Tag: driving

Fitness Swellness: A day of motorsports with Ford Canada

by Pinpoint National Photography

To help celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day (did you get your dad a gift yet??), Ford Canada invited me to drive a Mustang GT and Ford RS on a race track, and I brought along my good friend Damian (and he’s a dad, so there’s my gift to you, D!). I’ve filed this under Fitness Swellness…’cause it’s a sport, right, kinda sorta?

So we drove out to Toronto Motorsports Park, and it was both of our first times driving on a race track. I was kind of nervous…here I am thinking, “Uh…can I do this?!?”

by Pinpoint National Photography

I let Damian go first since I was a bit unsure about getting on the track, but soon enough it was my turn.  Got into the Ford RS and our Ford instructor Malcolm took me out on a recon lap. I only realized once we started out that the car was standard, and I wasn’t confident I could get the car into third gear (I’ve tried to learn to drive standard a few times and it has not gone well, it really stresses me out!), so I didn’t do laps around the track in this car, but instead tried to commit to memory the turns and paid attention to how to handle them based on Malcolm’s talking me through the process as he drove. Turns out, for me anyhow, it’s hard to memorize the curvy track! I did get a feel for the car, though, and felt very safe (those Michelin Cup 2 Track summer tires never felt like we were sliding all of the track). I’m not a car geek, but if you’re wondering the Ford RS has Ford Performance all-wheel drive system with Dynamic Torque Vectoring, turbocharged eco-boost engine and you can select from Normal, Sport, Track and Drift modes.

by Pinpoint National Photography

Next was my turn to drive the Mustang GT. I did three (or was it two–the laps are all blurring together now) and it was fun! It’s hard hugging those corners the way you’re supposed to and always looking a step ahead for the next pylon so as to plan where you’re maneuvering the car! The GT, like the Ford RS, has modes you can select (Normal, Snow/Wet, Sport or Track), and 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.  It also has blind-spot info system (which I didn’t have to use on the track!), and I wish I could tell you how fast I drove it on the straightaways but I kept my eyes on the track and peeled for the next pylon so I could make my turns.

Here’s a pretty funny video of our track adventure that Ford put together:

To end our track adventure, we each got to sit in the car as the instructor did a hot lap, and I got to see how I should’ve been getting the GT around the track! It was way, way, way faster than what I drove but I probably didn’t have to tell you that.

Thanks for the fun afternoon, Ford Canada! Now I can check “race a car on a track” off my bucket list!

by Pinpoint National Photography

 

Leave a Comment June 16, 2017

Travel Swellness: Driving to WayHome 2016 with Chevy Cruze

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I had so much fun at WayHome Music & Arts Festival last year that I made sure to get tickets early to this year’s fest, which took place about two weeks ago.

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And while I bought tickets months ago, the rest of the trip came together last minute: I’d booked a bed and breakfast near Burl’s Creek (because I just don’t think I’m cut out for music fest camping!) but I had my heart set on Forks in the Trail, which is where we stayed last year but it was all booked when I tried to reserve. But lucky for us, a room opened up about a week prior, huzzah! Tricia and Doug are lovely hosts, the breakfasts are ample and delicious (these pancakes were fluffy and filling, important when fueling for many hours at the fest!), and there’s the gorgeous pool to relax at all morning before driving the 20 minutes to WayHome.

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A few days before WayHome, I also was able to firm up test-driving a Chevy Cruze from GM to get us to the Oro-Medonte. I’ve driven one before (in Nashville in April; you can read about that trip here) but my drive time there was brief so it was good to get more time behind the wheel of a Cruze.

The Cruze feels small enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m taking up a ton of room on the road but yet not so small that it’s intimidating to be driving alongside big trucks (I find when in some very tiny cars you can feel like the big cars will take you out!). There’s plenty of space so it’s definitely comfortable in terms of leg room; we were only two people in the car but if I’d been able to drive up other folks to the fest, there was plenty of space for both more passengers and bags. And that’s even with me packing way too many clothes (yes, I manage to over-pack still despite how regularly I travel).

As always, one of my fave features is the wifi in the car. Although I didn’t get to use it much as the designated driver, it gives me peace of mind to have it. There’s also a spot to place your cell phone (and if you’re like me, your smartphone is your most important tool!), so it’s tucked there safely (there’s wireless charging too, except I personally don’t have the type of battery to use it). With Apple Carplay, my iPhone’s maps, music, messages and phone were easily connected to the vehicle. If I’d had time before our road trip, I could’ve loaded my iTunes with the Killers, Major Lazer, Haim and Beirut to get us excited for the weekend of music to come.

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Features I also appreciate? Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist (although I certainly don’t rely on it, I like knowing the car has his feature especially on trip’s like this one where I’m the only driver and I may be tired), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to name just a few. Again, it’s of course important to practice good, safe driving, but having these features to help us be extra safe when driving is helpful and a comfort, especially for someone like me who isn’t driving very regularly.

