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.
Considering that we woke to a downpour that morning, and we were competing with Fathers’ Day for peoples’ time, we think the first Edmonton Kidical Mass was a roaring success!
Big thanks to all the families who joined us for part or all of the event, Wonderstuff for the fabulous face painting and incredible balloon art, our guests Pedalheads (the bike camp people, not the local LBS) for the safety talk before the ride, and our sponsors at Bikeology! Thanks also to local radio station NOW fm and the Danone people who unexpectedly dropped by our picnic site with tunes and treats.
A few things we learned:
– Face painting and balloons take time to do well, so we ended up only having time for a single loop around the park, instead of two or three as originally planned. Playground stops with small children also always take longer than you think they will.
– Balloon decorations on helmets look fabulous in photos, but even the slightest breeze will make the decorated helmets very uncomfortable to wear. My tall balloon hat actually moved the helmet around a lot on my head, which was distracting and felt unsafe. Balloon art that strapped to handlebars or wrists worked great, though.
– Kids on balance bikes or training wheels travel at speeds low enough that some cargo bikes will feel unstable and need to pass, so choose which adult will act as the sweep accordingly.
– We heard from a few attendees that they knew families who had not been able to come because they didn’t have the time to ride to the event, or a vehicle that allows them to transport their cargo bikes or kid-haulers across town. Of course organizers in other cities have had the same issue. Our solution will be to move the ride around the city, and so we have created an Edmonton Kidical Mass page on Facebook where we can run polls to figure out which neighborhoods to visit next. Please join the conversation there! Our next family ride will be in September or October.
– There is now a company in Montreal who are importing bakfietsen and other Dutch bicycles to Canada, and that’s how Karen and Mike came by their beautiful bakfiets. It’s fitted with two seats, so all three kids (ages 5, 5, and 7) (or, as Mike pointed out, one tipsy adult) can ride in the box. Sometimes the eldest child gets out and helps his Mom push it up the river valley hills, but otherwise they find it well suited to Edmonton’s terrain.
PS: we are trying something new by posting all the photos on Flikr (you can see the whole set here), then adding images to the posts using the URL. Let me know in the comments how that works, ok?
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.)
During April, I spent a lot of time supervising my 7- and 9-year-olds as they rode up and down our cul-de-sac getting used to their new-to-them bikes from local not-quite-little bike shop United Cycle (they had both outgrown their previous rides). Dom (above) has a Norco ZX-80 steel-frame mountain bike. It has 20-inch wheels, a hand brake, and a rear coaster brake. Audrey (below) has a Norco Groove with 24-inch wheels, an 18-speed derailleur setup with twist shifters, and hand brakes. Both of them are now riding confidently enough that we can go for longer rides, and travel the mile to their school in about 10 minutes (depending on the timing of the lights where we cross the busy road).
On April 9th, I did a 30 minute ride by myself to explore the other end of the multi-use path along the top of Whitemud Creek Ravine in my neighborhood, on Trudy Phillips. Had to do a snowbank portage around a crane that was installing windows in a house under construction, and the path was mostly largely wet and sandy, but it was just above zero and the sun was shining. I found a feather on the path, watched some crows and a raven about twice their size, and found a new secret entrance to the big field under the power lines beside the Henday.
Multiple snow storms plus a newly-discovered allergy to snow mould that knocked me flat for two weeks meant that I missed much of the rest of April. But look what came in the mail while I was waiting for conditions to improve:
By early May, the snow had melted, the snow mold had dried up, the paths had dried out (although they’re *still* covered in grit), and it was warm enough that the pussywillows were coming out and we could wear tank tops.
The Canada Goose sightings were also giving us hope that spring had finally arrived:
A week later it was 20C and glorious. I often joke that Edmonton gets only a week of spring, but this year it really was true.
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?
April is a tough month to ride in Edmonton, but I’m going to give 30 Days Of Biking another whirl.
Unfortunately right now the roads in my neighborhood look like this:
… and the bottom of my driveway looks like this:
…and I don’t have a winter bike yet, and studded tires won’t fit under the fenders of my Raleigh-built 3-speed lovelies. The roads inside my neighborhood will look like this until they melt. Many sidewalks are not much better, because the many houses under construction, awaiting purchase, or with snowbird owners mean long stretches of sidewalk are left unshoveled. Typically, in a city where people use brooms instead of shovels to clear their sidewalks, that would only be a nuisance, and so I’ve been considering winterizing a vintage folder or shopper to extend my cycling season. With a couple of dumps of wet heavy snow this winter, it means the terrain is pretty rough right now.
Luckily the multi-use paths in my neighborhood have been plowed by the city, and I have wonderful neighbors who shovel, so I can ride on the sidewalks for errands until the residential roads are clear. Not having studded tires will pose a problem if when the weather turns colder again, but I can use a regular bike for now. So, today I topped up the tires, oiled the chains, and took my daughter for a ride down the MUP alongside Rabbit Hill Road to the shops at the corner of 23rd Avenue. We had a particular mission in mind…
Hot cross buns from Prairie Mill Bakery. Mission accomplished. (How lucky am I to have them in my neighborhood?)
We also crossed the road to go to the drug store. Apart from a rack hidden in a snowbank, some mud, and a couple of large puddles to roll through, the conditions were lovely, sunny and above zero. Who’s to complain?
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.