Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review of O2 Cycling Rain Jacket

My O2 cycling jacket is mortally wounded. As you can see, it’s got a huge gash down the back, a bloodless death wound that severely compromises its status as “raingear.” I will attempt to patch it up with duct tape, but I fear the jacket’s days are numbered. Which is too bad because it served me well.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pit Stops: Pee-Horse Corner

Somewhere out Villeneuve way, there’s a little pull-out beside a fenced field populated by a couple of horses. In our little cycling community, this pit stop has come to be known as Pee-Horse Corner. We almost always stop at the pullout to say hello to the noble beasts and take a quick break. And to pee.

The correlation between this corner, horses, and peeing is not something we ever planned. It just kind of happened. The corner is a convenient halfway point on our usual northern loop, so it makes sense to stop thereabouts.  But over time, somehow, I’ve become conditioned to associating horses at the corner with the act of urination—my own.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Green and Gold Ride, Cooking Lake

It’s full autumn in Edmonton and for a few short weeks we've been enjoying a narrow riot of color in the trees and shrubberies of the capital area. No gaudy oranges or hectic reds for us.  In the aspen parkland  we get a limited but still rich palette of greens and golds.

The peak of autumn color here was some time last weekend. By Tuesday, the brightness had already begun to leach out with every passing second and many of the leaves had decided to make a break for it. With every commute past Alexandra Circle I see less green, less gold, more sky through the trees. Soon enough all will be brown. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Whistler Gran Fondo Report

This isn’t easy for me to admit but the Whistler Gran Fondo (WGF) may just be worth it after all.

A few months back, when I signed up for this event, I wrote here about how I had to hold my nose when clicking “Purchase” on the Gran Fondo registration website. The fee was a whopping  $270 for a one-day ride and that didn’t even include transportation back to Vancouver from Whistler. (That shuttle ride set me back another $85.) I was skeptical yet willing to give it a shot, mainly because of the rare chance to ride my bike along the stunning Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pavé Postscript

Alas, I wasn’t able to attend any of the final stages of the Tour of Alberta because I was in Vancouver riding the Whistler Gran Fondo (more on this another day) the exact weekend that the race passed through Edmonton. I did, however, watch some of it on television and read some of the press coverage of the race, and I’d like to follow up on my earlier post about the inclusion of dirt road and “Canadian Pavé” sections in Stage 4 in Strathcona County.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Canadian Pavé

Real European pavé

With the Tour of Alberta wending its way north in the coming days, I’m looking forward to stage 4 Saturday in Strathcona County. As I mentioned a few weeks back, this area just east of Edmonton features one of the most extensive and scenic networks of rural paved roads in Alberta, so it’s an obvious choice for a stage locale.

However, the Tour organizers have introduced a twist on this stage that, at least in theory, I really like: as the Tour website explains, parts of the stage (three sections for a total of 5 km) will take place on roads consisting of “dirt” and “Canadian Pave.” (Why it’s not “Albertan Pave,” I’m not sure.) This latter, of course, is a nod to the European tradition of racing on cobblestones or “pavé," as in the famous Paris-Roubaix race/mudbath. (Not sure what happened to the accent.)  

Friday, August 29, 2014

In Memoriam: The Long South Loop

The beloved Edmonton cycling route known as the Long South Loop (LSL), a 58 km-circuit which extended south of the city via 111 Street and 184 Street, connected along 41 Avenue SW, is kaput.

The official cause of death was a combination of urban sprawl, rampant development, greed, stupidity, and a general lack of resolve on the part of Edmonton’s civic politicians. The major roads of the southern half of the loop have been wrecked by massive construction projects and are no longer worth riding. The once-pristine farmland has been usurped by soulless developments with sinister, bucolic-sounding names like Chapelle, Keswick, and Kavanagh.