Archive for July, 2013

Climbing was the name of the game! 6 ladies plus 3 CYKL staff (Kim, Jess, and Jen) arrived at the beautiful chalet at the base of Blue Mountain on Friday excited to get some serious hill climbing into our legs! Saturday was one heck of a hilly ride, with the group riding up and down the ridge twice, once through Pretty River and second up County Road 7 out of Kimberly! After crazy rain and wind on Friday, Saturday morning was glorious!!! Nothing but sunshine and nice breeze!

Charlyn rocking up the KOM climb!

Kim’s fantastic bbq!

We had some newbies to the sport of road cycling who accomplished this challenging 90km course with serious gusto! It was magical day! Only to be topped by going to the Scandinave Spa and then eating Kim’s fantastic cooking, and copious amounts of cookies! Sunday’s route was an easy 70km ride, that turned out to be a bit challenge due to some gravel sections on the route. But the group powered through and finished the weekend smiling and confident!

Thank you to all our riders for coming out to Blue Mountain and allowing us to guide you around the country side! It was a whirlwind of a weekend, full of gut busting laughter, leg sizzling climbs and friendships made and now cemented for life!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next CYKL Experience! We’re looking at heading to a different location to keep it fresh and fun!


23 Jul 2013

CYKL Experience! Summer Hill Sizzler!

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Jacopo, but we know he’s still out there riding his way back to TO! After pedalling through the flat windy prairies, he’s finally in Ontario – “home stretch”! He’ll be back at the studio August 14th, and we’re counting the days. Go Jacopo!! 3000km done, only 2000km or so to go!

 Day 16: Weyburn to Reston – 205 km
Because yesterday’s ride was cut short due to the storm I was determined to cover some solid ground today. Orri and I also parted ways: he was going to cycle south into the US and go through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and we would meet up again in a couple weeks in Sault Ste. Marie. The roads are much nicer in the states, there are plenty of places to stop, and the climate more pleasant. He asked if I wanted to join him but I was resolved on seeing Canada and Canada only. So I embarked on my route, heading southeast towards the Red Coat Trail. It’s called a “trail” because it was the route taken by the Royal Canadian Mountain Police in the 1870s to bring law and order to the west. As I was still in the parries, the landscape was very flat and the roads were straight as a ruler. One thing I noticed was that many of these farmer fields had oil pumps on them as well. So in a field full of yellow canola plants, one would see oil pumps scattered here and there. When I think of Canadian oil, the Athabaska tar sands of northern Alberta come to mind, but one of the locals told me that it’s a little secret of southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

One rig apparently can generate as much as $18,000 in revenue a month for the owner! These farmers aren’t poor. I finally made it to Manitoba at the end of the day. Another time zone passed. I found a spot to pitch my tent on a golf course. The mosquitos were atrocious.

Day 17: Reston to Glenboro – 140 km

Today was a tough and boring day. I wanted to do another 200km, but the winds were coming from the south east at 15 km/hr and my speed was between 15 and 19 km/hr. If I pushed hard I could get it up to 24-26, but that was it. The roads were again flat and straight. I would get excited every time I saw a slight bend in the road. I managed to get as far as Glenboro, a small farming town. They had no campground so I pitched my tent near the fairgrounds. I love free camping :-)

Day 18: Glenboro to Winnipeg – 175 km

Today the winds were in my favour and I was going to head to Winnipeg. Most of the ride was like the previous days: flat and straight, until the end. As I got closer to the city I could see two or three sky scrapers in the distance. I hadn’t seen those since Vancouver. Living in downtown Toronto, seeing tall buildings makes me feel like I am at home, so it was a comforting site.

Tonight I stayed at a campground, took a long shower, and did laundry.

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23 Jul 2013

Bears, wind, storms and pepperoni sticks!

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21 days of cycling bonanza at CYKL is over! WHAT A CHALLENGE IT WAS! 2013 TdF Challenge saw the most competitors ever, duke it out at the studio for 21 days! They encountered flash floods, classes in the dark (no music, light or A/C), blistering hot weather, and TOUGH profiles to push through! In the end we had our very first husband and wife team take the Yellow Jersey Prize Pack!

Congratulations to Thomas and Michelle!! This dynamic duo also wrangled their 2 sons into the challenge, and Gabe and Sam both ended up taking a prize too! The Recke Family rocks!

