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September Critical Lass and upcoming dates

September Critical Lass and upcoming dates

On September 15th, we met up as usual at the Garneau lamppost and rode south to check out the new bike lane on 40th Avenue. Our next two Critical Lass rides will be Monday evenings, October 14th (tomorrow! to help us burn off all that turkey and pumpkin pie) and November 18th, meeting at 6pm in the usual spot. We also have a Kidical Mass coming up: October 27th, meeting 1 pm, location TBA. Wear your Hallowe’en costumes! (Update: Kidical Mass was foiled by the early snowstorm that day! We’ll try again in Spring.)

Here are a few of the photos I took last ride – the full Flikr set can be viewed here.

Keith came along this time, with his fabulous fatbike, and his gorgeous wife Donna and daughter Dani. That Raleigh Twenty that Dani is riding is deceptively fast – she sped ahead of us for much of the ride.
Keith adjusting Anna’s seat.
Shamin and Mandy and her daughter. For being so little, she is always ridiculously well-behaved on these rides.
We rode through the residential streets east of the U of A to the LRT MUP,
over the pedestrian overpass to U of A’s South Campus and continuing on the MUP (past a guy on a cool trike) until we reached Lendrum. Somehow we missed the turnoff into the neighborhood (maybe the CoE needs to add a wayfinding sign here?) and found ourselves on the sidewalk of busy 111th Street.
This is the landmark where we turned in Lendrum – the “castle” (which used to be a daycare centre IIRC) near the strip mall with Sunterra in it on 111th Street. This took us back into the residential streets in search of the actual bike path (which we knew was in there somewhere) and the pedestrian overpass over the Whitemud Freeway.
Eventually we found it. This is the corner of 51 Ave and 115 St.
The view of the Whitemud from the pedestrian overpass.
We stopped to admire the view, take some photos, and rehydrate – but you can tell Dani is impatient with the delay.


The on-street bike lane south of the freeway.
We found it! This is the brand-new bike lane on repaved 40th Avenue (you can see Petrolia Mall, the site of the lemonade stand pop-upthis summer, in the background). Hey, this paint still looks wet!
There’s a reason for that! Keith and I both excitedly parked our bikes so we could snap a few photos.
One of the stencils the city use to mark the lane with reflective paint.
The hard-working city staff who were painting the lane.
Thank you so much!!!
There was no bike rack outside the convenience store in the strip mall at the corner of 40th Ave and 119th Street, so we took shifts watching the bikes while we all grabbed slushy drinks from inside. The guy at the cash register seemed confused when I suggested they could call the city to arrange for one to be installed.
It was time to head back, so we turned north on 119th Street and headed for the overpass over the Whitemud.
There were a group of guys practicing cyclocross on a course on the other side of the road at this spot. Cool!
The view of the Whitemud at the north end of the overpass.
Continuing north on 122nd Street (the same road, it changes its’ name) past Michener Park. Look how adorable Keith and Donna are.
I love riding past the U of A experimental farm (which is part of South Campus). Here’s the view to the east,
and to the west. Pretty, eh? There’s also a windbreak of willows (I think) along part of it.
Of course we ignored the mad-cow-outbreak-era no-entry sign beside the open gate into the farm (everyone does).
People use this path all the time for walking, running, and cycling, and it’s both the prettiest and most convenient way to get back to the LRT MUP.
See? Much prettier than the perpetual snarl of traffic where 122nd Street turns into Belgravia Road.
There are even sheep grazing on the other side of the path in the livestock area.


The juxtaposition of the old barns and Livestock Pavilion with the new Saville Centre is really interesting, too.
Back over the overpass over Belgravia Road, and this time we rode through the residential neighborhoods south and west of the U of A and along the Saskatchewan Drive MUP, instead of along the LRT MUP,
and past Rutherford House then along the bike paths to our meeting spot at the Garneau lamppost as the sun dipped low.
A final photo of those who remained at ride’s end (taken by Keith with my camera) – Mandy had taken her little one home for a nap.

