Wednesday, October 29, 2014

City of Fenders



I’ve never seen so many fenders. Or, for that matter, so many Subarus, or Priuses, or beards, nudie bars, doggy daycares, or really fine craft beers I’ve never heard of. But it’s the fenders that warm my heart. Rain is reality in Portland, so if you’re going to ride a bike here—and an impressive number of Portlandians do—then it only makes sense to fender up.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Portland Postcard


This is Saltzman Road, just west of Portland, Oregon, easily my favorite part of today’s ride up along Skyline Road and then around lovely Sauvie Island.

Saltzman Road isn’t really a road so much as a path up a mountain. Cars, technically, can drive part way up a narrow, switchbacky, crudely-paved laneway, but a gate forces the car people to park and walk. Bikes, however, can keep going up. And up. The climb is about 3000 feet, and the road gets narrower and narrower, while the forest gets thicker and thicker, ferns and moss closing in on all sides. Near the tippy top, fog filled in the few remaining open spaces.

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.