The Cruze helped us find our WayHome (and our way home, get it? OK, bad joke) smoothly and safely (and in this brilliant blue, it made it easy to find in the fest’s parking lot).

And there’s more finding new roads coming soon!  Later this week, I’ll be Cruze-ing again as I’m doing another  road-trip adventure with a Chevy Cruze! Follow on Instagram and Snapchat (my profile is healthswellness) to find out  more on Thursday!

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Leave a Comment August 9, 2016

Healthy Swellness: 9 #FordMindfulness driving tips

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A couple of weeks ago, for Stress Awareness Month, I took part in a Ford Edge mindfulness program (the focus being on how to be a more mindful driver). I met with Ford Canada and yoga instructor, Yumee Chung (who I know from Passport to Prana) and she walked me through a number of ways to be a more mindful driver. Here’s a quick rundown of the tips, so you can bring more mindfulness to your driving:

  1. Stretch before you drive. Yumee recommends triangle pose to help you get limber.
  2. Sit in a comfortable, healthy position. The Ford Edge features 10-Way Power Driver and Passenger seats so make use of that to help support your lower back (this was really key to  me personally as I’ve been having problems with my lower back the last two months). You want to sit back in the seat with your head, ribs and pelvis in ones line. This stacked position helps keep your back happy and healthy.
  3. Do a posture check when driving. We all tend to slouch forward when behind the wheel so do a quick assessment of your posture by sitting tall and sending your shoulder blades downwards. Your chin should be positioned so that your earlobes hover above your shoulders rather than forward (and the car’s voice-activated SYNC 3 tech will help make sure you can maintain this posture since you can just say your commands aloud).
  4. Shake out those wrists. If you find you’re clenching the steering wheel, occasionally take a moment to rotate your wrists and give your hands a shake.
  5. Practice deep breaths. Traffic can be stressful, which could cause you to breathe quickly and shallowly so try five to 10 cycles of inhaling for a count of 6 and exhaling for a count of 8.
  6. Use yoga therapy balls to relax your muscles pre-drive. If you’re going on a long road trip, take a quick moment to use some yoga therapy balls to ease any areas that feel tight. You can do this in your seat by placing a ball between the seat and your back at the spot that feels tight and working out that tension.
  7. Get moving. When you’ve got the car safely stopped, use the time to get your body moving a bit (gently shake your head as though you’re saying “no,” or lean one ear down toward your shoulder and then point your nose in the direction of your armpit (repeat on the other side), or make like you’re a belly dancer and wiggle your spine while seated.
  8. Do a few spinal twists once you get out of the car after a drive.
  9. Use the features of the car that help make driving less stressful. The Ford Edge features Active Park Assist (and I know that I find parking one of the most stressful tasks!), and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is another feature that can help you feel more at ease behind the wheel.
at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

Hiking Day 2 at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

My #FordMindfulness lessons complete, I also got a chance to drive the 2016 Ford Edge Titanium around town over several days to put these tips into practice and to make my life more mindful. I used it mostly to go drive north of the city to go hiking, where the fresh air and peace and quiet was just what I needed, and I finally made my way to the Aga Khan Museum, which is a stunning building (inside and outside)  filled with beautiful pieces.

at Cataract Falls

Hiking Day 1 at Cataract Falls

Oh, and you know what makes driving much less stressful for me? The SYNC 3 navigator. I have no sense of direction and even though I went to the wrong mall (don’t ask, haha) at first driving the Ford Edge to go to meet Douglas Coupland for #3Dcanada  and also needed to find a great Thai spot for dinner on the way home from hiking, doing these tasks were a breeze thanks to SYNC 3 and I didn’t enter panic mode.

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

Ford Canada also sent me to practice mindfulness at Float Toronto, a floatation therapy spot where you float in a dark tank of 10 inches of water that’s got 900 lbs of Epson salts dissolved in it, which allows you to float effortlessly. I’d been meaning to check out Float when it opened, but the idea of it terrifies me so I never put much effort into going. I can get panicky and claustrophobic in pitch black darkness. But I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. The float session lasts an hour, and I spent the first 20 minutes in the tank with the door open  fidgeting around (sitting, Snapchatting, etc), and then since Float told me it’d be warmer if I closed the tank door, I closed the door with a towel to keep the tank door open a smidgen for some light, but it was too dark for me, so I opened it up again. The last 25 minutes I did manage to settle down and just lie there floating…but then I got restless so I got out and showered to get on with my day.

In the end, I’m glad I gave float therapy a try and I can see why it’s appealing to so many people. Thank you to Ford Canada for lessons in mindfulness with the Ford Edge Titanium. I know I’ll use these strategies whenever I get behind the wheel now.

Outside the Aga Khan Museum

On the grounds of the beautiful Aga Khan Museum

Leave a Comment May 16, 2016

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