Category Archives: Features

News, articles and opinion pieces

The delicious Almonte-Pakenham Loop (34 km)

This cycle loop joining Almonte and Pakenham is a must-ride for its many stops at bakeries, ice cream stands, and cafes. There is so much to see and so much to eat! From Baker Bob’s butter tarts to a carton of 5-span spuds, this ride is sheer enjoyment.

You start and finish this ride in Almonte…

From the Old Town Hall right Mill Street, left on Main Street to Martin Street North – 1.1 km

Left on Martin St N to Blakeney Rd corner – 5.7 km

Right on Blakeney Road (dog legs left) to Panmure Road – 2.2 km

Right on Panmure to 12th Con South Pakenham – 2.1 km

Left on 12th Con South Pakenham to its end at the Dark Side Road – 6.8 km

Left on Dark Side Road into Pakenham over 5-span bridge / left onto Main Street – 1.1 km

Explore Pakenham – 5-span spud chip stand, General Store (and bakery!), Penny’s Fudge Factory, the infamous Scoops and more.

Off Main Street turn right on Waba Road to Ottawa Valley Rail Trail – 350 m

Left onto Rail Trail, back into Almonte and Old Town Hall – 14.5 km

Explore Almonte – Baker Bob’s, North Market, Riverside Ice Cream Stand and Barley Mow pub (and up the road there is Equator Coffee, Hummingbird Chocolates, fish & chip and fries trucks, HFT donuts, Vodkow Distillery and Crooked Mile Brewery). 

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

Almonte’s winding Old Perth Road route (a 20 km gem)

There is perhaps no prettier road in the Almonte vicinity than Old Perth Road. The canopy of trees through wooded lots are enchanting. When heading east on the road, there is a magical moment when you crest a hill and look down onto farm pastures and a winding road that disappears into a field – only to reappear again to climb a distant hill.

It is the most memorable of Lanark back roads.

Here is a short 20 km cycle loop that will take you through the woods of Old Perth Road and onto the crest of THAT hill.

  • Start at the Almonte Old Town Hall and head left onto the Rail Trail towards CP…
  • Proceed down the rail trail to Smart street – 2.1 km
  • Right on Smart Street / Left on Country Road / dog leg to Country Rd 29 stop sign – 1.8 km
  • Proceed through on Rae Road to corner of Old Perth Road – 6.7 km
  • Right on Old Perth Road to the crest of THAT hill – 5.2 km
  • Proceed on Old Perth Road into town veering left to Mill Street – 3.6 km
  • Left on Mill Street to bottom of hill and photo op at Almonte’s waterfalls – 300 m
  • Right onto Main Street and return to Old Town Hall via rail trail bridge – 500 m

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

The Almonte – Ashton – Stittsville – Carp Loop (106 km)

Here is a terrific loop that takes you through beautiful country roads and the hamlets of Appleton and Ashton, along the TransCanada Trail into Stittsville, through scenic woods to Carp and then cycle back through farmland to Almonte. Enjoy this ride!

  • Almonte Old Town Hall / OVRT bridge / left on Main Street to Ramsay Con. 8 – 2.9 km
  • Left on Ramsay 8 to Reid Gardens on Pick Road – 14. 5 km
  • Left Pick / Left County Road 29 / Right Fairway Crescent to Wilson Street – 2.1 km

  • Wilson Street through Appleton & over bridge / Left on River Road up hill – 3 km
  • Right onto Appleton Sideroad and follow to 9th Line – 8.3 km
  • Left on 9th Line to Ashton & its main corner – 4.4 km
  • Right at corner onto Flewelynn Road to Dwyer Hill Road – 3.1 km
  • Left on Dwyer Hill to intersection of TransCanada Trail – 2.6 km

  • Right onto the TransCanada Trail into Stittsville / to Main Street (Quitters Coffee) – 11 km
  • Continue on TransCanada Trail to Iber Road – 2.5 km
  • Left on Iber which turns into Huntmar / pass Canadian Tire Place to Richardson Sideroad – 5.6 km
  • Right Richardson / Left Terry Fox to Second Line – 4.4 km
  • Left on Second Line / Left Old Carp Road winding through to March Road – 6.7 km
  • Continue on Donald Munro Drive into Carp and corner of Carp Road – 2 km

  • Right on Carp Road (pass Alice’s Café) to Craig Side Road – 1.7 km
  • Left on Craig Side Road / follow Donald Munro Drive around two bends to Panmure Corner –  11.5 km
  • Through onto Panmure Road to Ridge Road – 10.8 km
  • Left on Ridge Road through to corner of Martin Street North – 2.7 km
  • Left on Martin Street North into Almonte / through lights back to Old Town Hall – 6.2 km

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

PSA: Wear your helmet (you’ll enjoy this!)

The Danish Road Safety Council has produced a memorable PSA:  “Helmet has always been a good idea”


My thanks to good friend Susan Wright for forwarding this gem to us.

