May 2024 Newsbrief

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The Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society  April 2024,  Volume 41, Issue #4

 

From the Tour Director’s Desk – May 2024

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South Korea – Tour Director cycling from Mungyeong

At this very moment, our first two cycle tours are underway – Cycling South Korea – Seoul to Jeju City, and Portugal – Alentejo and the Algarve. I can tell you for certain that we are having a good time in South Korea and enjoying the scenery, excellent cycle paths, culture, and the different and tasty food! I hear from Janet that the same is true for our Portugal tour. It would be hard not to have a good time in Portugal with the weather, wine, and cuisine. Later this month, the Rideau Canal pannier tour departs following the Ottawa H&S. That tour sounds really sweet and it’s nice to have a tour offering that is close to home for many of our members.

Tour Leadership – How to Get Started Close to Home

For this month’s article, I would like to talk about leading tours and how you can get started if you’re interested in being a tour leader. The easiest way to get some experience would be to organize a tour that is shorter and closer to home. I seriously wish that we had more tours that are closer to home for where most of our club members live – Vancouver, Victoria, Comox, Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, Edmonton, and Ottawa. We have been doing pretty well coming up with a good list of international tours but not so well with “close to home” tours. Ideally, there would be closer to home tours than far away tours. If you’re interested in leading a tour for the club, starting small is a good plan. If that works out and you’re so inclined, you can move on to something bigger and more exotic.

Most of us live in areas with fabulous cycling right in our own neighborhoods, including networks of iconic cycle paths. Who’s to say that you can’t make a tour by stringing rides together that we might do as individual day rides? You can. As Dan and I were out doing a training ride on a long cycle trail in our own home city of Seattle, it occurred to me that I could do just that. By stringing together cycle paths, I could put together a series of “mini-tours”, maybe four days long, with each radiating out from the city core. I’m hoping to offer the first one in 2025 and cover Seattle and the Eastside suburbs – maybe including Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Snoqualmie, Carnation, Fall City, Issaquah, Mercer Island. Beginning and ending in the city’s core downtown area so out-of-towners could arrive by train, plane, bus, or ferry if they chose to. There are fun things to see and do, nice hotels in these towns, and great restaurants. Hopefully, this will be the first of a series with South End, North End, and Puget Sound Islands mini-tours to follow.

Could you do this for your city? Yes you could and I guarantee you this type of tour would be super popular. They’re approachable, both for the leader and the tour members, less expensive, and easy to get to.

Of course, you can also lead or organize tours far afield in Canada, the US, and anywhere in the world. Lots of our members are interested in these too. But, if you’re just getting started and haven’t led a cycle tour before, I recommend starting small and/or in an area you know really well.

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Portugal field with flowers and cows

The 2024 season is planned now and well underway. It isn’t too late for someone to step forward with a new 2024 tour idea and we are hoping that may happen. Meanwhile, I’m hard at work planning the 2025 season, and starting to think about the 2026 tour season too. Details for each tour will be posted when tour proposals and budgets are finalized and have been approved by the Board. This list in the Newsbrief is meant to give you a heads-up for your travel planning purposes until the final tour details are ready for publication. So, please watch your CCCTS emails and the website since tours will be posted one at a time as they are ready, and all members will be notified via email when a new tour posts. Tour plans are always changing. As of today, the best information I have on the tours that will be offered for the remainder of 2024 is below. The list of ideas for 2025 is more tentative and meant to give you an idea of what could happen.

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Most of the South Korea group on cycle path along the Han River in Seoul

2024

  • Italian Dolomites Cross Country Ski – Completed
  • Portugal Alentejo and Algarve – April 17-May 2 – in progress
  • South Korea – April 22-May 6 – in progress
  • Rideau Canal Pannier – May 20-26
  • Grand Coulee Dam Loop – June 10-22
  • Spokane-Coeur d’Alene via Hiawatha Trail – September 3-12
  • Ireland – Mizen to Malin – September 6-20
  • Veloroute de Bleuet – September – waiting for details
  • Slovenia – September 10-24
  • Sri Lanka – October 15-November 6

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Portugal – Cyclists working on a tire

2025 – Draft that is always subject to change

  • Morocco – Atlas to Atlantic – April or May
  • Tuscany – May
  • Walla Walla, Dayton, and Richland – spring or fall
  • Quebec or Maritimes – spring, summer, or fall
  • Seattle Mini-Tour #1 – City & Eastside Suburbs – June
  • Croatia – early June
  • Prague to Budapest – beginning August 18
  • Japan – Hokkaido – September 1-20
  • Discovery Islands and Sunshine Coast – September
  • Albania – fall
  • Northern and Central Thailand – November

