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Announcing a few little changes

Announcing a few little changes

As you know, people and blogs change over time. Often, bloggers just stop writing and start a new blog as their interests shift; sometimes their blog grows and changes with them instead. We are aiming for the latter.

We’ve always felt that the best way we could make change with this blog was by just documenting our lives. If I can repack a bottom bracket, anyone can (although you might prefer to get someone else to do it for you). If we can figure out how to live car-light in streetcar suburbs or neighborhoods on the edge of town, with young families, anyone can. Cycling is not just for hipster messenger dudes on fixies, weekend warriors on mountain bike trails or training in pelotons, wierdo commuters on hybrids wearing safety orange and big beards, and willowy fashion models with adorable outfits that match their bikes – it’s for everyone. We hope we add to the diversity of bicycle bloggers and demystify living with bicycles.

LFL has outgrown our Blogspot space, literally: we are rapidly running out of room for the photographs that we so enjoy sharing. So, this spring, we are relaunching at, with a redesigned website using WordPress that we hope will make it easier to navigate, and we know will give us more room for all the pretties. With a little luck I’ll have it all sorted out and the switchover made by the end of the weekend.

We also are going to welcome some new co-bloggers. I have been busy with The Local Good and Sustainable Slow Stylish, Angel’s wrist is still healing and she is busy with a new job, and Jen in Seattle has been expending her energy on the greenways initiative instead of documenting it here (stay tuned for news on that). So, we realized that we need to bring in additional collaborators, and when I met Emma I just knew that she would bring wonderful new energy to the blog. (She will introduce herself shortly. She’s rad, you’re going to love her, and I can’t wait to read her posts about her tandem adventures.)

Finally, we are planning monthly Critical Lass rides for 2013, including extending for the first time into the winter months, and our first-ever Kidical Mass (for families). With the goals of growing the awareness and attendance of Critical Lass, I created a Make Something Edmonton profile and a Facebook profile for it this morning (previously we only used twitter and FB event listings, which have limitations). The brand-new Facebook Page will also make it much easier for us to plan and communicate about the event – please go take a look and click ‘Like’ right now. We will also be making some decsions through discussion there; we’re thinking, for clarity of messaging and simplicity of planning, of choosing the same day each month, the same starting point, and possibly the same route (which would reduce the burden of planning and make sure people have way more advance notice).

Critical Lass Edmonton 2012 plans

Critical Lass Edmonton 2012 plans

You’ll remember that we decided last year that we will plan only two Critical Lass rides in Edmonton this year. (I know. We’d love to hold them monthly too, but with Angel unable to ride, and Deb travelling to Nova Scotia this summer, this will have to do.)

We’ve picked our dates! Mark July 8th and September 8th on your calendars.

As always, they’ll be social rides in street clothes on an easy route, with a stop for food and bevvies so we can get a good visit in.

Here’s our route for July’s ride:
Meet at Bike Bottleneck (corner of 109th Street beside High Level Diner) at 1:00pm
High Level Bridge and Downtown-area bike paths and residential roads
124th Street area with a stop for dessert at Duchess Bakeshoppe
coasting down Victoria Hill (whee!),
across Groat bridge, and up Saskatchewan Drive to return to U of A campus

See you then!

UPDATE: The forecast is sizzling! But we aren’t rescheduling. Instead, if we decide it’s too hot for a long ride, we can alter our plans on the fly (say, ice cream at Da Capo followed by wading at the Ledge and City Hall). Please leave a comment here or on the Facebook event page, or on Twitter (@ecoDomestica or #CLassYEG), to let me know if you’re coming.

Critical Lass 2012 plans & vintage fun

Critical Lass 2012 plans & vintage fun

First, some housekeeping: we have decided that next year we will plan only two Critical Lass rides, one in June and one in early September. Stay tuned for dates (we want to wait until the Bikeology schedule is out before we pick them to minimize potential conflicts).

