Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Regina 2010

I've been here a week visiting my Sister in Regina, and have had such a great time.  I am sorry that I haven't posted, but net access has almost been non-existent.  That's ok, I needed a break from it!

Here's some pics..

Camped at Buffalo Pound Lake, saw tunnels of Moosejaw, visited site of Corner Gas, and had fun with Sis!

First bikes...saw this one the Provincial Legislature building in Regina. 
My Sister's boss who owns the Dairy Farm that she works and lives at, he's on a basic bike with no brakes!:

I borrowed my a coworker of my Sis's bike- Rocky Mountain. Not built for me, not comfortable..too high!  Yellow Bike.

My Sister and her Boyfriend

Moose Jaw - Little Chicago

Above: Corner Gas set in Rouleau, Saskatchewan

Me and my Sister

It's so easy to dry my tent!

Well,that's it for now...on to Vancouver tommorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

RCMP Heritage Centre- Regina Visit

Today, me and my Sister visited the RCMP Heritage Centre/Boot camp in Regina.  It's been around since the 1860's.  It was nice to get out of the house for a bit.

Anyone who wants to join the RCMP has to train here as a cadet first, before being given employment by the RCMP.

I skipped the line!

Parade day
Above:  Original Northwest Mounted Police Building (before being known as RCMP) Whatever you do, DON'T step on the square.

I apologize if I don't post all the days that I am here, there is no internet access at my Sis's.  But I will try when I can...except, when going camping.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Close up of Dutch bike for all my Dutch bikes fans..

Here's a better shot of the Dutch bike I saw on trip.  It's made by Koga.  It looks similar to a Koga-Miyata, but I don't know how old these bikes are.   Actually, they were a couple and they both had the identical bike.  Click on it to get a bigger complete photo. What I like is that they had their names printed on it..special touch!

Tour De Jasper Part I

On July 14, 25 started our amazing bicycle adventure at the local VIA rail station. Tour De Jasper is a 4 day, 384 km bicycle tour to Jasper.  It is a luxury tour, so they carry all your gear, and all you have to carry is gear for the day such as repair kit, rain gear, camera, water, and food.  It is a good introduction to bicycle touring

Gourmet breakfasts, dinners, camping, park pass, and a train ride home are included.  Oh, and so is much needed bicycle support.  There were a lot of flats on trip and between help from fellow bicyclists and the support vehicle, you weren't alone.  There was a photographer taking photos of you along the way, and we talked him into selling those photos to us.  He is taking photos to put in a book (including from past trips), but never thought we'd want to buy some..but he took photos of us biking at the best places..and you can't get a photo like that while you are pedalling.  :)

There were some pretty sweet bicycles on trip.  For my Dutch bicycle fans out there, the silver bike on the right side of the guy in blue with hands on hips, it's a Dutch Touring Bike, steel, so heavy!  But pretty sweet!  They picked it up in Paris and toured France with it.

Anyways, after an intro, we all headed off on our grand adventure.  The weather that day was amazing!  Little did I know just how lucky we were on this trip.
 Once in a while you'd see these "Watch for cyclists on the Road- Tour De Jasper"  Many times it meant the photographer was in the vicinity taking a photo or two of you.

Rest stop along the way.  Why the rush?  We would get to Purden fairly early and just sit around.  So we took our sweet time!
Above:  I almost made it!  We are staying at the private site, down the road a bit.
Below:  Chairlift chairs at Purden.  They have a nice new lodge there.

We were treated to a nice tasty dinner!  We were fed really well during this trip.
And there was a bike mechanic who took care of our bikes if needed.  I should have got him to tighten brakes at end as over the 4 days they have loosened.  Will take to shop today...still work good, but could use some tightening.

So that was Day 1 of Tour De Jasper.   As I will be travelling again soon, the rest of the installments won't be here for a few weeks.  I try to access computers when I can, but hard to find one that will accept memory cards.  Sorry about that!  I need a netbook one day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sneak Peek of Tour De Jasper.

Rest day for me.  Just got home by train tonight.

Here's a preview of the exciting trip!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Made it to Jasper!

Wow, I just made it by bicycle, to Jasper.

And wow, is my butt ever sore!  ;)  Good trip, good times, good food, good people!  Nice views....hard climbs in the heat..but so worth this!

Time to celebrate, Smirnoff Ice in bags...

See ya later, Via Rail trip home tommorow.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

I gave the bike a good clean today

After a long wait and prep of getting ready for the bicycle tour, Tour De Jasper is just around the corner.  I've got all the items I need.  I've bought glove, toe clip, water bottles, 2 pairs of bike shorts, new handle grips, new mirror, backpacking tent, bike socks, and a back blinky light.  I am now ready for any tour.  Well, I do need to get my own touring panniers, but that will come in the next year or so.  Of course, I could splurge for a set when I am in Vancouver.

Tour De Jasper Video

Tonight, I got a friend to drive me to drop off the 2 Rubbermaid plastic bins loaded with personal stuff, my tent, and a camping chair.  That will be shipped on a trailer.

