Today’s Route: Route 116 to 112 which becomes the Kancamagus Highway.

Today: 32 miles. Total miles: 4237 Riding time: 3 hrs 19 min Elevations: N. Haverhill: Lincoln: Total ascent: 3330’ Total descent: 2270’ Calories: 2239 Avg speed 9.4 mph Max speed 32 mph

Significant climbing today combined with a stiff headwind. Route 112 climbs to an area near Mt. Moosilauke, a crossing for the Appalachian Trail. Then a fast, steep run down into North Woodstock NH. Stopped at the White Mountain Visitor Center. Road conditions were poor for the first ten miles on route 116 – no shoulders and the sides of the road are in poor repair with lots of cracks and missing chunks of pavement. The next part of the trip was on a well-paved road which took me up to the summit. Unfortunately the chipped stone and tar pavement makes for a rough ride.

Got a late start today after going into town for breakfast and doing the laundry at the campground. Refilled our freshwater tank and dumped at the campground, but the late start got us into Lincoln around 4pm. Decided to start up the Kancamagus Highway and got as far as the Big Rocks Campground. Another 6 miles of climbing tomorrow to reach the pass at 2855’.

Lots of traffic in North Woodstock and Lincoln due to the 38th Annual Highlander Games Celebration – cars and people everywhere! Saw a “cop in a kilt” directing traffic at the Games – now that’s something you don’t see every day!

Fall foliage much prettier and more colorful as we travel further north. Now seeing more yellows and reds mixed in with the browns! Some gorgeous mountainous country here in central New Hampshire – another “come back to” area! Lots to see and do in this neck of the woods!

Jeanne traveled up through the Connecticut River Valley on Route 302 to Littleton and stopped at an Arts & Crafts Festival in the little town of Lisbon – bought some handmade dark chocolates and honey-oatmeal soap! About 15 vendors with a variety of talents – felted wool items, photography, braided rugs, homemade candy and baked goods, handwoven tiny baskets, and more. Spoke with the local police chief and several vendors about C.O.P.S. Headed down I-93 to North Woodstock through Franconia Notch State Park where the interstate becomes two lanes for several miles (one lane in each direction) with parking areas for hiking along the way. Beautiful foliage! Many cars in the parking lots. She met up with me at the White Mountain Visitor Center.

Camped at Big Rocks National Forest Campground on the Kancamagus Highway, about 8 miles east of Lincoln NH. No hookups. $10 with Senior Pass. Beautiful, large sites in bear country! Saw signs all day for bear, deer and moose crossings!

“On the road again. . .I wonder where we’re going today!”

Beautiful River Meadow Campground on the Connecticut River!

Fall flowers!

At the Lisbon Festival!

Lisbon crafters – he makes rugs, she makes chocolates!

Artisan Sara Boothman making tiny baskets!

Entertainment at Lisbon Arts & Crafts Festival!

Lisbon Memorial Park

White Mountains Visitor Center and beautiful Gift Shop!

Campsite at Big Rocks Forest Service Campground east of Lincoln NH

Lots of signs for moose, deer and bear crossings!

Beautiful fall foliage in New England!

Nature’s best!

There’s something about water. . .

and vibrant fall colors!

Quote for the Day: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything.” Hand-quilted wall hanging at the Lisbon NH Arts & Crafts Festival

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State route 71 from Brownlee Dam to Cambridge ID. Today: 30 miles. Total miles: 557. Beautiful sunny weather, blue sky, 75 degrees. Elevations: Brownlee Dam ID: 2074′ Cambridge ID: 2650′ Total ascent: 3100’ Total descent: 2800’ Max speed 35 mph

Route 71 is an amazing winding, curvy, up and down road from Brownlee Dam to Cambridge – many switchbacks, especially approaching the summit of the pass, no shoulder, little traffic. Jeanne used the tow-haul and pack brake almost all the way pulling the trailer up to meet me at the Gateway Cafe, 6 miles into today’s ride. We ended up having lunch instead of breakfast, due to the time change. Thought it was an hour earlier, when it was actually an hour later and breakfast no longer being served. So, lunch it was! Great hamburgers and milkshakes at the Gateway Cafe!

