So here I am, on a clear, dark winter evening. Distant lights ease by as I spin along. If I coast and look up, I can see bright stars over the water. The dark shapes of the islands beyond rise to block the Milky Way before it hits the horizon. I’m well-bundled against the breeze and moving briskly enough to keep the chill at bay, although that middle toe on my left foot is starting to pinch a little. I can feel the steady headwind tickle its way under my toque, ruffling my hair.
I look down at my Garmin. Yes, still doing a steady 37 km/h (about 25 mph), and my heart rate is only just up into the triple digits as I cool down from my workout. Oh, yeah. I totally rock. As if. As I look up again, the lights of the Coastal Renaissance appear at the other end of Active Pass, and an ear-splitting whistle sounds above. For, yes. I am on the car deck of the ferry, spinning my heart out.
I’ve been commuting to Vancouver for a day or two per week all autumn and am heartily tired of sitting in the buffet eating the salmon and ravioli. I’ve also been resenting the extra time I’ve given up for the trip. But my friend Joanna suggested that I just set up my bike on the trainer on the car deck and reclaim the time on the trip home.
It has turned out to be a great idea. Many of the things I hate about trainers are solved. No need for fans (the ferry’s apparent wind is plenty cool, thank you). Something to look at. In fact, the buoy flashing every 10 seconds on the Georgia Strait side of Active Pass makes for a handy countdown during tough intervals. People come make conversation. “I’m paying a fuel surcharge and this thing is being powered by a chick on a bike?!“
Another: “Hey. Are you a triathlete?” I nod, a little surprised. “The only people I have ever seen who carry their bikes everywhere up on stands like that are triathletes. This nutbar I know spins right through his kids’ soccer games.” I file that one for future reference.
I like being right up at the very bow, able to look out at everything, but it might be a little raw in the rain. Fortunately, there is plenty of cover on other parts of the car deck. Some habits are hard to break, too. When a gust hits the ferry, I duck into my drops, which accomplishes precisely nothing. On the whole, I’m delighted with the whole enterprise and look forward to forwarding photos of my setup to the Sufferfest’s Bike Torture Cave contest. I bet they’ve never seen that before.