…Now with 50% Less Bollards

14 10 2013

One of my favourite routes to get out of the river valley from Rossdale is an old, slightly neglected bike path that runs parallel to 97 Ave. It’s a gentle climb over several blocks, and now it has 50% less bollards!

They took out half of those bloody bollards!

They took out half of those bloody bollards!

And now that there’s one less bollard in the way, anyone hauling a trailer now actually has a chance to make it up the hill.

This path continues into the Legislative grounds where you can access the High Level Bridge and becomes a much more pleasant, though slightly steeper ride.

Choose your flavor of bumpy - unkempt asphalt or  sidewalk slabs.

Choose your flavor of bumpy – poorly maintained asphalt or sidewalk slabs.

The Leg ground paths have not, however, gone on a bollard diet, and still continue to stand as a monument to the 80’s.

Road Bike Season

25 04 2012

All spring I have been watching the road and trail conditions, waiting for the last remnants of ice to disappear and for the city to sweep up all the gravel it’s laid down throughout the winter.

Notice that there's so much debris in the counter-flow bike lane that it obscures the markings. More notable is the awesome neighbour who pressure-washed clean the lane where it passed by his house. I sure appreciate not having to choose between no traction and oncoming traffic.

Road bike season started for me the day before my b-day when I realized that one of the stays on Marjory’s rack had snapped as I was loading it up, and I just couldn’t bear another day of chugging on the heavy Transend. I had been wanting a long ride on le Mercier for my birthday, so I thought I’d better break it out and give it a try. I’ve missed that bike: so swift, so light, yet handles so well I can trackstand forever and never have to take my feet off the pedals.

So, if you’ve been following my blog for a long time you may remember that last year, I got a flat tire for my birthday. This year, after a roll through a short but intense rainstorm, I wiped out. I was rolling through the leg (pronounced “ledge”) grounds (where it looked like it hadn’t rained) and hit several inches of pea gravel as I was navigating around the stupid traffic control arms they put up after 9/11 that they never open for cyclists, even though it’s a designated bike route. There was a peace officer in the little booth who saw me go down, but didn’t come out to check on me until I was ready to get back on my bike again, when he was a patronizing ass about it. I rode home slowly and carefully, avoiding jarring potholes, ordered a pizza, and spent the rest of the night taking it easy and icing my sore spots.

The next day the sun was shining, my body was hardly aching at all, and Mercier seemed no worse for wear, so I decided to try once again for an epic ride.

Keeping an easier pace than usual through the valley meant I was more prone to seeing little dirt side paths and wondering "what's down there?"

Le Mercier, after a roll through the grass.

Signs of previous visitors.

There's still a little ice on the river.

Obligatory awkward self-portrait with bicycle.


Finding myself famished in a far flung suburb after most places closed, onion rings and root beer was the best I could do for fuel while still keeping an eye on my bike.

After turning back towards home, a long, lighted, clear bike path was a welcome sight. Not pictured: more deer.

Of Bike Paths and Snacks

31 12 2011

It’s slippery out there, folks! So, please be careful, no matter what form of transportation you’re rocking!

Better salty like a pretzel...

...than glazed like a donut...

...though sprinkles make icing OK.

Winter riding sure works up the appetite.

Fairweather Bike Lanes

27 11 2011

Since the installation of new bike lanes in E-Ville this year, the question on many all-weather cyclists mind has been “Will the city clear the new bike lanes during the winter, or will they be used as places to dump snow?”

Today, I got an answer on 76 Ave.

And it looks like "dump the snow in the bike lane" is winning.

I can’t say I’m surprised. The counter-flow lanes in Garneau have also been (not) maintained this way in the winter since they’ve been put in, and it’s been my practice to just ignore them once the snow flies. Especially because once the road markings are covered, drivers have no reason to expect to see cyclists coming the wrong way down a one-way street. Still, I’m disappointed.

Even more disappointing, I hear that the city is putting funding for clearing the multi-use pathways (which they do a fairly decent job at) on the chopping block, as well as funding for any new bicycle and active transportation infrastructure. If this seems as counter-productive to you as it does to me, let the mayor and your councilor know before Dec 9th!

A Fail Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

7 03 2010

This actually isn't the first time I've encountered cops driving or parking in a bike path, though this is first time it's been one emblazoned with "Think & Drive!" and "saferoads.com" blocking the lane.

So the cop noticed me snapping this flick. He backed up the old “think & drive” mobile & got out to talk to me. What transpired went something like this:

Cop: Why are you taking my picture?

Me: Don’t you think it’s ironic that a car that says “think & drive” is parked so it’s blocking the bike path?

Cop: (awkward silence)

Cop: Don’t you know what we’re doing here?

Me: (Trying to hold back the flood of smart-ass responses that question left an opening for) Um, no. What are you doing here?

Cop: We’re cracking down on seatbelt and restraint infractions (and something about it being crackdown on seatbelt infraction month, trying to make it sound all important like).

Me: Okay. Look, I know it’s early in the season…

Cop: (interrupts) it’s the beginning of a month long campaign.

Me: I meant the bicycling season, and there’s not as many of us cyclists out here as there are in the summer, but…

Cop: (interrupts again) Do you want me to move onto the street? There’s room there for me.

Me: (smiles & nods)

Cop: Get out of my way so I can move this car then.

Me: Thank you. Have a good evening.

And then I continued on my journey down the busiest bike path in E-town in my little bikey world as the cop took a break from protecting us from ourselves to back up the bike path and reposition himself next to the gridlock. The dude was the one of the least jerky cops I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with.