I wasn’t quite as successful as an early riser on day 2 of my Thanksgiving cycling mission. The Saturday morning ride, followed by a solid afternoon of pedaling around town pulling my son in a trailer (as well as a heap o’ groceries in my front basket), had left me at day’s end as drained of energy as the Energizer bunny running on cheap, counterfeit batteries. At night, I slept deeply and then through my alarm the next morning, resulting in a late start. My knees were a little sore for the exertions of the previous day, which is uncommon for me. I blame the long, slow climb up Cameron Ave with a full load of cargo.
For Sunday’s ride, I decided to dust off the tweed jacket, and take my 3-speed Raleigh 20 for a leisurely tour of the more Southern end of the river valley. I know that some readers are now shaking their heads sadly at my choice of bicycle. Perhaps a 3-speed isn’t the best choice on a day when one has sore knees? I am happy to report that my knees felt fine and that I rode my bike with immense enjoyment (in accordance with rule #3 of The Society of 3 Speeds). I did, however, walk up a couple of hills.
As always, the R20 was a delight to ride, handling nimbly and moving faster than one would expect from its appearance.
By this time, I had decided that my destination would be the Fort Edmonton Footbridge as I’d only been there once before and that was a couple of years ago. I dipped down into the river valley and eventually found my self at one one Edmonton’s much discussed public artworks, the Talus Dome. Although the artists claim that it’s supposed to represent the accumulation of stone at the foot of a cliff, I think that any mechanically inclined cyclist will immediately recognize that it is actually a pile of giant ball bearings. I don’t mean that as a criticism and I’m keen to see the bike they could be installed in. I wonder if Park Tools could supply an appropriately sized SBC-1 on special order.
From the dome I headed onwards towards the Footbridge, taking the lovely gravel path down by the river. The R20 was perfectly at home riding the rough stuff.
After the stop at the bridge, I headed for home. I wasn’t sure what time it was but I felt that I was likely running late so I did my best to pick up the pace. Where possible, I clicked the R20 into third gear and zipped right along. A lot of people feel that the stock gearing is too high, but I actually quite like the option of digging in and going fast.
I made a small error in deciding to explore a few new trails on the way back and was confronted with a no bicycle sign. Not wanting to backtrack, I found a trail that wasn’t marked and went onward. This lead to a large field that was absolutely swarming with people and dogs. There were more no cycling signs here so I detoured onto a large trail with no prohibiting signage. Unfortunately, there more swarms of dog walkers here so I got off and walked my bike. The dirty looks I was getting from some of the people made me think that I was still in no bike territory, so I gave my chirpiest “good-morning” greeting to everyone I met. Many of of them replied in a guarded, terse manner. Hey folks, I’m walking my bike AND I’m wearing a snappy jacket: surely that counts for something. As I left the trail upon reaching the Hawrelak Park bridge I glanced back over my shoulder and saw, yep, another no cycling sign.
While I was riding through Hawrelak a passing cyclist asked me what model of bike I was riding. It turns out that he, too, had an R20 that he was thinking of fixing up. I took the oppourtunity to praise the little bike and to defend the three speed hub as a practical bit of equipment (Rules #1 and #2 of the SOTS).However, I am embarrassed to admit that even when directly asked if I was a member of a cycling club, and even though I was wearing an SOTS button and riding a bike with an SOTS sticker, I STILL forgot to mention the Society of Three Speeds. I hope that there aren’t some sort of demerits awarded for such a lapse. I’ll do better next time.