More beautiful scenery – high rolling mountainous hills along the Snake River for the first 4-5 miles, then along the East Brownlee Creek to the Summit, then along the Pine Creek almost all the way to Cambridge. Mostly farms and ranches, cattle and horses.

Cambridge is a small town of 360 people with 3 restaurants, a general store and a few other businesses and lots of young adults riding around in their “unmufflered” trucks on this Friday night!

Camped in a little bicycle park on the west side of town at the suggestion of a couple of its neighbors across the street. Has a pavillion with picnic tables and 4 electric outlets (can charge our computers), bathrooms, and a water spigot. Set up by the town for bicyclists passing through Cambridge. As it turned out, this was a noisy spot due to the large youth gathering a block away from the park with a party that went well into the early morning hours. It was suggested that we move early on Saturday morning as a Farmers Market would be taking over the bicycle park. Turns out the farmers market consisted of one vendor with a small outlay of produce.

Old Timers’ Weather Rock at the Bicycle Park

The Weather Rock

Bicycle Park in Cambridge ID

Jim with Wade Spain, Detective with Boise PD, Blake and Shelby Spain and their cute doxies!

Along the Brownlee Reservoir

Idaho’s beautiful countryside

Horse farm country

Proof that I’m really climbing all these passes!

Recent motorcycle accident on this curvy road.

Quote for the day: “Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile and a grateful heart.” Zig Ziglar

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Getting rid of excess weight can be a significant hurdle to overcome. For most people, the problem area is the stomach. This is not a surprise because when it comes to dieting, there are important factors that you need to be taking into consideration. First and foremost, if you want to rid yourself of excessive stomach fat, then you need to be paying close attention to your calorie intake.

Calories are king and when you are attempting to lose weight, the process is really quite simple. You must be burning more calories each day than you are consuming. Failure to do that will result in your weight loss goals crashing and burning instead of the calories. It is also important to make sure that you are getting rid of your stomach fat, and not the muscles in your stomach. We will be discussing that and more including how to burn calories more effectively, the best strength training routines, and weight loss myths you should be ignoring instead of embracing.

The symptoms of carrying around an excessive amount of weight can increase your risk of developing a serious medical condition. These conditions include cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and respiratory disorders. These are only some of the medical issues that can result from being overweight. And in order to bring the risk factor down, you need to commit to a balanced diet that includes a regular and effective exercise routine.

This will ensure that you live the healthiest life possible. A good and effective exercise routine will target your fat and not the muscles in your stomach. It is also important not to focus too much on the scale. Many people find themselves obsessing over what the scale is showing. This is the wrong approach!

If you’re focusing on reducing your calorie intake substantially in order to lose weight, you will succeed with lowering the number on the scale. The problem however is that you will be losing muscle instead of fat. This is not what you want to be doing. Burning more calories than you consume is essential. But you need to be consuming the correct amount of calories with a balanced diet.

The goal with an effective weight loss program is to burn excessive calories. We aren’t trying to burn more than that as it will begin eating away at your muscle. This balance is critical because if you eat more calories than you are burning, it will be impossible to get rid of that excess stomach fat. This is why so many people hit a brick wall when trying to lose weight. All the diet and exercise in the world will never yield the desired results if you aren’t taking a balanced approach.

Being able to diagnose your weight problem means being able to acknowledge that the problem exists. There are a number of people out there who need to lose excessive weight. But instead of accepting and embracing the problem in order to find a solution, they are living in a world of denial. If you can’t look in the mirror and see the problem, then there is no possible way to fix the problem. The first step with developing an effective weight loss solution is to recognize the current state of your body. Once you do that and get rid of the denial and excuses, the pounds will come off and the life of your dreams will be within reach.

While it’s not all that common, we should also mention that some people attempting to lose weight might need to visit their doctor. In some of the more extreme cases, special medication and even weight-loss surgery might be needed in order to reach your weight loss goals. Regular diet and exercise will be the optimum solution for most people. But if you have a medical condition that makes losing weight difficult, or you just can’t seem to lose weight with diet and exercise, then you should speak to your doctor for a more comprehensive solution.