It was a glorious fall day Saturday (if a bit windy), and my family needed the bike-hauling vehicle, so I rode instead. (I was running behind, and knew my battery was running low, so didn’t take any photos along the way.) En route I had a text from Judy saying she was the only one at our meeting spot, so we threw all our route plans out the window, met up at Belgravia Station, and rode over to the Old Strathcona Antique Mall for a browse, at her suggestion.

Which means this was my one-way trip: 15.8 km. Not too shabby.

A photo by Judy of the view from the second floor railing.
The Old Strathcona Antique Mall is in the former United Cycle building a couple of blocks south of Whyte Ave,
next door to United Cycle’s new location. As you can see, it is enormous.

We had a hot drink at the adorable in-house cafe-slash-ice-cream-parlour (their lattes are pretty good), and had a lovely long chat.

carved handles on the drawers of a massive oak wardrobe from France
an adorable Thonet-influenced chair with a caned seat

Plus we spent a couple of hours wandering the aisles and admiring the goods. We came away empty handed (for now, at least). Sometimes I’m all about the smalls, but the furniture was my favourite on this day.

Fab early 20th century Eastlake-style dresser
The next four photos are Judy’s. Thanks Judy!
gorgeous joints on the drawers

Edmonton has a scarcity of vintage fashion places, so we were really excited to see this room upstairs:

late 1960s burnout velvet paisley

Sweet! A staff member told us it’s brand-new, and is curated from the offerings of several sellers. (Hot tip for tweed riders: there’s a great wool plaid ladies’ cape and some awesome mens’ hats in there right now.)

On the way home I took this photo of the markings for an about-to-be-painted bike lane on 76th Ave:

Here’s Eliza at Smith Crossing, in the valley where 23rd Avenue crosses Whitemud Ravine. There’s a great walking path through the ravine that’s part of the Waskahegan Trail and includes McTaggart Sanctuary, and a decade ago we frequently saw deer grazing in this spot. They’re gone now that there are oversized mansions rimming the ravine. Sigh.

I was also able to get a nice magic-hour shot on 23rd Ave, looking back at Smith Crossing:

And a shot of the setting sun in a neighborhood park:

Such a glorious day!

Mothers’ Day Critical Lass

Mothers’ Day Critical Lass

Now that the snow has finally melted and the street cleaners are making the rounds, we can announce our first Critical Lass ride of 2011! We’ll be riding on the afternoon of Sunday May 8th.

(Now, we realize that a lot of you might have other plans on Mothers’ Day. However, it was the only date when all our organizers could make it that didn’t coincide with EBC‘s women-and-transgendered-only days for May. So we are choosing a route that will allow people to easily meet up with us late or leave us early, so they can hopefully work around their brunch or dinner plans for the day. We also encourage you to bring your mom along. If you want.)

So here is the route:

1ish – Angel and I will be possibly meeting for lunch at a nearby restaurant beforehand, then starting off from Century Park LRT Station. That’s right, this is going to be a bicycles-on-transit adventure for us! We figure the new-ish South Light Rail Transit extension hasn’t been seen much on the local bike blogs (which are mostly written by core-dwellers), so we should show it some love. LRT is an easy way to extend your bicycle explorations, and the rules & usage hours are all commonsense.

1:15 to 1:30pm – We will be hanging out on the platform at McKernan / Belgravia Station, where we expect those who live in the neighborhoods around the U of A to meet up with us.

1:45 to 2:15pm – Having taken the LRT to Churchill Station, we will meet on the steps of City Hall where we’ll catch up with our north-side friends, have a nice chat and use some of the brilliant architecture (Art Gallery of Alberta, anyone?) surrounding Churchill Square as the backdrop for some sweet photos.

