#irideYEG – How About You?

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If you’re an Edmonton cyclist and would like to be profiled as part of the #irideYEG campaign, you can let us know a bit about yourself and your experiences cycling Edmonton through our online survey. Then simply e-mail us a photo, and before long, you could find yourself featured here!

Delivery Day

 

It was a good day to ride.

On November 15, we launched our first charity campaign under the moniker Two Wheels Good to collect donations of winter clothing for Youth Empowerment and Support Services of Edmonton. As we set up donation boxes, we had no idea what to expect – whether there would be a large response or none, whether the word would spread or not. We just hoped to do a little good.

As time passed, we got more and more excited. Word spread across social media, local press took the time to promote our efforts, and, as the boxes filled and overflowed, we grew more and more excited for the delivery ride.

The excitement crescendoed as a dozen of us met early yesterday afternoon outside Revolution Cycle. Trailers loaded, cargo bikes filled, and panniers stuffed, we took to the streets and trails to deliver the tangible proof of Edmonton’s generous heart.

Laughs were shared, hills climbed, and friends briefly lost and found again. Along the way, both our numbers and cargo swelled until we arrived – toes tingling, legs sore, and smiles wide – at YESS.

The donations collected far surpassed any of our expectations, and seemed to take the volunteers we met by surprise as we brought in enough boxes, bags, and bins to fill a good part of their upstairs office.

We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Earth’s General Store, Mud Sweat & Gears, Redbike, and Revolution Cycle for hosting donation boxes and helping us spread word of the campaign, Edmonton Bicycle Commuters for their help in promotion and loan of two bike trailers, CBC’s Mark Connelly for joining us on the ride, and CBC, Vue Weekly, and CTV for providing coverage.

Thanks most of all to all of the people of Edmonton who took the time to donate winter clothing to those in need.

It was a good day to ride.

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Winter Clothing Ride

charity ride map

Since November 15, we’ve been collecting donations of winter clothing for Youth Empowerment Support Services (YESS) of Edmonton, and our donation boxes at Redbike, Earth’s General Store, Revolution Cycle, and Mud, Sweat, and Gears have been filled to overflowing

Tomorrow we’ll be mounting a ride to deliver the collected goods.  We’ll be starting from Revolution Cycle (15103 Stony Plain Road NW) at 1:00 pm, stopping at Redbike (10918 88 ave) and Earth’s General Store (9605 82 Avenue), and arriving at YESS at 2:30 pm. Anyone who’d like to join us is welcome.

 

#CoffeeOutside

We’re happy to announce the beginning of a new local tradition. Inspired by a group in Portland, we’re launching an Edmonton version of #CoffeeOutside.  Once a week we’ll gather somewhere along the river valley – camp stoves, thermoses, and portable coffeemakers in hand – for a bit of early morning caffeine and fellowship.

This week we’ll be meeting at 7:15 am on Friday, November 28 at the wooden platform in Government Hill Park.

Gov't Hill Park

Come on down and bring a mug, some water, and whatever you need to brew a cup the way you like it. It’s guaranteed to be worth the grind.

#irideYEG – Adam Patterson

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What is your commute like?

30 min – A mix of residential, main streets and industrial. Smooth asphalt to roads that look like a war zone.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

I live in an older community so I love the elm-lined streets.

I used to go for a 14 km ride through the river valley to Gold Bar Park and back to the office at lunch.

Just being able to explore the city.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I have been riding for 20 years and year round for the past four.

I started riding as a kid in junior high. We would ride around MacKinnon Ravine and Glenora at lunch time. I had a group of four other friends who all lived within a few blocks of me.

Growing up I never really had an opportunity to own a vehicle. None of my friends had one. We all took the bus or rode. I grew up near an industrial area where we mainly looked for “extreme” things to ride off of or jump.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

Just getting out and clearing your mind. No phone, no emails. I also like that I can go just about anywhere. If I hit a red light I can take a new path.

I do end up taking a lot of photos and posting them on Instagram because riding down a back street is no different than a front street.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Mt Ashland in Oregon was amazing. I spent the day helping the locals clear the fire roads after the snow melt. My payment was chicken, corn, and biscuits and a shuttle ride to the top of the mountain.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

 Respect.

I have been threatened by drivers while on the street who think I should be on the side walk. I have had drivers overtake me to make a right hand turn within 50 feet of the turn.

I have had to deal with many delivery vehicles illegally parked on the wrong side of the road in bike lanes.

Crossing the north side of St Albert Trail just past the Yellowhead is probably the worst intersection I have come across in 20 years. When the light changes the two turning lanes rush to beat me leaving the cars in the back unaware that I am making it across an 6 or 8 lane road.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Keep the message the same. I see a lot of mixed situations that don’t seem to have complete follow through from one community to another.

If a bike lane is wide enough for a car (e.g. 127th street) then allow bikes to travel in both directions and forget the sharrows north.

Design bike lanes and intersections like people are trying to commute. I see a lot more intersections removing crossings in favour of turning lanes.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Transitioning from a commute downtown to more or less the edge of Edmonton left me a bit nervous but it seems that people drive better and are less rushed outside of the city core.

