Manitoulin Island and a short list

Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world, is accessed by ferry from Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, or by road from Espanola to the north.  Like most islands, Manitoulin is less populated and just a few years behind it’s mainland neighbors.  Lunch at a marina/park in Manitowaning uncovers a fellow cyclotourist who manages the facility, and offers the use of a computer with WiFi access (works at a picnic table by the water, not bad), showers, laundry, and a chat.  It’s nice to meet someone who thinks riding bikes can be worthwhile, and fun.

Riding through the countryside this past Saturday left me stranded amidst traffic leaving an event billed as a “Warrior Dash”, in which competitors run 5km through mud and obstacles.  Motorists seemed to be jacked on adrenaline (and Red Bull no doubt, a sponsor?) and hurriedly passed at all opportunities.  And when opportunities to pass lacked, they passed anyway.  A short list:

Top reason(s) to ride bigger tires

1.  When a double-length tractor trailer passes on a screaming downhill while traffic approaches in the other direction and forces you to the shoulder– which, in Ontario is sand and gravel, necessarily– you may manage to keep the bike upright.

This is as many reasons as need to be given for wider tires.  The list continues citing other road irregularities, riding at night and in the rain.  And when the road is bumpy or turns to dirt, they will help too.  The shoulder maneuver I was forced to execute was like entering a runaway truck ramp you see on large mountain descents.  On two wheels, the execution requires a bit more delicacy.

This is the first, and thus far, only time I have ever been run off the road.

Reminder: this post is about wider tires, not the dangers of cycling.


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