2:15 to 3:15pm – We’ll ride via 102nd Ave to the 4th Street Promenade, where we’ll grab coffee at Credo or wine at deVine, browse the gorgeous green goods at Carbon Environmental Boutique, swoon over the fabulous furnishings at 29 Armstrong and fresh frocks at Coup, and/or partake of the pastries at Queen of Tarts. Yeah baby! The Promenade is also notable for its architecture, as per the website of the City Market:

In addition to the variety of shops and restaurants, make sure to check out the architecture of the many buildings that line 104th Street. There are currently nine “A” level heritage buildings on the 104th Street promenade, including the prestigious Birks Building on the east corner of 104th Street and Jasper Avenue (built 1929) and the Phillips Building (10169-104 Street), which was built in 1912 as one of the first completely fireproof buildings in Edmonton. 

Anyone who needs to leave at this point can catch the LRT at nearby Bay Station.

3:15 to 4:30pm – We’ll head for the Ledge grounds then over the High Level Bridge, some of us will no doubt split off to head home via Saskatchewan Drive, and the rest of us will head through the University grounds to Health Sciences / Jubilee Station, from whence we’ll all set off for home.

We’d also like to extend an invitation to our male friends, since some of you have said you’d like to bring certain gorgeous, droolworthy vintage bicycles and join us on our Loopy Ride… Please do! Just expect to be outnumbered, for a change, and wear something you’d like to be photographed in. 😉

Oh, and preview: for Bike Month we’re thinking that We Believe In 118

What a lovely day.

What a lovely day.

(This post is actually cowritten by Angel and Deborah with additional photographs by Nicki.)

Yesterday afternoon we went on our scaled-down suburban Critical Lass ride. It’s the first weekend of Fringe Fest, and it was women-and-transgendered day at EBC BikeWorks, and some people were probably nervous about leaving the city’s central neighborhoods by bicycle, so we had a smaller group than last time. Miss Sarah has already blogged about the ride from her perspective – if you haven’t already seen it check out her post too.

We met up at the playground closest to Deborah’s house, in a subdivision where the houses are a mix of faux-Victorian, -Georgian, and -Craftsman houses, like Halifax or Victoria rerendered in vinyl siding and concrete. We like it because the sidewalks, front porches, and garages placed on back alleys make it a more pedestrian-friendly area than the typical suburban front-garage development. Some of the bikes you see in the photo above belong to other families who had brought their kids to the park.

Bert isn’t fixed yet. So, we put Audrey’s trailer-bike on a borrowed 1980s CCM 5-speed named Violet (Thank you Monica!!! -D.). As you can see in the foreground of the photo above, Deb used basket straps to put her antique egg crate on the front – which really affected the steering once it had a heavy purse and water bottles in it. (I don’t think I’ll use the crate that way again, as pretty as it looks. -D.)

Angel adding some air while everyone chats.

Winnie’s coaster brake isn’t fixed yet, so Nicki borrowed Mary Poppins and Deb’s polkadot helmet for the ride. Both bikes have 28-inch wheels and coaster brakes, so it was a good way to get her back in the saddle. This was her first time riding a bicycle in nearly ten years. Felt good, didn’t it, gorgeous?

Angel rode Daisy. In the end neither of her kids came – Damien was hanging with his grandparents and Lili needed a nap. Notice the green purse in the milk crate that matches one of the shades of green in her floral dress. Dress and sandals both from Reitmans (different seasons) purse is from random mall luggage store. Would LOVE to find a lovely belt to make the dress less poofy (even though the poof comes in handy while biking in the heat, yaaaay built in “AC”). – A.

Sarah was kidless too, thanks to the older LRT cars not being able to accommodate a child trailer without taking the child out and folding it up. We can’t imagine doing that solo with a wiggly baby! Here she has just put a CL pin on one of her polka dots. LOVE the skirt and the pearl necklace.

These women are effortlessly chic. Marilyn was wearing a beautiful shirt-dress with a pop of ruffly colour underneath. So classic. (I can’t wait ’til my Uniform Project shirt-dress arrives in the mail. -D.)

Of course it is all about the shoes. Clockwise from top left: Sarah in shiny patent leather; Audrey in pink and Deborah with bows on; Angel’s new silver flats; and Marilyn’s divine Dr Marten’s heels (covet!).

