Putting the petal to the medal in Peterborough

New cycling routes in the Kawarthas will leave you breathless and wanting more

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Published in The Hamilton Spectator in June 2015

It's the shoelaces that give me away.

The three-day 175 kilometre cycling trip to promote the six new bike routes in the rolling hills of Peterborough and the Kawarthas is geared to "avid" cyclists. I've never done a ride longer than 20 kilometres, but I do take the SoBi bikes around town on a regular basis. How hard can it be?

At Wild Rock Outfitters, where the owner and our cycling guide Kieran Andrews fits me on a Trek 7.4 FX Fitness hybrid, it doesn't take long to realize I'm out of my league. The other cyclists are tricked out in layers of high-end performance gear: waterproof overshorts, snazzy breathable jerseys, merino socks to prevent sweaty feet, cycling gloves with short cut fingers for improved grip, and black arm warmers, elegant as evening gloves, that can be rolled on and off depending on the weather.

I look down at my decade-old sneakers, dirty laces trailing like a lost preschooler's. Someone in my group takes me aside and advises tucking them in my shoes so I don't get them caught in the bike chain.

At least I'm wearing padded cycling shorts. A friend had thrust them at me when she saw how ill prepared I was for this, my first long-distance cycling trip. "You're going to need these," she said. Indeed, they literally save my behind.

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