E-ville is one of the most spread out, sprawled out cities in the world, covering more area than cities with 10 times its population. This place was built for cars first, people second, and beyond the central core that I inhabit with the rest of the green, radical and artistic types, there’s seas of suburbs. Before people started questioning the wisdom of infinite suburban sprawl, the city annexed large tracts of farmland for future ‘burbs, and in the outskirts, some of the agricultural land still remains. With friends, I’ve been taking rides out to explore this country side within the city limits. On this day, we headed south.
As I got my gear ready and pumped up my tires, my friend mentioned that she wanted to check out a yard sale at a nearby housing co-op on the way out. I wasn’t too excited about the idea, because if either of us bought something it would mean carrying it with us the whole ride. It was rather ironic that I was the one who ended up making a purchase – a pair of red sunglasses that couldn’t leave my face after I tried them on. With my new hipster-vision, we hit the road.
My impression of the area was a little bit country & a little bit country club.
Every time I go down this way, I have to cycle further and further to escape the metastasizing suburbs. It’s sad to know that the land in this area is now worth too much to use it for agriculture, and that it won’t be long until the only semblance of countryside will be the privatopias and gated clubs where the rich play.
Amongst the new developments, we found a long abandoned homestead.
It looked as if the house & barn were nearly on the property line of a new development, as everything had been bulldozed to within a couple meters of the house on one side, while the secondary poplar growth sheltered it from the other side. I suspect that this house was once completely hidden by the trees, which would explain why there was so little evidence of vandalism or graffiti in such an easily accessible abandoned building. I doubt it will last long once the bored children of the new residents find it.
Luckily for us, the private clubs in the area aren’t used to cyclists crashing their digs, so we picnicked on some fairly exclusive real estate (not pictured) before starting on our return journey to the center of E-Ville.
On returning from every excursion to the outskirts, the biggest issue always seems to be how to get across the bloody Anthony Henday freeway/ring road/exclusion zone. Things weren’t looking good as we approached the Terwillegar overpass. The whole thing (this is a major thoroughfare) was closed for paving, including the bridge, and the detour to the next overpass would have taken us miles and miles out of our way, and we didn’t have lights or that much time before sundown to be riding on unlit backroads. There was a construction worker manning the barricades, but it looked like the overpass was clear and still passable beyond that. We looked at each other and said “wanna just go for it?” We rode straight for the closed road and gave the worker a cutesy wave. He looked confused for a second, and then made a gesture that said “I’m averting my eyes and I didn’t see you.”
We encountered a crew at the top of the overpass and told them our sob story about trying to get home before dark. They seemed mildly sympathetic and gave us tacit permission to pass so long as we gave the workers & equipment a wide berth. We took off before they could give it a second thought and began riding & gallivanting down the middle of an empty freeway, woo-hoo!
I must say, I’m running out of freeways and other major roads in this town that I haven’t ridden while they were car free, but it still never gets old for me.
After the joyride, we got lost in the twisty streets of T-town before finally finding a familiar bike path to take us home. Overall, it was an amazing day including good riding, good exploring and good company, and I can’t wait until the next long ride.