With the exception of a medical condition that makes losing weight difficult or impossible, the solution is very simple. An effective exercise routine will provide the necessary treatment. You also need to complement it with a healthy diet. Once your weight loss goal is realized, ongoing care should include a healthy and balanced diet. This will ensure that you not only take the excess pounds off, but keep them off. If possible, it is also recommended that you attempt a higher intensity exercise routine. But this is only if you can do it safely and sustain it for the duration. If you have any concerns, be sure to consult with your doctor.

With a faster paced routine, your calories will be burned much faster. But it’s important to find that perfect balance between the duration of your routine and the overall intensity. High intensity programs are good for people with a minimal amount of time to exercise. If you only have 20 minutes per/day to devote to getting in shape, this is what you want to be aiming to do.

If however you have 45 or 60 minutes, slow it down a bit so that you can complete the whole routine. Strength training is also an important component of your routine. It will help you with preserving muscle as you are dieting and exercising. This will also help you to burn more fat. Even if you can only devote 10 or 15 minutes per/week to strength training, it will make a positive difference.

There are a number of myths out there that you should also be aware of. Exercising before breakfast will result in short term gain, but with a long term loss. You will be able to burn more fat for a period of time, but over time, you will burn less and less until it no longer makes a difference. This is because your body will begin consuming more carbohydrates. One other big myth that is simply untrue is that sit-ups will burn off your stomach fat. You also aren’t going to gain more fat if you eat at night versus in the day. Maintain your calorie intake and you have nothing to worry about.

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The sky touching mountain ranges оf Himalaya have appealing charm and invite millions of adventure crazy people and nature lovers tо thіѕ part of world. Himalayan region is famous for іtѕ interesting wildlife, snowy peaks, verdant valleys, and plethora оf adventure options such аs trekking, mountaineering, skiing, river rafting, rock climbing, camping, paragliding, mountain biking, and mаny others. These attraction features pull millions of travelers, vacationers, nature lovers and adventure freaks from аll corners of world. It іѕ onе оf the beѕt destinations for adventure freaks. Trekking іn thе high and sharp mountains gіvеs ultimate adventure. If you also wаnt to enjoy ultimate adventure then visit Himalaya and explore thesе amazing feelings.

Let us know the forms оf adventurous activities to be enjoyed durіng Himalayan Tourism. There arе many things to enjoy in thе ranges оf Himalaya.

Trekking:

Trekking is one оf the moѕt common forms of adventurous activities to enjoy in thе mountain. Basically, іt іѕ walking іn mountain. But thе adventure experience depends on thе altitude оf trekking. There are mаnу adventurous trekking trails іn Himalayan range. Trekking trails of all grades arе found іn thеѕe regions. People of all age and strength сan enjoy the adventure of trekking in the Himalayas. Carry thе neсeѕѕаry equipments аnd accessories while trekking іn thе mountain ranges.

River rafting:

Rafting iѕ vеrу popular аnd adventurous water gaming option. It is vеry enjoyable activity to enjoy durіng Himalayan Tourism. There аrе manу rivers in thiѕ region. You should contact wіth anу rafting agency and hire life jackets and raft tо enjoy rafting. You shоuld аlso аѕk fоr the safety measures аnd ways tо enjoy moѕt during rafting.

Mountain biking:

Bikers find Himalaya tо be thеіr favorite destination. Biking in itѕеlf is an adventure to enjoy and biking in the terrain оf Himalaya wіll give уоu ultimate adventure. One сan hire mountain bike аnd sport bike from any agency аnd enjoy biking in the Himalaya. Mountaineering & rock climbing: Adventure freaks can enjoy the fun оf mountaineering and rock climbing іn thе mountains of Himalaya. Take proper uniform аnd shoes to enjoy Adventure in Himalaya. You shоuld carry essential medicine kits аnd safety kits in уоur back pack bag tо make the adventurous journey most comfortable and enjoyable. Do not forget tо carry Swiss knife, torch, sleeping bag, water bottle, еtс fоr mountaineering and rock climbing. You ѕhould аlso carry compass for selecting rіght direction. Do not dare to go іn unknown direction аs іt cаn bе dangerous fоr you. These arе the adventure options tо enjoy in Himalaya. Hope yоu wіll enjoy moѕt of the adventure during your trip to Himalaya.

