More Discs



Bike commute to Briargreen


Briargreen is a small community within Nepean built in the 1960’s which has been described as a ‘snapshot’ of mid-century architecture in Ottawa. Those who live there are fortunate to have two fabulous bike commute routes into town that are almost entirely along bike paths. Here they are. The blue line is the route I followed from Centretown to get there. Purple line is the alternate route.

Blue route first – Centretown to Briargreen. Cutting through the Experimental Farm is a bit tricky these days while they are doing construction work along Cow Lane, so I followed the pathway along the NCC Scenic Driveway, then turned onto the gravel path through the small section of woods that runs parallel to Fisher. UPDATE Summer 2014: The path along Cow Lane is all fixed up (see red line on map) which permits avoiding riding along the speediest section of the NCC…

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Hilly Billy Roubaix – – report

This was a tough ride.

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I finished just over 50 miles of this 74 mile course (the red arrow).
Basically there were two types of terrain: Downhill and uphill. Downhill was typically covered with golf-ball sized gravel and full of hairpin turns. Constant focus required. By the time I was finished my forearms were killing me from the strain of riding my brakes.
Then there was uphill. There were about four, very long, sustained climbs. Additionally there were dozens of smaller climbs. By the time I was at mile 40 I had almost resolved to walk up every hill.

But a terrific time nonetheless.
One of the things that impressed me the most was the preponderance of riders using single-speeds. In fact, the winner was on a single speed. Incredible.

Ultimately the heat beat me down badly so when I flatted I was so disheartened that I could almost not bear the idea of changing the (rear) tire.


Before the race I was all “I’m coming for you hills-of-West-Virginia!”

Six hours and 30 minutes after the start gun I called it in.


Notice the rear flat. Still haven’t changed it. Maybe tonight.

I’ve now got my eye on something called the Iron Cross (September 29th). Gives me something to shoot for!

Kenda Small Block 8’s for the Hilly Billy Roubaix

Kenda Small Block 8’s have proven themselves to be as good as any, and better than most, for winter commuting (although stud-less). As a bonus, I feel I can cut through parks, go over gravel and even a wee bit off road using them.  They are 700×35 and can take some variety of terrain.

I have used them for the Paris to Ancaster and I will now be using them in the Hilly Billy Roubaix.

Wish I could squeek out something a bit wider.

Wish I could squeek out something a bit wider.


My friend gave me a set of Maxxis Cross Mark tires.
Alas, too wide.


The difference is pretty obvious.

I’ve read about other riders who use the Kenda’s so I think I’m in good company.  Otherwise, my physical fitness is ok, not great, but ok. I should be able to pull off 70+ miles. The weather once looked a threat but now seems to be clearing nicely. Should be a good day for 8 hours in the saddle!

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Vintage Rock Climbing Guides

I uncovered my old rock climbing guides in the basement while moving some boxes around. Perhaps they should make me feel old, but I’m not like that.

ImageThe “Guide to Bon Echo” is from 1990. Most climbs there are ~300′ and most require a canoe/boat start.

“Great Rock Hits of Hueco Tanks” is a first edition from 1992.

“The Escarpment” means the Niagara Escarpment. It’s very well used from back in the day, circa 1991 (also first ed.).

The “Orient Bay Ice Climbers Guide” was purely for interest. The only ice-climbing I ever did was when my cousin froze the side of his house. It worked ok too. Ice climbing…not really my thing.

“Hueco Tanks: a climber’s and boulderer’s guide” caught my attention.


Bouldering – to be able to bicycle up to a rock face, pull on the shoes and climb. No rope, no anchoring, no belay, no harness, plenty of challenge – that’s for me. Lots to discover in these parts before I need to head to Texas.

GoPro Hero

My friend just upgraded to a Hero-3 and has let me borrow his old unit for a couple of projects.


It will be joining me on the Hilly Billy Roubaix, among other things.

This is going to be fun.

Slack Line at the University

The thing about lazy Sunday afternoon cycling is the serendipity.  I ran into three students slacklining when I cut through the campus at McMaster University today.  I asked if I could watch and they quite nicely invited me to try.


With a little help, it was pretty fun.  I’ll be buying one of these. And I think it will really help my back as a core kind-of exercise.

Buildering – Winona Elementary School

A few years ago when I began running I didn’t refer to my action as “running.” Because of my poor conditioning and lack of general physical fitness I referred to it as “shuffling.” I would say “Honey, I’m off for a shuffle” and my wife knew exactly what I meant.

Over time, the shuffle became a legitimate run, but the point is that I knew I had to start somewhere.

It’s been 16 years since I last participated in rock climbing but I have gotten an urge to try again. I know this means I won’t be at a high level and any allusion that I can start up right where I left off is just wrong.

I have been taking note of a few buildings I would like to climb (“buildering”) and made my first assault at my daughter’s school today.


We both really enjoyed it and I was glad that she didn’t want to leave but the fact is my fingers could not take it anymore. Even as I type this they still hurt a bit.  But its a start, a beginning, a necessary step.  I can see some rock shoes in my near future, and probably my daughter’s as well.


Begin at the Start – the post nobody reads

The worldwide web does not need another BLOG but I do.

I have been pondering the title of this site for a long while.  Over time, it will reveal its meaning more and more, but I really believe it captures something about me.  It’s not that I am so very interesting (you don’t even know me) but as with most BLOG’s it is a form of self-expression that I have embraced.


I appreciate that it succeeds in offering me flexibility to comment on a wide range of topics. It gives me permission to switch gears. I need to do that, to switch gears, from time to time.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
Plato, The Republic

While I crave freedom from expectation, there’s no need to be pedantic.  If I use this space as an unfiltered area to say whatever is in my head then no one will read it.  At least, I wouldn’t.  So here’s what you can expect from upRouted:

I will write about bicycling (repair, trips, races, equipment, commuting).  Possibly other activities too, like canoeing and bouldering.

I will write about simple living (minimalism, sustainability, housing, cities).

I will write about being/becoming an entrepreneur (wisdom, strategies, attempts, failures, ideas).  I created this space as a format for a business I am developing.  When that happens you’ll be reading about it too.

I will occasionally include a category called “Things I Like” that will act as a catch-all across each of these subjects.

How about you?  Do you need to switch gears sometimes? How do you accomplish that in your life?