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte




The picturesque back roads of Lanark

Here a dozen of our favourite photos from the past few years on the back roads of Lanark.

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte



To bike these days (a poem)

almonte_140722_1The accident has taken an edge off this fun. It’s just become another thing to think about.
These days I carry my knee like some foreign appendage
wincing and praying to myself that it doesn’t explode
There’s that sharp, stabbing in my left knee that reminds me of my vulnerabilities
Yet, thankfully, I can bike through the pain (still) to climb the next hill
and, take the crest, shift my weight, relax, coast, exhale.

What had I expected with this climb?
I had felt that jolt as I raised myself from my seat and then I checked
the cantaloupe appeared overtop my knee, my tendon as hard as the Rock of Gilbraltor
The only consolation is the thought that I will not falter, but continue to ride through…
The wind and the hills and that sharp stabbing pain of my leg
all these certainties that make this ride so important – and I can’t help by grin

I check ahead and prepare for the next climb, gearing down
to enter the climb, slow but steady
right, right, right, I pump through
The right leg extended – ignoring my left knee
There is a drop of sweat rolled down onto my nose.
The strain is obviously good for my soul, no?
Honest effort to wash away all the worthless self-inspections
I dig in, shift in the saddle to take weight off my leg

My mind wonders…. biking is therapeutic –
along with exercise there is reflection and self-inquiry
On one level a biker will see the roadside and take in its wonders
Stretches of trail with ever changing horizons
Then on another level, he is dragged through daily encounters, cascading memories and irritants, just to reaffirm a doubtful significance
It’s a mix of physical and mental exercises,
starting with a few easy stretches – pulling back and then pushing forward
to retread ground that just yesterday you had visited
It’s a continual peeling back of thoughts and ideas and reality
underneath the helmet –
Ride after ride, routinely humping your way through the same mental landscape,
annoyed with the inability to produce closure to the nonsense you’ve chosen to recall

Before me is what I have come to know
as my favourite countryside vista
Why does it look so unattractive today?
It seems on days like these
all I do is complain

How’s it that wind can blow two directions at once?
I am pumping hard and my head is down
Leaning against strong, steady gusts of wind
That same wind that greeted me when I was peddling in the opposite direction

Loose gravel gives way to a washboard surface
And I’m uncomfortably bouncing in the saddle
Now, what did I do to deserve this?
Suddenly from out of the curve a car appears
The tires spit up dirt and two stones
It passes, leaving dust and the smell of exhaust to envelop me
I ask again, what did I do….

I know I must fixate on something else: crows
The crows caw at me with amusement, no encouragement,
just an annoying call of delight as they watch me climb the twisting hill,
head turned and shifting back and forth in the saddle.
They seem to herald me to continue around the bend
to more road and another hill.
I relax my left leg and glide through the decline,
praying all the time to be able to survive that next ascent.
All the while, crows fly along beside the road, just above the brush,
so that they can keep an eye on my ride.

I now see the finches dart in and around the cat tails
and coming ever so close to where I can only dream of being
They seem stuck in a pattern of full circles,
repeatedly diving as close to the ground, then turning suddenly;
they glide sideways above the dirt as they have done so many times before.
And just as my legs go full circle, my knee turns over,
and then I see that I have sprouted finch wings.
I am out of the saddle and lean to continue my own turn downward spiral
and pick up speed to feel that rush again, take in the full breath and hold the moment;
not to let it escape as it had when I was younger and not smart enough to feel anything.
It’s a complete moment. It’s absolutely why I carry my knee out to bike these hills.


– Chris George

(ed. – This poem is from the collection entitled Midstep – a dozen poems towards where I want to be. The collection can be obtained without cost by contacting myself at )

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling…

The importance of Canada’s oil and gas industry

The Niagara Independent, June 4 & 11, 2021 — This week Statistics Canada reported that the country registered its first quarterly surplus in 13 years as a direct result of surging commodity exports. Canada posted a $1.2 billion surplus in trade in the first three months of 2021 based primarily on $6.8 billion of energy exports of oil and natural gas – alongside forestry products and aircraft exports to the U.S.

Canada’s oil and natural gas industries serve as one of the country’s greatest assets and greatest wealth generators. Oil and gas production is the reason why Canadians can afford and enjoy such a high standard of living.

The industry numbers tell the tale.

PRODUCTION: Canada ranks as the world’s fifth largest producer of oil and natural gas, with an average production per day of 3.5 million barrels of crude oil and 13.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas (at year-end 2013). The country has proven crude oil reserves of 172.5 billion barrels (third largest globally) and gas reserves of 71 trillion cubic feet (nineteenth largest globally). In short: Canada is resource rich.

JOBS: The federal government reports that in 2020 there was a total of 4,125 oil and gas companies in the country. It estimates the industry employs more than 500,000 skilled jobs and supports another 400,000 indirect jobs. In a 2016 study, the oil and gas industry was identified as the largest employer of Indigenous people in the country, with about six per cent of the sector’s workforce identifying as Indigenous.