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Jeep King Of The Mountain boasts an overall cash prize pool in excess of $100,000 for the upcoming JKOM three-event series. In addition to the cash purse, Jeep, a division of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, will be awarding the individual male and female overall series winners each a two-year lease on a new Jeep Wrangler X. “We anticipate the overall cash purse coupled with the awarding of two Jeep to the overall series leaders will reenergize the sport and its athletes, and position the Jeep King Of The Mountain Series as the country’s premiere mountain biking program,” said Henry Schneidman, President of Eclipse Television, the Series promoter.

Remaining still, a Jeep King of the Mountain team competition, the team with the most collective points at the end of the series will share a $10,000 bonus cash award, courtesy of John Paul Mitchell Systems, as well as each will enjoy an Infinity sound system. At the end of the first and second race, the black John Paul Mitchell Systems leader jersey will be awarded to the team with the most points, until the final nail-biting finish on August 23rd which will determine who keeps the leader jersey; who takes home the $10,000 cash bonus (in addition to the $31,000 available at each race); and ultimately determines whether or not the same teammates will be driving home in a Jeep Wrangler X.

With this announcement, the world’s greatest mountain bikers are preparing to take on the fiercest dual-cross challenge yet, Jeep King of the Mountain’s “Y.” The “Y,” made famous during last winter’s Jeep King of the Mountain Series, proves to be equally challenging for the bikers this summer as it was for the skiers and snowboarders last season.

The race for the crown begins June 29, 2003 at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia, followed by a second “Y” challenge in Telluride, Colorado on July 19, 2003, culminating with the final championship race in Lake Tahoe, California on August 23, 2003. Points are accumulated throughout the Series, with double points earned at the final championship race on August 23, 2003. Based on the prize schedule announced today, teams comprised each of 1 male and 1 female professional mountain biker from the United States , France, United Kingdom, Holland and Australia will compete for not only team titles, but individual titles as well.

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Today’s Route: Lakeview, Cleveland, Bratenahl, Euclid, Willowick, Eastlake, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Painesville, Perry.

Today: 50 miles. Total miles: 3507 Riding time: 4 hrs 38 min Elevations: Lakeview: 994′ Perry: 699′ Total ascent: 1903’ Total descent: 1857’ Calories: 2511 Avg speed 10.68 mph Max speed 25 mph

We left Chardon early this morning to drive about 45 minutes back to Lakeview to continue the ride thru Cleveland in the rain. Rode on a bike trail along Lake Erie and then into downtown Cleveland where the skies opened up. Hid out in a covered bus stop for a short period of time. Headed through the downtown area to the shore of Lake Erie and arrived there just in time to share the road with thousands of people going to the Air Show which I learned is an annual Labor Day weekend event in Cleveland. Wanted to get through Cleveland on the weekend to avoid weekday traffic!

The drive along the lake in Cleveland was hampered by the extremely poor condition of the pavement on Marginal Drive. Got some photos of the downtown area and the National Rock and Roll Hall fo Fame. North of Marginal Drive, I picked up a bike trail along the lake for about 7-8 miles. The remainder of the ride was on secondary roads through small towns, some without shoulders. Had a nice conversation with a gal bike rider in Painesville who was very interested in the ride. Met Jeanne in Perry which ended the ride for the day. After a stop at DQ, we made our way back to Chardon for another night in the Eagles parking lot. Enjoyed another pleasant, relaxing evening with our Chardon friends Bobi and Ron who again cordially opened their home to us for dinner and showers!

