Home + U of C + Work + Home = One Very Sore Butt
I lost rear braking on my Rocky Mountain Fusion last week. Biking pathways wasn’t bad, but I didn’t want to ride off-road with only a front brake, so the next day I biked downtown to The Bike Shop on my way home after work (not only did I buy my Fusion there, they also do great drop-in service so long as the job won’t take too long). Adding the 3 legs up in my head as I pedalled home, I was sure I would be close to 100Km. However, Google Maps calculated my route to be 55km, which I trust because my it was pretty straight, and I’ve found Google knows all about Calgary pathways (just make sure you select Bicycling for the navigation mode).
I really liked this route. On the way downtown, I was up and close with one of Calgary’s oldest industrial areas. After my rear brake pads were changed and brake fluid topped up, I left downtown and rode through one of Calgary’s oldest affluent residential areas. I also noticed an unfortunate casulty of this year’s flooding – a missing pedestrian suspension bridge over the Elbow River. I can sympathize with local users and commuters through the area; loosing the pedestrian bridges over the Bow River at both Mackenzie and Southland Park has meant changes to my own travel routes.
Marker “D” is my home, “B” is work, and “C” is The Bike Shop (I was travelling counter-clockwise).
If you follow any mass media news, you’ve probably heard about the flooding in Calgary caused by high water volumes in the Bow and Elbow rivers. The rivers join together in the downtown heart of Calgary, where most businesses were shuttered during the worst of the flooding. However, many residents along the rivers were also significantly impacted with lost homes and property. My family has been exceedingly fortunate, only my son’s and my bicycle routes to work have been affected.
In order to bicycle from our home (on the west side of the Bow) to our work (on the east side), there used to be a choice of five bridges – with commute times ranging from 50 minutes to 2 hours depending on the route and bridge. Today, only one of the bridges remains navigable, but the commute is still less than an hour and a half. The bridges themselves do not appear to have been significantly damaged, but the surrounding landscape and pathways leading to the bridges may be forever altered.
My heading photo now shows the McKenzie Meadows golf course, close to the south end of Calgary, 5 days after the start of the flood. The photo was taken looking west, with the Bow River and Rocky Mountains in the background.
The new header photo of me was taken by Ian Goodman, a photographer and equally avid winter cyclist, on a recent ride in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Ian’s been experimenting with the panorama feature on his iPhone, and I think it looks great! Thanks Ian!
I biked yesterday to the University of Calgary from the Chinook c-Train station to attend a meeting of the Calgary Agile Methods Users Group. I was glad I made it, because there was a stimulating group discussion with attendees contributing from their own team experiences.
Here’s the route I took, starting at the Chinook c-Train Station parking. Getting on to the pathway system at Chinook Center, I haded for Glenmore Dam, north to the Bow River pathway, and then past Foothills Hospital to the U of C. On the way back, I had intended to ride from the U of C to get home quick, but couldn’t leave the Hillhurst / Sunnywide Station because of an accident on the tracks downtown. After waiting a few moments, I left the train on bike (other passengers were starting to eye my bike with envy, so I got going while the going was good). I first thought I’d catch another train at the east end of downtown, but it was a warm clear night and with summer biking rapidly drawing to a close, I headed for Chinook with Google Maps as my guide.
I’ve been trying to spend a day a week of focused quality time at the keyboard working on Achievo, combined with a long weekly bike ride for thinking. Last Friday, I spent the day with my laptop in a quiet corner of the Mount Royal University library (my first alma mater). Although thunderstorms were in the forecast, I was feeling lucky and set out by bicycle (with a heavy-duty garbage bag for my laptop just in case). I made it to MRU without getting wet, enjoying beautiful but ominous thunderheads overhead, and was safe and sound by the time the rain started. Two thunderstorms later the weather cleared and I was able to ride home (steering clear of some major puddles!).
So here’s to the point of this post, my first embedded Google Map. It was pretty easy to create, but for some reason I can’t get the zoom level right in the image here (the top and bottom are always cropped). Oh well, you can always open the map by clicking the link.