EXPORTS: Canada is an exporting nation and oil and gas exports have been the most significant resource exported from our country since the 1950s – and it will remain so likely for decades to come. The latest figures from 2019 reveal that mineral fuels accounted for $130.57 billion, or 22 per cent, of total exports.

On this point, global energy demand and consumption will increase in the foreseeable future according to the International Energy Agency. The world currently consumes about 100 million barrels of oil a day. By 2040, world energy demand is forecasted to increase 19 per cent. Total oil demand will increase seven per cent; natural gas demand will increase 29 per cent.

Remarkably, the IEA estimates that in 30 years the world would need twice as much energy as it produces today if it were not for continuous improvements in energy efficiency.

GDP / TAXES: As the noted trade surplus numbers suggest, this industry means a great deal to Canada’s bottom line. It is a huge contributor to the country’s GDP and a major source of tax revenues. Last year oil and gas contributed $117 billion to Canada’s GDP – and, to put this into perspective, it is six times the economic benefit of Ontario’s auto industry.

In an economic analysis of the industry, the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimated that in the next decade oil and gas activity in the country will contribute $1.4 trillion to Canada’s GDP and pay more than $139 billion in federal tax revenues and $86.7 billion in provincial tax revenues.

This industry generates wealth across the land. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers reports that the oil and natural gas industry is active, producing economic benefits in 12 of 13 provinces and territories. Approximately 97 per cent of Canadian oil production occurs in three provinces: Alberta (79 per cent), Saskatchewan (14 per cent), and Newfoundland and Labrador (4 per cent). Again, it is an important source of economic development, jobs, and government revenue in all of the above.

Though not a major player in the country’s oil and gas production, Ontario has just over 2,300 producing oil and gas wells and the province’s four refineries produce 396,000 barrels of oil per day. More significantly, there are an estimated 1,100 Ontario companies supplying $1.9 billion of goods and services annually to the western oil companies.

(ONTARIO TRIVIA: The first oil well in Canada was dug by hand in 1858 at Oil Springs, Ontario by James Williams. Oil Springs became the site of North America’s first commercial oil well and, by 1864, there were 20 refineries operating in Oil Springs and another seven in nearby Petrolia.)

With regard to climate change and the global push to greener energies, the Canadian oil and gas industries are at the forefront of green technologies and innovation. Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), set up by oilsands producers, has brought together researchers from around the world to work on the industry’s environmental performance. COSIA has seen $1.4 billion invested into 1,026 technologies. Between 2009 and 2017, it helped reduce the greenhouse-gas-intensity of oilsands operations by 21 per cent. By some estimates today, its current clean technologies projects will result in as much as 30 per cent over the next five years. In many ways, Canadian expertise is leading the way for greener oil and gas industry around the world.

“There will be no economic recovery without our oil and gas sector,” stated Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan in an interview last year with the Canadian Gas Association. The Minister reasoned, “Energy is our family business, it’s what we do…It supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country. And it is an export that is poised for more growth. We’re at $6.1 billion in exports in 2018. We’re poised to become one the world’s cleanest producers to supply both domestic and global markets for natural gas. It provides affordable power and heat to communities right across our country. So, we need this industry to power our economy and we need our economy powered in order to lower our emissions and do the things that we know that we will need to do for the future.”

A thriving oil and gas industry will ensure a prosperous Canada, according to Canada Action Coalition, a grassroots organization founded in 2010 to support the country’s natural resource sectors and the communities and families they support. The Coalition explains, “A strong oil and gas sector in Canada means billions more in transfer payments that can help pay for social programs, schools, hospitals and the jobs across the country…All Canadians should realize just how incredible its economic contribution is for municipal and provincial economies – whether it be through direct / indirect activity, or transfer payments – from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”

Calgary-based TC Energy Corp announced this week that it is terminating the Keystone XL pipeline project. Gone is the promise of the daily export of 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude. Gone are the tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, the billions of dollars in taxes, and decades of prosperity for Albertan communities. After a 13 year odyssey of regulations and government doublespeak, the company is absorbing its loses, closing its doors, and walking away.

Shouldn’t this loss make headline news? Should there not be some statement from the prime minister?

We are speaking of a blow to arguably Canada’s most significant economic sector – oil and gas production. Canada ranks fifth in the world with significant reserves to develop. There are thousands of Canadian companies and nearly one million jobs dependent on a healthy oil and gas industry. The billions of dollars of gas and oil exports account for 22 per cent of all Canadian exports. This bolsters the country’s GDP and provides tax revenues for governments of all levels across the country.

Despite the oil and gas industry’s importance to the Canadian economy, the governing Trudeau Liberals have devalued its contributions and have pursued an energy policy course that is intent on curtailing future development. In June 2019, prior to the last federal election, the Trudeau government pushed two controversial initiatives through parliament: 1. Bill C-69 established an unparalleled, onerous federal environmental assessment process for major resource projects in Canada; and 2. Bill C-48 placed a moratorium on Canadian oil tanker activity along the BC coast – effectively cutting off the Asian market to Canadian energy producers.

