Tag Archives: biking

#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

Andrew_R_TCard
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

David_S_TCard
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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#irideYEG – Andy W.

Andy_W_TCardWhat is your commute like?

28 km – I start on 111 street MUP, make my way to 109 street time restricted bike lane, cross the high level bridge, and then head to 101 street to continue north.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The abundance of free ODRs (outdoor rinks). Patio season on Whyte. All of the green (or white) spaces that let you escape the city without leaving the city – all you need is a bike!

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

I grew up at the end of a 40 km gravel road and could hardly keep my balance on a two-wheeler when I moved to Edmonton in 2010. I got my first bike from EBC and never looked back. Now I cycle every day for my health and the Earth’s!

In my first year of studies I met Jayson de Vera while volunteering at the University of Alberta Campus Food Bank. To assist me in my goal of a reduced ecological footprint, Jayson introduced me to winter cycling, an activity I would not have thought practical in our climate. He then brought me to Bikeworks where I picked out my first bike and the volunteers helped me get set for the winter. I cycled to school every day that winter- you can imagine my excitement when summer and dry pavement finally rolled around.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

I love crossing the high level bridge and meeting other cyclists at the intersection by High Level Diner. I love the community of dedicated cyclists and cycling activists who recognize the shortcomings of Edmonton’s bike infrastructure and education but also just love to get out and have fun on two wheels!

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Can’t beat Edmonton’s river valley trails for fast, slow, flat, hilly, sunny, icy, or any other type of ride!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Lack of education for both motorists and cyclists. Scofflaw cyclists can be just as hazardous as ignorant motorists whose habits only contribute to the danger of cycling in Edmonton.

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

Increased connectivity of current bike lanes! The ones we have are often inconvenient to use or dangerous to enter/exit. Some examples:

West side of 111 street between Whitemud and 60 ave: The south end connects to a sidewalk crowded with Harry Ainley students; the north end connects to a sidewalk full of right-turning strip mall traffic. There is no safe and efficient way to connect to the east side MUP that goes from 23 ave to Whitemud.

106 street between 51 ave and 63: It’s made up of a mixture of sharrows and painted lanes that is extremely dangerous and confusing for bike traffic.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

The MUPs on 111 street begin and end abruptly, causing some awkward and dangerous transitions in those areas. 109 street is relatively safe when the northbound lane is restricted in the mornings, but not so in the evenings on the southbound side.

Getting from the high level bridge to 101 street and back involves navigating some heavy but slow-moving traffic, which is fairly safe if I follow the rules and make my intentions known to motorists. Heading north/south on 101 street is the most dangerous segment of my commute, with daily abuse and unsafe passing by motorists. I have not had any better luck using 109 street, but I stick to the middle of my lane and give a hearty thumbs up to any raging drivers.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

Nothing makes me more jealous than looking out the window from a warm LRT car or vehicle to see a bundled-up cyclist bearing down and pedaling through a -40 blizzard. I love everything about winter cycling, from the surprised looks on the faces of traffic-stalled motorists to the beard that melts and drips onto my desk for the first half hour of the day.

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#irideYEG – Barbara Meister

Barbara_M_TCard

What is your commute like?

34 km – along Whyte Ave.

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

I have always loved riding a bike. I started bike commuting for fitness, to save on parking and because I enjoy it

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The same thing I like about biking anywhere….biking itself!

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley trails, mill creek ravine, anything like that. I also like to go to older neighbourhoods

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Some rude motorists who feel they own the road, not just a car!!

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Most of the time pretty safe, but there has been moments….

Does your family bike?

My oldest child is a cyclist but she lives elsewhere

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

Winter biking is not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

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#irideYEG – Margaret Milner

Margaret_M_TCard What is your commute like?

10 km – Flat, short and mostly on MUPs.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The bike trials, the river valley, and the amazing sense of community we have here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

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

I have been cycling all my life. I got my first bike, a tourquoise CCM that was a full sized bicycle when I was 6 years old. I don’t know when I could finally ride it sitting on the seat, but it was a few years. Back in those days, parents couldn’t afford to buy bikes that fit you – you just made do until you grew into it.

Years later when I was turning 17, my parents gave me a Peugeot 10 speed road bike, all the rage back in 1972. It was emerald green and I rode the wheels off it until I crashed it on the High Level Bridge in 1982. I bent the frame and I still miss that trusty steed. I have had a series of bikes since then, but none as special as that old Peugeot.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The freedom! I love riding home when 104 avenue is backed up for miles and I can sail along without any hindrances. I have gone to Critical Mass on occasion with my children (I am certainly one of the oldest riders) and I LOVE taking over the High Level Bridge and listening to the sound of bicycle bells ringing in unison! Riding to Folk Fest in the summer is also a highlight – even though they moved the bike lock-up so far away from the hill.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Just cruising the streets in my neighbourhood or riding to Folk Fest where everyone on the trails is so happy to be alive!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Not many. I try not to focus on the motorists that are in a hurry. Heavy snow in winter and delays in plowing the bike lanes holds me up on occasion, but for the most part, I have no complaints.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Very safe but my commute is short. For the most part, I ride with gratitude, always waving at cars that stop for me. I have found that motorists and walkers alike will smile and wave back if you ride with enthusiasm and respect.

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

My daughter lived in Montreal for a couple of years and I loved the separated lanes they had there. Vancouver had the courage to close a lane on the Burrard Street bridge to accommodate cyclists – we could do that in our city too.

We need dedicated bike lanes to give cyclists of all abilities the confidence to get out and ride as an alternative form of transportation.

Does your family bike?

My husband and I have 5 children (we are a blend) and everyone rides. My oldest daughter and her husband are by far the most dedicated and most of us have fixies now. My kids love old vintage bikes and I recently found a beautiful Apollo that I bought at the EBC bike exchange in the fall that I gave to my son’s girlfriend in Calgary so they could pull a trailer with our new addition to the family, our granddaughter Wren.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I started cycling year round in 2004 while going to grad school at the U of A. I had a friend that rode all winter and I thought she was crazy. One late winter day in February, I missed my bus and was gong to be late for an exam. I jumped on my bike and rode down the Groat Road on a wall of ice – had a terrific sliding fall, but climbed back on and kept going. I made it to the class on time but nursed my bruised elbow and ego all the way through the exam. While my winter riding was sketchy after that, I persevered.

My daughter and her boyfriend (they are now married) started building fixed gear bikes in 2008. I thought they were crazy too but they convinced me to ride one for a week and I was hooked. I converted my Apollo road bide to a “fix” with their help that year and have been winter riding ever since without many falls. Riding a fixie is the only way to go in winter due to the continuous momentum and low maintenance required in this salty climate!

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