P.S. – Forgive me for the lateness of this ride report! The Local Good’s election coverage has been keeping me very busy, and one of my WordPress settings is refusing to allow me to upload photos of any size. This will get fixed soon, but in the meantime the extra step of uploading everything to flikr then embedding that takes all the fun out of blogging.

Ride The Trail For Elizabeth Sovis – Critical Lass Aug 2013 ride report

Ride The Trail For Elizabeth Sovis – Critical Lass Aug 2013 ride report

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 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!).

Highlands Fling: Critical Lass July 2013 ride report

Highlands Fling: Critical Lass July 2013 ride report

Duly noted: if you set a ride date for immediately following a visit from family that prevents you from doing a reminder post or properly promoting on social media, on the same day as both a big road ride (Tour de l’Alberta) and a hotly-anticipated community garden bike tour, you won’t get particularly great turnout. Quelle surprise! However, the four of us had a lovely long ride, and the weather was absolute perfection.

I loved seeing this puppy out for a ride in a wire basket panier - if you zoom in you can see s/he was carefully secured, too.
I loved seeing this puppy out for a ride in a wire basket panier – if you zoom in you can see s/he was carefully secured, too.

Our route was from Bike Bottleneck, across the High Level Bridge and through downtown to Boyle-McCauley, up the LRT MUP to 112 Ave, then through the residential streets and along beautiful Ada Boulevard to the little shopping strip in Highlands (which is mostly closed on Sundays).

Mandy, her little one, and Cheryl, before our departure from Bike Bottleneck.
Mandy, her little one, and Cheryl, before our departure from Bike Bottleneck.






We joined up with the LRT MUP where the train emerges from underground and there's all this amazing street art on a free wall.
We joined up with the LRT MUP where the train emerges from underground and there’s all this amazing street art on a free wall.



Several buildings along the tracks are now sporting snazzy murals.
Several buildings along the tracks are now sporting snazzy murals.
We peeled off the MUP beside the Stadium onto 112th Ave, which we quickly forsake for the quieter residential roads.
We peeled off the MUP beside the Stadium onto 112th Ave, which we quickly forsake for the quieter residential roads.


Gorgeous view of downtown.
Gorgeous view of downtown.
You can see Refinery Row from the Ada Boulevard bridge over Wayne Gretzky Drive.
You can see Refinery Row from the Ada Boulevard bridge over Wayne Gretzky Drive. Oh and there’s some weathered paste-up street art at one end of the bridge.
We enjoyed Ada Boulvard so much that we had to then double back a few blocks on 112th to get to our destination.
We enjoyed Ada Boulvard so much that we had to then double back a few blocks on the sidewalk on 112th to get to our destination. Not a lot of curb cuts.

Our stop for a snack and a visit was Mandolin Books & Coffee, one the city’s used bookstore gems. You have got to try their butter tart bars.

(There are also the cutest yarn-bombed bike racks out front.)
(There are also the cutest yarn-bombed bike racks out front.)
Seriously. Butter tart bars are the most delicious thing ever. And the lattes and samosas (which have a flakier pastry than usual) are also pretty awesome.
Seriously. Butter tart bars are the most delicious thing ever. And the lattes and samosas (which have a flakier pastry than usual) are also pretty awesome.

On the way back we took essentially the same route, passing some guys on ladders who were adding work to the free wall, and found ourselves at one of the city’s coolest new spots and a fellow Make Something Edmonton project: the LIVINGbridge. We especially loved the ‘three sisters’ beds of corn, beans, squash, and nasturtiums.


See the benches? They're from MADE In Edmonton's Street Furniture competition.
See the fantastic benches? They’re from MADE In Edmonton’s Street Furniture competition.




Then we rode through downtown via 104th Ave and 107th Street, and through the Leg grounds to the High Level Bridge.

