On the ski hills, on the bike trails, and thru life in general

May Flowers

After a ridiculously cold and snowy April, Mother Nature finally pulled herself from under the duvet and looked at the calendar. May? Already? Time to warm things up a bit…  So we went from a low of -5C on May 1st to a high of +31C on May 6th!  Making up for lost time I guess.  The warm weather not only did in the last of the snow banks but it also brought out the cyclists in droves.

As I have mentioned before, the ski club that I belong to has a large and active biking contingent.  Typically, 60 to 80 of us meet every Tuesday and Thursday morning for rides on the bike trails in the Edmonton area, with a mid-ride break for coffee, and usually get in 25 to 35 km, depending on location and terrain.  We break into small (i.e. manageable) groups according to ability and experience – either green, blue or black, just like ski runs. Those of us with road bikes also get out for Wednesday and/or Friday rides as well, cruising the quiet roads in the countryside.  The  warm, sunny weather and general lack of rain for most of the month meant that we could finally get our legs turning and our butts used to bicycle seats again.

The North Saskatchewan River valley through Edmonton is a wonderful place to ride, with 100’s of kilometres of paved and dirt trails from one end of the city to the other.

Edmonton skyline from the river valley trails

May 14 – Edmonton skyline from the river valley trails

Riding on one of the wider dirt trails in Mill Creek ravine

May 14 – Riding on one of the wider dirt trails in Mill Creek ravine

St. Albert also has a nice trail system, albeit short, beside the Sturgeon River. Unfortunately, the trails tend to get flooded every spring, so cycling there proved to be a bit of a challenge this month.  With all the snow melting at once, high tide swamped the underpasses and forced the 5 group leaders to be a little creative in choosing their routes.

Flooded walkway under St Albert Trail

May 16 – Flooded walkway under St Albert Trail

Flooded walkway under Perron Street bridge

May 16 – Flooded walkway under Perron Street bridge

Flooded trail under railroad trestle bridge

May 16 – Flooded trail under railroad trestle bridge

May 16 - Converging on the coffee shop!

May 16 – Converging on the coffee shop!

The trees seemed to go from bare and wintery to fully leafed out in 2 days, with blossoms sprouting everywhere.

May 21 - Proof that the black group does stop periodically to smell the roses, er, apple blossoms.

May 21 – Proof that the black group does stop periodically to smell the roses, er, apple blossoms.

May 21 - Riding through the Chinese Gardens in Louise McKinney Park.

May 21 – Riding through the Chinese Gardens in Louise McKinney Park.

And, every now and then, we had to contend with other biker gangs on the trails!

May 23 - This gang looked mean.  We gave them a wide berth...

May 23 – This gang looked mean. We gave them a wide berth…

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Breaking Chains and Taking Lanes

Bicycle Adventures in the Great White North

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On the ski hills, on the bike trails, and thru life in general

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