Just kidding. It’s also all about the bikes. Here is Sarah’s road bike at rest, with a Brooks leather saddle and reflective super-skinny rims and the beautiful Po Campo bag she’s been trying out.

Mary Poppins awaiting action. Look how pretty the white saddlebag looks with the white vinyl saddle!

Audrey (the only child who ended up coming) didn’t feel like staying at the playground, so we were quickly off on our ride and didn’t stop at any of the other four playgrounds on our route (yes, four). We headed to a strip-mall area with a lot of cafes and restaurants and neat little shops. On the way, we were riding mostly on residential streets, where one driver was unconscionably rude, and a few were clueless about driving around bicycles, but many were great.

We parked our bikes at the library. It was disappointing to see so few racks in a relatively newly-built area, when  according to the bylaws they should be more. Guess we’ll need to call the mall’s management and ask some questions? Then we sat in a franchise cafe and had iced strawberry lemonade and a wide-ranging chat. During which we totally forgot to take photos. Oops. It was delightful to be able to all sit at the same table this time and really get to talk. Unfortunately Sarah and Marilyn needed to take off after the cafe and head back to the LRT, so they didn’t get to shop. Also, the locally-owned toy store has just closed this location (much to Audrey’s disappointment). However, Angel found a great locally-owned kitchen tool shop where she can register for her wedding. Score!

Audrey took this shot of Deborah in the cafe’s washroom. She is wearing windowpane-check bermuda shorts from Ricki’s, a ruffled scoop-neck t-shirt from Old Navy, a thrift-shop straw-and-leather bag, a gold-plated necklace and fabric flower from Anthropologie, a cloche from local Etsy crafter Sugar Soul to cover the helmet-head.

Audrey did magnificently, especially considering that it was only her second time riding without training wheels (her first was the day before when we were testing the trailer-bike on Violet). We walked the uphills because she felt unsteady when I had to stand on the pedals. We think she’ll be riding without training wheels on her own bike by the end of the summer. Oh, and yes, she did choose her outfit specifically to go with the pins for the riders, then lavishly accessorized it Fancy Nancy style. -D.

Attempted panda shot. I am wearing an older sport-style helmet that has never fit my head properly. It is actually not possible with the way it is shaped to get it to sit over my forehead… but it’s a decent slightly-small backup when loaning helmets to friends who forgot theirs. – D.
View of downtown Edmonton from the bridge over Terwillegar Drive. It’s rather pretty, except for the freeway and utility poles in the foreground – and it gives a nice idea of how sprawled out this city is. Our location here is about halfway between the inner ring road (the Whitemud) and outer ring road (the Henday).  

Taking pictures at the end of the pedestrian bridge.

Nicki, Deborah, and Audrey walking up the hill. Angel was able to ride up with Daisy’s 6 speed!
They made it!!

Nicki and the downtown view.

Despite being on the outer edge of town, many of our city’s suburban neighborhoods are blessed with a well-planned system of multiuse trails, and most of them have sidewalks as well. Wide roads with two lanes in each direction on the collector roads make it less nerve-wracking to take the lane when needed than on some of the narrower roads in the city’s core, and some of the collector roads are having sharrows painted on them that will help to make road-sharing more of a habit for suburban drivers. It may not be practical to go completely car-free, and it takes a little planning, but we think that using a bike instead of a motor vehicle so that you’re driving less often is totally doable in the suburbs. Not to mention fun!

To end the ride we headed back to Deborah’s, where some other friends with children met us for a barbeque. Good food and good friends, what could be better?

Ready for Critical Lass?

Ready for Critical Lass?

Here is our route for tomorrow’s suburban Critical Lass style ride, folks:

Google says it’s 8.9km and would take nearly 2 hours to walk. So my timing estimates for riding have cut the walking estimates roughly in half, and added time for playing and eating and shopping.

