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Discover Victoria By Bicycle

Wed, 03 May by Bryon Howard

Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is famous for its thriving real estate market, magnificent scenery and stately Victoria architecture. The city and the surrounding landscapes present a feast for the eyes and memorable vistas that are best enjoyed on a bicycle. Blessed with mild winters and humidity-free summers, the biking trails in and around Victoria beckon riders of all ages, fitness and skill levels. The city can boast of more cyclists per capita than any other Canadian city and a ride along one of Victoria’s well-travelled bike routes is a great way to acquaint yourself with this southernmost major city in western Canada.

When it comes to cycling in Victoria, the options are infinite. Here is a newcomer’s guide to just a few of the city’s more popular trails:

The Galloping Goose – This relatively flat, 55-km trail is the perfect choice for families and casual cyclists. The trail starts in a busy section of town and then meanders through farmland and evergreen forests to an old abandoned mining town. Built on a former railroad, the terrain for the most part is flat with a few easily managed hills.

Hartland Bike Park – Serious riders in search of a challenge head to Hartland Bike Park – about 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. This woodland paradise offers options for all experience levels, but is used primarily by intermediate and advanced cyclists. Don’t forget a trail map if you visit Hartland since the complex network of trails can be confusing.

The Seaside Touring Route – This popular route, specifically designed for visitors, takes the rider by many of the city’s noteworthy attractions. This route has it all! Look one way and you will be treated to a surreal view of the mighty Olympic Mountains. Look the other way and breathe in the deep blue Pacific Ocean. The 39-km route can be modified to virtually any length with water views most of the way. Don’t forget to wave to the resident seals at Oak Bay Marina.

Given the abundance of bike trails and natural beauty, Victoria has emerged as a mecca for international bike racers. The annual Tour de Victoria takes place in August and is a mass participation event attracting both world class riders and weekend enthusiasts. There is even a 3k race for young children.

If you are contemplating a move to Victoria or just joining the thousands of tourists who visit each year, consider getting to know this beautiful corner of the world on two wheels. Grab your helmet and enjoy the view!

 

Are you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

 

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Calgary Police Half Marathon – a race report … in preparation for Ironman

Wed, 27 Apr by Bryon Howard
Police Half Marathon Finisher Medal 2016

2016 Finish Line at Calgary Police Half Marathon – Volunteer & Friend Jeremy Woolward presenting Bryon Howard with his Finisher’s Medal

 

A few years ago, along with friend Greg K, we decided we would do an Ironman distance triathlon every 5 years. I think we both think of it as a bit of a health check up. 2011 was our last Ironman … so this is Ironman Year – the goal race being Ironman Arizona on Nov 20.
One of the reasons I like this 5 year Ironman plan … is every 5 years … I’m forced to get real efficient with my time, and because of all the training … I am forced to take a serious look at my health and habits. Currently, as I ramp up my training and research – I am a bit amazed at all the new supposed ‘hacks’ – at how to get fitter and faster.
For the past 6 weeks, I have experimented with a Ketogenic Diet (High Fat and Low Carbs). I began down this rabbit hole by Listening to a pod cast by Tim Ferris as he interviewed Dr. Peter Atilla & later Dom D’Augustino. Since then, I’ve listened/read other proponents of this ‘way’ … Mark Sisson and Ben Greenfield.
Proponents of training and racing in a Ketogenic State (as I understand it) – suggest that you should not need to fuel your body until after 3, 4 and even 5 hours of training/racing. Your body will burn more efficiently on fat (versus what we all mostly believe – which you must use Carbs).
Since January 1, I have run 36 hours. That is about 2.5 hours per week. At the same time, I’ve been skiing, cycling and swimming … gaining fitness. I did three very good speed workouts on the Glenmore Track the three weeks prior to this race.

Since early in March, I’ve been waking in the morning … drinking bullet coffee … and getting on with my day of a morning swim or run, then working … often having the first low carb meal at noon. (This is to practice becoming a fat burning machine.)

