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!
Riding today I almost hate to admit I was stopped by a creek – well, maybe more like a rivulet (well, maybe more like a small rivulet…). So I built a bridge using nearby logs.
So just after I finished building my “bridge”, a rider blew past me on the right, through the water and up the hill. I was so ashamed, so I abandoned the bridge and followed him through the water on bike. Yes, I got wet and muddy, but it felt good (and I might have fallen off the bridge anyway).
Mostly keeping the rubber side down lately,
Bicycle commuting weather has returned to Calgary. I commuted to work twice last week on my classic Miyata 1000, and plan to beat that record this week. This morning was a little chilly, but at least I didn’t have to scrape the frozen rain off the jeep windshield.
Back in the saddle also means having 2hrs a day again for podcasts. I’m using my daughter’s old iPod nano (also a classic), and its 1G memory just balances my consumption with new content being published.
So, fanfare please, here’s my current list:
- FLOSS Weekly (twit.tv/FLOSS), an offering of interviews with free and open source project leaders.
- The Changelog (thechangelog.com), presents interviews with free and open source project leaders, but tends to be geekier than FLOSS Weekly (but not always).
- BSD Talk (bsdtalk.blogspot.com), provides periodic interviews with those active in the BSD (UNIX-like operating system) community (e.g., FreeBSD).
- Lullabot Drupal Podcast and Drupal Voices (lullabot.com). A great way to get into Drupal CMS development. The Drupal Podcast is a theme-based group effort from the Lullabot development team; Drupal Voices is short inteviews with non-Lullabot Drupal developers.
- CBC Spark (radio3.cbc.ca) a weekly tech program for the lay person, each episode consisting of a half-dozen topics or interviews (full interviews also available for more depth).
- The World: Technology (http://www.theworld.org/technology-podcast). An interesting collection of tech-related stores from around the world (albeit with a western bias).
- CBC The World This Week. Nice wrap-up of the previous week’s global news to catch up on while bicycling to work Monday morning.
- CBC Radio 3 Podcast (radio3.cbc.ca), a theme-based weekly program of Canadian independent music. I keep a couple annual roadtrip mixtape episodes on the iPod, as well the Sweatin’ to the Indies episode, for when I just want to pedal.
- CBC Radio 3 Top 30 (radio3.cbc.ca), a weekly review of Canadian independent music. This is the first year I watched the Canadian Juno awards (Canada’s equivalent of the US Grammy’s) and recognised most of the songs and artists.
Winter is coming, which means it’s my birthday again. I’ve decided there will be no special milestone observation, introspection, or other significance attached to this birthday because there is too much left to do to spend time reflecting on the past (other than the standard warning that “those who do not understand it are doomed to repeat it”).
So, on the eve of having spent 50 years in this world, I went biking with my bike buddies. Where, you ask? Well, other than in a general sense, I don’t really know. Unfortunately, my ability to navigate has not gotten better with age. Downloading my gps this morning shed some clews, but unfortunately I didn’t have it turned on for the start of the ride, and there’s a bit missing in the middle (a bush jumped onto the trail, pulled me off the bike, and sent the gps flying airborne for a while, the landing from which turned it off).
Those that attempt to predict Mother Nature are saying it’s going to snow tonight, so after a short ride this afternoon it may be snow riding again until spring.
I tried a new process using only free software in order to create this map image:
- GPSBabel downloaded the track data from my Garmin etrex Legend.
- Notepad++ (set to XML language support) edited the 3-months of track data downloaded from the etrex to extract yesterday’s ride (with 20-20 hindsight, it would have been simpler to set a date/time filter in GPSBabel and only download yesterday’s data).
- GPSVisualizer uploaded the edited track data and overlayed it on a map using the Google Maps service (again with 20-20 hindsight, I could have used the web-based GPSBabel available on the GPSVisualizer website without needing to install anything on my computer!).
- IrfanView cropped a browser screenshot of GPSVisualizer down to just the map and saved it in JPEG format (which was then uploading to my blog for you to see).
Happy trails, and try to keep the tire-side down,
P.S. Isn’t free and open source software and the Web 2.0 wonderful?