1pm-ish: meet at the playground on Tomlinson Common (A); kids can play while we admire outfits, take photos, make last-minute bike adjustments

1:30-ish: leave playground (A) and head to playground on Haddow Drive (B), which will take about 6 minutes to ride depending on the timing of the traffic light where we`ll cross Terwillegar Drive. Good spot to stop and fix anything that’s rattling and let the kids play a little (the equipment is quite different) before we do the longer ride to the Riverbend Square shopping area (E).

2-ish to 2:20-ish: B-C-D-E. Will actually take about 20 minutes tops, unless we decide to stop at the (unmarked) playground on Riverbend Road in Henderson Estates. Hoping the kids will be played out & we can head straight for food instead. (Are you starting to see why I nicknamed this route the Tour-De-Playground?)

2:20ish: There is a branch of the Edmonton Public Library, a locally-owned toy store, and several restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and shops in the Riverbend Square area (E). I suggest that anyone wanting to meet us look for us at the Second Cup. (Strawberry lemonade! – Angel)

3:00ish: Depart Riverbend Square (E) and head via Falconer Heights to the pedestrian bridge over Terwillegar Drive (I), which should take less than 10 minutes. From there we’ll be continuing on the east-west multiuse path to the last playground of the day at Archbishop Joseph MacNeil school (J) then past the rec centre site en route to my place – or we can choose to shorten this route and skip the playground by taking a different multiuse path from to the lights (L) on 23rd Ave. If we do the route as marked, it`ll take 15 minutes plus any time spent at the playground. From there we will be heading straight to my place (N), another 5 minutes tops.

3:30ish: Arrive at Deborah’s for barbeque. I suggest that anyone who is coming to meet us for the barbeque wait until 4pm or so to give us extra time, in case of extra shopping in Riverbend or playground time at AJM.

Again, anyone wanting to meet up with us – DM us so we can trade cell numbers! We’ll also try using Glympse to tweet our location for anyone who would like to cyberstalk us. 😉

One last thing: look what Eri made for us!

Suburban Summer Critical Lass

Suburban Summer Critical Lass

It’s past time that we started planning the Critical Lass Summer 2010 style ride, so, let’s get to it!

As we’ve said in our previous CL posts, we love that simply by riding with our friends in fashionable clothes we can promote cycling as an approachable, fun, everyday activity. It’s August, so think breezy and easy when you’re choosing your outfit: linen, hemp, seersucker, polka dots, madras plaid, that great artisan jewelry you bought at Folk Fest, sunscreen. We’ll be providing pins again, this time in the red-violet that’s all over the fashions for this summer and fall:

We thought this time we’d make the ride more family-friendly and suburban, just to show that we can. I’m going to propose two possible routes through the Riverbend-Terwillegar neighborhood below, and get you to vote on which sounds like more fun to you in the comments. Both routes will be fairly level, take some combination of paved multiuse trails and suburban roads, and form a loop (to make it easier for those who need to take another form of transportation here). If you have kids, please feel free to bring them along in a bike trailer or on a trailer-bike (or a box-bike like the Madsen – yes, Sarah, I am looking in your direction *nudgenudgewinkwink*).

Oh, about helmets: Yes, we will be riding slowly on multiuse paths and suburban roads, and since you are likely over 18 years old, you can weigh the actual risk of head injury and legally choose not to wear one. Whatever. However, anyone under 18 in Alberta *is* legally obligated to wear a helmet, which may be a hypocritical double standard, ignored by the vast majority of teenagers, and left unenforced, but… there it is. It’s the law here. Whatever your opinion about helmet laws, our choices send a message and set an example for any kids in attendance (including mine) and kids who see us ride past. There’s also a tonne of anecdotal evidence that North American cyclists who do not wear helmets can run up against harsh prejudices that undercut the truth of cycling (safe, fun, easy) that we’re trying to demonstrate. Let’s show them how awesome a helmet can look, yeah?

