Saturday, October 15, 2016

Street Amenities

When the city decided to get rid of all their parking metres and replace them with pay stations on each block, they left a number of the posts to turn into bike racks. At the same time they had planned a number of "street amenities" to add to the posts with bike stands with seats or mini tabletops and stuff. There were a few designs...

I finally saw one installed when I rode downtown this morning to do my regular Saturday morning errands.

it was right be city hall... which was odd because there are scores of benches and picnic tables within a stones throw of this place. But maybe it was put here as it's the first one and it's being done as a demonstration or something..?

The seat is sort of spring-loaded - I tried to put it down to take the picture, but it wouldn't stay down... I probably should have got a better angle, I think there was a cup-holder hole in the mini tabletop.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

That First Blast of Winter

Always catches me by surprise... This year even more so because it came so much earlier than it has in recent years! 

We were hit with an early snowstorm this year which started out as cold rain storm and then turned into wet snow. I don't love this wet and cold weather. I actually think I prefer -20°C to this - at least it's DRY!

It's come so early that leaves haven't even fallen from the trees which has lead to a lot of bendy and broken trees and power outages around the city.

This morning we had to get to City Hospital for The Girl's appointment at the Eye Centre. As a testament to the crappiness of the weather this is the least number of bikes I have EVER seen at the hospital's bike lock up - even when it's -40°C it's usually packed full of bikes.

The Girl at her appointment with some fancy glasses to check her prescription. She was pretty excited about them because she's been reading a fair bit of "steampunk" stories this last year and she decided they looked a lot like some sort of steampunky optical device...

After a stop at Night Oven Bakery we headed home through downtown on the Separated bike lane.

It wasn't the awesomest place to be - a lot of snow has gotten shovelled off the sidewalks into the lane and there was a LOT of water draining into it...

But it was still better than it would have been riding out in the middle of car traffic - sop I'm not going to complain too much!

Our awesome, indefatigable  neighbours were out and about today as well.

Snowy tunnel to get into our back yard!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunny Summer Sunday Afternoon Ride

As promised - more regular posting about bicycle shenanigans.

Inspired by our rides in Jasper and Canmore, we've been planning on getting out and doing more riding on the local trails. I probably would have gotten out earlier in the week but I was too busy trying to get those epic posts finished up...

This afternoon Amanda and I finally got out for a bit of a ride. The kids probably would have come too, but my folks are moving out of their apartment that has a pool and waterslide at the end of the month so the kids are going over there as much as they can while they can take advantage of said pool and waterslide.

We also ran into Gerald from the Bike Doctor - who pretty much singlehandedly built many of these trails - riding his new superstunt.

Then by camera batteries died...

ah, well... next time...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

What I Did For My Summer Vacation - Part III – Calgary and Drumheller

If you haven’t already, check out Part I and II:

DAY 13 – Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Wednesday morning we packed up the van again and said good-bye to Amanda’s folks and aunt and uncle, who were all heading to the airport in Calgary for their flights home to Windsor (Ontario) and London (England), respectively.

We drove into Calgary and had lunch at Community Natural Foods (and picked up some groceries) and then headed to…

Before we left I think this was the one thing The Boy was looking forward to most. Both kids were pretty excited about finally being able to check out the Sentry Box. I meant to take loads of other pictures of the store – with the kids running around with their eyes bugging out of their heads… but I honestly got too busy looking around myself and didn’t get to taking any more pictures. After a couple of hours of snooping around The Girl had gathered up a huge pile of stuff and blew pretty much all her remaining money. The Boy and I had just spent the time taking it in and determined to come back at some point in the next four days after deliberating about what it was we really wanted (because there were way too many fun things to get there and not nearly enough money in our pockets to buy it all…)

After the trip to the ‘Box we checked into our hotel (which was just 10 blocks away); The Nuvo Hotel.

It was a nice enough place – had a kitchen we could make meals in and we were able to bring all our bikes up to the room and it was right on the beltline and close to many of the places we wanted to visit in Calgary.

The kids spent some time checking out all The Girls treasures from the Sentry Box.

Supper out on the balcony.

After supper I think we wandered over to the MEC - which was conveniently located 2 blocks away! The kids got new climbing harnesses.

DAY 14– Thursday, 11 August 2016

Getting bikes in and out of the Hotel was a bit of work – as we were on the third floor and the staircase was rather narrow. It usually involved me and Amanda carrying the kids bikes down and leaving the kids with them, while we went back up for ours (and vice versa on the return trip).

