A promising sign.
Every now and then the city completely closes down a major thoroughfare into central E-Ville for the summer, for paving, widening, revamping, and the creation of a 5 month long traffic jam. Not that I took that much notice, easily bypassing the resulting mess every day on my bike, but I was keeping my eye on this particular road, and when I heard it was about to re-open, I knew it was time for action.
It's all downhill from here...
As well as being a major artery, Scona Road is also a long hill that goes all the way down into the valley that bisects otherwise flat Edmonton. So what do you do when presented with a wide, empty, freshly paved street on an epic hill? You get some friends and some bikes and let gravity do the rest!
Holy crap! I'm rolling down the hill at alarming speed, trying not to scream, holding on with one hand while the other tries stay steady to take an action shot!
We weren’t the only ones marking Scona Road and 99th Street’s last night of being car-free, though. There was the odd pedestrian walking in the middle of the road, a guy walking his dog who stopped to chat, and a group of about 10 longboarders taking advantage of some of the best hill bombing of the season.
Longboarders meet cyclists.
The first time we went down, we ended up in oncoming traffic on an open road in the maze of interchanges at the bottom of the hill. The second time, we followed the longboarders down a safer route that went under the James MacDonald bridge. They had moved some of the road closed signs for an easier path, but seeing some of them fearlessly duck under the barricades at high speed like it was nothing made it look unnecessary for them.
The other part of hill bombing is increasing potential energy (going back up). These guys were making pretty good time.
Riding back up the hill wasn’t that bad, with the fresh pavement and the lack of car exhaust to choke on, plus it was a great way to warm up on a chilly night.
Panda action on a wide open & gleaming new 99 St.
I ended my night rosy cheeked and glowing from the rush of the hill bomb and the push of the hill climbs. If only there could be Scona bombing every Saturday night.
Also, check out my favorite reporter’s account of the evening’s adventures on Gig City.