I am a bit nervous about riding on the streets covered in potholes with semi trucks and work vehicles.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I usually do, but I’m not sure if I will be able to manage this year as I don’t think snow removal is a priority out west.

The challenge for me is always over heating.

I loose weight in the winter from riding, its a lot of work and can be mentally fatiguing navigating all the ice, ruts, bumps, power and extension cords hanging at neck level.

I do like winter riding, though, because sometimes, with a bit of snow, the ride is almost silent. Kind of like skiing in fresh powder.

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#irideYEG – Bruce MacPherson

Bruce_M_TCardWhat is your commute like?

20-40 mins – my workplaces vary. The fabulous Mill Creek trail is a feeder for most of my routes – I move north faster than a car there. I take trails and bike routes when I can, but for about 20% of the time I stake out a space in traffic.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

We’ve always been a bit funky artistically and now its really moving into the streets, year round.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I used to commute on two wheels decades ago, but disliked the iciness in winter. Old whiplash and oncoming arthritis made bicycles painful, so I bought the trike nearly three years ago and I’ve never looked back (literally, I can’t ).

It kept us to one car years ago. It’s cheaper and the only exercise I get now. The fresh air and sunlight also keeps depression at bay better than any med.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The river valley and the paved trails.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Still the ravine and river valley.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

 Poorly thought out bike routes and the lack of snow-clearing on them.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

In the long term, only separate trails are going to really tip people to commuting, which I think is where the biggest impact can be made.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

I max out everything I can, bright clothing, multiple lights, (including right up my flag) a big mirror and horn. And a helmet every second I’m on the trike. (I think the debate on that is a no-brainer, unless you have none or don’t want any)

Given that, I feel fine. In the big picture, cars are killing us in many ways. If we looked at cost alone we’d be better off buying a bike for everyone and paying them to use it. Those who think cars are safer should reflect that virtually everyone is in a car accident eventually, sometimes involving pedestrians. Picture bikes being involved instead of cars, and you’ll get where I am on bike safety.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

It’s great! Prepare carefully and your biggest problem is sweating. The second biggest is traction, but invest the cost of a few tanks of gas a month, cancel the gym membership you’re not using, and you can afford any rig, whether it’s balloon tires or a trike like mine that won’t fall over.

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#irideYEG – Andrew Rogers

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What is your commute like?

I ride a few days a week along roads, paths, and the ravine.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I was reintroduced to cycling this past month after a ten year hiatus. I decided one day that I should become healthier, and I remembered that I used to love bike riding as a child, so, on a whim, I went out and bought a bike. Now my favourite pastime is to ride out bicycling to take pictures of beautiful YEG.

I started to bicycle commute when I realized some of the jobs I had, it would be faster to bike than to take transit.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The scenery.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The ravine.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Rebuilding my stamina after 10 years away.

I don’t seem to find many places to safely lock up the bicycle

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

More painted lanes.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Safe, though I’m still hesitant on hills.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I would like to start winter biking.

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#irideYEG – David Shepherd

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What is your commute like?

10-12 km. I use the Railtown multi-use path, 102 ave, and Rice Howard Way.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The fantastic local music scene, the Metro Cinema, the local bike community, and the river valley. That there’s so many talented, visionary people here willing to work to make Edmonton a great place to live.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I’ve been riding since I was five or six years old. I remember going for bike rides with my parents in Edmonton and Fort MacMurray (and running into parked cars – I was easily distracted), and have great memories of tearing around the neighbourhood every day as a kid. When I was older, we’d go for family bike rides from Rundle Park along the river valley to near downtown and back. I always loved those trails.

I didn’t ride much for a few years after high school, but started again when I moved back to Edmonton in 1997. I started commuting to work, and rode regularly in the river valley. It’s just always been something I’ve loved and felt great doing.

Biking, to me, is freedom – the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want – and I always feel great doing it. It keepa me focused, grounded, and connected to the city.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

Well, the river valley is fantastic. It has an amazing mix of paved, off-road, and single-track paths to ride and explore. There’s a lot of support from the local bike community if you ask for it. Edmonton Bike Commuters is a fantastic group – Bikeworks has kept me going through the last three winters – and there’s lots of great riding groups and opportunities to connect.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

I have a great loop I like to ride from downtown through Hawrelak to the Quesnel Bridge, and then back through Buena Vista Park. There’s some great single-track trails around the Strathcona Science Park, and I love Mill Creek Ravine.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

 There are parts of town that are somewhat intimidating to bike to or through, particularly if you’re a beginning rider. Trying to get around north of the Yellowhead and west of 97 st, for example. You’re forced to be out in traffic and need to be assertive to protect your space.

There’s a lack of good bicycle parking in a lot of the core areas. I was in Montreal and really liked how all of their parking meters had a small circle of steel welded to them for bikes to lock up to.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

I would really like to see protected, separated lanes. I was recently in Hamilton, Ottawa, and Montreal and saw some great examples of those. In Montreal, they have two-way separated lanes on several main thoroughfares. They were a pleasure to ride and constantly in use. I’m not afraid to be out in traffic, but if we want to make cycling an accessible option for more new riders, I think we really need protected lanes.