Sunday, April 24/16 – Calgary Police Half Marathon – Time to test the training & diet
I woke 2 hours before the 8am start, I drank a bullet coffee (adding butter and cream). I weighed in at 160.2 lbs – which is about 5 pounds off my standard ‘natural want to be weight’ of 166 pounds. I’m pleased about that. Ultimately I would like to try to get down to 155lbs for IM Arizona.
15 Minutes prior to the race start, I drank some Ketoforce (It contains 55 calories with Sodium & Potassium Beta Hydroxybutyrate … supposed to help me be a ‘fat burning beast’.)
Weeks before the race, I decided I would try to run sub 1 hour 30 min … which is a pace of 4 min 15″ per km. (I did similar pace in November.) I felt great at the start of the race, running the first 8 km’s between 3:52 and 4:07.

Somewhere between 9 and 11 km, my legs felt VERY heavy. (I wondered … do I have enough miles of running in these legs.)
1 hour into the race, against the strong proponents of this diet, I had a gel. I was told if I did this … it would be like rocket fuel and I’d fly the last 30 minutes. Nothing. (I wished there was a telephone booth near, so I could get my Superman cape out.)
In the last kilometer, I had another gel. I got passed by two runners.
I had no kick – no fight to truly race.
My average heart rate was 163, max bursting to 188. This may suggest that I was going as hard as possible … as my threshold is around 163 (from my self testing).
I ran 1 hour 30 min and 30 seconds – a pace of 4min 17″. I finished 25th overall and 6th in my age group. According to Strava, the course was a little long. See the route (my heart rate & more) on Strava by clicking here.

What did I learn:
I’m enjoying the diet
I should try the next event with a fat filled breakfast (eggs fried in coconut oil/butter & spinach)
I should run more than 2.5 hours per week

What’s Next?
Ghost of the Gravel on June 19, a dirt road race of about 150km – where I hope to defend my win from last year in the Cat 3 category.
I think I’d like to get more strict about this ketosis thing. I’d like to monitor my body a bit more to find out if I am actually in ketosis.
I want to learn more about HRV (Heart Rate Variability) Training. My understanding so far … base your workout effort on your rested heart rate when you wake up in the morning.

Just for fun - Bryon ran as Superman

In 2015, RE/MAX Realtor Bryon Howard ran as Superman at The Police Half Marathon. With a lot less training, little focus, and no diet changes – his time was only 2 min slower than 2016. (The cape must have helped.)

 

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at www.TheHowardTeam.net.

Bike – Is Road Cycling in the Dominican Republic Safe?

Fri, 26 Feb by Bryon Howard

I have a sister who spends 6 months of the year in Dominican Republic and 6 months of the year in Prince Edward Island. In the DR, she helps run a La Hacienda Hostel in Las Galeras, and in PEI she does much volunteer work with the PEI Food Exchange.  She’s a bit of a hippie. She’s never been on a Cruise, and claims to hate them. I don’t know if she earns any money, but guess she earns between $3,000 and $12,000 per year.

A year or two ago my Mom began requesting that we do a family trip for her 80th birthday. We have never traveled as a family. We began brain storming idea’s. Of course a family cruise was an option. Florida was an option. Perhaps Britain. However, it became evident that if the entire family would be attending, the party would happen at the end of the road on the Semana Pennisula, in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic. (A kind of Eco Village.)

The little bit of googling I did on biking in DR, only brought up two types of results:

-Options to join Mountain Bike Tours;

-Touristy type information on how cycling in the DR is extremely dangerous. (Generally you could tell the writer was some sort of travel agent who thinks cycling means riding a beach cruiser on a bike path.)

My 19 year old son, currently in a gap year, decided to go a month early to Cabarete, DR to Kite Surf. His first time in the 3rd world … he pretty much conferred with my sister, the roads are dangerous.  When I asked for more info on what made them dangerous, he responded; “There are people everywhere, manholes are missing, the houses are really close to the road, there’s loud music, there’s donkeys, horses, chickens and beeping mopads, poncho’s, cars and buses. It’s crazy! I really don’t think it is a good idea to bring your bike.”

