Folding Bike Sunday

I haven’t been spending much time reading or posting blogs here at WordPress for a week or so.There has been no shortage of bikey activities, though.

Yesterday, was the big Spring Bike and Bake Sale at both Bikeworks locations. I was at the North shop and we  pretty much sold all the tuned up bikes and several as-is ones. The repair stands were pretty much fully occupied throughout the day, as well. I brought my camera to take a few pictures of the event but I was kept so busy bouncing back and forth between patrons that I totally forgot to use it. I heard that it was crazily busy at the South shop where they had many more bikes ready for sale. Now we have to get busy building some more. With spring having finally arrived ( no, really,it has) I’m feeling pretty excited that the cycling activity is picking up here in the city. I’m looking forward to a busy season at the shop.

Today, with the arrival of warm weather in Edmonton, my wife got the MEC  Origami out for her first ride of the year. For this relaxed, neighbourhood trip, I decided it was appropriate to take my 3-speed Raleigh 20. It was a pleasant, though cool, day for cruising around on our small-wheeled bikes.

MEC Origami

 

Raleigh 20

In accordance with rule #3 of the Society of 3-speeds, I rode my bike with immense enjoyment.

In accordance with rule #3 of the Society of 3-speeds, I rode my bike with immense enjoyment. 

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For a modest fee our artists can provide custom painted or carved graphics, team logos, drillium treatments and much more. If you would prefer to individualize your shoes yourself please order our Custom Clog Kit which includes the book “Whittling Made Easy” and a high quality pocket-knife.

Stay tuned for further announcements regarding our rapidly expanding product line. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow our Clog Blog for all the latest updates.

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Our warehouse is fully stocked and open for business. Order now!

Our warehouse is fully stocked and open for business. Order now!

Bike Commuting At Its Best / Geese In the Mist

I started this morning’s commute in a grumpy mood.  The temperature had dropped overnight to-14C and that thrilled me about as much as bathing in a tub full of garden slugs would.  The snowfall late last week didn’t faze me. I expect a few spring snowfalls. However, I do resent dealing with temperatures that low in April. The average low temperature for this date is-2C.

On the other hand, the roads were free of snow and the rising sun was blazing brightly in the clear blue sky. Once I re-accustomed myself to the effort of moving my heavy, clown-sized cold-weather boots around in circles I started to enjoy the ride a little. The studded winter tires whizzed pleasantly over the asphalt.

When I reached the river valley the commute got very good, indeed.

Geese in the mist

Geese in the mist

Tendrils of fog and small pans of ice race past each other.

Animal tracks stitch the ice like the work of a drunken tailor.

Animal tracks stitch the snow covered ice like the work of a drunken tailor.

Over the warming river a heavy fog was rising in the icy air.  The vapour was moving against the swift river current making it seem to race upstream at improbable speed. Even though I was running late for work I stopped on the pedestrian bridge and peered down at the streaming, roiling vortices  of mist. I watched its mesmerizing progress for several minutes.Two geese were slowly making their way upstream. They didn’t seem perturbed by the unusually cold weather. Why should they be? They’re covered in goose down.

Geese In The Mist

Geese In The Mist

Geese in the mist

At this point I wasn’t much concerned about the temperature, either. It was small price to pay for the spectacle over the river. As I rolled up through Mill Creek ravine I reflected on the benefits of bike commuting. It is certain that without the motivation of getting to work I’d not have been out cycling that early on a frigid spring morning. If I was in a motor vehicle I’d not have been able to impulsively stop in the middle of a bridge and watch the mist. Just as I was about to leave the ravine trail and head back up to street level a woodpecker started tapping away off to one side of the trail. Then another started on the other side, treating me to a percussive duet in real life stereo.

At this point my forward momentum drained away and I stalled in the middle of the trail caught between two conflicting forces. The river valley was urging me skip work and just spend the morning watching the river and riding the trails. I was already late for work because of my stop at the river. On the other hand, my knowledge of the huge backlog of jobs to be done at work and my sense of responsibility were pushing me to continue. I can’t remember the last time I skipped work without a legitimate reason. Legitimate in the view of an employer, that is. I don’t think that being momentarily overwhelmed by the joy of life counts.

Unfortunately, adult responsibility won the day: I left the ravine behind and cruised off to work. Still, it was a danged good commute.

Geese in the mist

Trial by Pothole

“And Lo! there shall be a wasteland of potholes. And the Judgement that they shall mete out to road users shall be stern and swift. Woe betide the driver or cyclist who’s vigilance  fails.”  The Book of Potholes

What lies beneath these placid depths ?

What lies beneath these placid depths ?

There is a nine block stretch of 97th street, extending north from 63 Ave that has achieved a truly sublime density of potholes. It has become so awful that you can only admire it.This Promenade of Potholes has been forming for a few years now but over the winter it really blossomed into its current impressive state.  Back in  2011 I wrote about the dubious condition of this stretch of road. It was noteworthy because it was a newly designated bike route with signs and sharrows. Little did I know that the passing of nearly two years (with the accompanying two winter freeze thaw cycles) would result in a nearly post-apocalyptic road surface.

I’m not the type to gripe endlessly about potholes. Road repair is ongoing and I understand that this area will be attended to by city crews this year. Good. In the meantime, I cycle cautiously through the area and take special care when the pools of meltwater hide the potholes lurking below. Drivers who know the this road are equally cautious. Most of them, that is.

Trial by Pothole

Last week on my way home I was negotiating the lane shown above. At the time the area was still mostly flooded with water from the rapidly melting snow. An SUV driver directly behind me followed for less than 10 seconds before losing patience. He floored the gas pedal, aggressively passed me and then cut sharply in front of me (possibly in an attempt to splash me). As there was no oncoming traffic he could have easily passed at a safe and moderate speed. After passing he gunned the engine and raced down the road.

Would you drive at top  speed down this road?

Would you drive at top speed down this road?

A few seconds later (as I was considering making a rude gesture) a rare and splendid thing happened: he was instantly punished for his reckless driving. While splashing through the puddles the driver suddenly lost control of his vehicle and veered wildly over into the oncoming lane. He very nearly went off the road and onto the grass on the far side. It seems that he hit one of the submerged giant potholes.

This is probably the best outcome I could have hoped for. There was nobody else around on road but if there had been but it could have been a serious accident. I optimistically hope that a lesson was learned by the driver. With luck, he hit the hole hard enough to do some damage to his car. In any case, the incident put a smile on my face for the rest the trip home. During a trial by pothole, judgement is swift.

It might have been this mother of all potholes that      was the hand of justice. It is wide and deep enough to be an entrance to Pellucidar.

It might have been this mother of all potholes that was the hand of justice. It is wide and deep enough to be an entrance to Pellucidar.