sets up in just three seconds and fits the family or the whole team. Opens to 8’ wide for plenty of sun shade. Look for it at

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Banish your blisters

“Hold up a second guys!” Raymond called out from behind. “I’ve got a hot spot.” Oh no, I thought. Forty minutes into a six-day race and this happens. Unbelievable. Sure enough, as the hours passed, Ray’s feet slowly disintegrated into destroyed pieces of flesh. He had to stop and wrap them in duct tape to hold them together. As testament to Ray’s fortitude, he pressed on through the pain. One year later, it was my turn. Dozens of hours in wet shoes in the first trek section of the “Raid the North Extreme” in Yukon Territory caused my feet to swell and crack. Scott Marshall, the race Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) gave me the bad news: “You’ve got a pretty good case of trench foot going there. Just try to keep your feet dry.” Dry?! Webster’s definition of impossible: “keeping feet dry in an adventure race!” As the miles wore on, my pain increased exponentially. After six days, and what should have been a cruise to the finish, I had to drop out. I couldn’t continue. With each step, a shot of lightning fired up my spine. My feet were finished. So was I. “Damn!” I swore aloud, as the helicopter lifted off from the remote checkpoint. “This will never happen again!” 32 ottawa


THE BLISTER TRIANGLE Have you ever heard about the “Blister Triangle”? Imagine the three sides of a triangle labeled “heat,” “moisture” and “friction.” If you reduce or eliminate one of these triangle sides, then blisters probably won’t form. You can reduce moisture by wearing socks that have moisture wicking properties and shoes that either keep water out (sometimes impossible), or breathe sufficiently to let moisture out. Adventure racers

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Everyone knows that blisters (as well as other foot problems) cause great pain. Hiking the most beautiful trail on a perfect day can be a nightmare if your boot has rubbed a hole in your heel. “People don’t realize the importance of their feet,” says Dr. Debra Dunlop, an Ottawa chiropractor. “Bio-mechanically, like an improperly laid foundation, foot problems can affect the overall efficiency of your physiology… This affects overall athletic performance. Your feet are very important.”


Don’t let your feet stop you from finishing

Getting the most out of your feet requires you to be both proactive and reactive. Proactively, you’ve got to understand what causes blistering, then condition your feet and select the proper gear. Reactively, you’ve got to learn how to deal effectively with problems once they occur. Generally, if you’re more proactive, you won’t need to be as reactive.




always seem to be walking through rivers and swamps. That’s one reason why many popular shoes are almost all mesh – they can drain quickly. Good socks also reduce friction by minimizing the effects of rubbing against the foot. I use Smart Wool™ socks, but other excellent innovative products are available. Check them out. Powdering your feet is another way to keep them dry, especially on a dry trail where foot sweating is an issue. I’m a big fan of lubricants. (Hey, we’re talking about feet here!) Lubricating your feet at regular intervals reduces chafing, which in turn reduces friction. A number of great products are available that not only lubricate, but also protect against poison ivy. At one time I used to smear Vaseline™ on my feet before marathons and ultras; never did I experience

a blister when I resorted to this proactive strategy. But Vaseline isn’t enough for a six-day adventure race. Hydropel™ has gained recognition in longer races as an excellent lu-

bricant. Bag Balm™ is another great lube. (Originally it was designed for farmers to put on cow udders!) Ask around. Everyone has a different method. You’ll find one that works best for you. Finally, proper shoe or boot selection is vital. I hiked for five weeks

around Europe last summer, 40 km a day with a 23 kg backpack full of wine and baguettes. Did I get any blisters? Not one. Meanwhile, my buddy Dan, managed to get four blisters walking from the hotel to St. James Gate in Dublin on the first day. What was my secret? I didn’t skimp financially on my boots. Make sure you go to a reputable store, and be prepared to spend some moo-laa ($$$). When you’re about to “cheap-out” at the cash register, remember what Dr. Dunlop said about the importance of your feet. The money you spend will be well worth it in the long run. (Pardon the pun.) Take my advice. It will prevent a lot of pain. So keep looking for ways to keep your feet dry, rub free or cool. It’ll make all the difference. Remember… take care of your feet, or they’ll take care of you. Ouch! /OO

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Ottawa Outdoor Club The Ottawa Outdoor Club (formerly the Ottawa Hostel Ottawa Club) is one of Ottawa's few year-round, volunteerrun outdoor activity clubs. It has been offering events to residents and guests of the greater Ottawa region for 20 years for a low annual member fee or small day fee for non-members.

