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

Posts tagged ‘Starbucks’

Coffeeneuring #2 – Exploring

Because I don’t want to hit up the nearby St Albert coffee shops this early in the challenge, I took the opportunity  to explore a neighborhood of Edmonton that is only about 7 km from home. Access is pretty easy, since there are quiet streets in St Albert leading to a nice multi-use trail beside the arterial street connecting that part of the 2 cities.  I checked the area out on Google Earth first to see if it was worthy of a visit.  It looked promising, with a few parks and trails in the neighborhood, but there has been so much new development in the 2 years since the Google imagery that things might have changed.  Unfortunately, it appeared that there was a distinct lack of independent coffee shops in the area. All the good independents are close to downtown or in the University area, leaving the chains to populate the outlying strip malls 😦

Good multi-use trail beside 142nd St. The safest bike route into Edmonton from St Albert.

Good multi-use trail beside 142nd St. The safest bike route into Edmonton from St Albert.

My initial suspicion that the area would be deadly boring was proved correct.  The 2 man-made lakes, which looked like they might have interesting viewing had trails only partially around them and the main park in the area had no trails at all!  So most of the ride to get to my appointed coffee shop was on residential streets.  Also, I had intended to do my national duty and get my coffee at Tim Horton’s but it didn’t have any bike rack, or even a post/fence/table of any kind, to chain my bike to.  The Starbucks at the other end of the strip mall didn’t have one either but I was able to chain up about 50 feet away at a dentist’s office (!), so Starbucks it was. So there you go, Timmy’s – you lost a customer because you have no place to secure a bike! Ironically, the large grocery store which anchored the mall had a bike rack beside it’s doors, prompting a WTF moment. Apparently, packing groceries home on a bike is expected but lounging at a coffee shop requires that you arrive in a car or on 2 feet.  I can now strike that neighborhood off my revisit list. Move along – nothing to see here.

Starbucks americano and slice of banana bread. Note the official coffeeneuring pin on my helmet!

Starbucks americano and slice of banana bread. Note the official coffeeneuring pin on the side of my helmet!

If you are going to put a transmission  line thru the neighborhood, you might as well put a bike trail beneath it.

If you are going to put a transmission line thru the neighborhood, you might as well put a bike trail beneath it.

Coffeeneuring #2

Date: Sunday, October 6, 2013

Place: Starbucks, 153rd Ave and 127th St, Edmonton, AB

What: Americano, with slice of banana bread

Distance: 21.6 km

Details: Exploratory excursion into adjoining neighborhood which proved to be deadly boring.

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Exploring

One of the things that I most enjoy about biking is the opportunity to explore.  Traveling in the elements, under your own power, you get to see and experience things that are just not available to travelers insulated within metal, plastic and glass conveyances.  Certainly trips that are far afield, such as my bike trip through Belgium and France early this summer, would be a prime example of discovery and adventure.  But closer to home you can discover too – there are unfamiliar neighbourhoods, new developments, parks, and trails to explore. More prosaic perhaps, but there is still the delight of finding someplace new that you can share with others.  Such was the case with today’s ride.

As expected, I took some flak from my biking group for cancelling the ride on Tuesday due to an ominous weather forecast.  As reported earlier, the forecast was totally out to lunch and it was a great day for riding after all.  Instead of having a group ride, we all ended up going out for rides on our own so it’s not like the day was a total loss.  Today’s group ride was the make-up ride for Tuesday.  It was a bit chilly and windy but 6 of us braved the conditions while I led them on trails that were new to all of them.  We started in St. Albert but made our way to the newly repositioned 137th Ave in Edmonton. A 14-block portion of it, between 184th St and 170th St, is still not open for traffic but the multi-use trail beside it is.  We continued on this trail all the way to 142nd St and then north up 142nd back into St. Albert.  On the way, I pointed out that 170th St now also has a multi-use trail developed into St. Albert so there are a bunch of safe, new options to get from one city to the other.  Although there are still many deficiencies in the trail infrastructure, this is a welcome development.

Oct 18th ride

We stopped for coffee at the Starbucks in Servus Centre, the city-owned recreation facility in St. Albert, where I enjoyed a small coffee (I don’t speak Starbucksian, but the barista understood what I meant by small) and a large chocolate chip cookie.

Coffee and a cookie. Life is good.

It was a shorter ride today, only 29.5 km, but the group enjoyed riding on the new (to them) trails.  Although some of them had driven those streets in the past, they were amazed at the amount of new development – upgraded and re-positioned roads, new buildings, separate trails – that had sprung up in the past year.  We will be doing more exploring in that area next year as the upgrading continues.

It not being a Friday or Saturday, my official coffeeneuring days, I can’t count this as a coffeeneuring ride.  With snow in the forecast for 3 of the next 5 days, my biking days are not over yet but I can see the end of the season from here. I only need 4 more official rides over the next 3 weekends. Here’s hoping!

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