Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cold Again

Well I knew that warm weather last week couldn't last.

Saturday evening the temperature started to plummet. Overnight snow started to fall. And there was a LOT of it. So much the kids actually played hooky from dance class and we stayed home and played games.

The next two days brought more snow and WIND! That wind drove the snow into some nasty drifts. It was awful. I don't have any pictures, because I mostly avoided going out, and when I did all energy was channeled into just trying to get around.

Thursday was better - snow was cleared or packed down.

The Boy - on the way to violin lessons.

The Girl - doing the same, but still riding on the back of the Yuba Mundo.

We're considering getting a Surly Big Fat Dummy. I hope The Girl is onto the 24" Specialized fat tire bike The Boy is currently riding by next year - I don't know if my knees can take another winter of hauling her up hills and bridges...

As it is, I make her get off and walk up this hill beside me...

Of course if I do get a Big Fat Dummy it will probably have better gear options than the Yuba...

Looks like we're in for a few more days of cold - they're forecasting a -38°C overnight tonight... but +6°C on Wednesday...

Last weekend got me really excited about getting out and riding for FUN again - not just to get around town from place to place. I really hope it does warm up again and STAYS warm... It hasn't been a preticularly long or brutally cold winter. But I have had enough.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Couple More Warm Days

It's been back and forth between melting and damned cold again here for the last bit. Friday and Saturday were warmer - and the occasional melts have cleared MOST of the roads of snow and ice - so the girl got out her bike and rode it for a couple errands on friday and to her dance classes (with Amanda on Saturday).

On Saturday, after running my weekly errands downtown, I did a bit of monkeying about with bicycles  to see if I could make Amanda's Soma Double Cross bike set up so that Finnegan could ride it. I did some swapping around of some stems and saddles and seat posts and through trial and error, we finally got it to the point were he could kind-of-sort-of-maybe ride it.

So we went out for a short ride out Spadina south.

While we were out we spotted a beaver.

It's there, if you look close.

It's supposed to snow again tomorrow and be cold again for the next week or so. So we probably won't be going riding again for a bit. With any luck he'll grow and inch before spring cycling season is truly upon us. If Finnegan can ride the Double Cross, The Girl will probably be able to ride his old Kona Jake 24 and we can all do some backroad adventuring this summer!

For myself, well... this kind of happened in January...

My friend Ryan sold me his old (2013) Salsa Fargo!

I had been thinking I might convert the Surly CrossCheck into something close to a light backroads touring machine in the spring, but with the purchase of the Fargo the CrossCheck has kind of become redundant (as I have serious doubts as to whether I'll ever RACE 'cross again).... it may be time to say good-bye...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Last Friday, Amanda, Finnegan and I headed out to Royal University Hospital for a clinic with the boy's Diabetes Team (paediatric endocrinologist, dietician, Diabetes nurse, etc.). It's been warm and melting again - after another wintery cold blast at the beginning of February.

These transitional periods are the worst. MOST of the roads and pathways are clear, but there are always low bits that water sits on, or bits on slopes that water drains across and freezes overnight. What bike to take - ones with studs (that will get worn down on the bare pavement) or something smoother (that will slip all over on the ice)?

Amanda decided to sick with her Moonlander  no studs, but big fat tires (this is her fourth winter on that bike!). Finnegan decided to forego his fat tire bike and pulled out his summer bike - easier riding and fenders for all the water! The downside of the fat tires in this weather is those big fat tires spray a LOT of water all over one's backside if you are lacking fenders...

Teh section of the Meewasin trail from the Broadway Bridge north to the intersection of 24th and Spadina was the WORST - especially this little slope pictured above. I couldn't even ride up it with my studs - but I made it to the top. The others were having a hard time of it - it was almost comical. Amanda would take a step and slide right back down - having no traction anywhere - tires... boots... nuthin! I had to go back down and help her out.

Normally I'd say I'm sure this won't last - we'll get another blast of winter before true spring. But later I went to pick up The Girl who had a sleep-over at my folks so she didn't have to get up so early and go to the hospital with us. Just as we were pulling up in front of our house I saw a butterfly flit by!

and the geese are back!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Break in the Weather

This past week we've had a bit of a cold snap - day time highs below -20°C. Windchills dipping into the -40°C zone...

I've been sick with a cold most of the week, and so didn't much go out in it... I have in the past, when it's been this cold. but not so much this week.

Then on Saturday it warmed up to the negative teens and windchill above -20°C. (today it is -5°C... later in the week it's going to be above zero!) Teh funny thing about when we have  acold snap and then it warms up to -20°C is suddenly EVERYBODY is out riding their bikes.

I couldn't even get my usual "Rock Star Parking Spot" in front of the Francis Morrison Library when I wandered downtown for my weekly errands

(well... SOME of the weekly errands - the Night Oven Bakery was closed for holidaze).

Seriously, I had to park waaaaaay over at the next post.

When I came out someone else had rode up and couldn't be bothered to park so far away and had left his bike right up against the front window - you know right by the sign that says "Do Not Lean Bikes Against Window"..