I loved the way this building reflected the sky.
I loved the way this building reflected the sky.


East side of the High Level Bridge. All those nozzles are from the defunct Great Divide Waterfall.

Our next Critical Lass ride is scheduled for Saturday, August 17th, starting 1pm. We’ll meet as usual by the Garneau Streetlamp at the corner of 109th Street and 88th Ave. Let’s talk about the route on the Facebook event page.


Critical Lass June 2013 ride report

Critical Lass June 2013 ride report

Thanks to all who came out, despite the drizzle, for yesterday’s Critical Lass ride!

Here are a few candid shots I took at the beginning of the ride. Sorry, no group photos this time.

Karen is 6 days to her due date in this photo, and still riding her Linus comfortably, although hills are a challenge. In awe.
My kids rode their Norco bikes, and Erin hauled her littles in a Madsen borrowed from Karen’s. She said the balance felt a little different than her longtail, but it felt like they were about the same weight and effort to pedal.
It was chilly, so both Erin and I had opted for wool layers in our outfits. I love that the Madsen has a frame lock – so smart for something that’s hard to maneuver into a bicycle rack.
My jacket is in the basket and didn’t stay off for long. I wore a wool-and-angora-blend tunic, bamboo-blend skirt, leggings, and the wonderfully loud bicycling socks from RedBike (not shown). You can see Karen’s gorgeous boots from local designers Poppy & Barley in this shot.
Layers and denim were the outfit of choice for the breezy, drizzly conditions.
Layers and denim were the outfit of choice for the breezy, drizzly conditions.

My husband was out of town, so we chose a short, level route in the neighborhoods surrounding the university – then cut it even shorter when my littlest on his single-speed kid bike had clearly had enough. Oh, parenting. At least my eldest was a trooper. I won’t repeat the experiment of bringing both kids along for another couple of years. I am so grateful that everyone was patient and wonderful with them. Bike people are the best.

I promise next ride will be longer and more interesting, and there will be photos from en route!

We ended up at Gracious Goods in Belgravia, where we took over a cozy corner of the cafe and had a lovely chat. The food was delicious.

You can kind of see the menu overhead in this photo. Lots of lovely baked goods, soups, and sandwiches. Most of us opted for tea, but they have coffee from Transcend.
I was also grateful that Karly and Anna, who have so many Bikeology events to attend as the Bikeology organizer and EBC board member and former executive director, made time to come ride with us. These women seriously rock my world.
I was also grateful that Karly and Anna, who have so many Bikeology events to attend as the Bikeology organizer and EBC board member and former executive director, made time to come ride with us. These women seriously rock my world.

Then Karen, Erin and her kids, and me and my kids bailed and headed home. I hope the rest of the riders continued on and explored the neighborhood a bit. Thank goodness several of them had also attended the Vintage Ride organized by Raving Bike Fiend during the morning (I’ll update with links to those ride reports when they go live)!

Upcoming Critical Lass Dates: Sunday July 21st (to Highlands, coincidentally on Marshall McLuhan’s 102nd birthday) and Sunday August 18th (Fringe, anyone?) and Sunday September 15th and Sunday October 13th (a River Valley leaf-viewing ride). As always, we meet 1pm at Bicycle Bottleneck, at the lamppost at the south end of High Level Bridge. (I’ll update this with links to the Facebook event pages as they go live.)

Hope to see you at Kidical Mass next Sunday!

Critical Lass video shoot

Critical Lass video shoot

We had a gorgeous, windy night for our Make Something Edmonton video shoot on Wednesday night, and a fabulous group of seven riders (and an enthusiastic passenger). Yvonne, Aaron, and their assistant made the process so fun and painless, and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The video will be out sometime in June. We met at the SitNChill bench at the south end of High Level Bridge, rode across the west side of the bridge (and really struggled a little with the wind gusts!), circled in the park at the North end of the bridge, took the residential streets through to Grant Notley Park (the one with the gazebo at the top of Victoria Park Hill) where we did a spoken bit (where little Eli got to have a starring role) and more circling, then along the sidewalk on Victoria Promenade with the river valley as a backdrop. Filming done, we then chose to go back the way we came, and a few of us had a snack at the Sugarbowl. I took these candid shots with my phone, mostly when we stopped in Grant Notley Park and on Victoria Promenade. Of course I didn’t think to do a panda shot at all, so the only photos of me were taken by the pros. I’m noticing that a couple of the fab ladies who rode with us are also missing from these shots, as luck would have it.