Experienced and enthusiastic leaders organize day activities every weekend of the year, such as hiking and biking from spring to fall, canoeing in the summer, and xc skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. It also organizes weekend trips at minimal cost for its members, sharing basic expenses of transportation, lodg-

STANDUP for CHEO sponsored by Trailhead Have you tried the new exercise and paddling craze STAND UP PADDLING (S.U.P) It’s a great way to explore quiet or wilder waterways and get an amazing upper body workout? A group of SUP paddlers and parents in appreciation of the fine work CHEO does have created a fundraising event called STAND UP FOR CHEO It involves a three-stage paddle from Westport to Smiths Falls, Smith Falls to Kempville and Kempville to Mooney’s Bay. You can join in on the last leg or the entire tour. There will be free demos each evening for the curious and a social aspect for paddlers and support crews. Trailhead as a retail and rental outlet for SUPs and a supporter of CHEO, is a keen sponsor of this event. Learn more by contacting Trailhead directly.

ing, and food, to popular destinations in Quebec, Ontario, New York State, and the New England states. "We are constantly striving to expand and improve our member services while keeping costs as low as we can," says OOC Marketing Officer Eddie Drueding. For more information, visit their website at

40 year anniversary for Madawaska Kanu Centre It has been an exciting road since starting Madawaska Kanu Centre, Canada’s first whitewater paddling school in 1972. Carving out a unique program, that combines structured learning in a resort environment with a twist of European flair; entrepreneurs and national whitewater champions Hermann and Christa Kerckhoff learned that they were pioneers in their field.

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From Ottawa to the CN Tower Two teachers, 1,776 stairs and one goal BY DEIRDRE MCKIE We all have that bucket list – things we’ve always wanted to do but have yet to pull off. They are posted on our fridges, tacked to our bulletin boards, or lurking in the crevices of our mind. Longstanding on my list has been climbing the stairs to the top of the CN Tower. I love a good mountain scramble and that concrete tower somehow seemed to be a summit waiting to be conquered. Jenny and I teach together at Richard Pfaff Alternate School. One day last September I floated the idea across the room: “Jenny, interested in climbing the CN Tower with me?” Pause. “Jenny?” That was about as long as it took before she had Googled it on her iPhone and had the dates when the tower is open for climbers. Coming up in October was the Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way. Most of our students have benefitted in one way or another from United Way funded services, so decision made: We would climb the tower and raise money for the United Way. We are teachers, with planning in our DNA, so we planned our approach. How do you climb 1,776 steps? Easy, you train first. How long should it take? How long do we want it to take? All these questions were answered on our bi-weekly treks to Carleton University’s Dunton Tower. We met before school, wound our way through the

doing the required 1,776 stairs. We were ready. With registration online, people could sponsor us by donating via the website or with cash or cheques. The climb is open for three days to accommodate the 11,000

Ottawa teachers, Jenny Shields and Deirdre McKie, after climbing the CN Tower in 24 minutes

construction sites at Carleton, and hit the tower by 7 a.m. Progressing up the flights, we discussed work, family and solved many of the world’s problems. Twenty-two storeys of stairs leaves time for chitchat. We became a fixture in the tower for the professors who were there early. We would climb up, take the elevator down, and climb up again. Soon enough we knew what floor we were at by the graffiti in the stairwell. We had set what seemed like a reasonable goal for our age frame – 30 minutes or less to climb the CN Tower. Our rules were no rail-grabbing, no huffing and puffing, and above all no vomiting in the stairwell (this has happened for the unprepared on the CN Tower climb). By early October we were easily

participants, divided into a corporate event, a student climb and a public climb. It’s run like a well-oiled machine as a throng of people move from the holding area to the tower itself. The fastest climber was Jeremy Hatt who reached the top in 10 minutes and 56 seconds. And if you are interested in beating the top fund-raiser, aim for more than $34,000. Kudos to Howard MacIntyre of Suncor Energy Inc. corporate team for his commitment to the United Way. For Jenny and I, we climbed the tower in 24 minutes at a steady pace and had the pleasure of seeing the sunrise from the observation deck when we got there. We returned to the Intercontinental Hotel for a wonderful breakfast. Would I go again? Absolutely! /OO

ottawa outdoors 37

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Staying fit, bit by bit BY COLIN PEDEN Our lives are dominated by speed, our communication is instantaneous, and our ability to take a moment for ourselves is squeezed; there never seems to be enough time. With 1,440 minutes in each day, it shouldn’t be hard to find the 30 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by fitness experts. But for most people, this half hour falls by the wayside in a life dominated by family, work, errands and our daily routines. Does this mean that people with busiest schedules are doomed in their quest for a healthy lifestyle? Here’s the good news: There’s hope, even for those under the most pressure. The key is to make staying fit as convenient as possible. One of the biggest reasons why people slide into inactivity is that we assume exercise is successful only when we commits hours and hours to it. When such ample time is not available, many people consider fitness a lost cause, and abandon exercise. But what alternatives – other than hours at the gym – could someone include in a daily routine? Here are a few easy ways to include physical activity during your day.

