As time goes by, change is inevitable. This is particularly evident today as I think back to my last bike ride in the Thousand Islands with the Cornwall Outdoor Club. This change is not in the route or the scenery, but in the transportation itself. Nearly half of our cyclists today are riding e-bikes. You might say we have grown older, but I prefer to think that we have simply evolved with the times. I am resisting being one of those cyclists, either out of sheer pride or denial of this whole aging-thing. I tell myself and anyone else who will listen that I am holding off until I can no longer keep up to my younger husband. But when a couple of avid cyclists in the club unexpectedly give in to the lure of turbo-bikes, I can’t help but question my choice.
With an inflamed knee, I must admit that I am a little nervous about my ability to keep up. Nevertheless, I am here at Butternut Bay ready to start our 40-kilometer round trip. I enjoy the view of the islands with the elaborate cottages, some of them almost as big as the land they sit on. I wonder what it would be like to spend a weekend retreat in such a place. It certainly is worth pondering, but if I am to keep up to my power-assisted companions, I must snap out of my reverie and focus on pedaling harder.
We arrive at our lunch destination, the historic village of Rockport. Our leader has chosen the grounds of St. Brendan’s church as a picnic spot. The church, named after an Irish monk voyager, is perched on a rock cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River which features pleasure crafts and cruise boats loaded with tourists. We find a spot under the shade of a large tree to fortify our bodies with nutritious snacks for the return trip.I am quite happy that my knee has held up so far, especially since I have shortened my breaks along the way to get a head start with my old-reliable-fully-human-powered bicycle.
Back on our saddles we detour through the small village to catch the Waterfront Trail once more. There is much to see besides the islands, such as the scenic grounds of the Visitor Centre and the homes with beautiful floral landscapes. Thank you to the gardeners for beautifying their properties for everyone to enjoy! At one especially colourful garden, a friend insists on posing in its centre for a photo. I tease him and baptise him the Blue-Eyed Wayne flower.
Break time is over and once again I take off early to avoid being left behind. I envy the ease in which the e-bikes climb those hills. I am overheating in my exertion to ascend them, but my companions look as cool as the ice cream cone I am craving. Change can be progress, and an e-bike is a commendable invention for people of all ages. I’ll admit that I rented one once on a vacation and truly enjoyed the power it gave me, especially on those dreaded hills! On the other hand, I really love my red bicycle. We have been through so much together. Call me stubborn, but when faced with the decision to be or not to be an e-cyclist, my answer is a slightly wavering “no,” at least for now.
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