Had an interview with FOX TV8 in Willowick outside Petie’s Family Restaurant which got a lot of attention from passersby. The manager of the Giant grocery store next to the restaurant came out to see what was going on and said he should have been asked if it was okay to film there! He seemed to back off when he found out what it was for – the reporter/photographer commented that the manager probably wanted to make sure it was a positive story and not something that would reflect negatively on his store!

Unfortunately the TV8 editing department cut out some of the most important points made on camera about C.O.P.S. and left out our blog information!

“Sure am glad I’m in the truck! Wonder who that silly guy is out there in the rain!”

Welcome to Cleveland!

With Officer Jeff, Willowick PD

Great mural. . .

. . .the rest of the mural!

Chardon Town Square by Moonlight (on the right!)

Geauga (Indian for Racoon) County Courthouse on Chardon Square

One of many beautiful old homes along the way today. . .

Bridge in Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland

More downtown Cleveland. . .

National Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland

Wet view of Cleveland from inside a bus stop shelter!

Boulevard of Flags

Peaceful swing overlooking Lake Erie. . .

Another awesome courthouse!

Quote for the Day: “The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” Ethel Percy Andrus

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Freestyle bikes are one of the most attractive bikes for bike lovers. It can be happened because the the freestyle bikes cycling is a combination of bravery ,talent and tricks of bikers. It is proved that the number of people interested in freestyle bike riding increases from time to time. The association of bikers also held freestyle competition due to the numerous of freestyle lovers. Anyway, freestyle bike models are slightly different than the usual bikes. The heavy usage of this bike makes the freestyle bikes must have extraordinary endurance to support freestyle’s entire move. That is why the manufacturers of freestyle bikes have made these bikes be more resistant than the other bikes.

As the consequence of the resistance, the freestyle bikes’ price is usually more expensive than another bike. As you know, in the freestyle sport, the bikers should be able to make some difficult and acrobatic movements such as cycling on walls, catwalk, and jumping with some attractive moves to impress the audience. Due to all those things, the producers of freestyle bikes usually made these bicycles with tough materials that will stand to these moves. Actually, when we are interested to get one of the freestyle bikes, we have to spend our money about from $270 to $500. Of course, this is an expensive price for a bike, but as it said that this bike needs tough materials to make the bikes able to do some attractive moves. Therefore, the price is not expensive enough for the freestyle bikes.

There are some tips for you when you have decided to buy a freestyle bike. First, look up the models of some freestyle bikes at several bicycle shops in your city. You can ask for its price to the seller before you buy so you are able to make a comparison between these bikes. If possible, do not forget to ask about its material. Second, search information about the freestyle bikes and ask your friends who are more expert than you about these bikes. They will give you advice so you will be more understanding about how and what a freestyle bike is. The last one is; go to some freestyle bike websites. There are a lot of freestyle bike websites on the internet now. They will give you information about the freestyle bikes and the prices so you can compare and decide the best one of these bicycles easily.

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There is a persistent question among men as to what are the best strategies that they should employ in order to build muscles fast and easy. Although there are no shortcuts to building big muscles, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has come up with new recommendations on how men can bulk up their physique.

Let us take a look at these muscle building strategies that come highly recommended by the ACSM.

Always incorporate strength training in your fitness program

Strength training is the foundation for building muscles. The best form of strength training is by using free weights and by increasing resistance levels and repetitions that will cause muscle fatigue. If the muscles are not challenged enough, you will not bulk up and even hinder muscle growth. If you don’t have free weights at home, use weight or cable machines in your local gym. You can also utilize plyometrics, calisthenics, and resistance bands. Make it a point to perform lunges, squats and other workouts that target the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles, combined with cardiovascular exercises. All exercises should consist of three sets with 8 to 12 reps each. For faster results, you can also try “super-setting”. Here, you work out a set each of 2 or 3 muscle exercises that oppose each other, rest, briefly, then do a second set before working out other muscle groups.

Alternate exercising each muscle group

Research studies have shown that weight training causes small micro tears in the muscles which could only be repaired during rest and sleep. In order for muscles to recuperate and repaired, you need to allow time for rest. For this reason, the ACSM recommends that the muscle groups be given a work out on alternate days.

