Friday, January 18, 2013

A Shower of Blessings

We're just into a new year and it is time to start planning this year's cycling adventures.  Recently, I suggested to my long suffering cycling friend Roy that maybe this year we could spend a week cycling the bike paths of Calgary.  The 700 km. plus of paved trails in that city would keep us busy all week.

We could ride this bridge
Making Calgary our destination this year would offer several advantages - we could end up at Roy's house every night which means sleeping in a comfortable bed, the two days travelling to our usual cycling grounds could be spent on our bikes and most importantly, we'd have no trouble finding hooch for celebrating the end of each day's riding.

Downtown Calgary
In the last couple of years I've had the impression that my cycling friend has become disenchanted with camping out and showering in public washrooms.  He always seems to perk up when we finish our trip and lodge ourselves in a hotel and the first thing he does is have a shower.  I think he likes very much the idea of having a continuous stream of hot water cascading over his body instead of having to keep an eye on the mechanical timer and then hopping out of the stall to feed more money into the device (assuming you've had the foresight to stack some coins withn easy reach).
Remember to stack coins within reach

When I got to thinking about it, I'm not that enamoured of public showers myself.  This year I carried flip flops in my panniers so that I wouldn't have to go bare foot into the shower stall and slip on a glob of soap and go spinning naked into the main washroom thereby scaring the young father teaching his son how to use a urinal and then having to smell the disgusting flatulence leaking out of the occupied toilet stall next to my compartment.
It's all mine!
The best camping/shower arrangement that I can recall is the time Roy and I camped at Rock Creek and realized we were the only campers there.  We also discovered that we would have the washrooms to ourselves.  I don't recall how we divied up the facility but I do remember looking around the women's washroom and thinking "This is all mine!"  I used one sink to brush my teeth, another to comb my hair and still I had the choice of four more sinks.  When I entered one of the shower stalls I inadvertantly dropped a loonie on the floor which rolled under the slimy rubber shower mat.  Holding my nose with one hand, I lifted the offending mat and to my delight, discovered a whole cache of gold coloured loonies hiding amongst the soap bubbles and washroom detritus.  There was enough loot in that shower to last me the whole trip.  Maybe, just maybe, I got to thinking - public showers aren't so bad after all.


  1. If you do make it to Calgary, let me know and maybe I could meet up with you for part of the ride.

    I have also been thinking of doing a bicycle tour on Calgary's pathways (staying overnight in another part of the city, such as a friend's back yard). For now I have only managed a few hours here and there, and am gradually working my way through different parts of the pathway network.

    The challenge is some areas are heavily populated with dog walkers, although if you went on weekdays you would avoid most of them.

    1. Bikes and dogs are always a challenge! I've done quite a few trails in Calgary and have been impressed with the variety of terrain they offer. I've lately been referring to a book on Calgary's bike paths: and have found it very helpful.