I’ve travelled a lot. In 1986 I spent three months in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I would commandeer the rik shaw whenever I could. In Nov 2014, I left Banff on my cycle cross bike and road to Vancouver Island then flew to Bangkok and cycle toured in Thailand & Laos.  In June of 2015, I won the Cat 3 devision of a 145km Gravel Grinder, The Ghost of the Gravel.

These roads sound interesting.

You see, if there are donkeys, chickens, children and houses all along the road … then it must be at least as safe to cycle here then on many of my very familiar rides in Calgary, Alberta.  One of my standard longish rides is leaving my home in Central SW Calgary (Altadore / Marda Loop) and ride to Bragg Creek via Springbank – 90km.  I used to feel very comfortable doing this ride about 5 years ago. These days, depending on how much riding I’m doing … I mostly feel less comfortable due to the fact that so many people are beeping and buzzing on their smart phones.  However, I continue to ride this route.

What is Safe?

It felt very safe to ride in the DR to me.

It felt very safe to ride in the DR to me.

Yes – I might die sometime while riding my bike.

However, there is a much greater chance I will die in my car in a car accident.

I could also get run over by a car in a parking lot at Safeway. Chinook Mall is even more scary. I think parking lots are very dangerous.

I could get the new Zika virus.

I guess the chances of me getting cancer and dying are greater then me dying on my bike.

One thing is sure; I will die.

My focus on this trip was family, kite surfing, and then cycling. Over the 14 days, I rode 700km and climbed x vertical. Every ride was spectacular. The only thing that would have made it more enjoyable is to be riding with some friends, in a peloton … where I would have been travelling faster and punching the uphills with increased vigour.

Most of the rides were coastal, with just one inland ride from Cabarette into the mountains. This was particularly spectacular. I’d like to return and do more riding in the Central Cordillera.

My jumping of spots were Puertto Platta and Semana. These are quite small towns compared to more popular tourist spots like Punta Cana and Santo Domingo. However, I would feel comfortable bringing my bike to these cities and exploring.

I guess the moral of the story is we have to phrase our questions a bit more carefully.  We cannot ask, “Is this safe?”  

Safety depends on your experience … and your ‘feeling’.

I feel like it is my right to ride a bike in my city. I feel like I should be able to commute nearly anywhere. If I had the time, and the motivation, I would ride without hesitation anywhere in Calgary. I would have to do some research on the safest route … as it would suck to land on Deerfoot Trail.

Do you feel like this?

-If you can imagine riding from Central Calgary to Springbank Airport, the 22x, and certainly Bragg Creek … then cycling in the Dominican Republic is safe for you. 

-If riding from Evergreen to Millarville along the road to Nepal is safe for you – you’d be fine in the DR.  

– If you can ride from South Rustico to Prince Edward Island National Park along the #6, then you will feel very safe riding in the DR!

-If you can ride from Downtown San Diego to Cabrillo National Monument – you’ll be fine.

-In Las Vegas … from Boulder City to Hoover Damn – then you’d be fine riding in the DR.

-Riding from Victoria, BC to Sooke … you’d be fine.

If your ride means loading your bike onto your car, and driving to do the Glenmore Reservoir loop, then cycling in the Dominican Republic would be dangerous for you.  

I love traveling in new places with my bike. I’m not particularly knowledgeable on technology … but tools like Garmin, Suunto, and Strava are making exploring on your bike easier and more fun. In the coming years, we can expect this to get even better and easier.

Go explore – take your bike.

Recommended & Related Posts:

A road ride from my bike saddle near Cabarrette, Dominican Republic

Why I like to lend my bike box

Being Stoic – some ‘how to’s’ on traveling with a bike

Getting a flat in Laos

Discovering Downtown Calgary’s Cycle Track

Tue, 04 Aug by Bryon Howard

Discovering Downtown Calgarys Cycle Track

As the city of Calgary continues to grow, planners need to think creatively about transportation.  The cost of living is on the rise, and it’s no surprise that many Calgarians are opting to go car-free, if their lifestyle permits.  Cycling is a fun and inexpensive way to get around the city, and it can save you thousands of dollars in parking fees, gas, and insurance.  The increase of two-wheeled travelers has recently prompted an exciting change downtown – the cycle track.