On the Thursday we’d originally planned to got to Heritage Park , but as the forecast was calling for rain, and Heritage Park is mostly outdoors, we decided to go to the Spark Science.

Another convenient thing about the Nuvo Hotel is it is right across the street from the 12th Avenue South cycle track!

This was the 5th Street Cycle Track. The thing that blew my mind about it was that they were doing some work in the cycle track lane and – unlike Saskatoon, where, if work was being done in a bike lane… or… a city vehicle just wanted to park there… or whatever… cyclists would be S.O.L. and have to find their own way around – The city of Calgary actually shut down a motor vehicle traffic land and made a detour lane for cyclists.

The Cycle track dumped us off within 2 blocks of the Bow Valley Pathway and the  Eau Claire Market and the rest of the journey to Spark was on pathways like this.

Spark Science Centre

Despite its accessibility by bike – on bike pathways, completely separated from automotive traffic – and a great many bike racks… we were the only ones who rode our bikes there that day… and the parking lot was absolutely full… with cars circling hoping to find a nonexistent parking spot…

Later when we were leaving, a family came over and asked if there was a playground nearby. They were pretty surprised when we told them we weren’t familiar with the area and weren’t even from Calgary – they had assumed that since we rode our bikes we MUST have lived in the adjacent neighborhood…

Science yo!

Honestly I think these Science Centres are designed for a much younger audience. Not sure how much science was learned that day. Everyone was pretty tired.

I actually ditched Amanda and the kids to make a side trip to a nearby-ish store.

The path took me over the Deerfoot and up a big freaking hill – which offered a pretty nice view of the Calgary skyline

Things Military. I was looking for something very specific… but that’s a longer story, for another blog…

I met up with the Family as Spark was closing up for the day and headed back to the Hotel.

We had passed this counter in the morning as well. The picture looks like it’s reading 01 – but I’m pretty sure it was 1201 when we passed – the number of cyclists that had rode past that point today. When we rode by in the morning I’d been 661, The Boy, 662, The Girl 662, and Amanda was 664. I asked her if I could back past it and then come back up past it so she could take a picture of my going past it as it clocked 666… but she wouldn’t go for it and told me to press on…

Rolling through downtown Calgary about 4:30. I would have liked to stick around here and see how many cyclists use this between 5 and 6pm... 

11 August happens to be our anniversary, so we went out for a special meal at The Coup to celebrate 21 years together.

DAY 15– Friday, 12 August 2016

Friday we did actually make it to Heritage Park. Despite my exhaustion at this point I was pretty excited as I hadn’t been to Heritage park since… well… since I was younger than the kids are now! So… 35+ years ago!?

Again, most of the ride there was on cycle track or multiuse trails. I think there was only about 4 blocks we had to ride with automotive traffic. The ride along the Elbow River Pathway was really nice.

It crisscrossed the river a few times on pedestrian/cyclist bridges.

Snack time at the reservoir.

CAUTION: LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT – not a sign you see everyday on a cycle path. When we’d approached this area from the other direction it seemed really out of place – once we rounded the corner and realized it was a hospital and there was a helicopter landing pad, everything made much more sense – but before that I was utterly perplexed as to what sort of Low Flying Aircraft I should be looking out for – buzzing us on the trail.

At least there were a few more bikes at the Heritage Park bike racks…

Just after we entered the park some ominous clouds rolled in overhead.

Lunch – for the mosquitoes as well!!

Checking out some of the buildings.

Typical display in one of the houses… WAIT A SECOND!?


(I am a bit of a game-nerd/minatures-geek)


I’d really like to know what this "Safe Diabetes Remedy for Diabetes" that they had on display in the 1910 pharmacy is all about!

Took a ride on the old steam train.

The Steam Train.

Unfortunately just after we got off the train it started raining.

Old fashioned one room school.

The kids actually tried to do some of the exercises on the black board – only to discover the “teacher” didn’t know the answer to one of the problems! So they erased their slate and drew pictures of dinosaurs.

More buildings, more rain.

The kids were pretty excited to see what this fort was about.

Unfortunately they couldn’t climb up to the second floor of the blockhouse. Seems like the ground floor was being used for storage.

Turns out it was supposed to be a Hudson’s Bay Company fort. The two staff members in here were some of the most talkative in the whole park. Though I wasn’t entirely convinced one of them had a firm grasp of history he was spouting when he started referring to the king of England as Louis…

Then the sun came out again and it was swelteringly hot…

Amanda and the kids playing on a teeter-totter.

There were a series of street scenes acted out throughout the day.


