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October Critical Lass announcement

October Critical Lass announcement


What: an inclusive social ride for female cyclists in stylish clothes, on a route suitable for novice riders, to promote cycling as an approachable, fun, everyday activity

When & Where: 
Our next Critical Lass ride will be the afternoon of Saturday October 15th. We’ll meet at 1:45pm, depart 2pm, and end 3:30pm; and we’ll start & end at Bike Bottleneck (at the racks at the corner of 109 Street and 88 Ave, beside the High Level Diner). Afterward those of us who can stay to hang out will grab a table at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area.

Route: this is still under discussion. (We’re guessing our original leaf-viewing idea won’t be happening, since the leaves have already all turned.) Here are the ideas we’re considering:

1. north across High Level Bridge and around the Ledge grounds (although we already have been through that area twice this year)
2. east on Saskatchewan Drive to Mill Creek Ravine (likely too hilly for some of us)
3. down the new 106th Street bike lane to Pleasantview Cemetery, then back
4. through Belgravia and south past the U of A Farm, then back up via 115th Street and the LRT MUP

Please leave a comment to vote on these ideas or suggest another route. For those of you on Facebook, here’s the event listing – we’re also discussing the route ideas on the wall.

Scenes From Tweed Ride

Scenes From Tweed Ride

Sweet poster, via the Facebook event page.

Today I went to the Edmonton Tweed Ride with a few friends. Despite rain that ended at the last minute, there were an impressive number of people who came out. We had a wonderful time, met lots of great people, and rode a perfectly gorgeous route through the river valley.

It started pouring mid-afternoon, but – thank goodness – it stopped in time.
Here is Eliza, dried off and ready to go after a rejuvenating tea at Karen’s.
The City of London souvenir hankie tied to the vintage purse is a sly little homage. 

The bike pile in front of Pembina Hall.

Sarah rides this Vulcan with the adorable bell and basket she scored at Calgary’s BikeBike.
Even Robert was dressed to impress.
Loving the argyle socks.
Coreen sewed her outfit, isn’t it rad?
Gorgeous, bubbly Sarah. Love her skirt and boots.
Impressive trackstanding skillz. Loved her flapper dress.
Organizer Neil telling us about our route and destination.
Down Saskatchewan Drive,

and across the road into Belgravia,

where the sun decided to join us.
At the top of (the former) Keillor Road we paused to chat with another group of cyclists.
After taking it slooooow coming down the switchbacks – because I was more than a bit nervous about my rod brakes in the wet road conditions- Judy and I had Keillor Road to ourselves. So pretty. In another week or so the leaves will have all fallen.
Notice the point-blanket scarf. This is how Canadians do Tweed.
At the other side of the bridge across Whitemud Creek everyone was waiting for us slowpokes and having a lovely chat.

Judy took a great photo of me – thanks Judy!
Our destination, after a bit more riding: the new(ish) Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge.

Judy admires the view upriver.
We stopped at the midpoint of the span to hang out.
The downriver view. Pretty!
Everyone looked so great. I wish my photos turned out better – my candid approach doesn’t always work.

Luckily there were a lot of cameras there. Here are some great shots that Tess took, for example.
I’m sure more will get posted to blogs over the next few days.

Kevin demonstrates his mad trackstanding skillz.
You are here.

On Keillor Road on the way back. Some of the horses were in the field at the equestrian centre.
Taking a breather at the top of the hill on the Saskatchewan Drive MUP.

Soon after this we parted ways – some of us needed to get home early,
while the rest carried on to get dinner and drinks at The Next Act.

Neil tells me there will be another Tweed Ride next Spring! Can’t wait!

POSTSCRIPT:
There are more great photos and a video of the ride at TuckamoreDew (as mentioned in the comments).
I also found a ride report with links to others’ photos from the first Edmonton Tweed Ride (in 2009)!

Critical Lass 7: New Southern Bike Lanes

Critical Lass 7: New Southern Bike Lanes

In summary, the new bike lanes are pretty sweet…
and we’re really excited that they connect up all the bits of
previously-disconnected bike infrastructure on the south side of Edmonton…
but you’d like to see some photos, right?

We first attempted this ride on the last Sunday of August,

but too few people were able to make it, so we rescheduled for yesterday.

Laura and Angel
We waited for about 25 minutes at Century Park,

L-R: Laura, Angel, Emma

then we were off.

There were shiny shoes

(mine)

and fabulous lace tutus.

Karen and Robert

We crossed the LRT tracks,

admired a cool tandem while we waited for the lights,

(sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet)

and started counterclockwise around the loop,
opting for the road instead of the under-the-power-lines multi-user path for the first bit,

and stopping only so our littlest attendee could be given more crackers.