This is Erin’s awesome Xtracycle conversion of an Electra Townie. Eli is pretty comfy in his seat.


Waiting to film at Grant Notley Park
Waiting to film at Grant Notley Park. L-R: Jaimie, Eli, Erin, Karen, Monica, Maggie.
Waiting to film at Grant Notley Park
Chatting after filming on Victoria Promenade
Chatting after filming on Victoria Promenade. L-R: Yvonne, Karen, Mandy.
Wrapping filming on Victoria Promenade

Incidentally, I got some bike grease on my sundress when I was loading the DL-1 back onto the car rack after the ride, and it’s not coming out with either of the stain treatments I have. Anyone got a magic trick to share for getting grease stains out of cotton?

Feminism, Women Only Rides, & Critical Lass

Feminism, Women Only Rides, & Critical Lass

An image from 2 Wheels and Heels in Columbus, Ohio, via the Momentum Magazine article (click photo to read) on Women-Only Rides.

As an organizer of social bike rides for women, I have mixed feelings about the way they are perceived by nonparticipants. I’ve commented on the unhelpfulness of some critiques of cycle chic before, pointing out that the cycle chic movement itself isn’t sexist, so much as that it’s vulnerable to being co-opted by the sexism and commercialism of our society. The latest post from bike blog land that has me thinking about this, is instead critiquing the emphasis on a particular version of femininity in social rides for women. I think this is more about perception than the way the rides are actually organized, but let’s explore the ideas behind social rides a bit, and talk about our goals for Critical Lass.

The perception that you can’t wear street clothes (whether they’re business-casual or date-night-pretty) on a bike is part of the reason there aren’t more women on bikes in North America, according to surveys, and that’s part of what motivates the creators of rides and bike blogs like ours. (The other part of the equation is safe infrastructure, and most bike bloggers of both genders are also involved with bicycle infrastructure advocacy.)

Our intent was always that the Critical Lass Edmonton rides were the equivalent of going for brunch with your friends, and our food stops were meant to provide participants with an opportunity to chat and build community. We chose routes that would let us explore more of the city, and destinations that would make it feel like a special occasion. We wanted the fun of a Tweed Ride without the anachronism or cos-play. We wanted to make new friends and support local businesses (some of whom are bakeries). We wanted to make it approachable to novices, and we didn’t want bike-snob guys patronizing us or hitting on us. (Not that we’ve ever had that problem on rides in Edmonton. The cycling community here is awesome like that. But these are the preconceptions that keep newbies away from big rides like Critical Mass.)

Some of our participants ride in their skirts and dressy shoes, with their children or on their own, on every type of bike, to work or grad school or the grocery store, every single day, because that’s how they would dress whether they were on a bike or not. They should be able to get on their bikes and do their thing without being sneered at as tools of the patriarchy, the same way that women who race or mountain bike wearing appropriate attire for those types of cycling should be able to do their thing without being ridiculed, and the same way any of us should be able to walk into a bike shop without being talked down to by a sales dude who knows less about what we need than we do.

But. I think we do need to take care in the way we describe and promote social rides for women. All women should feel welcome to participate, not just girly girls. We also need to take care that, if our goal is to create equality for cyclists, that we aren’t accidentally playing into stereotypes that are being used to marginalize us.

