According to a new article from CBC, when we look at the numbers, dollars spent on cycling/pedestrian infrastructure is money well spent for the results received. More people with more choices to choose from on how they get around seems like a great idea, in my opinion, in city planning and distribution of transportation budget funds. Results such as healthier community members, connecting green spaces for families and kids to play and art to be displayed welcoming residents and visitors alike to get outside and enjoy this amazing city. Smart, right?
Well, not everyone sees it this way. Point being - there is a local special interest group called Common Sense Calgary where the group's leader, Stephanie Kusie, is quoted as saying, in relation to cycling/pedestrian infrastructure funding/planning:
"I especially find it frustrating" she writes "that much of city planning seems to focus around an infrastructure and lifestyle that is an exception and not the norm in Calgary."
Umm... yes, I do understand that as a motor vehicle owner/user, who likely drives more often than using any other mode of transportation available to her, seeing headlines indicating more infrastructure and City dollars being allocated to anything other that roads and bridges for cars and trucks would likely be a bit "frustrating". However, does she also understand that we live in an amazingly diverse and exciting city that is only made better by making way for transportation alternatives that should not only not be called "alternatives" but also are the exact means to make the roads more user friendly for the motorized vehicle users?
Also, when did walking, running or riding a bike become "not the norm"? Why do we even have to have a "bike culture"? Is it not common sense that by linking communities with pathways and cycling/pedestrian bridges we will actually bring the city closer together as a community?
Motor vehicles are absolutely necessary in a city with such sprawl such as Calgary and by helping its citizens have choices in how they get around by allocating just 6% of the City's 10-year planned transportation budget is smart on too many accounts to argue - of course, this is in my opinion.
We are so very lucky in Calgary to have many transportation choices including an excellent and expanding pathway network. By continuing to allocate transportation budget funds to entice Calgarians outside of their homes and vehicles to enjoy their neighbourhoods and surrounding communities we can continue growing as an awesome city.
As I have mentioned before, I ride my bike nearly daily. Commutes are far more fun to and from work by bike than on a packed bus. While on most weekends I can usually be found cruising along the river or meeting up with friends for a bevvie somewhere. So in this regard I also wear a helmet. The choice is personal and is mostly due to the unpredictability of drivers since I am on the road for at least some of the time every time I'm out and about.
Wearing a helmet has it's pros, cons and politics but the point I'm here to discuss is hairstyle. Generally, I'm not too girly so arriving at my destination a little unkempt is generally of little concern. I do try to not look like a complete dirtbag with a little pre-planning such as carrying a small mirror for a post-ride hair check... However, since I also have occasionally unruly curly hair I have usually been stuck with the standard ponytail to tie back the ol' locks between point A and B. Although technically functional it does get a little boring having the same 'do all the time. But not anymore folks!
A few weeks ago I saw a lady riding her bike with a 1940s/Downton Abbey/hair-banded style that looked stunning but looked far too difficult for this one-style-wonder to figure out. I then saw a similar style on a pretty server at National on 17th during Stampede but it was quite elaborately and looked like a lot of effort. Either way, the universe was telling me it was time figure out what this was and how to replicate it so off to the internet I went and straight to YouTube to find a how-to video (which apparently every 13-25 year old woman is doing these days...) for the style. There are a lot of variations but I went with the basic and voila! Success!!
Even after riding all day I still think it looked awesome. However, I'll be packing a few extra bobby pins next time to secure wispy fly-aways.
Now I'm all set for bike dates! Hooray :)
When I signed up for the TransRockies Highwood Gran Fondo at the beginning of January I had grand plans of training really hard and crushing the route in less than 5 hours. Well the plans were a great idea but the actions I took did not coincide with them. There was no training on hills or long rides on the weekends to prepare my body for the 135 km distance. There was no cross-training to build muscle endurance, lung capacity or overall fitness. And to top it off... this particular Gran Fondo was held on the last Saturday of Stampede which included a lot of greasy eating and lots of drinking.
