The Spoked Traveller | Melanie Chambers
Trails and advice cycling around the world as solo female cyclist and adventurer
mountain bike, adventure travel, cycling travel, bike tours, outdoor, solo travel, female mountain biking, badass female cycling, female travellers, women travel, adventurous
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Author: Melanie Chambers

Slept in until 6:30 am this morning. No call about the hike: boo hoo.  Besides the food, the hike is my favourite part. Plucking grapefruits, pomegranates and persimmons from the trees. Oh, and baby avocados. I recouped lost ground, however, with three fitness classes back-to-back: funky rock and roll dance, followed by an elastic band session (loads of arms) and then spin. Fell asleep during facial.  

Heard the rain on the tiled roof last night. Ahh. Woke 5:30 am for hike, but it was too wet so I decided to stay up and write. Quiet and focused over a strong cup of coffee. And, my most favourite time, breakfast. After which I met with personal trainer, "the Mighty E" as they call her, Ellen. I think knowing it was our last session, she upped the ante.            

Ok, I leave for San Diego--tomorrow. I'm writing a story for Mountain Life magazine ( about a famous, and long standing holistic spa called Golden Door. Every time I have mentioned The Golden Door to American friends, I get a few responses: "Oh, that is one of the originals." Or, "posh," is my favourite.

"I'm part Scottish and part Polish. Which means, I like to drink, but I don't like to pay for it," says Frank Biskupek, the Scotch Brand Ambassador for Glenlivit. This was going to be a good night. Frank and a room full of whisky lovers (and neophytes such as myself) are here at the Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro in Bayfield celebrating St. Andrews Day-- Scotland's Patron Saint celebrated on November 30th. Frank is taking us through a five-course menu paired with whisky ranging in age from 12 to 21-years-old. Oh, the burn! The night starts with a procession: a bagpiper followed by Dog co-owner Ted holding a tray with a bottle of Glenlivit. Quite the religious introduction. I love the simplicity of Scottish food. Maybe it's because I'm part Scot and Newfie; our trademark dish, Jigg's Dinner, is meat, potatoes, carrots, dumplings and cabbage boiled in the beef's juices. The first course of our evening, after a glass of Tennents Lager, (which accounts for 1 in 2 beers served in Scotland) is Boyndie Broth. "It looks like oatmeal," I say to my friend. Sure enough, Kathleen, Ted's wife and co-owner, reveals that Irish Boyndie is chicken stock, carrots, steel oats and a splash of milk. "It's stick-to-your-ribs kind of food. Good after a cold night out," she says.

I cycle under the Oxford Street bridge every time I ride to work (Oxford and Talbot Street); from my place in Wortley Village, it's about six kms to the University of Western Ontario along the paved bike path. ( It follows the Thames River, and it's beautiful in the fall with all the changing leaves and sun playing on the water. But, under this bridge, it is also dark and often strewn with garbage: a place where I speed up. Don't linger. But, something made me get off my bike today. This is artist Tracy Root. She applied to a call out for the London Mural Project: a pilot project of public art in London. Another painting appears under the Wharncliffe Street bridge near the Children's Museum. "I came here a few times and tried to get a feel for the place and to decide what people would want." She is shocked at how many people use the bike path: 1,000 or more a day pass by her mural-in-progress!