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Fat biking on Lake Winnipeg
The first time I visited Winnipeg, I was a very young man new in Canada, it was springtime, I just finished my first year of university, and I was delivering a car from Montreal to Victoria. I arrived in downtown Winnipeg and saw a bar which looked like a good place to grab a cheap lunch. I parked the car and approached the entrance.
Now if you have spent time in the 50s and 60s watching western movies, you will know what happened next. Just as I was about to enter the bar with the classical saloon doors, the doors suddenly opened and a man flew thru them, propelled not by his own legs but rather by someone else’s help. ‘Yup,’ I thought to myself, ‘I have reached the Wild West’.
A decade or so passed and I was visiting a friend, a professor of philosophy but also a mad inventor of the kind you see in ‘Back to the Future’. He lived on the river bank of the Red River, had a small boat and three small children. His children saw other children water skiing on the river but my friend’s boat was just not strong enough to pull the kids out of the water. Being a mad inventor, he calculated that if the skis were wider and displaced enough water, his kids could simply step into them and the boat would not need as much power to raise them from the water and the kids could ski. It worked.
But then Elliot thought, ‘Why not try to see if this works on an adult?’ and I was on hand. So there I was stepping into the skis and lo and behold, next thing I know, I am skiing on Red River. After a few minutes of this, just when we hit downtown Winnipeg, the rope slipped from my hand and I slowly sunk just below my ankles, but still standing in the middle of the river. My friend was unaware, and still zooming down the river, leaving me behind. And so I stand in the middle river, and all of a sudden I see a crowd gathering on the bridge, pointing to me standing in the middle of the river, but not seeing the skis. I imagine that some may have been thinking; is that for real, did he come back after two millennia? Is it possible?
I tell you these stories simply to announce that I am going back to Winnipeg. I have gotten myself into another adventure, and going on my past history, who knows what awaits me. Yes, I will be participating in our company’s first ever Fat Bike Adventure on Lake Winnipeg a couple of hours north of the city. I have never been on a fat bike, so I will be going there to learn how to cycle on snow and ice, how to deal with the cold, and how to put up a tent and cook a meal when it is way below freezing. I hope to learn the importance of layering and moisture management, and all of the tricks that are necessary to cycle in cold weather anywhere on the planet, including Antarctica.
To be completely honest, 18 months ago, it never even crossed my mind that I would ever be cycling a fat bike, not to mention in the middle of winter and in the middle of Lake Winnipeg. But I learned long time ago, that having a full life means doing things that may take you where you never thought you would go, trying something new, tasting a new fruit. It keeps me – shall I say young in spirit – relatively healthy and positive. And I suspect most if not all of the people who join me on Lake Winnipeg will most likely have a similar attitude. So, Winnipeg, I am coming back. And once again I hope I will have a good story to tell. And who knows, one day I may even find myself cycling to the South Pole.
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