The section of the route south of 23rd Ave has just been repaved to fix the potholes, 
and is still awaiting paint.

The city has put these awesome signs up all along the loop.
Millwoods’ sharrows could use signage like this, too.

Several sections, like this one, could potentially put you in the door zone of parked cars, so stay alert!

The area has a couple of big parks with playgrounds in them, several schools, 
and a mix of single-family housing and apartment-style condominiums 
(in addition to the big transit-oriented complex at Century Park),

and a fire station! Sadly, the brave uniformed guys had other things to do than flirt with us.

Our route circumnavigated the area of strip-mall shopping and grocery stores, 
but we did see evidence of it. 

It was cool to still see all the ghost marks in place that precede application of reflective paint.

The bike lane turns the corner at a three-way stop at the southern end of 106th Street, so, so did we.

We had to veer around a curb repair. We were really glad for the barriers.

Then we took the multi-user path beside 34th Ave back to 111th Street,

By this time the wind had really picked up and we wondered where the sun had gone.

So we were glad to wrap things up (for those of us who could stay)
with brunch and fancy coffees at Bistecca.

There was Italian Eggs Benedict,

and Southern French Toast,

with a side of cutie pie

Robert’s always a charmer.

and lots of great conversation.

I want a wrist tattoo like Laura’s.
We were so glad Judy caught up with us.

We emerged from brunch to rain and wind,

but it didn’t stop us from admiring all our sweet sweet rides, 
before we fled to the warmth of the LRT or our vehicles.

PS: Since our tentative date of Oct 9th is Thanksgiving weekend, we need your help rescheduling the next Critical Lass ride: please participate in our Doodle poll to see when works for the most people! We’ll announce the date and create a Facebook event page within the week.

Critical Lass 6: North To Alberta Avenue

Critical Lass 6: North To Alberta Avenue

We had a gorgeous sunny summer day for our Critical Lass ride yesterday. Angel and I met at Bicycle Bottleneck and rode to our our meeting place. Along the way we rode briefly with Coreen, who took a different route so she could go to the bank, and met a new friend (hi Anon!). We took the bike path north to 103rd Avenue, then took that to Churchill Square, and found our meeting place in front of the Winspear: 

Our new friend, who has asked that we not use her name. She’s the coolest, and so her is fab mid-70s Twenty.

As you can see, the Square was packed for Taste of Edmonton! Poor Coreen wasn’t sure where we were meeting, and wasn’t able to find us in the crowd. We hope nobody else had the same trouble. =(

We all coveted Marilyn’s fantastic skirt from H&M.

We waited an extra 35 minutes to make sure nobody else was coming, then started on our route:

down 102 (Harbin) Avenue through South Chinatown,

along Jasper Avenue, where we admired the river valley views at the top of Dawson Park (which you need to enter from the bottom of the valley, so we’ll explore it another day),

then along the multiuse-trail that runs parallel to the LRT line,

to the end of Alberta Avenue closest to Coliseum LRT Station, which is the most recent section to have infrastructure upgrades. The site of the old Cromdale Hotel (above) gives a good idea what much of the street looked like a decade ago, when it was best known for its drug-fuelled crime rate. We walked a couple of blocks on the brand-new sidewalks, crowded with people walking in the opposite direction toward Capital Ex, and watched pickup trucks and SUVs whizz past, then decided our best course was to ride on quiet, residential 119th Ave, using the church and community league park as our landmarks to come out onto the sidewalks on 118th. In retrospect maybe we should have taken photos of the parks, too – they both had playgrounds full of families, nice green spaces, and at one of them there was a fenced space with a community garden and dogs playing off-leash. So cool.

Most of the shops along 118th have this sign in their window, for the community-based campaign to reclaim their neighborhood. (Oh look, this is also a self-portrait.)

Our first stop was Handy Bakery, famous for their pastries…

… and their display case didn’t disappoint. They had a steady stream of clients coming in to pick up orders.

The Portuguese custard tarts? So. so. good.

They also have half the shop devoted to hard-to-find groceries and spices.

I wonder if the traffic on 118th is always this busy, or if it gets busier during big events like Capital Ex at Northlands?

We unlocked our little bike pile from one of the brand-new racks that line the street, then headed back via 119th to our destination, where Coreen caught up with us:

It smelled amazing inside, thanks to the shisha smoke from hookahs, and meals like this:

Ethiopian food! So tasty, and extremely filling. The injera (flatbread) that you eat with tastes a bit like sourdough. Nom!