Together, these legislative initiatives were seen as further evidence of a federal government that is intent on closing down the western oil and gas industry. They were central to the Liberals’ campaign election promise to introduce a green agenda designed to win votes in urban central Canada.

With Trudeau’s 2019 re-election, these policies are now established in spite of the obvious ironies:

  • Canadian resource development projects are subjected to the rigor of the new regulations, but the same carbon emission and environmental standards are not applied to oil and gas imported from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • Quebec can obstruct western pipeline development while its Montreal and Quebec City ports handle significant increases of imported Saudi oil.
  • BC can object to exporting Alberta crude oil while, at the same time, the Vancouver port is the North America’s top exporter of coal.
  • Canadian oil tankers are banned off the coast of BC, but coal tankers and foreign mega-cruise ships remain free to traverse BC coastal waters.

Since first gaining office, the Trudeau government’s statements and actions have delivered irreparable blows to investor confidence in Canadian energy projects. Statistics Canada data reveals that, since 2015, investment in 10 of our 15 major business sectors has dropped by 17 per cent, as both Canadian and foreign investors have headed elsewhere.

With respect to the oil and gas sector, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project and TC Energy’s Energy East project were scrapped when the two companies were forced to manage uncertain regulatory delays. In the last 24 months mega-resource projects Teck Frontier and Energie Saguenay have been abandoned. Many exploration and drilling companies have pulled up stakes and headed south. In fact, it is estimated that within the last seven years Canada has lost an alarming $213 billion of resource projects.

In the face of this upheaval, the prime minister and certain cabinet ministers, such as Chrystia Freeland and John Wilkinson, continue to boast how the government will double down on its efforts to decarbonize the Canadian economy. Environment Minister Wilkinson has spoken about how renewable resources will ensure Canada meets its net-zero target for 2050. PM Trudeau recently told American president Joe Biden that Canada will pursue a more aggressive emissions reduction target for 2030.

However, the government’s green agenda and a healthy Canadian oil and gas sector does not have to be mutually exclusive, as president of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada Paul De Jong points out. De Jong reasons that, “Canada stands out in global energy markets with environmental, social, and governance practices that lead the world.” He argues that the government should embrace both natural and renewable resources so that Canadian industry can be supported as an energy leader on the international stage.

De Jong states: “It’s time for a shift in mindset, and acceptance that a growing and expanding petroleum energy sector has a strong role for decades to come. Canada and the world need both natural and renewable resources. The transition from one to the other will take many years. So let’s be smarter about it now. If predictions are right, and the world is headed for an oil supply crunch, elected officials owe it to Canadians to be more practical, strategic and upfront; and to stop picking sides.”

Energy industry analyst Professor Jeff Kucharski agreed in an editorial piece he recently penned for the Globe and Mail. Kucharski observed that with the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project, there are only two export pipeline projects left under construction in Canada: the Trans Mountain expansion to the pacific coast and Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement to the U.S. Midwest.

Kucharski’s piece underscored the financial importance of Trans Mountain for the country. It is estimated that the pipeline will increase western oil producers’ revenues by $73.5 billion over 20 years. The Conference Board of Canada stated this pipeline, and the Asian pacific trade it will enable, has the potential to support between $12 billion to $21 billion in annual sales of Canadian crude. On top of this economic activity, a total of $46.7 billion of federal and provincial taxes and royalties will be paid to Canadians.

“Most Indo-Pacific countries are net energy importers and many are among the fastest growing economies in the world,” explained Kucharski. “From a geopolitical standpoint, Canada is well-positioned to become a supplier of choice to countries such as Japan, South Korea, China and possibly even India…the sea lanes between Canada’s West Coast and East Asia are uncontested, safe and secure. Canadian ports are also in closer proximity to customers in Northeast Asia than U.S. ports,” said Kurcharski.

This scenario suggests promising prospects for Canadians if the Trudeau government drops its bias against the oil and gas sector and takes the necessary steps to ensure Trans Mountain successfully reaches tide water.

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact:


The importance of Canada’s oil and gas industry: part one

The importance of Canada’s oil and gas industry: part two

25 Cycle Jokes


Q: What’s the hardest part of learning to ride a bike?

A: The pavement.


Q: What do you get if you cross a bike and a flower?

A: Bicycle petals!


Q: What do you call a professional cyclist who just broke up with his girlfriend?

A: Homeless


A cyclist lying on his deathbed asked his best friend to do him a favour when he’d gone. “Anything,” replied his friend.
“Just don’t let my wife sell my bikes for what I told her I paid for them,” he begged.


My friend rode into a tree the other day racing round his back garden. Thankfully he was able to continue, his bark was worse than his bike.



The other day on a ride, I was speeding down a narrow, twisting, mountain road. Along comes a man who was driving very slowly uphill toward me, honking his horn and shouting at me. “PIG! PIG!!” he yelled. “PIG! PIG!!”