As closing time loomed the kids decided that rather than a trip on the S.S. Moyie, they’d rather go for a few rides on the old fashioned fairground. I remember this carousel being there when I was a kid…

I’m not sure I remember the Ferris wheel…

That’s The Boy with his arms up – and Amanda and The Girl squished in there with him.

The ride back was pleasant enough and, conveniently, mostly downhill!

I can’t even remember what we did that evening…

DAY 16 – Saturday, 13 August 2016

Our last day in Calgary… we were pretty much DONE with doing things… I had hoped we might be able to check out the Military Museums... but decided it would just be too rushed to try and get there in the morning and then hit a few other places we wanted to go and make it back in time to head out to my friend Cory’s.

So we spent the afternoon walking around the beltline in Calgary.

We checked out a really cool little bike shop I’ve been wanting to see since it opened a few years back - BikeBike! They kind of specialize in bikes for just getting around and hauling stuff – no mountain bikes or high end racing road bikes… and what did I find there…?

The Grail of my whole journey… the elusive Surly Tuggnut! (unfortunately we didn’t do any more riding this trip… But I have it now for when I DO go riding again – and hopefully this trip has inspired us all to get outside and RIDE more!)

they also gave us some pretty stickers!

...and some that were kind of rude.

We also wandered through a great used book store Fair’s Fair where we ALL found a couple books…

Then we had lunch in a park and the kids and I headed back to the the Sentry Box! 

(I remembered to take a few pictures indoors… unfortunately I only took these two just inside the door and before getting totally immersed in looking through all their treasure and totally forgetting to take more…)

After The Boy and I spent all the money we were going to spend we wandered back to the Hotel and met up with Amanda – who had gone to get herself some new hiking boots at the MEC.

In the evening we drove out to visit my friend Cory (and his partner Martha) and were treated to a delicious meal of grilled veggie sausages and… well… actual veggies. Afterwards we played Roll for the Galaxy.

I had hoped to meet up with a number of other friends in Calgary (and play more games!) but it just didn’t’ seem to work out…

Day 17 – Sunday, 14 August 2016

Loading up the van again.

Horseshoe Canyon, Drumheller

Amanda was keen to go romping about that canyon bottom, but by this point I was just DONE. Maybe if we could have ridden our bikes…

But that didn’t seem to be an option.

Yeah, that would have been fun to ride around. I wonder why bikes aren’t allowed. Probably some dipsh!ts riding around like maniacs scaring the horses and old ladies and ruining it for the rest of us…

I did agree to go check out the Hoodoos.



Amanda and the kids were game to try and climb the ridge. I said, “go ahead, I’ll sit down here…” That’s them up at the top.

More expansive view of where they were climbing.

The view from above that one of the kids took. That’s me down there standing to the left of the great big motor home. Taking pictures of the kids taking pictures of me…

Then we went and checked into the McDougall Lane B&B – where we actually stayed 10 years ago when we’d visited Drumheller. We even stayed in the same suite – which was in the basement off the garden.

The Garden.

It is a lovely place.

Day 18 – Monday, 15 August 2016

Off to the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

We had thought of riding out to it – it wasn’t too far, and there was a paved pathway all the way out… but we didn’t… Not entirely sure why…?

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Kids taking pictures of displays in dark rooms

Heading back through time.

Kids standing in front of the primordial soup display.

Prehistoric undersea creatures.

Scary Prehistoric giant armour-plated fish-like thingie…

The Grrrlz and some giant dragonfly…

More concerning than a giant dragonfly are the giant mosquitoes it must have been eating…

Talk about dinosaurs… or something… I was running on empty at this point and all holidayed out. This could have been a totally been a highly educational day of learning about PRE-history (to compliment the survey of world history we completed over the last two years)… but I was just cooked and let the kids run wild and just look at the cool stuff and then we went home.

Supertall giant dinosaur bones of… some dinosaur…

Kids taking more pictures of dinosaur bones.

Wasn’t this in Jurrassic Park…?


Early big mammal thing.

Bones of other early mammal things.

EVERYTHING in Drumheller is all about Dinosaurs – just about every building or business has a Dinosaur in front of it – including this Grocery store we stopped by.

Maybe this is a regular thing… but I’ve never seen it before and it gave me a laugh…

And then next day we drove home to Saskatoon – just in time to disgorge all our crap and return the rental van.


Well I hope you enjoyed this little summary of our 2016 Summer Vacation (I hope someone actually READS this!). Stay tuned for, hopefully, more regular postings about bicycle related shenanigans!