Day 1 = Shoulders, triceps and chest

Day 2 = Lower body (gluteals, hip abductors and adductors, quads, hamstrings, and calves)

Day 3 = Biceps, abs and back

If soreness develops, take a day or two off from training or exercise a different muscle group. The ACSM also mentioned about “delayed-onset muscle soreness”, which can develop 48 hours or later after a workout.

Observe Proper Hydration

While you have heard the recommendation that you should take 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, in muscle builders, it is important that you take 12 to 16 ounces of water before a workout and then another 8 to 10 ounces for every 15 minutes that you perform a strenuous exercise. Sports drinks like Gatorade are only advisable if you have been working out for an hour or more.

Eat a healthy balanced diet

All muscle builders should observe a healthy diet with the proper portions/servings of carbs, proteins and fats, including vitamins and minerals. Do not eat too much carbs because they cause sudden increases in insulin levels. With high insulin levels, you inhibit the release of growth hormones that promote muscle growth. To keep your energy levels up throughout the day, eat 5 to 6 small balanced meals daily instead of just eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. You should also monitor your fat intake, which should not be in excess of 30 of your total daily caloric requirement.

Eat More Protein

When it comes to muscle mass and diet, it is necessary that you eat more protein. This is because proteins contain the essential amino acids needed to build up muscles. Aside from regular foods, you can get your protein from high-protein snacks such as protein bars, protein shakes, cottage cheese, and cheese sticks. Some health food stores offer pre-packed high protein meals with cheese, turkey and crackers.

Get Adequate Sleep

All muscle builders should get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. It is during sleep that growth hormones are released which build and repair muscle tissues.

Get the services of a personal trainer

During the first three months of your fitness program, it is highly advisable that you get the services of a personal trainer. A trainer will help you to learn the various exercises and how you should observe proper form and posture when performing these exercises. He or she will also help you develop the necessary workout skills so that you will eventually be able to exercise on your own and not be totally dependent on them for your needs. If you are looking for a trainer, it is best to get one who is certified by reputable fitness organizations, such as the ACSM, the American Council on Exercise, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Hope you enjoyed this article and that it gave you information to help you out. Till Next time!

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This bicycling circle was specially designed with honeymoon couples in mind, mixing a variety of accommodations, but offering a last night in a splendid and romantic castle or manor house hotel. It is, however, also ideal for anyone wanting a unique cycling tour, which offers a chance to explore Connemara and stay in a variety of guesthouses, hotels, and as a treat a night in a castle hotel. Starting any day of the week, this is truly independent programme. All luggage transport is provided. Several choices are there to decide from and you will take a route both inland and along the coastal region of Connemara, Ireland. We provide well chosen pre-booked accommodation as well as luxurious Cannondale bikes and any equipment that is needed. Detailed route notes and maps and the assurance of an emergency break-down service combine to make this a most wonderful active honeymoon.

Day 1 Arrive in Westport, a charming, bustling market town. (we can help arranging transport). Stay the next two nights in hotel, dinner tonight is included. Your bicycle will be waiting for you and will give you advice and adjust everything for you. Day 2 You have various options available to you – walk Croagh Patrick, cycle north to Newport, or perhaps even visit Clare Island (cycle to Roonagh Quay). Return to Westport for your second night (dinner tonight is not included). This is a town where it is not difficult to find a pub playing traditional Irish music. Day 3 Leave Westport to cycle to Killary Lodge. The shortest distance is 25miles but there are longer options available. We will welcome you with us for two nights and both dinners are included. Day 4 Perhaps you would like to take part in some of the adventure activities that are available in Killary, or you may wish to cycle into the Maam Valley, or around the Renvyle Peninsula. Alternatively there is a wonderful walk along Killary Harbour. Day 5 Cycle to Clifden (often labelled the metropole of Connemara) There are various options available, the shortest being 23 miles, with a longer one (passing Cleggan and Aughrusbeg) with 40miles. Stay the next two nights in guesthouse, dinner tonight in restaurant. Stay the night in a wonderful manor house hotel. Day 6 Chance to relax, take a game of Golf on the famed Connemara Golf Course, try your hand at deep-sea fishing, or alternatively cycle around the Sky Road, offering you wonderful views over the Atlantic and the islands lying in it (13miles). Choose your own dinner in one of the many restaurants. Day 7 Cycle via Roundstone, a scenic fishing village, famous through the work of many well known painters attracted by its picturesque harbour and wonderful outlook across a deep inlet of the Atlantic to the everchanging peaks of the Twelve Bens to Ballynahinch. Stay the next night in Ballynahinch Castle (or if Ballynahinch not available Zetland House Hotel in Cashel), dinner included. We will collect our bicycles and gear from there. Day 8 Breakfast and departure. Duration: 8 days (7 nights) Tour Dates 2003: any day you wish to start (April – Oct) Level: gentle, some occasional hill Bicycle: Cannondale Hybrid bicycle Accommodation: hotels and guesthouses and castle stays Meals: 5 x dinners, 7 x Irish breakfasts Transfers: all luggage transfers Miscellaneous: route notes and maps

