Tuesday, June 28, 2011


In my June 16th blog about the MS Nisku to Camrose bike tour, I forgot to mention one very important point - IT IS IMPERATIVE IF YOU WISH TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL DAY TWO OF THE TOUR - THEN STAY AWAY FROM THE TEMPTATIONS AT THIS PLACE:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bike To The Symphony

***"Ride to the Symphony" will be broadcast on Access's "Alberta Prime Time" at 7Pm MST, June24/11 - also posted on their website next week ***
A well dressed group on the High Level.  That's the resident conductor Lucas Waldron third from left.

Notice the camera on that fellow's helmet - talk about coverage!

Bit of a traffic jam crossing Jasper Ave.

Swarming into the heart of downtown

Almost there!

My 3-speed Triumph is second from left.

Thanks to EBC for the use of these fine photos!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's A Foldey But A Goody

It looks like a toy next to Jackie and Ben's bikes
While visiting "Bikeworks" last week on a mission to break a chain for a friend, I nearly collided with a bike while looking for the light switch.  Once the shop was illuminated, I discovered to my surprise that the obstacle in front of me was a DAHON folding bike.  My brother calls this "manifestation" when what you've been wanting makes its appearance.  And I had mentioned to someone recently that I would add a folding bike to my ever-increasing collection of two-wheeled conveyances along with a tandem and another mountain bike.

I had the money in my pocket and after a quick inspection of the little bike and a short trip down the alley behind the shop to test it out, it was mine.  I couldn't believe my good fortune until I reminded myself that I was the one who made this happen.

Since last Monday, I've ridden it to "Mocktails on the Bridge", commuted to and from work and just yesterday took it to Gold Bar Park for a Father's Day ride with Jackie and Ben in aid of autism. Except for the rain, we had a wonderful little ride on paved trails and a number of people commented on this unusual little bike.  In fact there were quite a few young children riding tiny bikes and I fit right in with them.

This little gem is a riot to ride and fits perfectly in the trunk of my car (I don't even have to bother with the bike rack) and since it is so much fun to pedal that I've decided to give this new addition a fun name -


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Earthworm Thruway

The musty, slimy smell of eathworms covering the wet highway gave an added dimension to the rainy scene that unfolded before me at 6:30 in the morning of day 2 of the tour.  Everyone has seen the phenomenon of worms crawling across sidewalks and roads when it is raining.  There were so many of them on the highway that they created a smell.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that there was any danger of skidding off the road because of their numbers. But there was an inordinate number of platyhelminths to thread your way around.

Peace out man!
 It wasn't until 7:11 that another cyclist passed me while I was taking this picture of some creative road tar artistry.  The cyclist stopped long enough to ensure that I was okay and then pedalled off into the rain.  It is a real treat to find road tar art and I sometimes wonder if the fumes from the hot asphalt has anything to do with the work crew's creativity?

I don't know why I didn't pack my long stretchy cycling pants or my rain booties - I guess I based my clothing decisions on a weather forecast that wasn't aimed at Camrose on Sunday.  For some odd reason I did pack my helmet rain cover and at least I was spared cold rain water dripping down my back.  The bandana also soaked up some of the frigid rain drops and my yellow cycling jacket did an okay job of protecting me.  My cycling friend Molly told me that if I put my cycling jacket into the clothes dryer, the heat would help reactivate the jacket's rain - repelling qualities.

As the day wore on, I was losing feeling in my hands and fingers and shifting became a bit of a challenge.  I found myself wobbling across the paved shoulder every time I reached down to shift and I inadvertantly sliced a few worms in half as my skinny road tires acted like large rolling pizza knives.  Lyn, another MS Tourist,informed me that worms have the ability to regenerate themsleves when cut in two.  So I contented myself with the idea that I was actually expanding the worm population and doing my part in the environmental domain.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yes We Have One Bandana

In my April 11th blog I mentioned the value of taking a bandana along while out biking and now I have found another use for that handy square piece of cloth.

After day one of the Tour and while preparing for the evening's banquet, I decided to wash my snazzy MS jersey so I could wear it on day 2.  During the ride from Nisku, I'd been wearing my MEC hydration pack and some perspiration had accumulated on my back and a good wash of the cycling shirt was necessary. This was all fine and dandy - but how to dry it?

Not wanting to drape the shirt over the hotel furniture, I opened the window and the roar of diesel pickups and the blamming of car exhausts filled the room. Ah!  Lovely rural Alberta!