To some feminists, cupcakes and high heels aren’t just dessert and clothing, they’re symbolic of the infantalization and objectification of women by society. As I’ve pointed out before, friction between second- and third-generation feminists is playing a role in these conversations; third-gen feminists also see high heels as a symbol of power. However, if names like “Cupcake Ride” or an emphasis on fashion in our photos are attracting criticism, we need to listen with an open mind, and perhaps adjust our plans.

We also need to think about what our goals and our target demographic actually are, design our events accordingly, and find ways to measure our progress toward those goals. If our goal is to attract novice riders and build the community, then our events will look different from ones that are designed as socials for an existing cycling community of experienced riders.

In the case of Critical Lass Edmonton, we think that explicitly restating our goals will help us with our planning. So, let’s reiterate:

  • Critical Lass is an inclusive ride for female cyclists of all levels of experience. We often have moms with young kids join us. (We will be planning our first family ride / Kidical Mass this summer too.)
  • We ride in street clothes, and sometimes we dress up. Our focus is on fun, not fashion.
  • Vintage bike? Mixte? Mountain bike? Hybrid? Racer? Dutch city bike? Folder? Longtail? Bakfiets? We think they’re all fabulous. We might ask to give it a test ride or take loving closeup photos of parts.
  • Our route is suitable for novice cyclists. Mostly residential streets and bike paths, no tricky high-traffic areas, usually pretty flat.
  • Our destination is a place where we can rehydrate, grab coffee and a snack, and socialize. We prioritize locally-owned businesses that are vegan- and allergy-friendly.

We haven’t actually been keeping track previously, but we will poll our participants this year and see what proportion of them are experienced riders and what proportion are novices. Maybe then, for fun, we can do an actual cupcake ride (in, say, October?) with super-girliness and a fashion emphasis, and see how those proportions change. It won’t be terribly scientific, but maybe it will give an idea whether these things actually do bring more newbies out. I have a feeling that if we compare those proportions for Critical Lass, a special cupcake ride, and Kidical Mass, we might be surprised by the results.

Critical Lass Edmonton: October

Critical Lass Edmonton: October

DIY street seating at our rendezvous point.
I’m not sure if it’s that October is busy, or that people had forgotten, but our turnout was unusually low today. (Related: anyone know what Facebook did with the thing that lets you send an event reminder email? Is it gone?)
Karen and her Linus Dutchie. Love those boots.
Turned out I had dressed too warmly, based on the morning’s cooler weather. I also discovered on my ride that Miss Trudy, who I only ever ride with the kids, has an issue with her higher two gears. (I brought Trudy, the ’72 Phillips, today because I haven’t taken Eliza for new tires yet.)

We took the newly-repaved 83rd Ave down to 97 St, then south to Ritchie Community League to take in a little of the bike polo tournament happening this weekend. When we visited, some of the guys we met at last fall’s Tweed Ride were playing, along with some visitors from Calgary. I don’t have a clue how the game is played but it looks FUN, and I am so impressed with the skill this takes. Must learn how to trackstand.

The rad hoodies and tshirts are for sale BTW.
Swing by tomorrow to watch the rest of the tournament.

This is A. from Calgary’s NiceGuys.
Check out her gorgeous Masi mixte and the team’s wicked spoke protectors.
Waiting for their game to start.

Next we headed on to the Blue Chair Cafe, just a block south of the bike polo tourney,
in time for the menu switchover from brunch to supper.

I had the frittata.
Karen had salad rolls.
After a lovely meal and a flurry of text messages,
we headed over to Faculte Saint-Jean, via 76th Avenue and 89th Street.

