Critical Lass 4: LRT and downtown

Critical Lass 4: LRT and downtown

Happy Mothers’ Day to me! This morning, ubermechanic Keith installed Fibrax ASH144 pads on Eliza’s rod brakes and adjusted them for me, and also switched out the plastic Sturmey-Archer shifter for the prettier (and more reliable) chrome one that Bert can no longer use. The difference made by new brake pads was phenomenal – if you have a DL-1 with rod brakes, keep these in mind as something you may need to track down.
Then I drove, with Eliza on my car’s rack, home to drop off my exasperated and bored daughter (“Mommmm! Can you stop talking about bikes so we can gooooo?!?”), then back to Century Park, which is the LRT station closest to my home and the end of the LRT line. It was time for Critical Lass!

The elevator at Century Park LRT station – you need to go up from the parking lot to a pedway over the road. Note the signage.
The elevators at both Century Park and Southgate stations are HUGE compared with the ones downtown.

Of course I ended up running a little late, and arrived on the platform just as the 1pm train was pulling away. No biggie, they run frequently even on Sundays, and soon I was off, with a firm grip on my bike and my hip wedged against the seat to keep the silly thing from rolling when the train started and stopped. A kickstand or wheel-lock would be handy.

I got off at Belgravia-McKernan station just in case, but nobody was there (I took the photo above while I was waiting), so I caught the next train and found Judy waiting for me on board. We had a great chat on the way, then were forced to carry my Raleigh and her Pashley up the stairs by an out-of-service-cos-it’s-Sunday elevator at the Winspear exit from Churchill Station. Sigh.

Almost our whole group were waiting when we entered Churchill Square. Most of them are experienced cyclists living in core neighborhoods and had ridden the whole way.

For what it’s worth, I’d say the whole bike-on-LRT experience was only a minor hassle, and an uninterrupted LRT trip from Century Park Station to downtown takes only about 15 minutes. And while I drove to the LRT today due to time constraints, I easily could have cycled or done a cycle-bus combo from the subdivision where I live way out by the Henday ring-road. The east-west MUP that runs along 23rd goes directly past the LRT station and probably takes 30 minutes or less to ride, depending on your speed.

I took all kinds of photos while we were hanging in Churchill Square,
but unfortunately they all look like this one of Keith holding Robert,
thanks to my malfunctioning camera.
Keith rode an amazing 1951 CCM camelback that he made into a fixie,
and he joked about looking like a hipster. We were so pleased that he came.

Update: Keith has already posted his synopsis of the day’s events! Since most 
of my shots of the bicycles didn’t turn out I will defer to his post for that.
Somehow this shot is the only one I have with the Art Gallery of Alberta in the background.

Luckily I took a look at what my camera was producing,
and Karen was able to lend me hers for most of the rest of the ride. 

(Aren’t you grateful?? I know I am.)
Unless otherwise noted, the rest of these were taken by me using her camera.

I didn’t get many photos (thank you, crummy camera), but with such a lovely large empty space, we naturally all had to try each others’ bikes out. I rode Karen’s new Linus loopframe (SO nice). Here is Judy about to give Coreen‘s no-longer-Polar Porta-Bike vintage folder a go. Sarah is fixing the pictures she added to her basket in honour of Mothers Day. Aren’t her gold heels fabulous?

At about the time we stopped playing musical bikes, a bulldog showed up and started riding a skateboard. At one point everyone in the square was cheering her on. So fun! It turns out her name is Buttercup and she’s Sorta Internet Famous:

Daisy (Angel’s Pro-Tour of unknown heritage) looks a proper mamachari now that she’s had a heavy-duty rear rack and the found-via-Japanese-blogs child seat installed (here it’s got the seat back flipped down for basket use). Angel reports that both her kids fit, and we can expect a proper review post soonish.

Group photo in front of Edmonton City Hall, courtesy of Miss Sarah. 
L-R: Monie, Sable, Deborah, Judy, Keith, Sarah, Robert, Karen, Angel, Marilyn, Coreen.

Coreen and Porta-Bike, courtesy of Miss Sarah. Her vintage dress is the coolest.

Marilyn and Brompton, courtesy of Miss Sarah.
HOW did I not notice her t-straps today? So pretty!
The carillion at City Hall chimed just as we were leaving Churchill Square. 
 I think it was actually about 2pm, wasn’t it?
Did we really spend that long chatting and checking out each others’ bikes?
Maybe we did. Time flies.

Taking the lane.
Angel on Daisy, courtesy of Miss Sarah.
That wrap dress looks so much prettier on her than it did on me.
Judy on her Pashley.
It was a trench coat kind of day, breezy and mostly overcast with rain in the forecast.
Stopped at the lights. This may be the best shot of Monie’s Fiori that’s I got.

As you can see the Linus loopframe is brilliant for pulling a Chariot.
Doesn’t Sable look great on her Dahon? Doesn’t her crossbody bag look like it’s butter-soft?

 Another shot of Karen on her new Linus and Robert in the Chariot, courtesy of Miss Sarah.
Karen’s leopard-print dress? Those shoes? So stylish. 
When my babies were that age I’m sure I wore nothing but yoga pants.