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South Korea – Take your shoes off at restaurants

2026 – Idea stage only

  • Italian Tyrol X-C January or February
  • Leavenworth, Plain, and Methow Valley (Washington) – January or February
  • Taiwan – spring
  • Sitnica Tour in Europe – spring– destination could be Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Munich to Venice, Tuscany, etc.
  • Seattle Mini-Tour #2 – Puget Sound Islands – June
  • Peru – From the Andes to the Amazon – summer or fall
  • Partial Cross Canada Tour – Vancouver to Winnipeg (first section of Cross Canada) – summer (August-mid-September)
  • Sitnica Tour in Europe – fall – destination could be Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Munich to Venice, Tuscany, etc.
  • Japan’s Seto Inland Sea and Shikoko – October or early November
  • Philippines –December

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South Korea – Morning exercise class with our guide JJ

Please give me a call or send an email if there is a tour you would like to lead. I am open to considering any tour idea you have as long as it is a safe place for cycling. (Robin Howe, robincooksandsews@gmail.com, 206.899.7255)

Enjoy your spring cycling and all the lovely gardens and trees in bloom!

Robin Howe, CCCTS Tour Director (from South Korea)

 

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Portugal – Cyclists at farm for sale

Safety Update

by Maureen Weston

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Remembrance

The Victoria Chapter lost a very good man last month.

…and a postscript from Chris Hodgson:

Mikkel was not just a valued and long-standing member of the Victoria Chapter CCCTS, he remained very active throughout 2023. He led and participated in many weekly rides in and around Victoria, went on two bike holidays in Tucson and one long ride, with Cornelia, in July of last year from Campbell River to Victoria, about 270 kms. Diane Swindell and I unexpectedly met up with them in Chemainus; we had lunch and I and snapped a shot.

After a month with Cornelia in Tucson this February, Mikkel was finding it a tough go. He was considering switching his e-bike for a three-wheel version. A committed biker!

He was also very much into boating, and here’s a tale from Ilka Olsen. She and husband Allen first met Mikkel when their sailboats bumped in the night in a too-tight anchorage. Mikkel remained his affable self, even when woken from deep sleep. Thus began a 20-year friendship which led to Ilka and Allen’s introduction to CCCTS. Over the years, insatiably social Mikkel was typically part of the club’s many cycling events; one of these was a pre-Covid Oceanside Hub & Spoke in California. The three of us cycled off to explore a nature reserve where Mikkel surprised us with the name of the tree with the enormous cones: Coulter pine. He loved the natural beauty of Saturna Island, our home base. There we cycled with Mikkel, Cornelia and others, finishing off with comradery drinks in the pub at the landing. We fondly recall his and Cornelia’s generous hospitality at three CCCTS parties at their home.

At pre-ride coffees and post-ride ales, we will miss our frequent chats and his congeniality. Farewell dear friend!

A final note: Victoria is a very sociable chapter of CCCTS. A few years ago, after Mikkel was unable to convince our national board for a more generous annual stipend, he pulled out his cheque book and wrote a cheque for $5,000 to see us through. His anonymous donation was not revealed until our AGM last December. We’ll be toasting Mikkel at our annual Christmas party this year!

 

Tours

  • 2024 Grand Coulee Dam Loop
    Status: Ride is full, wait list only.
    Dates: Mon, 10 Jun 2024 ‐‐ Sat, 22 Jun 2024

    The Grand Coulee Dam has been called “man’s greatest creation” that turned the mighty Columbia River “into a slave of man.” A book published five years later called it “the eighth wonder of the world.” It first opened it’s spillway June 1, 1942 to a crowd of 10,000 onlookers. Beautiful little lakes of various shades of blue lie throughout Washington as we travel south. Our journey gives us the opportunity to cycle the Great Coeur D’Alene Trail and the Centennial Trail before completing our loop and returning to Grand Coulee Dam

  • Rideau Canal Pannier Tour 2024
    Status: Ride is full, wait list only.
    Dates: Mon, 20 May 2024 ‐‐ Sun, 26 May 2024

    The Ottawa chapter of CCCTS invites you to join us for a self-supported “pannier tour” following the Rideau Canal from Ottawa to Kingston and back.