Here are the deets:

Date: Sunday, August 15th or 22nd, 2010
Time: 1:00pm gather time, depart at 1:30pm (giving ourselves more time so our kids can play and we can do casual pre-ride photos – no press will be invited this time)
Starting Point: the Tomlinson Park playground in Terwillegar Towne
Route to include:  TBA* update: see Proposed Route 1
End Point: BBQ at Deborah’s home
For contact info (if you might be late, wanting to meet up with us at a later point, etc) send a DM to me (@ecoDomestica) or Angel (@angelzilla) on twitter so we can exchange cell numbers.

*Proposed route 1: from Tomlinson Park playground to Riverbend Square shopping/cafe area via Haddow Drive, Riverbend Road and Rabbit Hill Road (primarily on residential roads); back to Deborah’s via Falconer Road, the east-west multiuse trail over Terwillegar Drive, and Towne Centre Boulevard. See this walking map (PDF) for reference. This is the longer of the two routes, spends more time on quiet residential streets, and possible midpoint destinations include shopping at indie toy store Laugh N Learn, a visit to the library, smoothies at Booster Juice, and snacks from a couple of different bakeries. (Not to mention the frozen food aisle of the grocery store.) It also passes two additional playgrounds that will make good stopping points if we are bringing children along. Update: this will be our route.

*Proposed route 2: from Tomlinson Park playground to the cluster of shops and restaurants at the corner of Rabbit Hill Road and 23rd Ave, via the multiuse path through the big park beside Tory Road (like the reverse of the last part of this ride), then back to Deborah’s via Rabbit Hill Road, the east-west multiuse trail, and Towne Centre Boulevard. This is the shorter of the two routes, spends more time on multiuse trails (but includes crossing a very busy intersection, probably on foot), and possible midpoint destinations include shopping at Jilly’s Home & Lifestyle, gelato at Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, and iced coffees or lemonades at Second Cup or Tim Horton’s. (Not to mention the frozen food aisle of the grocery store.) It has fewer child-friendly stopping points.

A third possibility would be to head for the east-west trail and take it, with picnic supplies, down into the river valley – but that route is not as flat as some have requested, so will not be used. 😉

To get here from downtown or the university area: take the LRT all the way south to Century Park LRT Station. Then either cycle west on 23rd Ave (the bike route map dates to 2007, and there is now a wide sidewalk on the north side of the road the entire way which is treated as a multiuse trail by almost every cyclist I see on busy 23rd Ave), or take route 334 bus (or route 336 from Southgate LRT Station – but there is no bike rack on either, booooo), to Leger Transit Centre – and then cross 23rd at the lights to get on Towne Centre Boulevard. Your second right is Tomlinson Way, and at the bottom of that (not steep) hill is Tomlinson Park playground. 
Route 30 has bus bike racks and goes from Century Park LRT station to Leger Transit Centre – but does not run on Sundays. Hmmm. Maybe we need to move from a Sunday (15th or 22nd) to a Saturday (14th or 21st)?

*Ok, we need your votes: which date works best for you? Which route do you prefer? If you’re bringing your kids, how old are they and how will they ride? And: go!

Aug 12th Update: As you see from the italicized edits above, voting is now closed and our date is set for this coming Sunday. The forecast is currently sunny and a high of 24C, so dress accordingly & bring sunscreen! For those of you staying for the barbeque, please let me know if you can bring some food – both so I can ensure there isn’t too much duplication and to make sure everything planned is okay for our peanut-free household. 

Looking ahead: we hope to arrange for another Critical Lass ride and possibly a vintage-bike-appreciation ride in the next couple of months. We also hope there will soon be news from EBC about an Autumn 2010 Edmonton Tweed Ride… so much to look forward to!

Winnie at EBC

Winnie at EBC

Winnie (our coblogger Nicki’s 1951 CCM-built Garry) is finally getting some much-needed bike love!

