What a Difference a Week Makes   Leave a comment

Today (Sunday April 10) I got out on my bike for the third time this year. I rode the same route as I had  a week earlier – but what a difference. While last week’s ride was slow, careful and deliberate, today I felt like I was really riding. I’d forgotten how well my mountain  bike move with the City Slicker tires. I was cruising along at 25 Kmph along some stretches and it felt good!

Dirty and Rusty Chain

Before I could hit the road I had to clean up my bike a bit. Last weekend’s ride had left it very sandy and this was especially  an issue on the drive train. I  knocked off as much dirt and sand as I could then applied some White Lightning lubrication to the  chain.

The route I took was along the bike paths and connecting roads from Dawson Park in central Edmonton to Rundle Park in the east end of the city.

The first difference notices was that the paths in general were much drier and almost completely free of snow and ice. Last week I found the most dangerous part of the trail being a very muddy section beside a construction site in Dawson Park. Today this section was a bit dirty but dry – no issue. Through Dawson Park and up the trail beside the Highlands Golf Course, the  path had a few wet spots – either puddles or sections where the run-off flowed across the path. There was also still a lot of sand on the path.

Once I got up to to Ada Boulevard I traveled  on the relatively quiet residential street. Again there was a lot of sand on the road but for the most part the the surface was dry and fast. The biggest thing to watch out for was the pedestrian traffic: runners, dog walkers and strollers. Overall, the few kilometers along the street were a pleasure. This is where I got up a good pace, a good rhythm and felt wonderful.

Reaching the turn-off down into Rundle Park the only obstacle encountered was water completely across the path about half way down. This was the first  (and probably the smallest) of a number of small  patches of water across the path in Rundle Park. It was just a matter of going slow. I wouldn’t want to have been cruising down the hill at a significant speed and hitting this patch of water. One of the neat parts of slowing down was seeing the pond amongst the trees beside the path – great reflections!

The trail down onto the flats of Rundle Park  was completely clear of snow. It was amazing how much snow had melted in just a week. I was most curious to see if the large patch of water across north of the ACT Centre had drained or dried up.

Rundle Park, 2011 April 10

Rundle Park 2011 April 3

Alas, although a lot of snow was gone, the path was still a low spot filled with water. At least this week it seemed like a reasonable alternative to go off-pavement and ride along the grass beside the path – but I didn’t. since it had worked fine last week  I just coasted slowly straight down the path.

There would be quite a bit of standing water on the Rundle park loop, both on the west side and  then again in numerous places along the river side path. So I just had to go very slow through these stretches and since there was no ice under the water this strategy worked. This  part of the ride was also slow because of a few stops to take photos of  some attractive scenery, such as reflections and snow like this:

The ride back to Dawson along the same route was very similar – fast back along Ada Boulevard. The only issue, downside to today’s ride came in the last kilometer or two. I notice that I wasn’t moving as smoothly as I had been earlier. I thought I detected something wrong with my rear wheel – perhaps the hub. I eventually noticed that my rear tire was very low. It didn’t go completely flat, I was able to ride home on it but my speed dropped to about half. A quick inspection did not reveal the problem – no obvious puncture or other cause. I will have to do a closer inspection of the tire later this week, once it is dry.

Overall, a good 20K ride. It was about 8 degrees and sunny this afternoon. I was tempted to ride in shorts but stuck with my long tights. I was glad I did  because my legs would been pretty cool after getting wet from the spray of riding through puddles. I rode with regular half-finger cycling gloves and  without a hat under my helmet and felt very comfortable. I’m looking forward to my next ride!

Goldbar Footbridge from the Path into Rundle Park

Posted April 10, 2011 by Randy Talbot in Cycling

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