Friday, December 9, 2016

Finally Cold

This past week we finally saw (or, rather, FELT) something approaching genuine winter weather - at least the cold part of it. While it seems like everywhere else in Canada got snow, we only got the cold part as it dipped below -20°C (and with the wind felt like -30°C!)

There is a bit of a disconnect - especially with the kids - when it is bright and sunny out with no snow on the ground... but it's feeling like -30°C. Indeed as we were getting ready to go out to their violin lesson yesterday (when these pictures were taken) one was putting on running shoes and the other light hikers. I guaranteed them they'd probably rather have their winter boots on!

Riding in full winter kit... on summer bikes... with just the barest dusting of snow!? I'm not complaining, mind you. I could do with this all winter. Or at least until the end of next week - when all the kids activities wrap up and we don't have to go anywhere for two or three weeks!

It's been good to let The Girl ride in this weather. She's been wanting to ride through the winter for the last couple of years - since I let The Boy start riding his own bike in the snow - Anything he does she thinks she should do (even though he's two and a half years older...). It doesn't help that last year our neighbors across the alley (also a car free family) started letting THEIR daughter ride through the winter (and she's two years YOUNGER than The Girl!?).

I try to point out that I'm pretty sure she only rides to school, which is almost entirely along a multi-use trail that is always cleared of snow within 24 hours of snow falling. The Girl has greater sistances to go on less cleared streets.

This week has allowed The Girl to ride in the cold and understand that it's just HARDER to ride in this kind of cold - with all the extra clothes and grease in hub and bottom bracket turning into a thick sticky paste... it's just more work - let alone trying to ride through the snow (if/when it does start snowing). I did make her a deal though: She can keep riding until it snows, and once it does I'll put the studded tires on her townie (the ones we put on there the first year The Boy rode through the winter) and let her  have a go at it... but if she feels it's too much work, I'm still willing to haul her on the back of the Yuba.

Speaking of winter bikes and hauling stuff...

image from Surly Bicycles 

I saw that Surly has finally announced a Big Fat Dummy. I've been waiting for them to do that for FOUR YEARS - of course it won't be available until the spring... and so if I did actually get one, I wouldn't be able to use it until next winter (not going to ride that beast around in the city all summer!?) when both kids will probably be on their own fat tire bikes and I won't actually have to be hauling them... makes me wonder if I really even NEED one now... I guess I do still need to haul stuff in the winter (groceries, etc) - though I've made due just fine on the Yuba so far... If they'd made it anytime withing the last four years, I probably would have bought one without as second thought, but now it seems like getting a Big Fat Dummy would be a bit of an extravagant expense...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Later November Rides

Last Wednesday I had to get up at WTF o'clock to get The Boy to an absurdly early appointment at the Eye Centre. As with the morning I took the Girl at the beginning of October, we were hit will a hint of winter - more freezing rain than snow... and not as much as in October. 

Infact by the time we were headin home it was mostly just wet.

The next day, Thursday, 17 November 2016, we headed out to our afternoon violin lessons. It was warm (for November) and clear.

The river was so still and the light so bright I took this picture of the new bridge being built and the last span of the old bridge still standing - all clearly reflected in the water.

After our lesson we stopped for some groceries, as we normally do. 

One of the main arguments I hear against building cycling infrastructure is that Saskatoon has only 2-3 cycling months. I'm sorry but when it's 17 November and we go to get groceries and have a hard time finding a place to park our bikes because of all the other bikes... yeah, that argument is no longer valid.

Heading back across the river...

 That last span of the bridge came down while we were at our lessons!

I feel like there were announcements when the other spans were coming down... so I was a little surprised when we rolled onto the Broadway bridge and it was getting torn apart!?

Some new building finally going on downtown...

The Boy and I stopped to watch the carnage for a bit after dropping The Girl of at Persephone.

I think this was later that evening...? All the trusses (is that the right word?) gone...

Saturday morning - just clearing away debris.

Monday 21 November - +4°C and we're riding to Grip It in the rain...

Rain... On 21 November....

Overnight that rain started to freeze and even turned into a dusting of snow.

Despite being rather slipery - I apparently wasn't the only one using the downtown separated bike lane!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Another Fall Trail Ride

Well it was sunny and warm(-ish) again - though perhaps not so warm as the weekend - so we got out for another ride later this afternoon. We, more or less, did the same ride we did on Friday.

Heading across the South Circle Drive Bridge to the trails.

The kids used to be really creeped out riding across this cycling/pedestrian bridge slung underneath the main bridge as you can hear the cars zooming by overhead - except the sound like mournful moans of lost souls. Well, that's what it sounds like to me anyway.

Sun in our eyes as we head south along the gravel trail.

We decided to have another go at the G2 trail - except I suggested we try just riding it south to north as it tends to be more downhill...

The Boy decided to lead us through.

The Girl rides follows in after me...

...and goes past.

After meeting up with the access road we rode up the road to the trail to ride it again in the same direction.

The Boy - second ride through.

After riding through south to north twice, we rode back through north to south - just for something a little different.

The Girl on her last tear through G2 - feeling more confident every time.

The Boy descending a trail in Diefenbaker park.

The Girl rocking through that little gully again.

Sun setting as we were heading home.