Thursday, December 17, 2015

light in the darkness

I'm sure the people who put lights on their evergreen trees are not thinking about winter bicycle commuters, but they definitely make our ride a little more enjoyable!

Today I stopped to snap photos of some of the bright spots along my route.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday morning blues -- problem solved

Normally I like Mondays. I've never really understood people who don't. 
To me, Monday is the start of a new week, a day full of possibilities.

But I have to confess that I felt a little different this Monday. Fresh snow (maybe 3-5 cm) and a temperature well below zero made me wonder what riding conditions would be like. Never mind driving conditions. And sure enough, the drive into the west end was     s-l-o-w, thanks to a crash on the Yellowhead, which meant that traffic was diverted to 16A. 

Running a bit late and fearing that the shared pathway on 100 Avenue would not be cleared, I decided to park in Crestwood.

The bridge leading to Stony Plain Road was cleared right down to the boards -- a good start to my ride -- but it pretty much went downhill after that. A few sidewalks had been cleared, but the streets and any sidewalks under the city's purview were in rough shape. 

So I decided to cheer myself up by snapping photos of my bike at the bright spots along the way -- like these three trees on 132 Street:

and one of the tall, tall trees (there are two) at the High Street shopping centre:

I ended my commute by doing something I almost never (well, really absolutely never) do: riding on the sidewalk, on the wrong side of the street. This sidewalk was so beautifully clear of snow that I simply couldn't resist and I have to confess that I didn't even feel one bit guilty.  

My commute today was a little slow and a little frustrating -- and the ride back to the car after work was slightly worse, thanks to warmer temperatures -- but still I end my day thankful for the exercise, glad I can ride instead of driving all the way, and warmed by the thought of those cheerfully-lit trees that brighten my path!

December 12 -- the week on the bike

Now that the dust -- or should I say snow -- has settled, riding is not so bad. I still wish the city would do a better job of snow removal, especially on bike routes and main street sidewalks, but on the whole it was a pleasant week of riding. It has been between -5 and +4 everyday, so not too cold, but also not warm enough to create any serious slush.

After work on Tuesday I met Gillian, a thirty-something first-winter rider. We stopped for a chat in the little park that forms part of the bike route and the bridge detour north of 102 Avenue. We both agreed that so far this has been a great winter for cycling, but also that the city really should clear that route; the park is bladed nicely but the adjacent streets are so snow-covered and mushy that riding is virtually impossible, causing cyclists to hop onto the sidewalks.  The bike route signs on this stretch seem like a sick joke at times like these!

Every morning I see at least two or three other cycle commuters and I often see a few on my way home as well. This is the perfect winter for people to try it out, and it looks like that's what's happening.

One disappointment: the city has chosen to close the shared sidewalk on 100 Avenue across from Safeway. There is some construction that has been going on for months, and all of a sudden in the middle of winter, they decide they need to close the sidewalk? Go figure.