Archive for the ‘first ride’ Tag

First Ride of 2016   3 comments

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March 27th is not the earliest date for my first ride of the year but this 2016 debut was probably the most enjoyable early season ride I’ve  ever had.
With sunshine and a temperature of 12C I was able to wear cycling shorts and was very comfortable.
Before I could hit the road I had to do a little prep. Fortunately, the mountain bike was in pretty good shape – the one thing attention needed was the chain. I was out of my usual dry wax based lube but found some of this:

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It worked fine and I was soon able to head out on the road (without squeaks).
My ride took me from downtown via bike paths and Ada Boulevard to Rundle Park and then on to Hermitage Park. There was only one section of the bike path still covered with snow and ice but fortunately it was only about 30m and I was able to detour via the adjacent grassy field. The road and bike paths were as dry as I’ve ever seen them at the end of March in Edmonton. The sand/gravel was also not bad at all.
Here’s a bit of what I saw along the way:

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From Rundle Park on the way back I crossed the bridge to Goldbar Park and followed the southside paths to the 50th Street Bridge where I crossed back to the north side.

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Back on the north side I got off pavement and on to dirt trails.

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These dirt were very dry (and actually a bit too hard for the tire pressure I had).

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It was a great ride. I covered 25K which is more than I probably should have done for the first ride in over four months. My legs handled the easy pace but I was feeling it in the back of my neck from the now-unfamiliar hunched over riding position.

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One Season Ends and Another Begins   Leave a comment

Yesterday (2012 March 18th) I got my bike (the Kuwahara mountain bike) out for the first time this year and as I noticed later, this day was also the last full day of winter here in Edmonton. For a first time out it wasn’t bad. I of course felt out out of shape after  not being on a bike for 4 months but It felt great to be out there anyway. Thinking back to my first rides of the last couple of years, the roads/trails were a lot drier this year thanks to the relatively light winter snowfall accumulation. The temperature this afternoon was about +3C and the skies were clear.

Rundle Park (Dry and Clear)

It has become traditional that my first ride each year takes me from central Edmonton, through Dawson Park, along Ada Boulevard and around Rundle Park (and then back). Being on the northside of the river and thereby getting good sun exposure, this route is usually the first to be clear of snow. This year’s conditions were pretty decent. Along the bike path through Dawson Park, I encountered some wet spots, a few puddles and sand but no snow or ice on the trail. Likewise once I got up to Ada Boulevard and traveled the roads on the top of the bank, I found them to be virtually ice free with just a bit of wetness. The sand was the only hazard, making the couple of meters of the road next to the curb a bit dangerous and best to be avoided. This however was not an issue on this lightly traveled residential road.

Puddles on the Rundle Park Trail (mid-March 2012)

Descending into Rundle Park I noticed that the fields were clear of snow and the paths pretty much dry. There was still ice on the skating pond (with “thin ice” hazard signs posted). In Rundle Park I cycle clockwise around the big loop. The path continued to be dry from the main building and the ACT Centre. Last year, just north of the ACT Centre I recalled a huge pond that stretched across the path, with snow in the filed on either side. This year, the same spot and again there was a big (but much smaller) puddle across the path but it was an easy matter to cycle up on the grass to get around it.

 

The only challenging part of the ride was the trail on the east side of the park beside the river. There were a few snowy stretches that made the riding difficult (particularly on my slick tires). A couple of times I had to put my foot down before I went down. Putting my foot down in the icy slush probably did contribute to my very cold feet – they were numb by the end of the ride! Otherwise I seemed quite adequately dressed for the weather – wearing long pants, a long sleeve wool jersey under a wind-proof jacket, full finger “winter” cycling gloves and a liner under my helmet.

Snowy Rundle Park Trail (beside the river)

Puddle Reflections (Rundle Park)

Rundle Park Bike Path

 

 

 

 

It was just a week-ago that I was out on my cross-country skis and now another cycling season has begun. I like how even with temperatures just above freezing, some snow and puddles on the path and sand on the road, the first ride of the year is so wonderful!

 

My Season Starts!   Leave a comment

Just a week ago, the first weekend of spring 2011, I was out cross-country skiing here in Edmonton’s river valley. The snow was great, the temperatures winter-like and the prospects of getting out on the bike anytime soon seemed remote. However what a difference a week can make, especially a few days when the sun shines and the temperatures rises  to seasonal highs of around +8. Don’t get me wrong, there is still lots of snow on the ground and I’m sure the skiing would still have been great today but something inside me changed this week and it had to be two wheels not two “boards”.

Happy cyclist (me) on the Edmonton trails

I kept my expectations moderate for today. I would have been happy to just get in a 15 minute ride. As it turns out I was out for at least an hour and covered 16K – with many stops to take photos. I stuck to the paved paths on the north side of Edmonton’s river valley trail system from Riverdale to the base of McKinnon Ravine. It was mostly sunny so I was surprised to learn that the temperature at the time was only +3C. I guess I was properly dressed wearing a couple of layers plus a Gortex jacket. I had a head cover under my helmet and was wearing full-finger winter cycling gloves. The only part which was a little cool by the end was my feet as I was wearing  just a single pair of socks inside my regular cycling shoes (the same as I would wear in summer).

gloves for the "just above freezing" temperatures

I knew it would be messy so I rode my “mountain” bike. Last year I had replaced my knobby tires with some relatively smooth road tires so I was a little concerned that I might have trouble on the trails, especially if I encountered patches of snow. It turns out my tires were fine. There were a few patches of snow and ice but I was able to get by these obstacles without incident.

My machine for messy first day conditions

The key to riding the trails today (and I expect it will be for a couple of weeks at least) is to take it easy. It is more an exercise in technical riding than technically riding for exercise. It is more brain and fine motor skills than a strong cardio-vascular endeavor. This is just as well for me, at this point of the season.

So what was it like on the trails? Pretty much like I expected – the first two descriptors that apply are wet and sandy!

My tire, wet and sandy trail, water and ice on the edge

There were only a couple of stretches where there were puddles right across the trail. Most of the time there was a clear path although not necessarily both lanes. Most of the trails I was on today had been plowed during the winter and I rode the trails on the north side of the river which have been exposed to the sun, leading to rapid melting of what snow had been left on the trail. There were a couple of sheltered areas where there was slushy snow across most of the trail. The greatest hazard I noted was ice on the sloping trail under the Low Level Bridge (the north side of the west end of the bridge).

Debris and puddle on trail south or Rossdale Power Plant

Water in one lane, snow on the other - trail northwest of Groat Bridge

 

Snowiest trail section - a couple turns south of Low Level Bridge

Icy trail section looking west to start of McKinnon Ravine

Overall the trails were better than shown on these four last photos and they can change quickly. In fact looking the other direction  from that last icy section is this nice clear stretch of trail:

A mostly clear, dry bike trail (note the frozen North Saskatchewan River on the right)

Although the trails were not ideal there was not much traffic on the trails which made it easy to move from side to side to choose a safe path. I did encounter few cyclists and a number of walkers and runner. I found myself going very slowly around the others so as not to spray them with water or sand.

I knew it was going to be dirty and I could feel the grit in my drive train throughout the ride. This is what my bottom bracket area looked like after 16K out there:

Yes, there is some cleaning and probably some re-lubing to do which isn’t particularly fun, but overall it was sure wonderful being  out cycling again. It is comforting to know that things (weather and trail conditions)  can only get better for the next 4 or 5 months.

 

 

 

Posted April 2, 2011 by Randy Talbot in Cycling, Uncategorized

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