If you are not yet familiar with this project, here’s what you should know:  The cycle track is a bike lane protected by barriers from moving vehicles, parking spots, and pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk.  It is a protected laneway that promotes the safety of cyclists and reduces the possibility of a collision.  There is specific signage in place for cyclists, and modified traffic signals to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.  The laneway currently runs along several major downtown streets.

Did you know that over 12,500 cyclists travel in and out of the downtown core every day?  According to a recent study by the City of Calgary, there has been a 122% increase in bicycle travel since 1996.  The cycle track has been a pilot project that began construction in April of this year.  It was created by the city with the help of resident feedback.  Based on the experience of both motorists and cyclists, changes have been implemented to improve the safety and efficient flow of traffic.

For the most part, the new project has been well-received, but not without a few challenges.  Among them, the reduction of car parking in front of local businesses downtown has been a point of contention.  Store and restaurant owners have expressed concern that a lack of parking will deter potential customers because of the added inconvenience.  To address these concerns, the city needs to review each path on a case by case basis.

Making Calgary more cyclist-friendly is just another step towards growing a healthy and accessible downtown core.  If you live in the suburbs, you can still take advantage of the cycle track.  You are permitted to bring your bike on the CTrain and make your way downtown, as long as you are not riding during rush hour.  There are no restrictions on weekends or stat holidays.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

How To Bike Like A Pro

Mon, 21 Apr by Bryon Howard

 

Bike Like A Pro

Although I am a long way off from calling myself a professional, I am definitely passionate about cycling. If you are looking to take up a new sport that helps you maintain your physical fitness, allows you to enjoy the outdoors, and pushes your personal limitations, cycling is a fun and rewarding sport.

Join a group that will motivate or inspire you to ride. Although cycling can be considered a non-competitive sport, riding with a group will help you to improve your endurance. It provides a fun social atmosphere and holds you accountable to make sure that you get out and ride at the scheduled time.

Develop a training plan. Decide how far you want to go, and figure out what you need to do to get there. Establish a plan that will gradually get you closer to your goal without over exerting yourself. If you are used to working out with cardio equipment at the gym, you may want to invest in a power meter or heart rate monitor. This allows you to have a good idea of how your body is responding to the workout.

Sign up for an event like a race or charity ride. Forcing yourself to shape up for an important event adds an extra element of accountability. It gives you something to look forward to and helps you to connect with other cyclists. If you are new to cycling, start with a non-competitive charity ride for an organization that is meaningful to you.

If you are already into cycling … a little more than your average bird … MEC in Calgary is offering a great event on Saturday, April 26 from 6:30-10:30pm. If you are over the age of 18, MEC is inviting dedicated riders, performance cyclists and club-level racers to their first MEC Rider Expo. Alex Stieda will be on hand to discuss his training regime and his Olympic and Tour de France experiences.

And there will be beer! I’m registered! Hope to see you there.

Register here. It’s free! http://events.mec.ca/event/15187/mec-calgary-rider-expo

This June will be the second annual Bike Month in Calgary. The City of Calgary established Bike Month to provide an opportunity to promote cycling education and encourage residents to adopt this fun, economical and healthy transportation alternative. There are three family-focused bike festivals happening this month in the city. There are also a series of maintenance clinics and information sessions that are available for free or by donation.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

 is a top-producing real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He and his team sell an average of two homes a week–mostly single-family homes, luxury homes, condos and commercial properties. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. Bryon is above the pack because he aims not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell their dream home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is well-equipped to do this with his sterling education, capped by an MBA degree from Athabasca University and degrees from Acadia University, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universite de Bourgoyne in France.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.