Just after postponing August’s Critical Lass ride to the following weekend, the message that this summer’s final leg of Ride The Trail For Elizabeth Sovis was the same day got passed along through social media. (You may remember that I mentioned her tragic, preventable death after being struck by a drunk driver on a PEI highway while cycling the Trans-Canada Trail in the Maritimes last year.) Elizabeth’s husband, Edmund Aunger, is riding the Trans-Canada Trail in five stages to promote its completion and improve the safety of its users, who currently are forced onto dangerous high-speed freeways at the incomplete and impassable sections. You can support the project by signing the petitions or visiting the Trans-Canada Trail Foundation’s website to learn more and donate.
So, naturally, we changed our route plans so we could support Elizabeth’s family and the completion of the Trans-Canada Trail. We met as usual at 1pm at the Garneau lamp-post at Bike Bottleneck, took a leisurely ride down Saskatchewan Drive to meet the ride as it crossed Hawrelak Footbridge at 2pm, then tagged along with the ride as it made its way through the river valley to the steps of the Alberta Legislature for a rally at 3pm. (The entire Flikr set can be viewed here.)
Mary adding some air to her Trek’s tires at our meeting spot before departure. Mary commutes 20 km daily in a dress on this bike, but later in the day was informed that “there’s a rule against riding a bike in a dress.” Really?
Mary, Mandy and her daughter, and me on the Saskatchewan Drive MUP near the University of Alberta. Love the shadows in this shot!
The group accompanying Edmund Aunger since the morning’s departure from Devon crossing the Hawrelak Footbridge, our designated meeting point.
Edmund is the gentleman riding the heavily-loaded touring bicycle. This summer he rode in stages through British Columbia and Alberta, stopping frequently to take notes on the condition of the Trans-Canada Trail route.
The group stopped to eat and rehydrate at the picnic area closest to the footbridge, and we had a chance to chat with a few of them. I counted about 30 riders, many of them on road bikes. Elizabeth’s son Richard was a gracious host, thanking us for coming, accepting our condolences, and chatting about how touched he was that Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society had spread the word.
Richard gave each of us one of these retroreflective stickers. They were also distributed later on at the rally.
We rode along the official Trans-Canada Trail route, on the gravel trails along the floor of the river valley. In places the trail was right at the river’s edge, with lots of erosion from our rainy summer evident. A couple of steep sections had enough loose gravel that it was necessary to get off and walk. We were astonished when one guy gave a woman on a road bike with tires a quarter the width of mine a hard time about unclipping and walking.
We crossed the river on the LRT bridge (officially, the Dudley B. Menzies Bridge), then went through the Royal Glenora and climbed to the top of the bank on the road below the Legislature. This is our view of the High Level Bridge from the LRT bridge.
Since we had nothing to prove and were in the back of the pack, we stopped to drink some water in the shade. It was a hot day, and by this time Mary and I were regretting our choices to wear vintage synthetic fabrics.
The view of the North Saskatchewan River, the High Level Bridge, and the LRT bridge from the road on the hill below the Alberta Legislature.
Edmund Aunger addressing the crowd (and a few television news cameras) on the steps of the Alberta Legislature. The text of his speech is at ridethetrail.ca on the blog.
View from the side of the crowd at the rally during Edmund Aunger’s speech.
Teenaged unicycle riders at the Leg after the speech.
Judy met us at the rally, and we carried on to Credo to chat over iced coffees after the rally ended. I took this quick panda shot while we were waiting at a red light en route.
A sun-drenched shot from our ride home over the High Level Bridge.
Our next ride is September 15th – follow the link for the Facebook event page. We’re planning to go explore some of the newly-installed bike lanes. Also mark your calendars for October 14th and November 18th – we’re making a switch to Monday evenings to see if we can improve the turnout, and to accommodate our upcoming Kidical Mass ride on Sunday October 20th (with Hallowe’en costumes!).