Here are the final standings for the challenge!

First Place & Yellow Jersey Prize Pack Winners – Thomas Recke and Michelle Smith

Second Place & KOM Prize Pack Winners – Sam Recke and Melissa Schiestel

Third Place & Green Prize Pack Winner – Howard Wall

Best Young Rider – Gabe Recke

BIG THANK YOU to all our fantastic winners and riders for challenging yourself throughout the month of July!!!! We’re so proud of your commitment and hard work! CYKL has the BEST riders in the city! And a thank you to O.N.E Coconut Water who graciously donated us 21 prize packs to give out throughout the tour!


22 Jul 2013

Tour De France Challenge!

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Holy cow!! Jacopo is flying through the west coast now! He made it to Alberta with his friend Orri, and encountered stormy weather, but great hospitality! And is now riding through the flat lands of Saskatchewan. Read about his adventures and don’t forget to post a message of support here or on Facebook! He’ll be back in Ontario soon!

Day 9: cranbrook to crowsnest pass – 164 km

No entry just pictures! He made it out of BC and into Alberta!

Alberta, bro!

Crowsnest Pass

Day 10: crowsnest pass to lethbridge – 157 km

This morning orri and I woke up to a dark sky, strong winds, and bursts of thunder. Rain was immanent. I barely had enough time to roll up my tent, and then it started to pour. Luckily we were close to a forested area and could seek some shelter until the rain abated. By 8:30am we were off once again. We stopped for a coffee just 15 km from our campsite on the Alberta side of the boarder. It was a quaint little shop that served coffee and had a fly fishing shop adjacent to the cafe. I found that a lot of these little cafes in the mountains are adjoined to something else which is usually the passion of the owners. For example: art shop and cafe, fishing shop and cafe, little hand made trinkets and cafe. Once we left the rain started to really come down and we had a head wind. I was already missing the mountains because at least there you can take refuge from the elements as there is a forest always nearby. In Alberta the land is much flatter and you are completely exposed. For 3 hours our average speed was 13 km/h. The rain finally stopped completely and we had a tail wind for the rest of the ride into lethbridge. As we got into the city we noticed snow on the ground. Upon closer inspection it was big pellets of hail. Funny to see that in the middle of July. Read the rest of this entry »

The oh-so lovely Kelsey is finishing up her Holistic Nutritionist program, and we thought it would be fun to get her to provide us with some healthy eating tips and other nutritional blogposts! Check out her beach body recipes and feel free to post any healthy snacks you love making for the summer time! The more ideas the better!

Beach-Body Friendly Snack Ideas 

With weather soaring above 30 degrees into July here in Toronto, there’s only one way to keep cool. Throw on that isty-bitsy string bikini (or speedo, for the men out there) and call up the closest friend you know that owns a pool, or better yet take a ferry across to Toronto Island and dip into Lake Ontario!

Since you’ve already been working your body into tip-top shape at CYKL all year, why not compliment your hard workouts with healthy snacks that won’t leave you feeling like you want to hide in a baggy sweater next time you’re pool-side.

Here are a few of my favourite beach-body friendly snack ideas that are sure to please a crowd, and keep you feeling light and fresh all day long.

Chickpea and Honey Dip

(modified from the Canadian Living Test Kitchen)

(image source)

Chickpeas have got a nice, sweet flavor that works extra well in dips. This ‘modified hummus’ packs in tons of vegetarian protein and iron from the chickpeas.

Read the rest of this entry »

15 Jul 2013

Kelsey’s Smart Snacking Ideas!

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Yep, he’s still pedalling!! After climbing in the blistering heat through the Okanagan Valley, Jacopo is almost out of British Columbia! Check out his travels and pictures of Day 5 to 8!

Day 5: Osoyoos to Christina lake – 145 km

Leaving Osoyoos

This morning I woke up at 6:30am, as I knew I had a long 20 km climb out of Osoyoos and I wanted to get it over with before the sun started to come down hard as it had for the past 4 days. It took me longer than planned to get going as I still don’t have a time effective system of getting my stuff packed. I was on the road by 8:30am. The view of Osoyoos as I left was a lot more stunning than when I arrived as I kept taking photos on my way out.