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Ask Nicole Torok why she loves bike riding and she’ll tell you, “It’s because I’m propelling myself. Riding a bike never stops me from where I want to be.” Other than commuting to and from her busy job as a 2nd Camera Assistant in the film and TV industry, and repairing and selling old bikes, you will find her in her studio working on bicycle-inspired art.

Torok’s major works at the La Carrera Cycles exhibit, are glistening oil tableaus that mix the cool blues, greens and dark greys and blacks of an abstracted city skyline, with recognizable bicycle-parts stenciled over top. There is no attempt at a story, other than, perhaps one of a growing bike culture within a towering downtown Toronto. They beg the eye into a streetscape demonstrate the play of geometry, movement, and subtle glowing light. The large 5-foot by 7-foot unstretched, raw canvases called “Buildings and Gears” and “Buildings and Wheels,” reflect her respect for both the built environment’s straight lines and the detailed two-dimensional expression of stencil graffiti artists like Toronto’s Janet “Bike Girl” Attard.

The other pieces are ink-on-paper representations of bike couriers. Without pretension, Torok explains, “I like their style of dress, and I like their bikes.”

Although she never worked for a courier company, Torok did deliveries as part of her behind-the-scenes film and TV career. “They discovered I could ride fast,” she says modestly.

Being immersed in bike culture, Torok finds ways to stay busy when the film season slows. She fixes bikes — as she has since she took the training wheels off her own first bike — and sells them as a side project. When she has time, Torok volunteers at Bike Pirates, a do-it-yourself bike shop on Bathurst south of College, and the venue for an undated Summer exhibit.

She is inspired both by her friends in Toronto’s indie music and drama scene, and her physical environment. “If you are creative, then you are drawn to other people who are creative,” says Torok about the artistic community she belongs to that she calls a family. But being “a very visual person” her art also reflects a street-wise downtown culture.

After returning from a recent trip to Berlin, Torok has another culture to compare with Toronto’s in terms of bike- and art-friendliness. It’s obvious that Berlin’s drivers are more aware of cyclists, she says, “They give you space. There’s more awareness: separated bike lanes, made of different colour cobblestones between the parked cars, a line of trees and pedestrians.” But Torok has as much to say about how Berlin plays host to the artistic expressions of graffiti artists. “They welcome graffiti there. They don’t try and cover it up. It’s a part of the city. They almost encourage it to let out people’s frustrations.”

Don’t expect a political message from her art, though. She admits, we as a society need more awareness of bikes on the road, and of our own consumer culture, but Torok would rather see individuals and communities make the effort for a bike culture to thrive.

“I believe that everyone can make the switch to bikes with a little effort. And if each person who rode a bike paved one cobblestone in the road, we would have bike lanes.”

Upcoming Shows: Summer: Bike Pirates, 457 Bathurst St., open Saturdays and Thursdays 12-5 http://bikepirates.com.

Fall: “Not Just A One Trick Pony” a juried exhibition of artwork made by members of the IATSE 667 camera union, September 11-21 at the Mango Lounge, 1402 Queen Street East

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