AT WORK • If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks before your workplace. • If you drive, park further away from the office. • Take the stairs rather than the elevator, or get off a couple of floors early. • Take a walk rather than a coffee break. • Start a lunchtime walking group, or team up with a friend to squeeze a walk in.

By including a few of these brief activities in your day, those 30 minutes of activity may not be as tough as you thought to achieve. Look at your day, be creative with opportunities as they present themselves, and be as active as you can. (And try for some weekly structured exercise as well to reinforce the daily bits.) You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how you look, and more importantly, how you feel. /OO

AT HOME • Make household chores count; work at a fast pace to get your heart pumping. • Go for a walk after dinner rather than collapsing in front of the TV with a full belly. • Try working in the garden or mowing the lawn. Gardening burns up to 300 calories an hour, and builds strength. • Enlist the dog. Instead of just letting your pet out, take him or her for a brisk walk.

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Camping tips for novices and experts BY CHANTAL ROGERS No matter how experienced you are in wilderness travel, it’s always helpful to find out how others thrive in the bush. Here are some of my favourites. They deal with hiking, starting a campfire quickly, and using film canisters. Enjoy. JUMPSTART YOUR CAMPFIRE Hikers must find ultra-light solutions to everything. Here’s how to make effective fire-starters that weigh almost nothing. Wipe Vaseline™ petroleum jelly on 30 to 40 cotton balls, then put them into a plastic film canister. To start a fire, place one jellied cotton ball under your kindling. The petroleum-jelly-saturated cotton ball will ignite immediately and burn for at least 10 minutes. To light damp kindling, use two or three of these fire-starters. Car or canoe campers can make easy and inexpensive fire-starters by filling small paper cups with sawdust and standing a wick up through the middle. Finish by carefully pouring paraffin wax over the sawdust. Be sure to let the hot wax cool before touching the container. Another great fire-starter for car or canoe campers is a charcoal briquette soaked in paraffin. It’s easy to make and use. FILM CANISTERS Waterproof film canisters are great for camping, canoeing or hiking trips, if you can find one anymore. You can make an emergency fishing kit by twisting fishing line around a small popsicle stick, then sliding it into a film canister. Be sure to 40 ottawa


leave extra space so you can add several small hooks and weights. What can you use for lures? Find a worm or slug under a rock, or skewer a horse fly and feed it to the fish. A film canister makes an excellent waterproof match container. Simply glue a small piece of sandpaper inside the lid of the film canister. Strike your match against the sandpaper – perfect in wet weather when rocks are damp. Make sure to place your matches head-down inside the container, pointing away from the sandpaper. Otherwise, the heads might rub against it and ignite. To make a camp sewing kit, wrap a two-metre length of thread around a small strip of cereal box cardboard, then slide it inside a film canister. Add an assortment of sewing needles and safety pins. Popular wisdom says you shouldn’t store food in plastic film canisters. But Kodak and other film companies maintain that no trace chemicals from the film will get into your spices, condiments, or medicines. Alternatively, you could ask your pharmacist for clean, unused, screw-top pill containers as they come in different sizes as well. DISAPPEARING ICE PACKS When packing for a hiking or canoe trip, freeze factory-packed and sealed foods (such as sausages or hotdogs) several days before leaving. These make great ice packs and they’ll stay frozen for a few days. Placed next to perishable foods, they keep the foods cold. Better yet, your ice pack is edible! PACK BAKING SODA Never head out on the trail with-

