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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tour of Alberta 2014 Preview

The second edition of the Tour of Alberta bike race runs September 2-7 and the race route includes some notable changes from last year, some of them intriguing and others perplexing. Here are one humble fan’s observations about this year’s route (which can be found on the Tour website): 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Victoria Trail Ride

View of the North Sask River from the Victoria Trail
72 km. 20 plaques. 7 dogs. 2 cars.

That’s the stat line from our ride along the Victoria Trail last Monday. But the real story of our glorious Victoria Trail excursion can’t be captured by the numbers alone.

For a few years now, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of riding the Victoria Trail. I don’t mean the drab arterial road in northeast Edmonton; rather, I’m talking about the remnants of a nineteenth-century settler trail that runs along the North Saskatchewan River south of Smoky Lake, Alberta (about 130 km north east of the capital). In the 1860s, the Victoria Trail made up part of the much longer Carlton Trail, used by Hudson’s Bay and Metis traders, which joined Fort Garry (Winnipeg) to Fort Edmonton.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pit Stops: Meewasin United Church

The outhouse at Meewasin United Church is a little miracle.

I discovered it one day while out riding along Highway 627 west of Edmonton near Keephills. The church steeple drew me in for a look-see. Nothing out of the ordinary, at first glance—the usual graveyard, spruce trees, small bell tower. Then I saw it: the shimmering white aura of the most beautiful outhouse in the world.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tour de Pants

This is what I love about the Tour de France.

In what other major sporting event do you find the competitors rubbing up against semi-drunk, almost-naked, enthusiastic, male spectators? Imagine Lebron James heading in for a layup and having to weave around a dude like this guy Vincenzo Nibali had to deal with in the Pyrenees the other day. Or Rafael Nadal retrieving a smash down the line and having to dodge a fat bastard in a speedo. Bicycle racing in Europe, and the Tour especially, is unique in the sports world in this regard. No fences, no barriers protecting athletes from the crazy fans. It’s all freestyle, fans and athletes figuring out how to co-exist on the roads. It's wild. And I hope it never changes.