  • 2024 Slovenia – On The Sunny Side of The Alps
    Status: Ride is full, wait list only.
    Dates: Tue, 10 Sep 2024 ‐‐ Tue, 24 Sep 2024

    Join us in September, a perfect time to discover this special little country of Slovenia, a green jem squeezed between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia! On a bike is a great way to do it! Turquoise lakes, the Adriatic Sea, the Julian Alps, alpine and medieval villages, the capital Ljubljana guarded over by its castle, turquoise rivers, mountain valleys, terraced vineyards….. We will have two weeks to sample it all, especially Slovenia’s native wines and wonderful cuisine!

  • 2024 Trail of the Coeur D’Alene’s including Route of the Hiawatha
    Status: Registration closed
    Dates: Tue, 3 Sep 2024 ‐‐ Thu, 12 Sep 2024

    This tour involves three cycling segments. It begins in Harrison Idaho with two days of cycling, then moves on to Wallace, Idaho for two more day rides, including the Hiawatha trail, and ends in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with a two-night pannier ride on the Centennial trail to Spokane, Washington. The scenery will be lovely all along the way.

  • 2024 Portugal – Alentejo and the Algarve
    Status: Registration closed
    Dates: Wed, 17 Apr 2024 ‐‐ Thu, 2 May 2024

 

  • 2024 Cycling South Korea – Seoul to Jeju
    Status: Registration closed
    Dates: Mon, 22 Apr 2024 ‐‐ Mon, 6 May 2024

    This 15 day cycling tour is the ultimate exploration of South Korea – discovering both the old and the new – as we traverse 615 km of varied terrain from the vibrant capital, Seoul, to peaceful Jeju Island.

  • 2024 Sri Lanka Tour – Negombo to Columbo
    Status: 14 slots are available.
    Dates: Tue, 15 Oct 2024 ‐‐ Wed, 6 Nov 2024

    This adventure is the final word in Sri Lanka cycling tours! Over the course of 23 exhilarating days we explore the island’s pristine beaches, ancient rock fortresses, temple-studded cities, lush national parks, and tea field-covered mountains. We leave no stone unturned as we delve deep into Sri Lanka’s rich heritage and natural beauty. We will also spend 1-2 days dedicated to a service project for a local Sri Lankan community.

  • 2023 Columbia River Loop
    Status: Completed

    Cycle in beautiful inland Washington and Oregon – through mountain, desert, and high-plateau farmland areas. Ride along the mighty Columbia River and through Washington wine country. Stay in the scenic towns of Hood River and The Dalles, Oregon. Weather is normally sunny and warm this time of year.

  • 2024 Ireland Mizen to Malin
    Status: Ride is full, wait list only.
    Dates: Fri, 6 Sep 2024 ‐‐ Fri, 20 Sep 2024

    The west coast of Ireland is rich in awe-inspiring landscapes, fascinating characters, and foot-tapping music. Cycling Ireland End to End from the most southerly point to the most northerly will leave you with rich memories, new friends, and a thirst for more!

    Hub and Spokes

  • Palm Springs Hub and Spoke 2025
    Status: Lottery running now
    Dates: Sun, 16 Mar 2025 ‐‐ Sun, 23 Mar 2025

    Let’s get on that bike for some spring riding in Palm Springs, California. Join other CCCTS cyclists March 16-23, 2025 for great riding through Greater Palm Springs, a desert resort city surrounded by four gorgeous mountain ranges with plenty of bike lanes and coffee shops to explore. We will enjoy 5 days of riding near and around Indio while enjoying a comfortable stay in fully furnished rental homes. Then off to spend the last two nights exploring Palm Springs.

  • Silver Star Cross-country Ski 2024
    Status: 15 slots are available.
    Dates: Tue, 3 Dec 2024 ‐‐ Tue, 10 Dec 2024

    Get an early start to the ski season with our 2nd CCCTS cross-country ski event! Silver Star is known for its early snow and its excellent network of groomed trails winding through the hills. Join us for an “east meets west” chapter-wide event which will include plenty of opportunity for apres-ski socializing with your CCCTS friends from across the country.

  • 2024 Everett H&S
    Status: Registration closed
    Dates: Sun, 19 May 2024 ‐‐ Thu, 23 May 2024

    Four days of cycling in beautiful rural Snohomish County based out of Everett. Enjoy a lovely variety of rides in north Puget Sound, including Whidbey Island, Snohomish, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Arlington, and Index. Farmlands, coastal scenery, and the foothills of the Cascade mountains. Don’t miss it.

