Winter Night Ride With Instruments

At this time of year most of my riding is night riding as only 7 1/2 hours currently separate sunrise and sunset. When I do find myself pedaling in the sunlight the unaccustomed light blazing off the snow is blinding.The prospect of lengthening days is a good reason to celebrate the upcoming solstice.

A couple of weeks ago I set out to a gathering celebrating my friends’ 20th anniversary. I brought my cittern, mandolin and bodhran with me as there is always music to be played at their parties. The playing was varied and enjoyable with other musician’s playing guitar, harp, pennywhistle, irish flute, recorder and banjo. I had a chance to pick a few tunes on the banjo, a 1920’s short scale Triple X with the original skin head: fun and fast playing.

The cycling was gorgeous, as winter night riding can often be. The temperature was a tolerable -13C and there were great fat flakes of snow falling through the crisp air. I stopped on the High Level ridge to take a few pictures of the well lit adjacent LRT bridge. I also took a few rare winter cycling self photos. Riding a bike one-handed,  in the snow, over a bridge, in the dark with delicate musical instruments on my back. What could go wrong? Happily, nothing did and it was a lovely ride to end the evening.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

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The Long Weekend Report

I’m running behind on blog posts…

On the last Monday before May 25th we non-francophone Canadians celebrate Victoria Day. This is  in recognition of Queen Victoria’s birthday and also is the day that we recognize the current  sovereign’s birthday.   Officially, that is.  In actual practice, everybody that I know refers to it as “The May Long Weekend” and gives no real thought to distant monarchs, either current or long deceased. Those who care for gardening mark it as the point at which one can feel fairly safe that frost is not going to strike overnight. For many it is the first camping weekend of the year, often plagued by swarms of drunken idiots. For myself, it was a pleasantly bikey weekend.

Over the course of the weekend I made some real progress with my bike maintenance tasks. I finished lacing  the new rims for my Raleigh 20 and trued the rear wheel. The front still has to be trued. I am inching ahead towards being able to ride that bike again. I replaced two broken spokes on the ’65 CCM and trued the wheel, putting the bike back in riding condition. I also replaced the punctured tube on the Apollo and put a new cassette on the Kona Jake. All in all, the little fleet is slowly improving.

On Saturday I woke up early and took Nishiki-san for a spin on some of the roads North of the city. I was out of the house by 6 o’clock and was able to ride up 82 St. without worrying about traffic. This is a great route out of the city early in the morning as it brings you all the way past the Henday to the Forces Base. It was pretty cold ( 3 degrees) and windy but still a great ride. I didn’t take many photos as my fingers were getting numb from the icy breeze. Once back in the city I went to the Downtown Farmer’s market which had set up in its outdoor location for the first time this year. The vendors were looking pretty cold and many were wrapped up in blankets. I bought a pile of food including a basket of excellent mushrooms from Mo-Na Foods. Man, I missed my mushroom connection during the off season.

Although I still haven’t quite mastered the panorama mode on my camera, I think this picture really shows how flat it is around here.

Nishiki-san can handle a little unpaved riding.

Last years cat tails alongside a weirdly deserted 141st.

On Sunday I had a few errands to run so I took the opportunity to take the newly recommissioned CCM for a leisurely spin.  Cruising along the streets on the old 3-speed was very relaxing and I spent the first bit of the ride with a big goofy smile on my face. I’ve missed this bike. I went to MEC to pick up a cassette for the Kona Jake and then down to Earth’s General Store for some sundries. The weather was excellent and the river valley trails were well populated with holiday cyclists. It was a great day of city cycling.

The obligatory photo at the High Level Bridge

POV shots are also required when crossing the High Level.

The bridge for the Edmonton Transit LRT runs next to the High Level. The pedestrian walkway underneath the railway connects to the river valley trails and was quite busy.

There were lots of cyclists.

This ramp off the bridge is fun to coast down.

Crossing the High Level

High Level Sunrise

On my way across the High Level Bridge to the Farmer’s Market this Saturday morning I stopped to snap a pic of the lovely sunrise. I offer the usual apologies for the quality of my cell-phone camera. I really need a decent camera to carry with me. There was another man on the bridge photographing the sunrise with a tripod  and a real camera. I was envious.