So I flipped him the finger and, as I buzzed by him, shouted back some things I dare not repeat. Still fuming about this awful man and his shouting, I turned the corner and promptly collided with a pig.


I told my wife I was making a bicycle out of spaghetti. She didn’t believe me…

Until I rode pasta.


Q: What’s the difference between a poorly dressed man on a unicycle and a well dressed man on a bicycle?

A: Attire


Q: Why did the bicycle go to the psychiatrist?

A: It had cycle logical problems


Q: What do you call an artist who sculpts with bicycle parts?

A: Cycleangelo



Since things turned sour with my wife a fortnight ago, I’ve taken to riding 50 miles a day to clear my head. I’m now 700 miles from home and feeling much happier.


I used to pray every night for a bicycle. Then I realized the Lord doesn’t work like that. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.


A pedestrian steps off the curb and into the road without looking and promptly gets knocked flat by a passing cyclist. “You were really lucky there,” says the cyclist. “What on earth are you talking about! That really hurt!” says the pedestrian, still on the pavement, rubbing his head. The cyclist replies, “Well, usually I drive a bus!”


[Warning… there are two Dad jokes in a row.]

Q: What does a bicycle call its dad?

A: Pop-cycle


Q: My dad works for a company that makes bicycle wheels….

A: He’s the spokesman.



A tandem rider is stopped by the police. “What have I done wrong?” says the rider. “Perhaps you didn’t notice, sir, but your wife fell off half a mile back”. “Thank god for that,” says the rider. “I thought I’d gone deaf”.


Jack and Jill have just climbed a steep hill on their tandem. “Phew, that was a tough climb,” said Jill, leaning over, breathing hard. “That climb was so hard, and we were going so slow, I thought we were never going to make it.” Replied Jack: “Yeah, good thing I kept the brakes on or we’d have slid all the way back down!”


Your a Cycling Addict If

  • You hear someone had a crash and your first question is “How’s the bike?”
  • You empathize with the roadkill.
  • A Power Bar starts tasting better than a Snickers.
  • You have more money invested in your bike clothes than in the rest of your combined wardrobe.
  • You have more bike jerseys than dress shirts.
  • Your bike has more miles on it then your car’s odometer.
  • You use wax on your chain, but not on your car.
  • You take your bike along when you shop for a car – just to make sure the bike will fit inside.
  • You buy a mini-van and immediately remove the rear seats to allow your bikes to fit.


I got a bottle of vodka and put it in the bike’s basket. As I was about to leave I thought to myself that if I fell the bottle would break. So I drank all the vodka and then headed home. It turned out to be a really good decision because I fell eleven times on my way home.


A man on a bike, carrying two sacks on his shoulders, was stopped by a guard while crossing the US-Mexican border. “What’s in the bags?” asked the guard. “Sand,” the cyclist replied. “Get them off. We need to take a look.” The guard emptied the bags and found out they contained nothing but sand. The man reloaded his bags and continued across the border. A week later, the same man was crossing again with two more bags. The guard demanded to see them, and again they contained nothing but sand. This continued every week for six months, until one day the cyclist failed to appear. A few days later, that same guard ran into the cyclist in the city. “Hey, where have you been?” the guard asked. “You sure had us wondering! We knew you were smuggling something across the border. So tell me and I won’t say a word. What was it?” The man smiled and told him the truth. “Bicycles!”



I made a bicycle out of scrapbooking supplies. It’s a stationery bike.


Q: How do you get a million dollars as a bicycle shop owner?

A: Start with two million.


I recently bought a bicycle that plays American music when you ride it. It’s called a Gerschwinn.


There is a guy who wakes up at 5 am and rides a bicycle until noon every weekend. He does this no matter what – regardless of rain, snow, or thunder. One day, however, the conditions are just too bad for him to ride his bike. There is a thick hail, brutal winds, and very slippery ice patches. Finally, after an hour, he decides to go home. He lies down next to his wife, who is asleep and says: “The weather is terrible outside.” Half awake the wife replies: “And to think that my idiot husband is outside riding his bicycle.”


“I’ve really had it with my dog,” says a guy to his neighbour. “He’ll chase anyone on a bicycle.”
“Hmmm, that is a problem,” says the neighbour. “What are you going to do about it?”
“Guess the only answer is to confiscate his bike!”



To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte


15 more bicycle facts and stats

First cyclist that drove his bicycle around the world was Fred A. Birchmore. He pedaled for 25,000 miles and traveled other 15,000 miles by boat. He wore out 7 sets of tires.

The fastest measured speed of riding a bicycle on a flat surface is 133.75 km/h.

In 2011, Austrian racing cyclist Markus Stöckl drove an ordinary bicycle down the hill of a volcano. He attained the speed of 164.95 km/h.

The slow cycling record was set by Tsugunobu Mitsuishi of Japan in 1965 when he stayed stationary for 5 hours, 25 minutes.

