Spring Cycling (Edmonton Style)

Spring Snowstorm

This is what the second day of spring looked like here in Edmonton. During the mild weather of late February and early March I was getting used to riding on asphalt again. Dreams of zipping about on summer bikes were starting to overwhelm me. No worries about that happening soon. I am fully back in winter cycling mode.

It was a pretty good spring snowstorm that settled in on my fair city on Thursday. The morning ride to work was through an idyllic winter wonderland. The snow was falling heavily but had only accumulated a couple of inches deep. It was such a perfect winter morning (pardon me, spring morning) that I was tempted to call in sick at work and spend  the day cycling. Instead, I dutifully toiled the day away on the huge backlog of work while frequently glancing out the window at the ever deepening snow. During my lunch break I went out for a quick ride around the industrial neighbourhood and had a lot of fun.

The ride home promised to be interesting. The radio was reporting the closure of major roads and many accidents. There was a 100 vehicle pile up on the QE2 highway with as many injuries. One of the trucks was hauling a load of cattle that had to be moved from the scene of the accident. I can only imagine the chaos. It took 12 hours for the police to get the highway open to traffic again. The news reports presented such a dire image that our boss shut the shop down 2 hours early and sent us home.

I am pleased to report that my ride home was tranquil and pleasant. My route was through lightly traveled residential roads and the MUPs. Close to a foot of gorgeous white powder had blanketed the city streets. In these conditions you just stick to the low gears and churn steadily and slowly along. Sometimes, the back wheel acts more like a riverboat paddlewheel than anything else. On the rare occasion that a motor vehicle approached me from behind I pulled over to the side and let them pass. On days like this you can’t be sure that drivers have control over their vehicles. On most occasions the motorists gave me a friendly thank you wave for the courtesy. It’s nice when cyclists and drivers can get along like this.

As approached my usual entrance to the trail system I found that the way was completely blocked by a car that had slid down into the trail.. I stopped to talk to the woman in the car to see if she was OK. She was fine and told me that she was calling for a tow truck but was on hold. Later that night I heard on the news that people could expect to wait for up to 6 hours for non-emergency tows. I wonder how long she was there

The ride through the ravine was beautiful. I was the only cyclist and I saw very few pedestrians. It was a real pleasure to break fresh tracks through the deep snow. I stopped frequently to snap photos and shoot a little bit of video. I only had to resort to pushing my bike at a few spots. All the while I was happy to not be in a vehicle creeping along the main roads through the glacially slow traffic.

As I neared home I found that the trail by the LRT tracks had been plowed. This was a very happy way to end the ride. I arrived at my house wobbly legged and drenched in sweat but quite content.

Riding through beautiful snowy Mill Creek Ravine.

Riding through beautiful snowy Mill Creek Ravine.

aking these photos while plowing through the snow with one hand on the bars and one hand holding the camera was....not easy.

Taking this photo while plowing through the snow with one hand on the bars and one hand holding the camera was….not easy.

Having taken the effort to snap these photos I'd hate to not use them on the bog.

Having taken the effort to snap these photos I’d hate to not use them on the blog.

One more...

One more…

Be careful where you set your bike down. You might not find it again.

Be careful where you set your bike down. You might not find it again.

Spring Snowstorm

I went for a short walk in the woods.

I went for a short walk in the woods.

Back on the roads for some contrast

Back on the roads for some contrast

Home again with a smile on my face.The winter beard earning its keep.

Home again with a smile on my face.The winter beard earning its keep.

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13 thoughts on “Spring Cycling (Edmonton Style)

    • Thanks! You score 1000 Tuckamoredew Points* for noticing the first appearance of my recent bike build . It wasn’t meant to be a winter bike but just before the snow fell I had put my best winter tires on it so I could test ride it. More on that later.

      I like fresh snow, I like hard packed snow, I’m not too keen on the halfway packed snow.

      * 1,000,000 points may be redeemed for a can of the soft drink of your choice.

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      • Ha ha! I may lose track of my points before I win the soda. But then again, I don’t drink soda, so that’s OK 🙂

        Yes, the halfway packed snow (can only hold half the weight of the bicycle plus rider) is the real issue. I rarely come across snow I can ride on top of for much distance, though it doesn’t stop me from trying. Can result in sudden head-over-handlebars if not careful!

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    • Yes, it was the sort of ride that leaves one rubbery legged for a couple of hours afterwards. It’s fun to do occasionally but I certainly wouldn’t want it to be a normal part of my daily commute.

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  1. Your dedication is extremely admirable. I don’t think I’m that dedicated to anything… Except maybe beer. Actually, no. Your passion even trumps my love of beer and that is saying something.

    Like

  2. This must be one of the few times where Edmonton and most of Northern Europe have had similar climates.in March. I was hoping to come back from a recent trip to spring. Some hope, only two warm days since December and both of them were out of Belgium.

    Good trick with the camera, I know I would be too busy staying upright.

    Like

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