Today is June 5th, what feels to be the true start of summer balminess! It is the first time I’ve worn only a golf shirt (without a sweater) when bicycling. The humidity is palpable; and the expected high is 28°C. The Farmer’s Market was happening today – a Saturday morning ritual in the summer. People were not out in droves on the Ottawa Valley pathway but we passed two or three gaggles of walkers (some with dogs) and we were overtaken by at least four solo cyclists and one swarm of what looked to be amateur racing enthusiasts all wearing exotically coloured synthetics, clustered tightly together like gnats seemingly unaware of anyone else.
Indeed when we subsequently encountered Bruce Kingsley and Noreen Young (who were pointedly seated on the magnificent green steel bench donated by Edith Cody Rice in memory of her late husband Val Sears) the matter of bells instantly arose when Bruce commented significantly that we were among the few cyclists who have bells. He went on to say that Ontario law requires cyclists to have bells. We instantly echoed Bruce’s commendations first by jointly ringing our bells, then by reminding Bruce that we were educated in the delicacy of this particular matter – namely, cycling on paths with pedestrians – on Hilton Head Island and Longboat Key where we routinely exercised the identical custom for months at a time. We punctuated the devotion to cycling by sharing with Bruce and Noreen the extent of our repeated cycling (albeit only in the neighbourhood) throughout the winter. While we were all humming and huffing about bicycle bells a racing-style cyclist flew by (without notice) and Bruce manifested his communion with bicycle bells by shouting at the passing cyclist, “Get a bell!” I rather suspect the admonishment was lost on the cyclist.
The glorious summer weeds have appeared along the pathway. I haven’t the skill to name the plants but I can report they are as prolific as the earlier swaths of dandelions; they afford a pleasant aroma; and collectively they are beautiful.
The new metal (and very sturdy) stairway has been installed on the pathway to the bridge below traversing the Mississippi River. It exhibits the commitment to the needs of the public. On a broader scale the stairway reunites Coleman’s Island (and its Promenade) with the mainland, a tradition established many years ago during the reign of the woollen mills in town.
I knew on my way back home that I had succeeded to exhaust my energy for cycling. The total of 12.73 km is more than double what I have routinely done for the past year. I am quite willing to confess my deflation. Yet a modest morning routine lingers daily as the appropriate additive to the morning repast.