Smallest bicycle ever made has wheels of the size of silver dollars.

The longest tandem bicycle seated 35 people, it was more than 20 meters long.

The Wright brothers who built the first flying airplane, operated a small bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They used their workshop to build the 1903 Wright Flyer.

Popular bicycle type BMX was created in 1970s as a cheaper alternative to motocross races.

The prototype of the mountain bike was not developed until 1977.

E-Bikes are very popular because they make daily commutes much easier.

Half of all the parts of a typical bicycle are in the chain.

Bicycles are more efficient in transforming energy to travel than cars, trains, airplanes, boats, and motorcycles. Worldwatch Institute compared energy used per passenger-mile (calories) to find that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between.

The same energy that is expended for walking can be used when cycling to go three times faster.

Energy and resources that are used for the creation of one single car can be used for the creation of up to 100 bicycles.

Most famous bicycle race in the world is the Tour de France which was established in 1903 and is still driven each year when cyclist from all over the world take part in 3 week event that is finished in Paris. It’s considered to be the biggest test of endurance out of all sports.


To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

15 bicycle facts and stats

The world manufactures about 100 million bikes each year.

There are over 1 billion bicycles currently being used all around the world.

China boasts more than a half billion bicycles.

The UK is home to over 20 million bicycles.

A total of 5% of all trips in United Kingdom are made with a bicycle. In the US this number is lower than 1%.

10% of New York City’s workforce–approximately 65,000 humans–commute daily on bicycles.

There are at least 400 bicycle clubs in America, with membership from 10 to 4,000 members.

In the Netherlands a total of 30% of all trips are made with a bicycle. 40% of all Amsterdam’s commutes are made on a bike. Seven out of eight people in the Netherlands that are older than 15 have a bicycle.

36% of Copenhagen’s workforce commute daily on bicycles, and only 27% drive cars.

Over 90% of all bicycle trips are shorter than 15 kilometers.

Cycling is one of the best pastimes for people who want to reduce the risk of having heart disease or a stroke.

It is 20 times cheaper to maintain a bicycle than a car.

Bicycles save over 238 million gallons of fuel every year.

Daily 16 kilometer ride (10 miles) burns 360 calories, saves up to 10 euros of budget and saves the environment from 5 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions that are produced by cars.

There are twice as many bicycles in the world than cars.


To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

The Origins of the Bike

In 1817, The German inventor Karl von Drais developed a horseless carriage that would help him get around faster. This two-wheeled, pedal-less device is thought to be the first bicycle.

It was a wooden frame propelled by pushing your feet against the ground. It also had a padded saddle and a steerable front iron shod wheel. The machine was called the “swiftwalker.” It was also known as  the “velocipede,” “hobby-horse,” “draisine” and “running machine.”

The photo above is a model that came from Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, and belonged to the 5th Duke of Marlborough (1766-1840).

On Drais’ first report ride on June 12, 1817 he covered 13 km (eight miles) in less than an hour.

The term “bicycle” was coined in France and did not emerge until 1869. By then the “high wheel bicycle” became a popular style machine in the 1870s.

More can be read on the History website in an article “The Bicycle’s Bumpy History.”

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte


50 km Almonte-Appleton-Mill of Kintail Loop

Here is an enjoyable 50 Km route that is one of my favourite loops.

Begin at the Almonte Old Town Hall, take a spin down Mill Street and past the Victoria Mills Falls to proceed to Appleton Sideroad (approx. 2.6 km).

Ride the Appleton Sideroad to Appleton – but pass by the Northern Lanark Museum and take the back way down River Road into the hamlet (approx. 12.2 km). Proceed over the bridge and out past the golf course. Ride the Fairway Crescent to County Road 29 to Pick Road to Ramsay 8 (approx. 4.1 km).

Near the corner of Pick Road and Ramsay 8 pick up the rail trail and you are going to make a small detour into Carleton Place – to the bridge over the Mississippi River (to bridge and back approx. 3.1 km).

Proceed back down the rail trail to Ramsay 8 and take a right to follow this road to Drummond Road. Left on Drummond Road; right on Ramsay 7A; right on Rae Road; and rejoin Ramsay 8 (approx. 8.3 km).

Proceed down Ramsay 8, pass the Mill of Kintail (approx. 7.9 km) to Bennies Corners Road (another 1.1 km). You may wish to take a break and visit the Mill museum and grounds – it’s a hidden gem steeped in history. Right on Bennies Corners Road (which turns into Blakeney Road) and proceed to Blakeney Rapids (approx. 2.5 km). At Blakeney Park, the rapids make for a wonderful place to take a dip.

Follow Blakeney Road across the Mississippi River, up the hill, and through to the rail trail entrance off Ridge Road (approx. 1.5 km). Right onto the rail trail until you get to Martin Street North and then proceed on the road back into Almonte (approx. 5.6 km).

Ride Martin Street and right onto Main Street to the rail trail. Cross over the rail trail bridge in town, pass behind the Old Town Hall and, again, proceed down Mill Street to the Victoria Mills Falls (approx 1.1 km).

