Sunday, July 11, 2010

Funky Whyte

I was excited to go riding after my good friend Perry called and made the suggestion. Everything at home was under control and all I needed to do was put the chicken in the slow cooker and when the ride was complete, I could prepare a nice supper of ``Lemonade Chicken`` and summer vegetables.

With the FIFA World Cup on TV, the river valley was deserted except for a soapbox derby taking place on Victoria Park Road. It looked like tremendously good, clean fun and I was a little envious as I had always wanted to enter one when I was a kid but my brother Chris and I could never manage to get beyond constructing the chassis and deciding the colour of our contraption. We knew for sure that our father would go ballistic if we had ever used the wheels from the lawnmower to finish our vehicle and not have asked his permission (which is unlikely he would ever have granted).

Perry and I left the river trails by ascending the steep road up to the Leg. - something I had never tried before and found that it really wasn`t too difficult at all. As we crossed the High Level, we could see the mountain biking event going on down below us and we decided to check it out on our way back.

Some sort of music festival was happening on Whyte Ave. and it was a delight to push our bikes through the crowds and view the myriad of tents set up right on the street. Whyte was closed to traffic from 103 Street to 105 Street and once we reached Second Cup, it took some waiting to snag a table out on Whyte. It was well worth the wait to sit in the sun and watch all the action and our sojourn became even more enjoyable when an old and mutual friend stopped by to chat. He`s a great guy and we`ve had some good times together. He described the numerous changes his life has experienced since the last chat and Perry and I joined him in quite a few laughs as he described the dating scene for someone over 50. Then 2 more old friends walked past and joined our ``Old Home Week``. Ted and Rosemary have been together for a long time and were proud to tell us that they were expecting a phone call any minute to announce their becoming grandparents of a baby girl. The first female grandchild. Something very special!

After our friends left and we finished our coffees, we headed into the throng along the Ave. and came across the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters table where they were handing out info and looking like they were having a great time. When you`re young and 20 feet away from the concert stage, it`s summer and you`re in the funkiest place in the city, how could you not have a great time?

I showed Perry how to get to the trailhead at the Millcreek Ravine from Whyte which involved Argyll Road and 99 Street. We were able to ride side by side and chat while we virtually coasted back down to the river. The trails were bare due to both the music festival and the World Cup and it reminded me of getting up at 4am to train on the trails without any traffic congestion.

We parted at Victoria Park Road where Perry went straight ahead to 149 Street and I had the pleasure of riding up Vict. Park Road itself (instead of the adjacent sidewalk) as the road was still closed to traffic but the soapbox derby had finished. A woman stopped me half way up to ask why there was so much straw on the road and I tried to explain to her about the event which was a hard thing to do as I couldn`t remember the name SOAP BOX DERBY. Her male companion must have thought I was either slow or perhaps suffering from heat exhaustion or dehydration or all 3.

It wasn`t until I sat down to write this post that I remembered our agreement to check out the mountain bike event underneath the High Level. Just shows you what being slow, heat exhausted and dehydrated can do to you.


  1. Well I must be really slow as I don`t even know what a soap box derby is...but I am sure You, Benjamin and I can make it happen...

  2. That was the Edmonton portion of the Canada Cup mtb race down below :)