On Friday night I took Winnie with me to Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ basic bicycle maintenance course (highly recommended, Coreen and Keith are amazing teachers). I think I may actually take the course a second time with a different bike, as I’m sure that if I had a bike with shifters and hand-brakes and derailleurs with me I would learn more – there were some sections where not much applied to the bike I was working on, and the flat tire change on Winnie ran longer than those on other bikes, so I did a lot of listening-while-doing-something-else and hoping I’d learn by osmosis.

First Winnie got a thorough wipe-down and inspection, then I concentrated on fixing her flat rear tire – with a lot of help and step-by-step commentary from Keith. I learned how I would theoretically fix a flat without removing the tire (if the tube had an easily identified puncture to be patched), then we took the wheel off and replaced the slowly-leaking tube (which I’ll patch sometime to use as a spare) and the brittle, hardened rim tape that had torn right over a spoke-end, and reassembled the wheel and reinstalled it (twice, because I forgot to put the chain back on the rear hub the first time). Keith showed me how to make sure the chain is the correct tension using the chaintugs on the horizontal rear-facing dropouts – I think I should be able to do it myself next time. I also learned how to use a contemporary (i.e., non-vintage) floor pump with a pressure gauge (now on the Must Buy list, since my frame pump turns out to be primarily decorative with its’ shot leather seal.). And I learned about chain lubricants (apparently the eco-lube I have is both unsuitable for Edmonton’s winters and the perfect clay-dust attractor), cleaned Winnie’s chain, and got it partially relubed.

I learned many other things too, about brakes and bearings and how old bikes like oil – so many I can’t remember them all right now.

Keith’s adjective of choice for this rim tape: “ossified”.

I also found an amazing old glass reflector for Winnie’s rear fender in the parts room, and installed it and Winnie’s original bell (for the record: vicegrips are the right tool for the job when the job is bending a metal thumb-trigger of a bell back into place).

This reflector will eventually be installed a little higher on the fender (so it’s laying on a flatter section) with bigger screws and washers and a dab of epoxy to keep it in place. I wonder how old it is? Did the first plastic reflectors come on the market in the 1950s or 1960s?

Done for the night.

Still on the Winnie love list: finish lubricating the chain; replace the exceedingly uncomfortable seat; install baskets front and back for utility; wire up her dynamos and get them working; screw on her headbadge; and most importantly, open up her coaster hub to figure out why it isn’t working, see if any needed parts can be scavenged in the parts room, and get it working again. Riding an essentially brakeless bike the couple of blocks to Nicki’s new apartment was not a good feeling!

Exploration & Errands all in one! (LGRAB Summer Games post 6)

Exploration & Errands all in one! (LGRAB Summer Games post 6)

Today I’m blogging about exploring a new part of town, as part of the New Territory section of the LGRAB Summer Games.

So last night I ventured over to Deborah’s for a bike ride with her and Audrey.

Audrey on the used bike she got for her birthday.
First we did the short route through Deb’s subdivision that we’re planning to use for a picnic expedition with the kids, around Tomlinson Park and into the park beside the stormwater pond off Thibault Way, and back home to drop off Audrey with her dad. Then we went to see the new school (Monsignor William Irwin Elementary) that Audrey will attend when it opens this fall. It has lots of sweet bike rack space, and reserved parking stalls for carpools and electric vehicles!
Then we headed out of Terwillegar Towne via Towne Centre Boulevard to 23rd Avenue, where we took the multiuse path to the corner of Rabbit Hill Road where the strip malls and grocery stores are clustered. There are actually some pretty interesting shops and restaurants in those strips, so we’ll probably make them a destination again sometime.
Me and Daisy posing as the sun set by the recently-opened Leger transit hub on 23rd Avenue, 
with the new recreation centre that’s under construction in the background. 

The girls, with their faux-flower decorated crates, parked outside the grocery store. 
There was no bike parking outside the cafe where we stopped for strawberry lemonade smoothies (tsk tsk).
By the time we had grabbed our groceries, it was twilight, and we don’t have headlamps (yet!), so we walked our bikes across the intersection at the lights and rode back to Deb’s taking the same route through the big neighborhood park that she already described.