Afterward we rode south on the residential streets marked on the map in the last post, past the Mustard Seed and Hope Mission, and along 106th Avenue parallel to where the railroad tracks used to divide these neighborhoods from downtown. We made one little alteration to our planned route, cutting through Grant MacEwan College and down the future Capital Boulevard:

Yeah, the Ledge grounds. After all, it was hot and sunny. How could we resist the chance to go wading?

But first we went into the rose garden for a group photo (which will be in Coreen’s post) and admired a bumblebee who was playing in the blossoms. There are more photos from the rose garden in Coreen’s ride report!
(Thanks for the sweet photo Coreen!)

I love this photo of Coreen. She sewed her floaty wrap skirt herself.
So refreshing, and such a great way to finish the ride! Afterward we headed our separate ways, with most of us heading over the High Level Bridge to Bicycle Bottleneck.
Thanks to everyone who came out! Those of you who missed it – we’ll see you August 28th!

27 July Update: I’ve been reflecting on the changes on Alberta Avenue. It’s definitely way less scary to spend a sunny afternoon there than it was in 1994 when I first visited, on a mission with my roommate to find stuff for our student apartment at the world’s sketchiest used furniture shops. I remember lots of boarded-up storefronts and pawn shops then, and not a lot of pedestrian traffic. Now we’re seeing families in playgrounds, lots of restaurants, lots of people out walking. There’s a farmer’s market, gallery space, and a number of festivals held on Alberta Avenue now. I expect, now that the infrastructure upgrades are complete, in the next couple of years we’ll see it become an incubator of cool local retail and arts space, in the same way that 124th Street and Whyte Ave have been in the past.
I also commented above that the working-class neighborhoods we rode through were divided until fairly recently from downtown by railyards; Marilyn notes in her blog post that the arena project proposed for the redevelopment of that land could make that division permanent. Go read!

PS: This post is part of our series for the LGRAB 2011 Summer Games! It could qualify in several categories – this was a new part of town and took in new-to-us bike paths – but we’ll just call it a group ride. Let the games begin!
Critical Lass July plans

Critical Lass July plans

Reminder: Sunday July 24th will be the next Edmonton Critical Lass ride!

So you can check out A Taste of Edmonton before the ride, if you like, we’ll meet at 1:30pm in front of the Winspear Centre and depart at 2pm. We’ll ride via 95th Street (and Chinatown and Little Italy) to Alberta Avenue, so we can see for ourselves its’ revitalization from a neighborhood that a decade ago was best known for pawn shops and drug-related crime problems, now that the infrastructure changes from the Streetscape Improvements program and storefront facade renovations are mostly completed. We’ll likely make stops at The Carrot, Bedouin Beats, and Handy Bakery, and have our supper at Habesha (Ethiopian, and we hear they’re vegetarian and vegan friendly!).

Originally, our plan was to ride all the way to Northlands, grab a group photo with Gretsky, then take our bikes on the LRT – but since Capital Ex is on, we expect Coliseum Station to be a bit too crowded for bikes. So, now we think we’ll loop back to downtown before going our separate ways.

Any feedback on the route, ladies?

20 July UPDATED PROPOSED ROUTE: So. After discussion with Angel, I did a screencap of the bike map then highlighted our new route idea:

We’ll be starting about where the blue oval marked 3 is (that’s the AGA), taking the on-road bike path on 102 Ave (that’s Harbin Road, just north of Canada Place, which stands where the original Chinatown was established 100 years ago) through Chinatown South to Jasper Ave, and take that along the upper edge of Dawson Park (it’s not clear whether we can actually enter the park from the top – if we can we can stop and take photos here) to where it turns north and becomes 82nd Street. Where 82nd crosses the LRT tracks at 113th Ave, we can get on the MUP (red) then take the on-street path (green) north on 81st Street (past another wee park) to 118th Ave. This brings us out close enough to Northlands to hear the ruckus and smell the mini-donuts from Capital Ex, close to the eastern end of the section of Alberta Ave that’s had infrastructure upgrades. Then we’ll ride west on 118th, check out some places, and stop for supper. Afterward we’ll take 96th Street south and pick up the on-street path (green) that skirts north of downtown to head to 109th Street, then south via the MUP (red) and across the High Level Bridge to Bicycle Bottleneck. When they reopen for the day I’ll call Habesha and ask them about the timing – whether they want a group to show up for the 4pm coffee ritual, or want us to make reservations for later, will determine whether we move our start time a bit later. Our reservation is for 4pm at Habesha. Sound OK?

