Showing posts from March, 2018

A public sign of damage

This afternoon there is again a Yield To Bicycles sign standing in its rightful place on the Oliverbahn, the stretch of mostly protected bicycle lane that runs along 102 Ave in Edmonton's Oliver neighbourhood. The sign is now dog-eared, as if to mark a page that contains a lesson worth re-reading and thinking about. The sign is again doing what it was designed for, which is to remind motorists not to turn left into the path of bicycle riders like me. This is all very remarkable. 

It is remarkable that Edmonton has a mostly protected bicycle path in the neighbourhood. Last year, there was no bike lane here. Riding east on 102 Ave toward downtown was a take-your-chances proposition for bike commuters who became skilled at threading the needle between parked cars on the curb and moving cars in the lane. It’s something, too, that the asphalt is clear in winter. This is because the City sends out pickups with calcium chloride sprayers onto the bike lanes before the morning commute. The …

Calcium chloride for cycling people

I'm Glenn. That's me, too. #4. Playing hockey on the rink I grew up on in northeast Edmonton. In Canada. About 50 years ago. That rink was our universe. Out in the elements—the ice, the snow, the cold—we were pretty certain we were as great as Bobby Orr.

My universe expanded when these guys showed up on TV. The Soviet Red Army hockey team. Valery Kharlamov. Aleksandr Yakushev. The coach who always smirked, Tikhnov.  And the great goaltender Vladislav Tretiak. All with the mysterious C-C-C-P on their sweaters.

C-C-C-P.  I will try it: Soyuz. Sovietskikh. Socialitschekikh. Respublik. For us watching, it simply meant a new way to move on the ice. Passing, skating, working together as a team. That team was able to bring down the temperature of the game. They had a kind of chemistry.

Now, C-C-C-P is Cold War history. And cold weather chemistry. I believe it now stands for calcium chloride on cycle paths. Calcium chloride, you remember from school, is a salt, crystalline solid at r…

I feel so frickin' free on this!

Here’s one thing about riding a bicycle that’s worth being honest about: it takes work.
Yes, riding a bicycle is all those other oft-celebrated things, too. It’s relaxing, fun, healthy, it’s sustainable and eco-friendly, nostalgic, convenient and social. Riding a bicycle is economical and efficient and therapeutic. Pedalling a bicycle makes a connection between city and rider not possible in an automobile. Riding a bicycle is exhilarating. Riding a bicycle is freedom.

It's also work.

The work of riding a bicycle can be hidden under the poetry of riding a bicycle. I will always remember the day a friend at work texted me, after having renewed a lagged friendship with her bike, a message that was music to my ears:

I knew immediately what Laurie meant. I felt it in my old bones. A green Mustang two-speed was my first declaration of independence growing on the streets and alleys of northeast Edmonton. That precious bike took me out of the orbit of domestic surveillance, such as it was i…