  • Ottawa 2024 Hub and Spoke
    Status: 15 slots are available.
    Dates: Sun, 12 May 2024 ‐‐ Sat, 18 May 2024

 

  • 2024 B.C.’s Nicola Valley Grasslands Gravel Roads Hub and Spoke
    Status: Registration closed
    Dates: Sun, 9 Jun 2024 ‐‐ Sun, 16 Jun 2024

    Based from Merritt, B.C., we’ll explore six scenic, Nicola Valley Grasslands ranch roads. These are mostly gravel road routes on the dry side of B.C.’s Coast Mountains, between Kamloops and Princeton. Bring your camera and binoculars for a series of BC backroads cycling adventures!

    Recognition

Gladys was recognized for her contribution to CCCTS in 2022, with flowers presented by her good friend Marg Harris.

 

This month we are recognizing long-time member and tour leader extraordinaire Gladys Schmidt.    She was the founding member of the Comox chapter, then served as its chair for two decades, growing the chapter from its initial  3 members to a healthy 67 members today.   Members will recall her hub and spokes in Comox, where she once hosted 135 people for a salmon dinner in her backyard!  Others may recall her tours to Quadra/Cortes and to Newfoundland.   

Her love of cycling goes back to when she was 12 years old and got her first “girls” bike for her birthday – no more struggling to get those short legs over a boy’s bar bicycle!   Cycling became a significant part of her life after retirement.  Her friend Dora encouraged her to join the CCCTS in Victoria.  After attending a few of their Hub and Spokes she decided that she could do this in Comox too, resulting in the first Hub and Spoke there in 2001.  Says Gladys, “The opening supper was in my backyard. I prepared for 40 people but before the evening got underway, 80 avid cyclists arrived.  In those days there was nothing like pre registration. You registered and paid when you arrived, and hoped the food would reach out! That night we served BBQ salmon and oysters, baked halibut, fresh crab, and prawns all of which had been caught and prepared by my husband. Our amazing group of helpers made the salads and desserts”.  These trips later evolved to include a tour to Denman and Cortes Islands. “Riding on those islands was super challenging because of the steep and long hills. But the amazing participants took it in stride and didn’t complain (much)”.

Gladys and club member Marg also decided to offer a cycle workshop with the idea of enlarging attendance for Friday rides. The expected handful of people turned into a roomful of enthusiastic riders wanting to join the club and ride together every Friday.

When asked what motivated her to lead these rides, she responds that the feeling of accomplishment kept her going, and that she enjoyed cycling with like-minded people, exploring new places and making new friends at the same time.  Her favourite tour was the one she led in Newfoundland.  Having taught there in the early 1960’s, she was happy to share her love of the province with cycling friends.  Says Gladys:  “To cycle this large and wild province was a challenge that I was excited to complete. It would take several pages to share our 3-week experiences of unpredictable weather, long steep hills, unlikely accommodations, wonderful and warm local people, and the best club comradery”.   Like every tour, it came with its share of challenges.  Two days before the tour started, the accommodation scheduled for the third night was cancelled.  Gladys had to rearrange the ride schedule in order to find suitable places to stay that would not result in long cycling days.  The group also reported that they were “Screeched-in” which culminated in kissing a cod. What a hoot that was! Following this they enjoyed a “NL Dinner” and a local dance that went on until 2:00 AM. It was the last day of cycling so everyone was in the mood to celebrate!

Although Gladys is no longer cycling, she remains active today by walking, travelling, playing the ukulele, singing for the elderly in senior homes and her newest hobby:  quilting.  Thank you Gladys for your years of leadership and for creating opportunities for club members to enjoy so many cycling adventures together. 

A final note from Gladys:  “Yes there is life after cycling.  Come visit me next time you are in the Comox Valley and I will take you on a walk to the river. I may even feed you salmon!”

New Members

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Published at least ten times a year by The Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society, a non – profit organization for retired people and others who enjoy recreational cycling. 

Items for the NEWSBRIEF must be received by the 28th of the month. The Editor reserves the right to edit for clarity, brevity and suitability of publication. The views expressed in the “NEWSBRIEF” are not necessarily those of the CCCTS or the Editor.

Submissions for NEWSBRIEF should be emailed to alaird212@gmail.com