Posted by: Karen | July 13, 2008

Farmer’s Market & the Scenic Route

Today I rode “Stretch” (my bike) out west of Calgary on the #1A. This highway west of Calgary is a popular route for cyclists. There are very broad shoulders in both directions and the gently rolling prairie has no intimidatingly steep hills until one gets to Cochrane. I didn’t ride all the way to Cochrane.

Biking out of town from my neighbourhood is a logistical nightmare. While I am not far from the city limits, the freeway between my place and rural freedom is under construction and not cyclist-friendly. I could put my bike in the trunk, drive it 5 km and start my 30k ride from there, but no, I wanted to ride from home. I’m stubborn that way. Ask my mom.

I managed to work out a compromise through the construction zone. At the end of the shopping district near me there is an approach that isn’t open to the freeway yet. There was enough fresh new pavement done that the workers could ignore me as I used it to avoid having to ride between real traffic and cement barriers.

Getting through the shopping district was more annoying than negotiating the construction. At one point I was taking up the left lane of two empty ones before slipping into a third far left turning lane. It seemed like the best way to turn left. A car came up a-honking behind me, like he couldn’t possibly change lanes to go around me (he was going straight). Between his curses and obscene gestures he indicated that I should be turning left from the far right lane. What a jerk. I’m a vehicle too, eh.

I had brought my backpack along so I could visit the farmer’s market on the way back. I must have looked funnier than the usual cyclists do, as I don’t have any cyclist-type clothes. I was wearing zip-off nylon cargo shorts made for hiking and my bright red long-sleeved tech shirt from the ’06 Police Half Marathon. I didn’t care if I looked like a novice – hey, I am one.

Eventually I settled into the aerobars, pedaling with a steady cadence. My neck and shoulders got sore holding my head up, but after a while I distracted myself from discomfort by listening to the sounds of the road. When cars weren’t wooshing past I became fascinated by the snap-crackle-pop of roadside grit under my tires.

I still haven’t figured out my bike computer, but I had pre-measured my desired route online and knew to turn back at Glendale Road. I stopped by the Bear’s Paw Farmer’s Market on the way home and bought some fresh asparagus, a big bag of sugar snap peas and a few spanakopita to eat later.

Getting back into my neighbourhood through the construction was going to be even more treacherous than the way out, so I took a long detour through Scenic Acres for an extra 3km. The snap peas and spanakopita tasted divine.

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Responses

  1. All that construction is a pain. I really want to ride out to Cochrane sometime soon. If you plan to ride again and want some company, let me know! One day I’d like to tackle the hill (you know, so I can get some ice cream in town as a reward), but that probably won’t happen on my first attempt! Great job on your ride!


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