Critical Lass 5: South To Whitemud Crossing

Critical Lass 5: South To Whitemud Crossing

Our fifth Critical Lass ride was the first on an evening that was threatening rain, after a few solid days of unusually wet and miserable weather, so our group was small but mighty. 
We met at the Bicycle Bottleneck, and lingered there chatting for awhile while some of us finished our chai, lattes, and poutine. 
Spoke cards installed and ready to roll!
Talking about the spoke cards Deb made. 
(They’re 2 colour photocopies, sandwiched inside 4mil hot-lamination pouches.)

(No matter how carefully you trim and lay them out, they shift in the laminator – argh!
Next time we’ll do double-sided printing on cardstock. Lesson learnt.) 

We’re so happy that Selene was able to join us during her brief visit!
Lots of stylish raincoats and cardigans.
Plastic capes in case of a downpour stashed in baskets and messenger-style bags.
Selene’s sweet Raleigh mixte – swoooon.
Monie’s Apollo with awesome cork-looking grips!

Geneva’s made-in-Japan Apollo was rescued after several months’ abandonment in a back alley…
… and it has intact Fred Deeley Cycles decals.
Can you believe that Marilyn’s fab shoes are second-hand?

When we got rolling, we skirted the U of A campus
and headed south on the multi-user path beside the LRT on 114th Street.

panda self portrait

Stopping to decide which restaurant to head to and call ahead for a reservation
after picking up Miss Sarah en route.
(Click the link to see her photo essay on the ride!)

The official bike path takes a detour into Lendrum that’s a bit difficult to follow.
Where the bike path rejoined our route, we were split between street and path for the first block.
We also missed the official (unmarked!) spot where the multiuser path
crosses busy 111th Street just south of Southgate LRT station,
so we ended up single file on the sidewalk for a few blocks until we could cross at 40th Avenue.
By this time the sky was clearing and trench coats were feeling rather warm.
It’s so hard to get an unposed photo of Miss Sarah without her camera in front of her face.
Duggan is a pretty typical 1970s residential neighborhood –
large lots, mature trees, lots of bungalows and split-levels.
Traffic was light on 40th Avenue and 106th Street so we felt really comfortable taking the lane.
Monie does mock outrage pretty well, no?
This sign was next to the bike racks we used at Whitemud Crossing.
Our destination. So good we forgot to take photos of the delicious food.
Having a smaller group for the ride meant we had a tatami room
and could indulge in serious girl talk.
Heading north on 106th Street before we all headed our separate ways.
Isn’t Geneva’s belt-bag the coolest dumpster dive find ever?

After parting ways to our various end points (some took to LRT for speedy home time, others returned to the Bottleneck), myself and Deb rode over to the multi-use path beside 91 street and down to my place in Mill Woods. Google maps says we did just under 20km total that evening. It felt great!
Deb with her ’72 Phillips, just before we swapped bikes on the way back to Mill Woods.
Photo without flash.
With flash! WOW! That’s a ten dollar Cactus Creek safety sash from MEC. (Note to self: MUST BUY!)


Luckily, it never did rain – not even a drop!
Thanks to everyone who came out for a delightful evening.
Your camaraderie would have made it fun even if the heavens had opened!


Reminder: here are the upcoming ride dates:

Update: Coreen’s ride report is up!
June Critical Lass!

June Critical Lass!

It’s been a busy few weeks, so although we’ve tweeted about the date for the next Critical Lass we have been remiss in posting! Here are the details:

When: Monday, June 20th, meet at 6:00 pm, depart at 6:30 pm (weekday evening chosen to not coincide with major Bikeology Festival events during Bike Month)

What: an inclusive social ride for women and trans cyclists in stylish clothes, on a route suitable for novice riders, to promote cycling as an approachable, fun, everyday activity

Where: meeting at the Bicycle Bottleneck (that’s the intersection of Saskatchewan Drive, 109th Street, and 88 Avenue) on the sidewalk near High Level Diner

Route: this time we’ll meander through the neighborhoods around the University of Alberta, south on the multi-user path along the LRT line, and east on 40th Avenue to the Whitemud Crossing area (which will soon be easily reachable via the soon-to-be-installed 106th Street sharrows). Yokozuna Japanese Restaurant and Thai Valley Grill are among our choices for food afterward.

Update: yes, we know showers are currently in the forecast. We’ll ride rain or shine.

Teaser!
We’ll be making spoke cards using this cheeky 1940s postcard from my collection for attendees,
since our lovely friend Eri is too busy to make pins.