Raise the bike over your head and get a photo in front of the falls.

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

Biking along the Mississippi River

One of the absolute pleasures of cycling in the northern regions of Lanark County is to enjoy the many views of the Mississippi River – from Carleton Place through to Morris Island where the river empties into the Ottawa River. Here are some photos capturing the beauty of the river…

Mississippi River flows out of the Mississippi Lake — an excellent spot to relax is at Riverside Park Beach in Carleton Place.

Picturesque Carleton Place Town Hall

View from the Ottawa-Valley Rail Trail in Carleton Place

Entering Appleton

Peaceful Appleton

Leaving Appleton — looking back upriver towards Carleton Place

Entering Almonte — the historic Old Town Hall

Almonte’s popular riverside restaurant patio

Looking upriver from the OVRT bridge in Almonte

The beautiful waterfalls in Almonte (photo op!)

The Blakney Rapids — great place to take a dip

Blakney Rapids — looking back upriver towards Almonte

The infamous Pakenham five-span bridge (photo op!)

Galetta (The City of Ottawa’s western-most community.)

Morris Island (just east of where the Mississippi drains into the Ottawa River)


To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

A Ride at Dawn


Sunday morning traction

my soul skimming

over the front tire

nothing but a clear road

and the rising sun and

clarity with each breath

digging into each hill

warm beads of sweat  

drop off my forehead

somewhere from above

and I catch myself smiling

knowing this is a start

of a beautiful day

Chris George

June 2013

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte


Cycling Quotes to Inspire & Motivate

“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride” – Eddy Merckx

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them” – Ernest Hemingway

“You either love spinning the pedals and watching scenery whiz by, or you don’t. And if you love it, not much can sour you on the idea of riding your bike.” – Keith Mills

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring” – Desmond Tutu

“Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” – Charles M. Schultz

“Those who wish to control their own lives and move beyond existence as mere clients and consumers — those people ride a bike.” – Wolfgang Sachs

“The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it” – Doug Bradbury

“Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices. One plays football, or tennis, or hockey. One doesn’t play at cycling” – Jean de Gribaldy

“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke” – Scott Stoll

“It never gets easier, you just go faster” – Greg LeMond

“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades” – Eddy Merckx

“You never have the wind with you — either it is against you or you’re having a good day” – Daniel Behrman

“Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love” – Johan Museeuw

“You can say that climbers suffer the same as the other riders, but they suffer in a different way. You feel the pain, but you’re glad to be there” – Richard Virenque

“When your legs scream stop and your lungs are bursting, that’s when it starts. That’s the hurt locker. Winners love it in there” – Chris McCormack

“When my legs hurt, I say: “Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do!” – Jens Voigt

“When it’s hurting you, that’s when you can make a difference” – Eddy Merckx

“The race is won by the rider who can suffer the most” – Eddy Merckx

 “If you go (with a break), you can either win or not win. If you don’t go for it, you definitely won’t win” – Jens Voigt

“It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic gold medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport” – Scott Martin

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte


A Dozen Fav Bicycle Quotes

“You are one ride away from a good mood.” – Sarah Bentley

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike” – John F Kennedy

“Cyclists see considerably more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to” – Dr K.K. Doty

“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.” – Iris Murdoch

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.” – William Saroyan

“I have always struggled to achieve excellence. One thing that cycling has taught me is that if you can achieve something without a struggle it’s not going to be satisfying” – Greg LeMond

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” – Albert Einstein

“Like dogs, bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people.” – Chip Brown

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.” – James E. Starrs

“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” – Mark Twain

“To me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s raining or the sun is shining or whatever: as long as I’m riding a bike I know I’m the luckiest guy in the world” – Mark Cavendish

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte



Hurray for Bike Month

June is bike month in our Almonte community. Argumentatively it is the best month of the year with all its events for bicycle enthusiasts.

Followers of By George will know our love of biking. In honour of the start of this special month, we feature  five of our favourite photos of biking on the roads of Lanark County.

Appleton at dawn


Almonte storm clouds


Me and my shadow at dawn


One of our favourite dirt road views from a hill crest on Old Perth Road


Another sunrise on the backroads…


By George will be posting in social media with the hashtag #bikealmonte – check us out on Twitter and our Facebook page. Follow us and “like” our posts!

To see more from this month’s feature on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte


The 2021 federal budget set to impact Canadians for decades

The Niagara Independent, May 28, 2021 — In the House of Commons this week MPs debated second reading of Bill C-30, the legislation that will enact the Trudeau government’s 2021 federal budget. When Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered her budget address last month, she explained that the Liberals’ expenditures through the next five years would deliver Canadians from the pandemic crisis. In response, critics of the government’s fiscal plan cited irresponsible levels of spending that are sure to impact generations of Canadians for decades to come.

