Vitamin D burns.

How do you make your legs burn in two different ways? Do a century ride on a day with no visible clouds.

As someone with next to no melanin, and a LOT of expensive artwork that would get damaged from exposure to UV rays, I almost always have this with me:

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Whenever someone sees this thing, they’re always like, “LOL. Girl sunblock.” Then I proceed to get defensive and explain, “They were giving away free expired sunblock at work, and I took a bottle to use as a travel size spray. I promptly dumped out the girl sunblock and refilled it with proper unexpired lady sunscreen.”

I don’t know why I get so defensive about this, but I do. Besides, when it comes to the sun, being on the defense is a good thing! I had just purchased a saddle bag for my road bike so that I would be able to carry this mini spray bottle along with a tube of lip balm (defense against chapped lips), an energy bar (defense against hunger), and a spare tube (defense against flats). Essentially, I keep my emergency kit directly underneath my ass.

I hadn’t really been on my road bike since giving it a complete overhaul back in March.

Since my bikes aren’t children, I can admit to having a favourite: it’s the Masi. I use it to commute to work, as I can haul my stuff in a pannier. I use it when the road’s wet as the rear fender will keep my bum dry. I use it when riding on gravel paths like Le P’tit Train du Nord because it’s more comfortable. When Yann and I go to Europe in August, it will be the Masi I’ll be taking with me.

So what’s the point of the Ridley?

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It’s fucking awesome. That’s the point. This thing flies… especially when you’re accustomed to getting to places on a 26 pound bike.

On Saturday, we rode from Montréal to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and back (110km). The Route Verte #1 is my favourite cycling path going out of Montréal, but the first 5 kilometres are particularly difficult; almost enough to make me reconsider doing the ride. The biggest barrier to doing this route is… a bridge. The Jacques Cartier bridge. Montréal’s most famous bridge. The one with the pretty new lights. THAT BRIDGE.

I find riding over a super long bridge using a narrow shared path to be stressful. When you’re up that high, there’s bound to be wind, and although I respect pedestrians, I don’t trust them to stay to one side. I don’t even trust other cyclists.

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I had to consider the pros and cons of taking out of my phone to take this photo. Pro: sweet linear perspective, share-worthy on social media. Con: potential to fumble and drop my phone into the St-Lawrence, no more sharing on social media.

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The above photo shows me about to whip my phone out of my low-friction polyester jersey pocket, with my greasy sunblock coated fingers. You can almost imagine me flinging it into the canal by accident. I was really careful, yet not careful enough.

My phone is okay, but the sun got me. It always gets me in unexpected places. It got me hard in one of my elbow pits. I don’t know how I missed misting just my left elbow pit. Perhaps it’s not lady sunblock I need, but little kids’ sunblock where the goop goes on blue and dries clear?

When Yann and I were back in the city, we passed a cyclist who was in the midst of receiving a ticket from a cop. While there are a number of good reasons a cyclist could be guilty of an infraction, I recently learned that a cyclist could get a ticket for not having front, rear, and wheel reflectors installed on their bike–even if they’re cycling during the daytime. It would require a very observant cop to notice this sort of infraction, but I suppose if I’m unlucky enough to get a sunburn on my elbow pit, I could see myself stuffing a $80 fine down my jersey pocket for not being reflective enough.

I love cycling but Montréal isn’t so bike-friendly, and to get off the island of Montréal, one must cross a bridge.

One thought on “Vitamin D burns.

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