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