I snagged one of the theft-proof wooden hangers from inside the closet - but how to hang up the shirt when the hanger has no hook?  Bandana to the rescue.  I tied a knot to the curtain rod  and using the same granny knot, tied the other end of the bandana to the metal post of the hanger.  And voila!  A do it yourself clothesline.  The line held the shirt at just the right height so that the exhaust - filled breeze could waft its way through the mesh fabric and dry this year's version of the MS jersey.
NEXT: Earthworm Thruway (MS Tour Day 2)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's A Goldmine!!

"A Viagra Wind Is The Best Trainer"
Jerry Quesnell

Not thinking that I would need mitts and a headband, I was unprepared for the icy wind that greeted me as I headed south toward Devon to begin my last serious training session before next weekend's MS Tour.  I did find another excellent use for a bandana - wearing it across my face bandit style in an attempt to ward off frosbite.  In June no less.  Me looking like an cycling bandit or an urban cowboy on a two-wheeled horse.

Judging from the size and heft of the articles scattered on the shoulder of the highway, I was glad to be wearing a helmet.  A mild concern as I rode on the paved shoulder was that I would get beaned from some item carelessly chucked from one of the vehicles passing off my left shoulder.  Hundreds of beer cans, pop bottles, energy drink containers, tire shreds, bungy cords beyond count, an industrial sized turnbuckle, Slim Horton coffee cups and the ubiquitous plastic bags snagged on barb wire fences greeted me on my journey.

The first useful item was a small crescent wrench - similar to the one I carried in my hydration pack to adjust my seat.  As far as I'm concerned, one of the purposes of training is to work out the bugs on the bike. And my seat needed lots of adjustment to be able to spend 10 - 12 hours over 2 days sitting on it.  A "Shakedown Cruise".  Like what is done in the navy before commissioning a boat or submarine.

After another 5 klicks and stopping to see a man about a horse, I nearly ran over an expensive looking utility knife.  Coming back across the Devon Bridge, a whole socket set.  My already bulging hydration pack couldn't hold the whole lot and after waiting for a break in the traffic, I snatched an articulated box wrench and a ratcheting socket from the road.

Approaching my starting point, I spy a safety helmet and a large new road sign whose post had somehow been shattered and now lay haphazardly on the grassy verge. Greed overcoming need, I hefted the 50 pound get up onto my shoulder and headed over to my road bike.
 While making these frequent stops, I reminded myself that I was training for a tour - not a race and it was harmless to indulge my scrounging instincts and that I could pick up as much as I was willing to carry on my back, bike or shoulder.
It took an hour and a half to ride the 35 kilometers into the wind but only half that time to make it back to my starting point.  The cup was certainly half full on the way back.

The Goldmine
 What do you call roadside debris in the Motor City?


Friday, June 3, 2011


Last Year's Tour - Day 2

When we approached my vehicle parked on the side of the road near Nisku, the alarm was going off and I felt sure that the car had been broken into while we were pedaling our way to 65K.

With the sun shining and clouds right out of the Simpsons, my cycling compadre Perry the K and I headed out towards Wetaskiwin.  I figured that if I was going to train for the MS Tour, then I might as well follow the route itself.  What I was really trying to do here was to test out the new rear cassette that Doug at United Cycle had installed this past winter.  (Smart guy to plan so far ahead ne c'est pas?).
The new rear cassette

Perry wanted to try out his new Specialized and of course since the two of us will be riding the Kettle Valley Railroad this summer with Roy, this beautiful day would be the perfect opportunity to train.  What we didn't realize was that the very fast pace we were setting (at times 30 km/hr and gusting downhill at 54 km/hr.) was not because of our superior athleticism but because we had a strong wind at our backs.

There was more traffic on this secondary highway than during the tour and local residents must avoid using  this paved road on the tour weekend.  The road itself is in great shape and has a paved shoulder and I'm sure these are the very reasons the MS Society has chosen this particular route.

Perry is like my other friend Roy in that he is a very strong rider.  Rides fast and hard.  And his larger frame would pay me a lot of dividends when we turned around after 35 k. and started back to the vehicle.  I tucked in behind his rear wheel and stared straight ahead and down at his rear rubber, ready to brake or maneuver out of the way depending on what he was doing ahead of me.

Back home again
After a couple of stops to drain the lizard, we made it back to the car and when we were within 30 feet, I could hear the alarm and see the lights flashing.  With concern written all over my face, I pedaled hard to reach the car and see what had set the alarm off.  Without any signs of forced entry and nothing missing from the vehicle, we could only speculate that the wind had rocked the car hard enough to trip the alarm.  Just goes to show you what kind of wind Perry had to break.  (I'm not saying he breaks wind in the way you might be thinking...).