I’d also really like to see some solid north-south routes outside the central core. The river valley provides a fantastic natural corridor east and west, but there’s not nearly as much to get people quickly and safely north or south.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

I’ve learned to be an assertive and defensive rider, so I feel pretty safe. I follow the rules of the road, use a rear-view mirror, and try to keep a sharp eye out. I’ve found most drivers are respectful, though I’ve had a few close calls with some who weren’t paying attention or felt the need to express their road rage by passing too close. I find it more intimidating outside the city core, trying to navigate areas like the north end.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I’ve been riding year-round since 2011, and I love it. I love the feeling of challenging the elements and the freedom of being able to set my own schedule instead of having to plan around and stand in the cold waiting for buses. This year I connected with a great group of local cyclists who also ride year-round and it’s been a great inspiration to ride on even the coldest days. All you need is some good layers and a pair of studded tires, and you’re good to go!

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#irideYEG – Brian Shuchuk

Brian_S_TCard
What is your commute like?

Between 30-60km daily – 60% MUP and 40% road.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The parks along the entire River Valley. Oh, and our shiny talus dome balls. Seriously, I am a fan!

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I’ve been biking since I could walk. It’s all about freedom, exploring and adventure. More recently, in the last 10 years I started riding more often to work and for recreation to get rid of the “donair fat” that I “acquired” working in an office. This lead to riding for enjoyment and sport.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The river valley makes it worth going on my bike every day!

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

I love following the MUP from Callingwood to the Strathcona Science Park.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

 Lack of infrastructure in areas where you would assume it should be safe as the environment is creative, experimental and open minded. Examples are Whyte Ave, 124 street and downtown core (104 St.) Car traffic is still the priority most of the time in these areas and lack of MUPs makes riding on sidewalks just as dangerous as road.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Multi use paths and separate bike lanes. Paint is not enough to make it safe and comfortable for new riders and unnecessary for people already riding on the road. How can the Netherlands have such a masterfully created system with such limited space? We have space, let’s use it.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

I feel safe with the exception of riding downtown which requires very defensive riding. It is surprising that we don’t have safe west to east bicycle options in the core. I am looking forward to future plans to help meet this challenge, hopefully much like Calgary has adopted in the last year.

Does your family bike?

Yes, my wife commutes sometimes and rides for recreation and shopping trips.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I ride year round! However, I also have a car and van which are used for work and pleasure when I’m not on bicycle or when I am required to do hauling. Riding in winter is challenging but incredibly rewarding in personal fitness. It’s not for everyone unless our lanes are separated from cars as there is not the respect given yet from most drivers.

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#irideYEG – Dave Buchanan

Dave_B_TCardWhat is your commute like?

25 minutes – a combination of backroads, sidewalks, and a bit on major roads like Stony Plain.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The river valley, 104 street market, Alexander Circle, the Duchess Bake Shop, the new footbridge by Fort Edmonton, that pile of steel balls [Talus Balls] beside the Quesnell Bridge.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

Forever. I cycle commute for exercise, and because it’s easier and cheaper than other options.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

Like anyplace, Edmonton has its charms for cyclists. You just have to be willing to explore the city to find them.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

On the country roads outside the city in any direction, especially gravel roads.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

I’d like to see a network of continuous bike lanes/paths connecting various parts of the city and some separated lanes along some major routes (e.g. west end to downtown).

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Totally safe, though there is one spot at the corner of 102 Ave and 124 street that requires extreme caution.

Does your family bike?

Yes, my wife and kids are all avid cyclists.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

For the past two years, I have cycled year round.

[Editor’s note: Dave wrote a piece on his blog about the pleasures of winter biking which you can read here. Here’s an excerpt:

“Now, the first ride of winter is not, generally, the stuff of poetry the way the inaugural spring ride is. But maybe it could be. The sizzling bacon of studs on pavement, the almost magical defiance of ice, the pure cold, the silent whiteness—there is indeed poetry in that. Add in the proud sense of taking on the elements, adapting to whatever nature throws at us, and I’d say there’s good reason to get excited.”]

 

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#irideYEG – Joe Lizotte

Joe_L_TCardWhat is your commute like?

20 km – a mixture of side streets, multi-use trails, and roads.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The summer festival season. The vibrant arts community.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

Since I was six years old. I enjoyed the freedom that cycling gave me. Cycling was the best way to get to school, then to university, and now to work.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

We have an amazing river valley. .

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley trails.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

 Finding safe routes to get around.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Separated lanes on a few key routes (eg. 102 Avenue) and painted lanes on others that feed into them. As use grows, more separated lanes would be warranted. .

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Mostly safe, except for the downtown part of my ride, where I have to choose between busy roads or sidewalks.

Does your family bike?

Yes. We enjoy cycling for recreation.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

This was my first year winter commuting. It went fairly well, except that I had to use sidewalks for most of the ride. The roads just aren’t safe.
It felt great to be out in the cool weather.

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