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 distances 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.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall Trail Ride

Since we've been having some warmer weather, we decided to put aside all our other projects and go for a trail ride on Friday (I also wanted to try out the new tires I got for my Surly 1x1). 

Heading out Spadina to the new south bridge - our new way to access the G Trails.

Just checking blood sugar levels... because that's what we do now.

We ended up mostly riding on the newer crusher rock dust/gravel trails as the G-trails proved a bit muddy.

The kids checking out the "super stunt" built by Gerald and his pals. I don't think any of us are feeling skilled (or brave) enough to hit this anytime soon.

You can see a picture of Gerlad riding it in the Sunny Summer Sunday Afternoon Ride post)

Crossing the access road that divides G1 and G2.

We rode a bit of the single track here as I'd hoped it was a bit drier - being somewhat moer exposed to the sun. Some of it was. other areas with less sunlight... not so much...

The girl pushing up the bank to the trail.

Actually she pushed a lot of the trail.

Luckily the Boy would stop and wait for us... from time to time.

The Girl pushing some more.

At least she got on her bike to ride some of the flat parts.

Where G2 regained the gravel trail we noticed an Ambulance and a couple of police cars and a Saskatoon Light and Power truck at the access road - on closer observation I noticed an ambulance attendant vigorously performing CPR on a man lying by the side of a trail near a bike. Got me thinking I should sign myself and the boy up for a first aid course. I can't remember the last time I took one - probably 15+ years ago!!

We carried on along the gravel trail (away from the scene) and almost all the way out to Chief Whitecap park. On our way back we noticed the vehicles were all there - as we got closer we noticed the ambulance pulling away but the police cars were still there. As we got even closer we noticed the body was still there - though it was now covered by a tarp.

We rode the section of G2 we had ridden to come out this way - despite it being muddy and The Girl not liking riding it - just to avoid having to ride past the police and the body they were watching over.


The Girl managed to ride a bit more of it going back. Buoyed by this success, she actually rode down that rather steep access trail - which was really pushing her limits! I was so excited I totally forgot to get out my camera and take a picture!

Stoping for more snacks and a quick check of blood sugar levels.

The Girl decided this would make a great summoning circle - though wasn't entirely sure WHAT she could summon from it (regardless, I'm sure it would be something more furry and cute and less fiery and demonic!)

Instead of crossing at the South Bridge, we decided to ride through Gabriel Dumont Park - for a more "scenic" route home.

The Girl, suddenly excited about the possibilities of mountain biking on single track, veered off on every little bit of single track short cut between loopy trail bits.

She even did this little drop through a gully - which she'd been far to terrified to do before. it's not terribly hard, but it started off with bit of an off camber, slippery muddy bit - which ifbraked too hard on would result in sliding sideways into the bush. Then there is a bit of a drop into a gully - which you have to do quickly to get enough speed to ride up the other side. Unfortunately it was getting dark enough in the gully - in the late afternoon - and she was going fast enough that the pics ended up a bit blurry.

The Boy doing the same.

The Surly 1x1 with the new Kenda Mini Block Eight tires I picked up at the Bike Universe Customer Appreciation Sale.

it was so warm The Boy and I planned to go riding on Saturday as well - while Amanda took The Girl to all her dance classes... but it just didn't work out... Today would have been even better (it was +20°C!!) but again other scheduled activities ate up the day. Tomorrow is relatively open - as is most of the week - due to most of our activities being cancelled this week (there's some break at the university where most of our extra curricular activities take place, and then there's the Remembrance Day long weekend). So hopefully we'll get out for some more fun riding this week!!