Finding Your Own Private Shangri-La

28 09 2011

It’s out there, located in a hole on the map where it looks like there’s nothing there. But there has to be something there, and that piques my curiosity. So after some research on the geology, history, and inhabitants of said hole on the map, a long, but not too long exploratory ride is in order to check it out.

Taking the risk to go somewhere off the map pays off with waking up in paradise.

Map 'n' Nap.

I love maps, but sometimes the best things aren’t on them. Often, my favorite  places are my faves because no one else can find them or easily get to them and stink them up. And being a cyclist in a place designed for cars is like riding a tool that detects cracks in the matrix. Combined with a healthy sense of geekery, anything’s possible, including a private white sand beach with clean, deep water, biking distance from a land locked city.

A perfect day for fording rivers on touring bikes, though I didn't make it across and had to push. Gravel bottomed streams are really hard to ride through on narrow, high pressure tires.

After a couple of fords and thinking we’d seen all there was to see, we were getting ready to head back home when my knowledge of water erosion and deposition patterns and insatiable curiosity intersected, and I found Tremendous Beach.

Soft sand, clean water, no douchebags. This place is a miracle.

Warm, natural, perfect white sand.

All plans for the rest of the day were now off, and we swam and relaxed and frolicked on the beach on an absolutely perfect day. But this was more than just a day at the beach. We were in a state of disbelief and shock. How could this place possibly be here and no one know about it? Would it only be a matter of time before it was flooded racist good old boys in pickups with truck balls, leaving trails of beer cans and fast food garbage in their wake?

Good bike - got me to the wild beach, though the beach isn't the best for my bike.

So I’m not going to tell you where to go, but to just go. Ride, explore, discover, learn, take the path less traveled, push yourself and your bike to the limit and leave no trace. There is no better excuse to ride than to see what’s there, and no better reward than finding a hidden jewel.

Summer may be over, but here's wishing you more perfect riding days.



Riding Into the Past

16 09 2011

No matter the occasion, cycling there is the way to go. Even if it’s an old-west-glam themed wedding in Fort Edmonton Park.

In costume and riding Poplar, my antique loop frame, the park staff were happy to let me ride right up 1905 street to the church and park in front. (Like today, in 1905, bicycles get the best parking spots!)

Checking out the "newest" attraction on 1920 Street.

After the reception, I explored the empty streets of the historical park on two wheels. Usually, bikes are not permitted in the park, but security (who were also riding bikes) didn’t seemed bothered about costumed wedding guests harmlessly gallivanting through the boardwalks and gravel roads in the after-hours. I quite enjoyed riding my bike back in time and through those ghostly streets that represent days long gone.

Poplar is actually much newer than anything that Fort Edmonton Park represents, but it felt right riding that particular bike, like she was going home. Ironically, the only trouble I had with the old rustbucket (I say that lovingly) was when she blew a spoke on freshly paved Keillor Road on the way there. Sigh, always another repair…

A Ride Through the Alley of Light

2 09 2011

Located between Jasper & 102 Ave, and 103 St & 104 St, local artists painted  an entire alley in an attempt to reclaim it as public space. Check it out before it returns to alley grime!

Mercier gets down to some YEG lovin'

An entire block of alley driving surface was covered in colorful patterns in three directions.

An invitation to look down.

I doubt this will last the winter, so I highly recommend having a look at this ambitious and stunning piece of public art soon!