Where 76 Ave dips into Millcreek Ravine is really pretty and just steep enough to be a fun coast.
You can see my mustard sweater tights in this shot – they match the cardigan I was wearing under my coat. Bright colour and lots of layers seemed like a great idea earlier in the day when it was colder and greyer, but by the end of the ride I needed only a tshirt.
Karen outside the Cite building on Saint-Jean’s small campus.
Plaque outside the Cite.
To our delight, Coreen caught up to us riding her ‘new old CCM‘.
It actually took me a sec to process that she wasn’t on Poplar.
The ’46 CCM is truly beautiful in person. Go read its story at the link.We went exploring inside the Cite building briefly, then hopped back in the saddle and headed back toward the U of A via a steep shortcut through Mill Creek Ravine and the multiuse trail along Saskatchewan Drive, after which we parted ways.
This is where 87 Avenue heads down into the ravine. The photo is blurry because it’s steep, fast, and in need of repaving. At the bottom there is a small off-leash dog park, which in daytime will often be in use, then a choice between a steep trail or stairs to get back out. There’s a reason most people ride on Whyte Ave to cross the ravine instead – but I’m so glad we checked it out.
The view of downtown from Saskatchewan Drive.
(Okay, I cheated and went back with my camera after the ride to get this shot.)
Many of the (elm?) trees on Saskatchewan Drive have yet to turn colour.
Back in Garneau beside the University. Many roads in Garneau are closed to cars right now due to construction (which also makes parking a bit more challenging) – but a bike can sail past all the barriers. It looks like they’ve knocked down a bunch of old houses that had been used as student housing and office space. I wonder what they’re building?
Critical Lass Edmonton: Highlands

Critical Lass Edmonton: Highlands

We had a gorgeous day for a ride yesterday, 20-ish and sunny with a crisp breeze.
Unfortunately great weather and short notice meant not many people came out. Oh well, their loss!

Karen wore a beautiful vintage pencil skirt and a summery shirt from a local boutique. 
I wore my new-to-me vintage polka-dot accordion-pleated skirt
with sailor stripes, antique bakelite bangles, and a Tibetan beeswax amber necklace.

Our route to the Highlands: across High Level Bridge and down the bike path to McEwan, then east on 106th Ave to Little Italy, then north on a side street to 112th Ave, which as it turned out was down to one lane with construction, so we rode on the sidewalk away from the frustrated motorists. The whole ride took us about an hour…

…including our stop at the Italian Centre en route for a snack and a cold drink.

 Our destination was the two-block shopping district in Highlands (112 Ave & 65th Street), an early 20th-century streetcar suburb with fantastic Arts-and-Crafts architecture and mature trees. We met Sarah and her beautiful daughter at Mandolin Books & Coffee, grabbed iced coffees and sweets (the date squares and the chocolate cookies are delish), and walked a couple of blocks to the neighborhood playground. When we got a text from Judy, we headed back, said bye to Sarah and her sweetie, then spent a happy hour browsing used books, locally-made clothing, gorgeous yarns, furniture, and flowers.

Sarah and her charming daughter. I love the yarn-bombed bicycle racks on this block.
Karen, Judy, and me after a little shopping and a lot of visiting. The plan (at Sarah’s suggestion) was to take Ada Boulevard, then head back to downtown to meet some friends at What The Truck for supper.
A horse-drawn carriage passing us on Ada Boulevard.
The view to the east of Refinery Row.
Highlands Golf Course and the view across the river valley from the spot where we pulled off to snap some photos.
Judy always looks effortlessly chic. Today she was wearing khaki skinnies with pointy-toed flats.
The highway and bridge behind Karen are Wayne Gretzky Drive and Capilano Bridge.
Can anyone tell me what the paper flags on the lawn at Concordia campus were about? 
The view of downtown where Ada Boulevard turns, with a bit of lens flare.

As I had been riding, I had noticed that my egg crate seemed even more rattley than usual, and my kickstand kept needing to be adjusted because it wouldn’t stay put. Just after I took the photo above, a lovely fellow stopped us and told me my rear tire was flat. Oh, so that was the problem! I quickly realized I’d been flat since before our arrival in Highlands. The tube wouldn’t hold any air at all, so we ended our ride with a walk to the nearest LRT station (along a pretty residential route with a nice tree canopy that the same gent had suggested we take). 