out a small container of baking soda. Mix your baking soda with cinnamon to make toothpaste. Or, add 10 mL baking soda to a cup of water to ease back-country heartburn. Or, gargle with a solution of 10mL baking soda and 125 mL of water to freshen your breath. Garlic odours from last night’s dinner will disappear. Are mosquito and black fly bites bothering you? Try adding a little water to baking soda, making a watery paste. Rub the paste over the bite; the baking soda will ease the itch. This method also works with minor burns and poison ivy. Is odour from your hiking boots scaring away your hiking mates? Here’s a solution. Pour a small amount of baking soda into your boots, shake it around, and leave the boots to sit overnight. In the morning your shoes should be odour-free, ready for the trail again. When collecting wood or stringing a clothesline or tarp for your camping adventure, have you ever covered your fingers with sticky sap? Soap won’t help you here. Instead, wash your hands with water and baking soda. It works every time. HIKING TIPS When hiking, plan to walk at the speed of your slowest hiker. This benefits everyone. Fast walkers will have extra time to explore the area, and slower hikers will not feel pressed by others. Take rests during a long hike; you’ll enjoy your excursion more and everyone will maintain a higher, steadier pace. But don’t stop for more than five minutes. Longer stops will give your legs time to stiffen up. When backpacking, never carry more than 25-30 percent of your body weight. Any more weight can damage your back (this warning applies especially to children carrying packs.) Over-burdened hikers are also prone to falls and injuries. /OO

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A few words on the battery-charged E-Scooters In a recent press release, NCC CEO, Marie Lemay’s forward-thinking comments asked, “. . . do we want our National Capital Region to be bike- and pedestrianfriendly?” Obviously for Ottawa Outdoors readers, the answer is a resounding yes! Toronto we are not. We have our walking and biking paths and we love them. Should it be taken to the level being proposed in the downtown core, you will have your say when discussions begin. However, the rest of this article is for the praise of technology for another mode of transportation to get you where you’re going — the Gio Electric Scooter, and how the NCC should allow them. This GIO E-Scooter is the ultimate alternative for Ottawa commuters that need a quick way to travel but do not want the expense of operating a vehicle or motorcycle. Classified as an electric bicycle (since pedals can be used), you just have to think of Europe and other countries to get your head around the friendliness and quaintness of these electric bikes as they putter along quietly on our wonderful pathways. You don’t have to register it and can operate it without any driver’s licence, but you have to be 16 and must wear a helmet. The surge in popularity in cities across Canada is most likely for a variety of reasons. They come fully equipped with safety features (signals, horn); they’re limited to only 24-32km per hour; they can travel up to 60kms on a single charge of the battery, and the website regularly has these selling at auction for only $250! Further research showed many Canadians stating they’re getting the Gio E-Scooter for around $600 shipping included, and the reviews are great. Each E-Scooter comes with front and rear lights, mirrors, and a soft plush carpet kit for your feet to rest on (if they’re not resting on the pedals). As well, an oversize seat and trunk box allows for plenty of storage (lunch, briefcase, laptop). It uses a key to start the battery, comes with a lock, and even has easy access storage to place your cell phone or iPod or any accessories you may have. If you love biking around the city on the paths then you’ll equally love scooting along as well. Sure it’s not as healthy for you, but it is a greener way to get around than taking your car (plus no parking fees). So if you can’t pedal the bike, or don’t want to get too sweaty when you get to where you’re going (like your job), then this is your ticket to ride. Now we just need the NCC to allow them everywhere. /OO 42 ottawa


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Skilled Employees • Our employees are formally trained and have an extensive background in horticulture. Our staff are routinely updating their skills and knowledge through educational seminars and workshops. • Fully Licensed and Insured - Free Estimates • We are proud members of the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association and the Better Business Bureau.

613.223.6299 -

Outdoor Clubs GROUP NAME



Ottawa Orienteering Club

We organize and take part in orienteering events in the Ottawa area.

The Ottawa Outdoor Club

A rec club with hiking, cycling, canoeing, skiing, and snowshoeing.

Rideau Trail Association

A hiking club dedicated to maintaining the trail from Kingston to Ottawa.

Ottawa Triathlon Club

A recreational organization dedicated to teaching the enjoyment of tris.

Ottawa Bicycle Club

Offers a range of cycling programs from novice to expert.

Kanata Mt. Bike Community

We ride our bikes, then do something related to bikes.

Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Assoc.

The largest Ultimate (Frisbee) league in the world.

Ottawa Sport and Social Club

A co-ed, rec sport league, with tourneys and social events for adults.

Ottawa Rowing Club

Come see what rowing is like on the picturesque Ottawa River.

Liquid Skills Paddling Centre

Programs and clinics, kayak lessons, expeditions and teen camps.

Madawaska Kanu Centre

Kayak lessons in-city and on-site. Weekend clinics for the whole family.

Ottawa Sailing School

They offer the highest quality sailing programs and on-the-water adventure.

Somersault Events

Triathlons, duathlons, and running events for you or the entire family.

The Running Room

Ottawa’s running and walking club for team fitness.


Website and resource for duathlons and triathlons.

La RoccaXC Mt.Bike School

Camp for boys and girls, women and men keen to enjoy mountain biking.

