Archive for the ‘highway’ Tag

A Dayride to Fort Saskatchewan   1 comment

With a couple of days of rain this week and a couple of days of fatigue, here it was Friday already and I hadn’t been out on the bike since Sunday’s Target the Tour group training ride. That one ride will not be enough by itself to get me into shape for touring the Silver Triangle in June. My plan has been to get in two progressively longer rides each week in addition to moderate daily rides. So today would have to be a longer ride. The weather looked fine so I decided to try a new route of what I estimated to be about a 75K distance – from central Edmonton to Fort Saskatchewan (a small city northeast of Edmonton).

Meridian Street

As soon as I had finished watching the day’s coverage of the Giro d’Italia. I got ready and headed out to the bike. At this point I discovered a small technical issue (actually two of them). Normally I wear my Garmin HRM/GPS and have my Cateye cycle computer (odometer, speedometer etc.) on the bike. For some reason the Garmin would not turn on and a probelm with a loose wire on the Cateye meant it was only intermittently getting a signal from the wheel sensor. The net result was I had not indications of speed or distance. On the way home I turned on the GPS on my iPhone which indicated a distance of about 36+ kilometers, so counting a couple of extra Ks in Ft. Sask my total was likely close to the estimated 75K.

My route to through Edmonton to the northeast was my usual (Dawson Park, Ada Boulevard, Rundle Park, Hermitage Park) along the bike paths and routes. From the top of the valley at the North end of Hermitage Park I dipsy-doodled my way north through the residential subdivisions until I reached the countryside at 153rd Avenue [map]. A couple of kilometers east I hit Meridian Street, a lightly-traveled rural road, and headed north. this road passes through farmland and, a few small acreage subdivisions. The road is in pretty good condition and the ride is pleasant!

A Sikh Temple in the distance across a fallow field

Approximately 8K north, Meridian Street is intersected by the Fort Road, which I turned right and followed. However, looking northwest from that point, across the fields and behind some trees one can see the unexpected sire of an ornate Sikh temple.

Turn onto Fort Road

Old Fort Road – an Idyllic (if rough) Country Road

The Fort Road is busier, as would be expected from the center and shoulder line markings, but it wasn’t too bad, late morning when I was there. I followed this road northeast for 4 or 5 kilometers until it intersects Manning Drive (Highway 15). At this intersection it is necessary to turn right and travel on the highway.  It is not a bad stretch of road, it starts off divided with a wide  shoulder (then becomes undivided but still with a generous shoulder.

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The highway stretch is just for a couple of kilometers before I turned right onto the Old Fort Road (Township Road 545). This is another quiet road through the farmland – very peaceful. Well peaceful but with a very rough road surface. It was paved and not particularly broken up but it was kind of jarring. The fact that I had a very-unusual-for-me headache today meant that I really noticed the roughness.

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The Highway Bridge to Ft. Saskatchewan

The Old Fort Road takes us to just below the highway bridge that crosses the North Saskatchewan River and leads into the City of Fort Saskatchewan. To get onto the highway it is necessary to first turn north onto a little road before turning right onto the highway.

This bridge crossing was my least favorite part of the ride – the traffic was moderately heavy (with big trucks), the shoulder was narrow compared to the open highway and the shoulder was also a bit rough and dirty. Full focus is required is required for a few hundred meters and I appreciated my rear view mirror

Once across the bridge the shoulder widens and taking the exit to the right, one is in the City. After first going west, I found downtown was to the east and offered more food options. I found a place to grab some lunch and took a break for half an hour or so then headed back, along basically the same route.

Again the bridge crossing was the only real concern but once across, I turned right and went back south, under the bridge and along the old Fort Road. Shortly back on to this road I came to a railway crossing where care was called for (as indeed it was when I  crossed on the way out). The timbers are old and rough and the rails are at quite an angle to the road but again traffic was light so there was no problem in taking it very slow.

Old Railway Crossing on the Old Fort Road

My return route deviated from the outgoing one only slightly as I was coming back into the Northeast Edmonton residential area. There was construction on the little dirt road I had taken to get to 153 Avenue so I couldn’t turn off 153rd at the same point.