The LRT had to stop for a few minutes on the bridge over the North Saskatchewan River and wait for the track to clear, so I was able to get a shot of the streetcar on top of the neighboring High Level Bridge.
The view upriver through the LRT car’s door.
The offending tire, flat as a pancake. When I got home I took a careful look at it, and it seems I picked up a sliver of glass  – probably on 106th Street on our way to Highlands. Amazingly, the rim doesn’t seem any worse for wear, at least to my untrained eye. Steel is amazing stuff.
My spoils from the day’s adventures: flowers from Sugar Blossoms, a reference book from Mandolin Books & Coffee, silk yarn from Wool Revival, and a top with lace sleeves from Sabrina Butterfly.
After Eliza’s repairs I guess that list will also include new tubes and,
since they’ll have to take the wheel off anyway, new tires to replace the 70s-era originals. 
Critical Lass Edmonton reminder

Critical Lass Edmonton reminder

It’s that time again! We’ll be meeting on Saturday, September 8th, at 1pm at the Bike Bottleneck. This time our destination is the beautiful Highlands neighborhood of Edmonton. The forecast is *gorgeous* (26C and sunny) and our ride will likely take in some of the trails rimming the river valley.

If you do Facebook, the event page is at: and we’re discussing our route options there.

Update: We are adding an October CL date! Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 13th. Facebook event page is at: and we are wide open for suggestions about where we should ride.

Also, apologies for the short notice for those who missed our date announcement earlier this summer. It felt kind of gauche to promote CL when preparations were being made for the memorial ride (see next post), and on top of the back-to-school craziness I was knocked flat by a virus for a couple of days this week.

Critical Lass Edmonton: heatwave edition

Critical Lass Edmonton: heatwave edition

“High of 30.9 in #yeg today … felt like 34.” – @JoshClassen, local meterologist.

It was HOT. So we started by heading to the wading pools at the Provincial Legislature grounds.


Shadow self portrait. The water felt heavenly.

Then we borrowed an idea from our Seattle Critical Lass friends and did some bicycle portraits. 

Tess and Apollo 
Deb and Eliza (’78 Raleigh Tourist)
Judy and Miss Pashley (Princess Sovereign)
Jackie and her Trek hybrid. I love love love her skull-print sundress.
Jackie is one of the organizers of the fabulous Steampunk Ride that happened a couple of weeks ago.
group photo

Then we headed up the bike path via Railtown and found another shady spot to rest.

photo by Judy of us en route
Apollo and Pashley
I love this group photo that Jackie shared on the Facebook event page.
Ahhhh, shade
In retrospect, the hemp capris were a good choice, but polyester with sheer sleeves is… still polyester.

After a water break and a few photos we headed off again, through residential streets and a cemetery. 
What is it about cemeteries and crows?

At last we arrived at Duchess Bake Shop on 124th Street.
Jackie dashed nextdoor to Clever Rabbit for some vegan-friendlier takeout while we ordered.

Can I eat ALL the things? 
My late brunch: a vegetarian sandwich featuring goat cheese, green beans, and almonds, a lemon cream tart, an exquisitely flakey amaretto shortbread, and a dark chocolate macaron. I also had an iced cafe latte.
Check out the beautiful chocolate meringue that Tess had. 
It was super crowded when we arrived,
but by the time we left had cleared out enough to get a good shot of the beautiful decor.
Look up.
The food was delicious, but we really enjoyed each others’ company, too.

When we felt refreshed and ready to brave the heat again, we headed back downtown via Glenora.

The North Saskatchewan River valley really is beautiful.

We were running behind so hurried back across the High Level Bridge and parted ways after one last photo by Jackie, and an agreement that we’d set dates for August, September (8th), and October soon!

Thanks ladies! That was so much fun!!

(PS: Things you don’t notice from a car: 
people have started adding locks to the High Level Bridge and tossing the key in the river. 
I’m guessing that they’re inspired by this custom.)