Wilderness Tours

In addition to rafting they offer kayak lessons and adventure camps.

Owl Rafting

Rafting, sea-kayaking, lessons, plus adventure programs.

Esprit Rafting

Rafting, canoeing and several training and certification courses.

River Run Rafting

Rafting, family trips, kayaking, cabins and more.

Ottawa New Edinburgh Club

Ottawa rowing club for all levels or for fun and fitness.

Descend like a pro BY DAVE STIBBE YOU’RE ON YOUR bike at the top of a mountain. The horizon line seems to drop almost vertically beneath you. Your adrenaline soars. The feeling: it can be more intimidating than invigorating. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate rider, here are some common tips that can help make the process of getting from top to bottom a smooth, thrilling, well-controlled ride. PREPARE FOR THE CRASH & BURN A “bail out” on a downhill ride can involve several metres of end-over-end, out of control tumbling – at the very least. No matter how good you are, you’ll still crash on occasion. Minimal fully protective gear involves a full face helmet, knee and shin guards, elbow pads and gloves. If you ride regularly, upper body armor and protective hip padding goes a long way to reduce the scar tissue, if not the bruises. As well, consider some common sense: ride with friends, and bring along an appropriate emergency first aid kit.

STAY OFF THE FRONT BRAKES Using your front brake tends to throw your weight (and you) over the front forks. Not good. When you’re faced with a steep descent, get your butt over the back tire and stay low. LOOK AHEAD If you turn your head and look in the direction you want to go, you’ll instinctively head in that direction. In a similar vein, stopping distances are magnified. So if you don’t spot trouble early, you need to always be one step ahead of the action. STAY OFF YOUR SEAT AND KEEP YOUR PEDALS LEVEL If you’re off your seat, you can shift weight quickly. As well, keep your pedals level. This prevents them from

bottoming out on turns or on rocks and roots. It also lets you bounce and absorb when necessary. HOLD ON Grip your handlebars securely and use your brakes lightly. It sounds like a contradiction, I know, but when the ride gets bumpy you don’t want to lose control of the bike. But you still need to apply only the correct amount of force on your brakes. This is truly a physically demanding, often overlooked, aspect of riding. Train those forearms. USE THE SEAT AND YOUR LEGS On steeper descents, control the movement of your bike by applying pressure with your inner thighs to bring the rear end of the bike around to one side or the other. This technique is especially useful when you apply the rear brakes, and slide through a steep turn. Following these tips and techniques for getting down steep hills should make your cycling trips more invigorating and less intimidating. In fact, with practice, you should be able to ride with the speed, and not reckless abandon, that makes downhill riding so much fun in the first place. /OO

ottawa outdoors 47

40 other models in store


Enter the Ottawa Outdoors

10th Anniversay $500 Camping contest! MEC Camper 4 Tent - $225 MEC Cygnet -10C Sleeping Bag - $111-128 MEC Base Camp Pillow - $14 Jetboil Zip Personal Cooking System - $68 Black Diamond Titan Lantern - $65

To celebrate our 10th anniversary we’ve partnered with Mountain Equipment Co-op to offer this deluxe $500 Camping package as a prize to one lucky reader. To Enter, send an e-mail to:

-- that’s it. Good luck!

ottawa outdoors 49

e g a t i r e HER TOUiver!R

V R a I w a t t Ron the O

RiverRun Rafting is excited to offer this new “outdoor river experience” on the historical Ottawa River, now designated a Canadian Heritage River. Families with children and the numbers of maturing “baby boomers” are growing and looking for eco-friendly vacations that are closer to home. Experience and Learn about the ancient portage routes of the Algonquin Indians, the explorations of Samuel de Champlain and the massive logging industry that made history many years ago. Let RiverRun Rafting take you back in time with this interpretive and gentle paddle down the scenic section of Ottawa River, known as the Rocher Fendue. Nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, history buffs and photographers will love this outdoor adventure with only the currents of the river and some leisurely paddling to bring you back to RiverRun Resort. The Heritage River Tour is offered daily mid-June until early September. Duration is approximately 4.5 hours and includes all necessary equipment, a riverside picnic lunch and a video re-run presentation of your trip. Cost: Adults $79.00 Children up to 15 years $60.00 (plus a $5 service charge and gst) Note: minimum age is 6 years and 50 lbs in weight. RiverRun Rafting is dedicated to providing exciting and safe river trips. As a founding member of the Canadian River Council, together setting the highest of safety standards and practices for our guests since 1980.

1-800-267-8504 OR Beachburg, ON

Contact: Margaret Maloney