We saw a family of bunnies!
Here is our actual route: a loop of about 6.2 km (3.8 miles) according to GoogleMaps.
Critical Lass at last!

Critical Lass at last!

Fifteen fabulous girls came out to ride yesterday despite 27C heat! First we met at Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Bikeworks. A journalist from Metro Edmonton and a photographer for the Edmonton Journal met us there and took some photos while we did a lap through the back alley.

The front page of today’s Edmonton Journal. 

I would like to point out that Miss Sarah is riding without her customary helmet because she lent it, along with a bicycle, to a pregnant visitor from Vancouver so she could join the ride! Do follow the link to her blog, she has all kinds of beautiful photos documenting our outfits that were taken with a better camera and better eye than Angel or I possess. That’s me in the polkadot helmet right behind Sarah; Angel is in black helmet and blue skirt toward the back of the other line.

Then we headed off to Ritchie Park (with some water and koolaid from EBC for the players) to watch some of the Velo Polo match. There wasn’t much happening when we arrived.

Laura’s retro polka-dot blouse was super cute. Not to mention her bike (see previous post). 
I also love the floral print on Sarah’s strapless dress, and the fact that it has hidden pockets. Genius.
I love the dresses Marilyn and Leanne were wearing. Sarah is serving some of the koolaid we carried.

Soon a game was started. It looks so cool! I think I’d need a much nimbler bike for the quick stops and starts and a lot of practice to play.

There wasn’t enough shade at the hockey rink where polo was being played, so before long we were off again. We rode on residential streets down to the bike path on Saskatchewan Drive, at the top of our city’s beautiful river valley.

Poplar fluff snowed down on us as we made our way to the bicycle bottleneck at the end of the High Level Bridge.

We crossed busy 109th Street on the crosswalk, then parked beside Transcend Coffee’s new Garneau location.

Mary Poppins parked in the inadequate racks out front.

Iced coffee was the order of the day. A few of the girls also popped into Da Capo for ice cream. I think next time I’m in the University area, I will too.

Then we hung out beside Garneau School’s playground and chatted and took photos.

Waiting for more adventures.
Coreen‘s CCM-built farm-abused Garry… just like Nicki’s, but handpainted green instead of red. 
She came to the ride on just 2 hours of sleep after working the repair-a-thon, and was super helpful in orienting our neophyte riders to riding on the road. 

I love how Marilyn’s Brompton sits to park. Good puppy.

Some people had to leave at this point, but a few of us took the residential streets of Old Strathcona…

…to our final destination, Fuss Cupcakes. Mmmm, cupcakes, gelato, and Italian sodas.

We spent time both outside and in. Our bikes were all nested and locked together. One guy walking by told us, “Gangs are illegal you know!” What, even when they’re as beautifully dressed as we were?

Speaking of beautifully dressed, I do regret that I didn’t get any better photos of my outfit or anyone else’s in my excitement (Luckily Miss Sarah did.). I wore these brand-new heels…

…and I can attest that it really is easier to ride in heels than walk in them! I also wore the Missy Skirt in eggplant from Nomads Hemp Wear, who are carried locally by both Bedouin Beats on 118th St and Lucid Lifestyle on Whyte Ave. Being a bellydancer, I also have several of their ingeniously seamed yoga-style pants and tanks, and the hemp-blend fabric that they use is super comfy and breathable for summertime wear. The ruffles on the skirt’s hem weighed it down so it didn’t flip up while I was riding at all. I’m a huge fan (in fact I’m wearing their capri pants as I write this). I was also wearing a teal cotton-jersey blouse from the Gap and a red-violet cotton-jersey cardigan, which was quickly swapped out for sunscreen. But not enough of it. Ouch.

Update: Coreen has more sweet photos of the ride up on her blog, Breaking Chains and Taking Lanes!