A Gravel “Connector” Path

I continued west to 18th St., then went south on a little gravel walkway (after having to carry my bike over a barrier). This gravel path was only about 300 meters before I got back on the residential road. It wasn’t a bad ride on my touring bike (with a bit wider tires) and would have been no problem on a mountain bike. I retraced my route back to where I could connect with the bike path at the end of Hermitage Park. From there it was just 15K or about 45 minutes) to home. Well “just” that with a couple of  significant climbs, the only real ones since about 50K back. Overall this was a very flat route.

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I did like this route and look forward to riding it again.

Quiet Countryside on the Road to Fort Saskatchewan

 

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In the Zone   1 comment

Another Sunday. another ride with the EBTC‘s Target the Tour Classic group.

Receiving Pre-ride Instructions

It was a beautiful day for a ride – a bit cool, but sunny and with no wind. I rode in cycling shorts with a jacket over my jersey for the first half of the ride and was  comfortable. Today’s route was 66 Kilometers, so the longest of these group training rides this year. The group was again a healthy size, of about 40 riders. I arrived a little bit late so ended up starting at the very back of the pack, again. The route started off south – a long 13K straight stretch.

On the Road

Along this stretch, I was stopped to take a few photos when another rider asked if I might have some some chain lube in my large read rack bag. Indeed I did! I prefer to have my chain lubed and ready to go before a ride but encountering rain along a ride  has sometimes necessitated re-lubing during the ride, so I do like to carry a small bottle of lubricant with me and I was happy to be able to help out.

A Hill (sans fool) in the Relatively Flat Central Alberta Landscape

I found I wasn’t stopping as often to take photos today. the landscape was still beautiful and each week has been a little different form the weeks before , but I fear I am getting a bit desensitized to the scenery as it becomes familiar from riding in the same area week after week. One thing that stood out for me today was the color of the water in the small lakes and ponds – very blue!

Prairie Pond

Through the first half of the ride I continued to  lag near the back of the pack and often could not see the next rider ahead of me for a long time.

Along Wye Road

This week’s route again featured a variety of roads, mostly quiet country road but also some secondary highways, 2 lanes with moderate traffic and wide or narrow shoulders. For the 5K approaching the 40K mark we were traveling south east on Wye Road towards north Cooking Lake. For some reason this stretch was uniquely swarming with little bugs. It was absolutely necessary not to be riding along breathing through an open mouth. Instead I found I had to breath though my closed teeth. I was also glad to be wearing glasses but had to keep my head up and glasses forward so as not to get bugs in the eyes. It was like watching a show of  traveling at warp speed through a starfield – quite amazing.

Fortunately these bugs were only an issue for a short distance. At 40K I stopped to take off my jacket and to down an energy bar before we headed north off of the highway and back onto the country quiet roads. A minor frustration occurred on this stretch as I had inadvertently turned off my heart rate/GPS monitor when I  took my jacket off and didn’t realize it until I was a further 3 and a half kilometers up the road. this then through off distance markers on the day’s route map.

Riding Beside Wetlands

It was somewhere around the 50K mark that I lost sight of the rider behind me and I never did catch up with anyone in front of me. I was riding solo and that was fine with me. the roads were good, our maps were good and I was feeling strong. I just kept plugging away at a good cadence and soon found myself “in the zone”.

The zone is a nice place to be – the riding is free and easy. I was proceeding north along Range Road 215 into the final 10K of the ride. Somehow, in this “zone”, I missed  a turn-off. I didn’t realize it until I saw the sign indicating that I was approaching Highway 16, The Yellowhead. I should have turned west 3K back. I could have backtracked but decided to brave the highway. It is a very busy 4-lane divided highway but does have wide shoulders, so I decided to take it for 5K.

Westbound on the Yellowhead

 

Again this highway was not part of the official route and I wouldn’t recommend it, but it wasn’t that bad. I was thankful for having a rear-view mirror as I probably spent half my time keeping an eye on the traffic coming up behind me. At the first opportunity I got off of the highway, which happened to coincide with the Ardrossan turn-off, where I was able to get back on the route for the last couple of kilometers.

But instead of the Yellowhead image, I choose to remember the peaceful rural roads from today:

Peaceful Rural Road