Tommorrow morning, we all meet at the Via Rail station to load rest of the equipment.  Then off we go!  Our first stop is 65 kms (40 miles) away, with a pit stop at Tabor Mtn (25 kms)

On Thursday, we bike 100 kms (62 miles) to La Salle Lake campsite, with a pitstop at Slim Creek Rest Stop (km 60)

On Friday, we bike 110 km to Tete Jaune Cache Campground with a pitstop in McBride.

Sat, we bike 105 km to Jasper.  On Sunday, we catch the Via Rail train home.  It'll be good times!  I won't be online for the week as there is no cell/net service along the way, it's bush!  I'd get my roommate to post, but again, no phone service.  I'll post about it when I get back on Sunday night.

I'm so rearing to go!  I can't believe I'm doing this, but then I remember that I've done crazier things.  Tour De Jasper, here I come...

Here's a link to a video done of a recent tour a year back.  Open Road Bike Tours have been organizing this for over 8 years!   

Tour De Jasper Video

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Days were meant for biking....

Today I spent yet another day on my bike.  This time though, most of it was just biking around for no particular reason.  I wasn't alone, I invited a friend to join me.  I did get a few supplies and watered plants at house that I am watching.  Then off we biked onto a nearby Greenway trail that I love to take.  I do bike part of it when I go grocery shopping as it's convenient, but today we biked much more of it, all the way to Fort George Park.  If I am going to the park, I prefer this route then taking the road, as it's so much quieter.

This is my biking friend, Joe. It's nice to share a ride sometime. :)
There's this tunnel under the highway that I take lots.  The city was debating whether to build a bridge or a tunnel, I am glad they chose a tunnel.  It's much more bike friendly, although in Spring sometimes, it gets flooded.

It's such a peaceful ride in here..and shaded from the sun.  There's a bridge that we cross as we enter Fort George Park.

This is the Fraser River by Fort George Park.  It's a favourite place to hang out and fish, or just hang out.

Summers were definitely meant for a bike!  What a gorgeous day to spend outside.  Life is good, can it really be any better then this?  I think not.

I'm all ready for the big trip, only 2 days away...whew!

This Greenway ride qualifies as another event completed in the LGRB Summer Games.  What a fun games this has been.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Picnic with a view

Today was a busy day.  I was all over the place on my bike.  I was going to be prepping for Tour De Jasper, but a lot of the time was spent visiting friends at the Farmer's Market (where I got a free head of Lettuce and 2 donuts from an old friend of Mom's), and at a friend's place whom I lent a Lonely Planet book for her upcoming travels.  I did manage to sort the stuff for my travels, I filled the 2 bins with items that will travel in trailer during Tour De Jasper, another clear bag full of stuff that I need to take with me on the bike, and yet another suitcase for the 2 weeks of travel to Regina and then Vancouver.  I will really be jumping around the country, world traveller me!

I also managed to pick up some high energy snacks for the bike ride, to keep me going up those big mountain passes.  I hope I bought enough.  And lastly, got to go get some Passion Fruit Cider for the bike trip too.   A sales guy at a Liquor store display with it,  said they were a big seller and that there were only 3 cases left in the store!  Sucker me, put back the Apple Cider and bought a case of this Passion Fruit stuff, hope he was correct!  The last time, I bought a bottle of wine at display, only a few left, and it had rave reviews at the potluck I brought it to.

After all this, I found time to enjoy a picnic for dinner up at our local viewpoint, Connaught Hill.  I haven't been there for ages so I decided today was the day as it is so nice outside.  Summer is fleeting around here, got to make the best of it.   I bought the basket last Spring, but haven't used it till today.  I usually have my Basil bags on, and they are a pain to take off and then put back on. My bike is in Tour De Jasper mode, with borrowed panniers from friend that are easy to pop off.  So I thought I'd use the basket today, and tied it down with a bungee cord or two.  I never had a chance to invite someone as I've been so busy, but I went anyways..
I actually drunk the peach cider at home as I didn't want to be tipsy biking home (and drinking and biking a no-no)

Hello to all my Blog fans! Life is GREAT with a bike. :)

This is the view I see from my apt.  You can see UNBC on the hill in the distance and the road up the hill to UNBC that I like biking up.  Actually, not so easy to see, but it is there.

It was a nice break !  Now back to prepping for Tour De Jasper.  Nah, maybe I'll enjoy my cider.  Tommorrow, biking a greenway.

This completes another event in the LGRB Summer Games, although I didn't need it to want to have a picnic.  :)  The day just begs for one!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Got a Knog

I got a Knog blinky light today.  I already have a super BLT LED blinky light that I use when it's dark, but I needed another one for Tour De Jasper.  My bike rack has no place to put a light.  In the off season that's ok as I can put my regular back light on the basket I have or the daypack that I am wearing.  But there's no place to put it on now and I need to have it on during heavy rains while on the road, so that vehicles can see me.