To recap, the budget document announced $135.2 billion of new expenditures in the next five years. It outlined more than $100 billion for the government’s new ‘green’ agenda, an additional $17.6 billion for Canada to exceed its 2030 carbon emissions targets, and an additional $18 billion to “improve the quality of life” in Indigenous communities. The big-ticket item was the announcement of a $30 billion expenditure to create a nationwide childcare system.

The finance minister reported that the federal deficit for the past fiscal year through the pandemic (ending March 31, 2021) was $354.2 billion. In the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year the deficit is projected to be $154.7 billion. She also revealed the federal debt will exceed $1.4 trillion by 2026 – which effectively doubles Canadians’ debt load in five years.

In conjunction with this new spending, the Trudeau government also passed legislation that raises its debt ceiling by 57 per cent to a new borrowing limit of $1.83 trillion. Surprisingly, at a parliamentary finance committee in March, Minister Freeland could not detail for MPs the government’s intention for the extra $663 billion in borrowing. She stated, “We are saying this is the upper limit to which the government may borrow, but we are not saying the government will undertake those borrowings, nor are we saying anything about government spending.”

However, many financial analysts forewarn of financial difficulties for a government carrying such a whopping debt. Jack Mintz, professor at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, stated, “The debt, while easily manageable today, could quickly become unwieldy should Ottawa fail to trim its spending habits and encourage a strong private sector revival.”

“There are no more fiscal anchors holding back the Liberals after this budget,” Mintz observed. “Canadians should take note that they will be paying $40 billion in taxes just to cover interest expenses…Just a one-point increase in interest rates would then increase the annual deficit by close to $5 billion. It’s kind of like rolling the dice.”

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux agrees that there are numerous factors that could lead to higher deficit numbers in the years to come. Giroux has publicly assessed the government’s annual deficits to be $5.6 billion higher on average over the next six years. He says the government appears to be underestimating the cost of emergency programs such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and overestimating the economic stimulus impact of the new budget spending.

Giroux forecasts that the higher federal deficits will lead to decades of higher debt. Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute echoed this projection in saying, “Canada has entered perilous fiscal territory. Total government debt is 107 per cent of GDP, with more on the way. Risk from mounting debt casts a shadow on the future.”

It is also concerning that Canadians may have little to show for all the government spending. In an editorial piece, Jock Finlayson and David Williams of the Business Council of British Columbia wrote, “This mounting debt seemingly did nothing to make Canada a more productive country, because there was virtually no growth in GDP per capita during the five years ending in 2019.”

High indebtedness means Canada’s economy has become more susceptible to future economic and financial shocks and to the eventual normalization of interest rates. Budget 2021 lacks a coherent strategy for tackling indebtedness, apart from providing stimulus to prop up short-term economic growth.”

The government’s $101 billion stimulus plan was at the focus of a recent conversation Finance Minister Freeland had with the country’s top private-sector economists. Globe and Mail reporter David Parkinson recounted that some experts warned the government’s stimulus spending would overstimulate the economic recovery. They argued that the government’s plan will fuel demand in the economy and not increase supply, “The post-pandemic recovery package neglects a chronic weakness in Canada’s economy that could really use some serious help – namely, business investment.”

A lack of a plan to encourage greater private sector investment is also the conclusion of a C.D. Howe Institute report From Chronic to Acute: Canada’s Investment Crisis. This report details the fact that Canada badly lags behind the United States and most OECD countries in business investment. Since 2010, business investment in Canada has faltered. Today, new investment per available worker in Canada is about 58 cents for every dollar of investment per worker in the United States.

This lack of private sector investment puts more of an onus on public sector spending. It is a vicious circle that necessitates greater government spending – resulting in greater deficits and higher debts. (Might this be why the debt ceiling needed to be raised $663 billion?)

The planned deficits and debt burden of the federal government is perhaps most ominous for the younger generations of Canadians. As business leader and former Conservative MP Rona Ambrose factored, “A Canadian who turns 18 today will not see the books balanced until they are 56 years old. That is Justin Trudeau’s legacy.”

Much of the MPs’ debate on the budget legislation this week has been on the government’s intended spending plans and what it means for future Canadian taxpayers. Remarkably, mainstream media has reported little on the debate. Likewise, over the past few weeks, financial analysis of the budget from the country’s leading economists have received little media coverage. Yet, the 2021 federal budget will impact Canadians for decades.

Candice Malcolm recently editorialized in the Toronto Sun on this point: “I’m sure the Trudeau government would much prefer if it were a simple 24 hour news story. Take a few blows and wait for the news cycle to move on to something juicier – like an inevitable media pile-on against Conservative premiers Jason Kenney or Doug Ford.”

“When it comes to news on this budget (can we even call it a budget? That word tends to imply a certain level of frugality and restraint), this spending mess is a story that bears repeating. The house is on fire. Everything is not fine.”

Malcolm provided a frank conclusion about the Trudeau government’s ‘pandemic budget’: “Today’s recovery is being led by a group of economically illiterate ideologues. God help us all.”

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: