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!
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.