I had hoped to get out yesterday for my 3rd official coffeeneuring ride but, with the temperature at 3C and raining, I wimped out. Luckily, the weather improved considerably for today and it ended up being a lovely day for a bike ride. It was 8C and cloudy and a little cool when I left home and I overdressed to start. By the time I did my usual ride down the Red Willow Trail to the viewing platform on Big Lake, only 7.5 km distant, I was starting to sweat! Off came the wind pants, under-helmet tuque (what was I thinking!), and upper base layer. The latter article of clothing, of course, required me to strip to the skin so I’m glad that there was nobody else on the platform. I don’t like to scare the kids :/ Later, after coffee, I replaced my nylon shell with a light vest. In the hour and a half that I was out, it warmed up to a sunny 12C. Sun and an extra 4C makes a huge difference!
Instead of just doing a simple out-and-back, I decided to check out the progress being made on the newly rerouted 137th Avenue, on the border of St. Albert and Edmonton. It is still not open for car traffic so it was a nice quiet ride on the fresh pavement. The multi-use trail on the south side of the road has been open for a few months, apparently, but this is the first time that I have explored it. For whatever reason, probably because the foreman isn’t a biker, the work crew preparing the road on the last stretch, near 170 St, have dumped piles of dirt on the trail. With the road still under construction in that area, crawling with workers and big machines, and the trail now blockaded by dirt, I rode back on the vacant westbound traffic lane. What a treat to have the whole newly paved road all to myself! The final paving is supposed to be done tomorrow so this is the last time I’ll be able to do that. Nevertheless, the multi-use lane is great, temporary dirt piles notwithstanding, and will be a welcome addition to the bike trail infrastructure. I’m glad that whoever does the planning for new arterials in Edmonton now includes separate multi-use trails in the contract requirements. Now if only St. Albert would show the same foresight as Edmonton and Sherwood Park in requiring multi-use trails beside any major new road development.
On the return trip, I stopped for refreshments at Arcadia Cafe, on Perron Street, which is the usual coffee stop on our St. Albert club rides. It is in a very convenient location, situated right beside the Red Willow Trail, has a nice atmosphere and lots of places to park a bike. They make quite a passable latte and homemade granola squares that I cannot resist! Only 23 km but, all in all, a very pleasant ride.