Monie balancing on her Fiori, courtesy of Miss Sarah. Cutest jacket ever. Wooden buttons!


On 104th Street Promenade, courtesy of Miss Sarah.
You can see a glimpse here of the architectural heritage and urban renewal
that made this block one of the focuses of yesterday’s Jane’s Walk.
(Everything I’m wearing is part of my Project 333 wardrobe, BTW.
Wow, black doesn’t photograph well.)


Judy and Pashley, courtesy of Miss Sarah


Realtors’ lockboxes on a bike rack outside Credo Coffee. WTF. Courtesy of Marilyn.

Monie’s boyfriend brought a little something down to the cafe to supplement our lattes.
(Chocolate liqueur? Well, maybe just a little.)
Monie made him this book, isn’t she clever?

Lovebirds.

Robert was an absolute angel, only complaining in the Chariot when we had to stop.

We sat and stood outside with our bikes and coffees and food.
 After awhile we were all as cold as Marilyn looks. I love her dress and obi sash so much.

Angel enjoying a cuppa, courtesy of Miss Sarah.

When we were done our coffees we split up for a few minutes and took a quick peek in some of the local independently-owned shops that have sprung up on 104th. Coup was full of pretty frocks and baubles, and 29 Armstrong makes me want to throw away everything and redecorate. Having already had a machiato brownie at Credo, I skipped Queen of Tarts, but I’m regretting it as I type this.

When we realized the time we all hopped on our bikes to conclude our ride.

Angel and Monie waiting for me so I can take a photo at the entrance to High Level Bridge.

By this time the sun had come back out and a steady stream of walkers and cyclists were using the MUP across High Level Bridge. Coreen took a zillion photos as we were riding across. I’ll link to her post once it’s up.
After we split up, I decided I’d ride back through Garneau and McKernan to Belgravia-McKernan Station, but when I got there I had just missed the LRT, and the bike path beckoned. A shorter-than-usual ride so that people could head off for their Mothers Day plans had left me wanting more.

South Campus LRT station. I have just (accidentally-on-purpose) missed my train. Again. Oopsie!

Eliza waiting in the sunshine while I check my phone messages
– oh look, a text saying supper is ready.
Eliza needs a shorter (and possibly wider) saddle in antique brown, I think,
the wicker basket washed in walnut stain, and a simpler skirtguard,
in addition to the rear rack with kickstand that I’ve mentioned previously and my crate.
My jacket is balled up in the basket. Yay warmth.
Every so often along the trail by the LRT tracks there are spots like this
with benches, bike racks, and underused noticeboards.
The section of path just before this spot ran alongside a little wetland that had frogs singing in it.

I ended up hopping back on the train at Southgate Station, but I could easily have ridden the whole way; from Southgate to Century Park on the bike path would have only been another 10 minutes or so. But as it was supper was starting to get cold when I got home, and everyone was eager for some time with Mommy.
It was such a lovely afternoon! Thanks again to everyone who came out, and to Karen, Sarah, and Marilyn for coming to my rescue when my camera went on the fritz.
UPDATE: Sarah has her post up with more great photos and a video!
UPDATE 2: Coreen’s post is up with yet more great photos

9 thoughts on “Critical Lass 4: LRT and downtown

  1. I heard there was a flask… 🙂

    Could not have been in finer company than I was yesterday… cannot say how much I appreciate how our little cycling community is so very active in getting out and spreading the gospel of cycling.

    We do live in one of the greatest cycling cities in Canada.

  2. @Sixty Fiver we were all so happy you came!

    You’re right, that group photo is a portrait of some of the best advocates for cycling in all of North America. Even those who don’t blog directly about riding their bikes are all microblogging regularly using the #yegbike hashtag on Twitter. And Karen recently did this post about her public transit use on her blog: http://www.babyfriendlyedmonton.com/2011/03/taking-baby-on-ets/

    This wasn’t the only thing going on yesterday either! You left us at Credo to speed off to EBC and the event at Earth’s General Store – were they both packed?

  3. Great blog post Deborah and so happy that Eliza was in the midst of it too. I’m really hoping that I’ll be up to the next CL and just get over my anxieties already..That is the hardest part that keeps me from making commitments with groups of people..well that and the migraines.

    I think though that when i get another job and if we can move to a larger place I may look for another Raleigh…They are such a fun just “pure joy” ride 🙂

  4. @Sixty Fiver Fiona bought it through Simeli.nl – there are now also Etsy vendors selling knitted or crocheted skirtguards in a range of styles, and at least one vendor has a pattern for sale (http://www.etsy.com/shop/darkandstormyday).

    @My Happy Place – Fiona you were missed. As you can see our turnout is typically pretty small and if we keep gradually introducing you to everyone on coffee dates that might help too. =) And you know you can ask for Eliza back whenever you need to. I know all too well how first bicycle love is.

  5. Go Buttercup!
    Deb I enjoyed myself immensely! Highlights were test-riding everyone else’s bikes, catching up and hanging out on 104 street. Everyone looked beautiful too. Hope to see you next month!

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