Upcoming rides (tentatively all scheduled on the 4th Sunday):

  • July 24th – Alberta Avenue (because We Believe In 118!) and The Carrot and Pho King
  • August 28th – suburban summertime ride – Millwoods bicycle infrastructure and a family picnic in Jackie Parker Park
  • September 25th – autumn colour ride along the top edge of the river valley
Critical Lass 4: LRT and downtown

Critical Lass 4: LRT and downtown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


Judy and Pashley, courtesy of Miss Sarah


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

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

Lovebirds.

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

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

Angel enjoying a cuppa, courtesy of Miss Sarah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Perfect Fall Day

A Perfect Fall Day


It was a perfect fall day today: sunny and warm with just a hint of crispness on the breeze.
We met at South Campus LRT station and chatted for awhile…

Laura and Monie both had covetable boots.

Megan and Coreen
Elise and Micah. Check out Elise’s patterned tights.
then rode the multiuse paths north…

saw some incredible things…

admired the homes in the mature neighborhoods near the University 
(and commented on how few now are the original bungalows)…
I spent a lot of the ride admiring Monie’s cool slouchy purse with crossover strap and polkadot dress.

… as we took a 45 minute ride skimming the top of the river valley.

Sadly the leaves have mostly fallen already, but it did mean we had views through the branches.

High Level Bridge peeking through the trees
We stopped and took photos under the trees near the Faculty Club.

Karen looks amazing! 
She was our pregnant friend in the first Critical Lass ride, & her gorgeous little boy is 6 weeks old. 
The Fluevog boots, Sock Dreams tights, and corduroy skirt are a divine match to her vintage Sparta.
 Here’s another shot of the Sparta (swoon!):
Laura sewed this incredible liner for her Eaton’s Road King, BeBe, herself. 
She says the crucial thing is to dry-fit the bag to the basket before you sew the bottom in 
(which she learnt the hard way).

Coreen is effortlessly cool. Check out the button detail on her blouse and the purple tights.
Gorgeous Selene and her gorgeous Raleigh. 
We’re so very grateful that they weren’t badly hurt in the crosswalk incident a few weeks back.
You know, Judy, it’s hard to get a good photo of a photographer! 
Matching the narrow belt you cinched your shirtdress with to your covetable Yakkay helmet? Nice touch.
Judy has lots of terrific photos from the ride on her blog.
This shot really shows off Micah’s sundress and t-strap shoes,
and gives a nice glimpse of a beautiful tattoo and wonderful large-gauge ear plugs (I wish I had caught her name! update: on Corby).

Group shot. Thanks to the stranger who took this for us.
After photos, we continued on to the little retail area in Garneau near the High Level Bridge.
I also attempted some self-portraits:
I made the layered sterling silver chain necklace myself 
(the secret: tiny split rings and special pliers made for holding them open).
The hemp-blend skirt has drawstrings that let you ruche the top layer as little or as much as you like.
I triple-tied them so they wouldn’t end up in my spokes. 
My equestrian boots are old favourites, 
bought to allow my summery 1st-pregnancy wardrobe be worn for my 2nd (autumn) pregnancy.
The dry leaves in the bike lane rustled as our wheels rolled through them.
I’m glad not all the leaves had fallen.
Our destination.
I didn’t take any photos in redbike, our favourite LBS, but it’s a wonderful shop full of temptations. I finally got to meet Cliff, the owner, and got some advice on a rack for installing a child seat – and Chris noticed that one of Mary Poppins’ tires has a loose spoke and needs attention. (So *that’s* what’s creating that wobble in her gait!). I’ll be returning very soon so they can attend to that and some other somewhat-urgent maintenance matters for me (Getting to EBC has been a challenge for me lately!).
Then we popped into The Sugarbowl for rehydration and an early supper. I probably spent an hour a day there back when it was a cafe and I was a grad student. The menu has changed, but the atmosphere is still wonderful there. We arrived just as the menu was switching, so some of us ordered right away from the brunch menu and the rest of us waited 15 minutes and ordered from the dinner menu. I had the delicious corn bread and part of an enormous serving of crab fritters – the rest got packed to come home.
Doesn’t Selene’s oatmeal look delish?
Karen’s husband Dan and a friend met us at the bistro, so we all got to see her beautiful baby boy.
Then we parted ways, and Laura and I rode back the way we had come. 
On the way back I just enjoyed the ride without using my camera.
Thanks to all the fabulous women who came out for the ride!
Next Critical Lass ride date will be announced soon.
Update: in addition to Judy’s blog post, there are more fantastic photos of our beautiful ride at Coreen’s blog.