Around 35 km out of Osoyoos I could see a bike approaching me in my mirror. He pulled up next to me and introduced himself: his name was orille or orri for short. For 50 km we rode together and talked about life, love, and politics. The kilometres went by a lot faster. He ended his day about 50km before my destination so we went separate ways, but who knows maybe he will catch up…. then again, I am determined to put more distance between us. Once a competitive athlete, I still can’t shake that off. I made it to my campsite just before 8pm.

Maybe I need some sunscreen?

They only charged me 7 dollars! Time to rest up, I’m going to try my best to be on the road by 7 am … hmmmmm… 7:30 . Ciao!!!

Day 6 – Christina lake to Castlegar – 85 km

I woke up a bit late this morning as I was feeling a bit worn down from yesterday’s ride and I knew that I had a big day ahead of me in terms of altitude. About 15 km out of Christina lake I was at the base of the bonanza pass. The elevation was going to be about 1500m and the climb was about 25km at a grade of 5-7%. Never before had I pedalled so slowly at 6-7km/h and with frequent water breaks in between. In fact, for the first time i drank water from the mountainside. It was refreshing.

When I finally reached the top I took a few moments to appreciate the view and started on my way down. For nearly 34 km I was travelling downhill. My hands could hardly squeeze the breaks anymore. I finally made it to Castlegar. Before finding a camping spot, I decided to sit for lunch. Low and behold, the Frenchman had caught up to me! I saw him wizzing by towards the information booth which was my next destination as well. And so we met up again and tried to find a campsite for the night. We stopped by the local library to access the free wifi and ended up meeting Samantha. Sam is from Castlegar and her ancestry is from the Doukabors. The Doukabors are a religious sect from the former Soviet Union that were persecuted in their homeland for being pacifists. In the early 1900s Canada was looking for hard working people to settle the parries and farm the land.

Sam and the Frenchman

The Soviet Union agreed to let the Doukabors out of the country provided they never came back, but they had to find their own way to get to Canada. With the generosity of some wealthy Canadians and Russians – apparently Leo Tolstoy funded many of the migrants trip – the Doukabors settles the mid west and have been here ever since. Some 40,000 of them live in the prairies. Sam let us tent on her front yard and offered us a cold beverage and showed us this amazing waterfall in the nearby woods: it was at long as the eye could see. Anyways, enough history, I’m off to bed.


Day 7: Castlegar to Creston – 164 km

Today I did my first centurion…. In miles. Waking up early, the Frenchman and I Ieft just after sunrise at 6:30am. We had a long day before us. About 15 km into our ride we stopped at a local coffee shop to have a coffee and muffin. Everything was fresh and local. We started on our way and after 3 km the Frenchman noticed his bike monitor was missing! He had logged over 6000 km on it and he had to get it back. So we returned to the coffee shop, looked around, and it could not be found. Maybe it fell on the road? So we retraced our ride carefully inspecting the ground along the way. Just as we were about to give up, Orri saw the battery, and soon after I saw the monitor, and then we found the back part! We now call each other “detective”.

Nelson BC

Off we were once again. We cycled through Nelson which was a gorgeous little town hidden in the mountains and with a stunning lake view. Riding along side of the lake we had to catch a ferry. It was free :-) . At this point it started to rain lightly, then a bit more, and then thunder and lightning. When we got off the ferry it was not safe to ride at all, and we still had 50 km to go. I still had not used my rain gear, but now it came in very handy. We pedalled continuously for 50 km in the rain which kept us cool until we finally made it to Creston.

The rain moving in.

In Creston the rain had stopped and it was perfect cycling weather. On our final stretch of road a deer just jumped out of nowhere right in front of us. I almost hit it. Soaked to the bone, tonight we agreed to split the cost of a motel. It’s been a while since I’ve slept on a mattress and after 164 km I felt like I was lying on a cloud. Good night.

 Day 8: creston to cranbrook – 105 km

Had to take a picture of this sign!

Finally made it through my first time zone


CYKL Kit still in kicking

One more day and I’m out of bc! Can’t wait. That’s all I want to say today.

