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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.


Edmonton Kidical Mass

Edmonton Kidical Mass

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!

We had bubbles and sidewalk chalk, which were a big hit with our littlest attendees.


Pedalheads’ booth had information about the bicycle camps they run for kids from preschoolers through to teens, and had some prize giveaways.
The craft table was stocked with star shaped cardboard and foam, washable glitter glue, and sequins, with the intent that they could be used as spoke cards. Mostly they didn’t dry in time to be used, and I suspect wouldn’t stay in spokes without an assist from some tape.
Some of the older kids created elaborate bicycle decorations with the supplied crepe paper ribbon while waiting for everyone to have faces painted and balloons made.
Janice from Wonderstuff making magic with her paintbrush.

Matching face-paint and balloon animal. Cool!
Elaborate balloon art on Erin’s helmet. It was fascinating to watch him at work.
Robert was so excited about his dragon, with spiralling flames and knobs all down his back. (Note the print on his shirt. I want it in my size!)

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.

Signal demonstration before the ride.
Helmet fitting check, led by the rep from Pedalheads.
And we’re off! We rode around the park to the playground. This shot was taken over my shoulder and you can see my helmet balloons in a corner of the frame.
Pulling in to the playground area at the other side of the park.
The grownups’ bikes at rest beside the playground. (You can see my huge balloon hat in the bucket of the Madsen.) Unfortunately none of my playground photos turned out, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the kids had fun and we stayed longer than intended.
It’s a smidge blurry, but I love this shot of Karen with 2-day-old Charlotte in her sling, standing by as the boys get bundled into the Madsen. (Karen didn’t ride, but came down to the park just to hang out.)
My daughter Audrey on the ride back around the park to our picnic site. (This was meant to be another group shot, but taking photos over your shoulder as you ride makes it really hard to frame things properly. This is actually the only one of about 10 photos I took on the way back that turned out.)

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.

Do. Want.

– 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? 


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!

Spring At Last: April and May in Edmonton

Spring At Last: April and May in Edmonton


Dom on his Norco ZX-80 at the end of March.

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).

Audrey on her Norco Groove in mid-May.
Audrey on her Norco Groove in mid-May.

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.

Trudy ('72 3-speed Phillips) on a dry patch of the MUP.
Trudy (’72 3-speed Phillips) on a dry part of the MUP.
Much of the path looked more like this, wet and gritty. Also, long down winter jackets = I would have baked on a less windy day or a longer ride. If I do take up winter riding I need a layering re-think.
Much of the path looked more like this, wet and gritty. Also, long down winter jackets = I would have baked on a less windy day or a longer ride. If I do take up winter riding I need a layering re-think.
Look what I found! We think it's a great horned owl feather, but we'll check with the experts at John Janzen Nature Centre later this week.
Look what I found! We think it’s a great horned owl feather, since there are a few that live in the ravine.

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:

Oh! Look what I got in the mail! Don't be jealous, visit the Society of Three Speeds to get your membership. Three speeds is all you need!
Don’t be jealous, just visit the Society of Three Speeds website to get your membership. Three speeds is all you need!

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.

May 5th. Audrey riding ahead of me on the MUP.
May 5th. Audrey riding ahead of me on the MUP.

The Canada Goose sightings were also giving us hope that spring had finally arrived:

As you can see, this goose was really close to the MUP and not at all afraid of the humans whizzing past.
As you can see, this goose was really close to the MUP and not at all afraid of the humans whizzing past.

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.

Green grass and warm sunshine, and the rod-brake DL-1 out of hibernation. Aaaah.
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?

Easter weekend bike ride

Easter weekend bike ride

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?


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.