View Calgary SW Bicycle Loop 1 (FCPP, MRU, Weaselhead) in a larger map
I recently cycled “the big circle” on Father’s Day with a couple of friends. It was an opportunity to explore the city, and get some fresh air after the seemingly endless rain we had been having.
Even before the ride started, I had two flat tires. I had swapped my balding 2.25′s on my sturdy Rocky Mountain that morning for narrower 1.9′s, and had somehow managed to pinch-flat both tubes in the process. However, after some hasty patching (and as an omen of things to come, watching the first rain deluge of the day from the comfort of my garage), Ian and I we were off.
The route was a counter-clockwise loop starting and ending in Calgary’s deep-south community of Sundance. Entering FCPP (Fish Creek Provincial Park), we headed west to the end of the park, then north out of the park to the west Glenmore Weaslehead area (where Jamie met up with us). Some scenic residential riding took us through the Tri-Glen communities to Edworthy Park, where we had a snack and then followed the Bow River pathway east to downtown Calgary. Continuing south past the killer weir, we had a forced detour onto the Eastern Headlands irrigation canal due to construction blocking the pathway north of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. We got back onto the Bow River Pathway north of Glenmore Trail, then back into FCPP at the Bow Valley Ranch and home.
I captured our track with my Garmin Legend (you’ll see it in the slideshow), downloaded it to my PC using GPSBabel, and then mapped it using LePetitPoucet.
It was a great New Years Day ride in Fish Creek Provincial Park. 90 minutes, 15 km (c’mon, we were riding snow covered footpaths – it was like jogging in sand!). We saw only one other cyclist (heading west on the cleared paved path from Glenfield), and our tracks were the only ones on the single track).
Best Wishes for 2011!
My friend Ian Goodman wrote me asking if I was up for our third annual New Years Day bike ride. Am I?!? Of course! We’ll be out there tomorrow enjoying the crisp air and (hopefully) blinding Alberta winter sun.
Ian also sent some photo’s from the previous 2 rides. I’ve posted them here so you can see how stylish we look in case you care to join us.
New Years Day 2009. Ian is in the lead as we start from the Glenfield picnic area and head west:
A little later in the day, the snow starts to drift softly down as we cross Bridge 6 (?).
In comparison, New Years Day 2010 was a nice sunny day (but not as warm, judging from the number of layers I’ve got on).
We’ll probably be starting out around 2:00pm again from Glenfield. See you there!
The gosling arrived as usual this spring. Parents are always the same, wary as ever, and hissing and honking when anyone gets too close. Do you have children?
A few weeks later the ducklings arrived. Our daughter thwarted Mother Nature and rescued 4 chicks being harassed by crows (reluctant dinner guests?). After a number of calls to various civic and provincial government offices and environmental NGO’s, the chicks were relocated to a nearby backyard sanctuary on Sundance Lake.
The deer in Fish Creek Provincial Park are friendly as usual…
Hey, we have a new patio now!
Yaa Hoo! it’s a parade.
My friend Ian spent his day shuttling visitors to the parade route in his big white limo.
Like many Oil & Gas companies, we hold a Stampede Breakfast. This year I got out my road bike for the trip downtown. Not far after leaving home, I met James making his regular commute from Canyon Meadows to a downtown office. Chatting as we rode, we made the 1-1/2 hr ride in what seemed like only minutes.
Yee Haa! Some young ladies two-stepping at the corporate breakfast.
These young ladies are our Quality Assurance Inspectors.
Horses are everywhere during Stampede week. Here are some tenderfoot’s, touring the downtown from horse-drawn carriages.
After breakfast, it was time to head to work. I rode out of downtown on the pedestrian bridge just visible center-right, down the Bow River pathway a piece, and then onto the Irrigation Canal pathway the rest of the way to work. Just another commute in paradise! (~1hr from downtown to Foothills Industrial).
Keep the rubber side down!