I really had no idea what I was getting myself in to when I signed up. Luckily ignorance is bliss and I lack a bike computer on my handlebars which helped to keep my head out of the “how much farther” mode… and I just kept on pedaling along. I’m not sure of exact timing but I think I reached the pass at around 12:45pm (started at 8:10am) and finished at just after 3pm… so a bit faster on the return!
Since getting hooked on cycling a few years ago I have been amazed by my mental processing on long rides. Having completed two Rides to Conquer Cancer (+200km over two days) and now this Fondo each time has been different. Since this ride was for "fun", I just rode along letting thoughts flow as they wished.
What I found most hilarious was the four random songs that popped in to my head throughout the day...
1 - Keith Urban - Who Doesn't Want To Be Me
2 - Whitney Houston - I'm Every Woman
3 - Boyz II Men - End of the Road
4 - Iggy Azalea - Fancy
I don't ride with headphones so to have these on random repeat between being distracted by the mountains views, birds chirping and other riders it made for a comical internal ramble to say the least.
Long story short - I finished the damn thing in the official time of 6:57:13 and would totally do it again. Next time though I'll direct my stubbornness to training so that my body won't hate me so much at the end of the ride and I won't be completely fueled by electrolyte drink, Honey Stinger gummies, bananas and potato chips. Really.
A few weeks ago, while perusing the Twittersphere, I stumbled upon a mention of a fish market in town called Billingsgate Market. What?!? There's an over 100 year old family run fish market in Calgary? How did I not know this information for the past 9 years of living here? So obviously I had to check it out as soon as possible. That day finally came yesterday and it was well worth the wait!
My lovely friend Lindy joined me for this foodie adventure and we decided to bike to their location in the Stadium Shopping Centre at the intersection of 16th Ave and 29th St NW (by the Foothills Hospital). As it turns out we were able to bike there entirely on bike lanes/paths! Very convenient for cycling folks like myself and I personally like to attempt to pre-burn the calories I'm about to intake... especially when it's deliciously deep-fried. Ha! They do not, however, have any bike racks which was easily solved by locking up on a parking lot sign post that was just outside the market.
We walked in to a much larger store front area than I expected. Billingsgate has a wide selection of frozen and fresh seafood as well as a variety of canned and packaged goods for every whim of a seafood craving anyone could possibly have. Amazing... but we were here for lunch so we tried to focus on the restaurant side of the market. Next time I'm bringing a different pannier bag that doubles as a cooler to bring home some treats from the sea though!
Both of us had pre-checked out the menu online but when the time came to order it was still tough to choose. One item that was not hard to choose was what to drink as they are licensed and carry a few options from Village Brewery! We ended up going all in and ordered a lot more food than two people should eat but justified it by biking there... that's logical, right?
First up was some candied salmon! Oh my - if you're a fan of this stuff this place is where you should be getting your fix. It's like butter with sweetness and has a fantastically soft salmon taste. Paired with the Blacksmith ale... so good!
Only a few minutes passed before all our food made it to our table... and it was quite the spread.
Here's our lunch breakdown:
I had the Panko Fried Oyster Burger and Crispy Clam Strips while Lindy chose the Great Grandpa Bertie's Famous 2-piece Fish & Chips and Homemade Crab Cakes.
We tucked in and everything was cooked perfectly and although deep fried it didn't taste greasy by any means. These folks know what they're doing here!
The fish and chips were hefty portions of halibut with a light batter while my panko oysters were quickly fried to keep the centres soft and I tasted a bit of the sea in there (aka yum!). The clam strips were great with the traditional seafood sauce (could've used a bit more sauce though) and the crab cakes were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and had a bit of a spicy kick to them that was a tasty surprise.
Long story short - we loved it all and am looking forward to my next visit! Buck-a-Shuck Sunday... and it's Lobster season... I foresee a Sunday visit soon!