Here’s the latest from Jacopo’s cross country biking adventure! Caution by day 4 there is some cursing and swearing going on :)

Day 2: Chilliwack to ec manning provincial park – 130km


Let me start off by saying that I can hardly feel my legs. I left Chilliwack around 9:30am, a tad late, but I needed the rest. My first destination was the town of Hope which I arrived at with relative ease. There were some rolling hills and I averaged about 22 km/h which is a decent speed when you are carrying 150 lbs of equipment.

From Chilliwack to Hope it was just over 65km, I still had another 65km to the park…. And that’s when the grind started. For nearly 4 hours I climbed at a staggering slow speed of 8-10km/h. Just when I thought I had reached the top, or at least a small decent, another incline… WTF. I finally reached Allison pass summit which was 1342m above sea level.
My ears popped and I could feel the temperature drop, all I wanted was to sleep. The nearest campsite was still 10 km away. The good news was that the climbing was over (for now) and it was all down hill. I got out of my saddle and peddled down those hills as fast as I could. I arrived at the campsite around 9pm, set up my tent, and crashed. On the plus side: the campsite was free that evening.
Day 3: ec manning provincial park – princeton – 65km
After a long day yesterday, and almost feeling a fever coming over me, I decided to make today’s ride a short and comfortable one: tonight I’m staying at a motel. Most of my ride was downhill, with the odd incline every 10 km or so.
 I saw my first deer as well. Had I not been playing my house beats while riding I could have taken a photo. Deer don’t like house. I arrived at my destination around 4 pm, checked in, took the longest shower, and laid on my bed for 3 hours just catching up with my friends back in Toronto. Clothes washed and out to dry I was ready for a good ride tomorrow.
Day 4: princeton to osooyos – 115km
If I could sum up this day it would be like this: pleasant to hot to fucking stupid hot (38 degrees) to hot with long climbs to paradise. I left Princeton at 8:30 and for the first 55km or so it was all gradual downhills and cool temperature. I got to kermesos around 1 pm and stayed at a fruit stand for a break. This is the oakanogan valley and some of Canada’s best fruits and vegetables come from here. For 12 dollars I bought an abundance of cherries, preaches, and apricots. They were all picked that morning. Once my break was over I began what I thought was a continuation of my decent into osooyos. I was wrong about that. For every gradual downhill I had to climb 3 long hills, and on top of that the heat was nearly unbearable. It didn’t matter, I had to get to my destination. It was nearly 4 pm and I started to wonder “where is this place?” until finally I made it to the top of my last climb and once around the bend I saw this enormous and stunning valley open up before me. I had finally made it to osooyos or “paradise” as some residents call it.
 My first objective was to find a place to tent for the night. I figured the provincial park would be my best bet. I was wrong. It was full and the park ranger at the gate had no sympathy for me to even let me take a small patch somewhere. Fuck him. So I went to the private commercial side of town and I’m so happy I did. I pulled into a decent looking place and there to greet me was this Czech man in his early 50s. I told him where I had come from and where I was going and he immediately gave me a deal and a half: only 20 dollars for the night! Cheaper that the provincial park! I think it helped that he was also a cyclist AND a former rower in the Czech Republic. I set up my tent and went to an all you can eat Chinese buffet dinner. After today I don’t think there are any more places like this ahead for a while. My posts may be a day late because I don’t think there will be reception for a while.
4 Jul 2013

Jacopo Climbs the Rockies – Day 2, 3 & 4

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As you know Jacopo has decided to ride from Vancouver to Toronto over the next 6 weeks! We’re so thrilled that he’s going to keep us up to date on his cycling travels through blogposts and pictures. Here’s his first entry! Good luck Jacopo!!

Jacopo’s Cross Country Adventure – Day 1

So today I embarked on my journey east towards Toronto. It’s just my first day in and I’ve completed 130 km on a bike that must weigh around 140lbs. I am tired but eagerly anticipating the next day. I started in downtown Vancouver this morning and it was for the first time in four days sunny outside.

As I made my way out of the city there were very few cars on the road. Early on in the ride I had to stop and take a bus as there was a portion of the highway that would not allow bikes. It was only a five minute bus ride so I will not consider that cheating. Once off the bus I was pretty much in mountain country. The scenery is breathtaking, and there was ample amount of room on every shoulder.

Tomorrow I begin my trek towards ec manning provincial park. Good night :-)

Download the “Find Friends” app on your smart phone and follow Jacopo!


1 Jul 2013

Jacopo’s cross country adventure!

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