Autumn Critical Lass and Bridge Musings

14 10 2013

I’m sure I’ve said it before that fall is the best time of year in these parts, what better time for a ride?

While it’s true that there was snow on the ground by this date last year, this fall has been comparatively kind with many sunny days and minimal wind but still not too warm. On a late day Critical Lass ride we could bask in the golden glow of the last of the leaves and the setting sun.

Looking over the river valley, enjoying the last light.

Looking over the river valley, enjoying the last light.

Crossing the High Level Bridge was the highlight of this ride.

Crossing the High Level Bridge was the highlight of this ride.

The High Level Bridge is part of my regular stomping grounds, so I somewhat take for granted what a monumentally huge, vertigo inducing piece of century old engineering it is. On this ride, however, there was a young rider making her first trip over the bridge who reacted much the same as I did on my first time crossing the bridge outside of a car at approximately twice her age..

First bridge crossing.

First bridge crossing.

Which is to say, she got a little freaked out. Enough that riding down the hill to the LRT Bridge and up the killer switchbacks to the University was looking like a reasonable alternative for returning to the south side.

Another lass crosses the bridge.

Another lass crosses the bridge.

I remembered the time when I was a teenager that I was with a freind and we were walking downtown from Whyte Ave. When we got to the bridge, she expressed her fear, and me and the other folks we were with convinced her that she could cross. She ended up having a panic attack after we’d barely started over the span, and it took three of us to get her back up the hill and onto a northbound bus.

I was really glad our young companion wasn’t as freaked out as that. She and her mom ended up taking the train back across the river while the rest of us cycled back across the bridge in the crisp fall evening air.

For more on Critical Lass, check out Loop Frame Love.


28 10 2012

How much time does it take to make a change? It’s fall, and the daytime highs have fallen 30 degrees (centigrade) in thirty days. A month ago, I was frolicking in the woods and wading in the river on my last S24O camping trip of the season and taking midnight joyrides to the city limits on the ’46 CCM.

Ready to head back to civilization.

It was a frolicking barefoot in the woods kind of vibe.

Here’s to midnight joy rides on antique bikes.

Today, I’m trying to remember where I stashed my studded tires.

This is only the beginning…

A month ago, I was working at a factory, while today, between my two part time bikey jobs, I’m a full time bike professional. Ironically, this has meant less commuting and less cycling in general.

“Sometimes the best maps will not guide you, you can’t see what’s round the bend. Sometimes the road leads through dark places. Sometimes the darkness is your friend.”

A month ago I had a rigid regimen and knew where I’d be at any given moment of the week but now I’m exploring the fluidity and freedom of making my own schedule. A month ago I had doubts about my ability to take on this change, but today I’m using skills I wasn’t sure I had, and finding new uses for old talents.

And even though the change in seasons is completely predictable & expected, like the bicycle wheel turns, it’s still a shock to the system. Unlike life, where change can come suddenly and unexpectedly if you’re open to it.

It’s snowing again. I really need to find my studded tires.

Last Dance With Marjory

26 10 2011

In the week before I had the accident on Marjory, I had been riding her quite a bit, her fenders protecting me from the autumn rains and her upright riding position allowing me to enjoy all the fall color. And I’d taken a lot of pictures.

Time out by the tamaracks.

Rainy days don't get me down.

Wheee! Zooming down a hill!

Marjory, you were a damn fine bike.

I already miss this bike a lot. There is a silver lining, though. It appears that I’ll be able to fix her, I’ll just need to find a new (to her) fork and probably a front fender. So the hunt is on. This is a fairly common style & color of bike, and EBC actually scrapped a very similar frame days before my accident, so I know there’s potential for one showing up. If I find a similar frame in a different color, I may just transfer the wheels and other upgrades onto it. Either way, it’s a winter project now.

Some way, some how, Marjory will be reborn. Good bikes never die.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’m pretty much recovered from the crash, and am back to my usual level of crankiness (pun intended).

Jasper in the Off Season

22 11 2010

Last week, before the snow flew, my companion and I headed out to Jasper to try to cure an acute case of gottagetouttatownitis before winter settled in. Of course, we brought the bikes.

"I think we took a wrong turn. Let me see the map."

I was expecting to see mountain bikes everywhere, but was surprised to find the town site saturated with pretty cruisers wherever we went. I’ve never seen so many shiny cruisers back home in Edmonton! Some of the hotels even have private cruiser fleets for their guests.

Not only were there cruisers everywhere, nobody bothered locking them up.

It was lovely late fall weather, partly cloudy with the temperature just above freezing, except in the canyons.

Icicle springs in Maligne canyon.

Looks like the guerrilla knitters got to Jasper the bear, but hey, scarves are de rigueur.

Without the throngs of tourists that usually flood the main attractions and clog up the roads, exploring Jasper and the surrounding areas by bicycle was perfect.

Empty parking lot at Maligne canyon, for what is usually a bustling tourist trap.

Rolling down mountain roads.

We tried out some of the gravel trails as well, but found it was too muddy and bumpy to be pleasant on our high pressure slicks.

Bundled up for a cool fall day of biking.

Obligatory scenic photo of an elk's ass.

Bye bye Jasper! Sundown came too early to get enough of you.

Summer, We Hardly Knew You

19 09 2010

With relatively early hard frost the last couple of nights, there’s no denying the slightly cheated feeling of the end of a lackluster summer. To put things in perspective, (or at least quantify the crappiness of the weather) the last spring snowfall was on May 30th, leaving E-ville with 98 frost free days in between. Hey summer, you better have a great encore, or I’m demanding a refund!

But I won’t stop riding, I’ll just wear more clothes. Fall has always been one of my favorite times of year, perhaps because of the need to get out and enjoy every fair, sunny day, because it could be the last.

Fall - changing leaves, pants, scarf & sweaters.

This was also my first pictures with the (probably stolen but whoever lost it hasn’t filed a police report) bike I recently found near my house. If you (or someone you know) is missing most of a Transend Ex, you should either contact me directly or put up a notice on Stolen Bikes in Edmonton (and do it soon, before I become more attached to this beauty, and name her or something). Even if you don’t have the serial number, a detailed description of its unique modifications (some of which I’ve already changed in case anyone was getting any ideas) should suffice. I’d love to keep this bike, I’ve already built a sweet new wheel for it, but I do want to exhaust all avenues to find its proper owner. I’ve spoken with a cop about this, who informed me that there wasn’t much else I could do, and that if I turned it over to the police, it would just end up being auctioned off as the serial number is not in the system. The cops only keep found bikes for thirty days. I’ve had this bike for more than half that amount of time already. How long do I keep searching for the person who lost it?