So I splurged and bought this:
It was a little cheaper then my BLT light, but not by much.  I guess redundancy is a good thing!  If I lose any or one loses battery power on the road, I have a backup!  For such a little thing, it has lots of power and it's easy to put on in different spots.  I found a spot on seatpost that works, without interfering the seat shock.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking a longer route home

During the last week I have been getting ready for Tour De Jasper.  I've also been house sitting on the other side of the City.  This means I do not take the direct route home that I normally take.  I've been doing a few errands that are on the side of the City which I'm watching, so I have been combining them.

Today, I picked up some Cider at liquor store near work, then I biked to my house sitting job and took care of that, then off I went to one of our many bike shops to get a bike tube, then off to get some food at grocery store.  Last, but not leastly, I looked for some more sporting shirts for bike trip at our local second hand shop- I want to save a little on some of the stuff I am buying for the trip.  It took me an hour or so longer to get home this way, but since it is so nice outside, I enjoyed the cycling time between  places.

I've been using touring panniers that I have borrowed from friend.  I will be using them on Tour De Jasper next week.  Even though they aren't as big as my Basil Bags, I like that they pop off the rack easily.  I think I will be getting some one day for more bike touring.

Having a bike means it is easy to pop around town doing a few things, even after work.  It's a lot faster then waiting for buses or walking around.  It feels good to be using the bike so much.  It would be tempting to drive around if I had a car, but I know this is the better way of doing things.

Taking the long way home means I have completed one event of Part III of the Summer Games.  Sorry I don't have photos, but didn't take it with me today, I've been too busy focusing on prepping for the big bike tour next week.  I do plan on taking a picnic this weekend with this nice picnic basket I got for the bike last year.  :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Good idea to take bike to shop before big road trip

I've had my bike since February 2009, and I've had lots of use out of her.  I've never had a problem with it at all. I have ridden 3400 kms (2112 miles) on her!

I thought I'd better take it to the shop before Tour De Jasper.  I am glad I did, as I needed a new chain and back cassette.

I never treated my previous bike very well...I am surprised I got 18 years out of it!   By the end of it's life it was in rough shape, gears all chewed up. I feel that I am still learning about bicycles even though I've biked for many years.  It's just now I take it more seriously.  I still brought it to bike shop once a year...but nothing like I do on this bike, like cleaning the chain often.  I clean the chain on this bike often with the cleaner and cleaning mechanism.  I used it a bit in Winter, but not on the really bad days.  I suppose the gravel on road in Spring can be hard on cassette and chain.  I need a Winter beater bike! ;)

How often do you change your chains?  I am thinking once a year- 1200 miles or so (2000 or so Kms) would be good.  I should have trusted the chain wear gauge I bought recently, it said chain was stretched and worn.  I have never used one before so I wasn't sure if I was using it correctly.

I am glad that I brought it in to shop before the trip and it was worth the cost (they gave me a deal) as it's better to deal with any problems beforehand so it doesn't break on the actual bike tour.  :)

I also got a new kickstand, so now my bike stands up straight once again.  I wish there was a kickstand under the bike on both sides..so the heavy grocery loads wouldn't bend the stand over time.  I had to slightly adjust the height of the new kickstand as it had a tendancy to want to fall over

Here is my bike, straight as can be, ready for it's upcoming big adventure!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bike Camping at Ness Lake

This weekend I did an overnight S240. I left yesterday morning, and arrived 2 hours later at my friend's place on Ness Lake, which according to my odometer, is 34 kms (21 miles) away.  It was more challenging then I expected because I had to bike into sometimes strong headwinds.  Thankfully, there were no headwinds when I was biking up Foothills, so I climbed that in decent time.
I stopped at another friend's place along the way for a much needed rest.  I got to meet her new grandson who is so cute!

My loaded bike parked in front of the person I visited along the way to my final destination.  Since I was in the area, I thought it nice to drop by (with notice of course).
At the BBQ, there was lots of people from all over visiting, and plenty of space for camping.
I didn't have to worry about bringing much food out with lack of space on my bike.  Roast Pig was on the Menu!
They like to raise some of their own food.  (They also have a nice garden)

 Ness Lake is very popular with swimmers, waterskiers, ski-doos, etc.  There's a camp here too that I went to when I was a child.
 And for all those who stayed the night, we were treated to wonderful breakfast!

I had a bear encounter similar to tireofit.ca.  Like his meeting, the bear was on the road ahead of me, on a hill that I was going up.  But there were enough cars driving buy (and a cyclist going in opposite direction  to me) that I really wasn't too worried about it.  Sure enough, the bear took off into the bush, so it was safe to keep on biking up the hill.

I throughly enjoyed my weekend bike-camping trip. It's a wonder why I don't do it more often.  I did a bike camping trip last year, but had to have my tent and stuff trucked out.  This year, I got the ultra-light tent, and I can now carry ALL the stuff that I need for a bicycle camping trip, on my bike!  It is such a wonderful feeling to be self-sufficient on a trip like this!  I have all that I need to do this more often now, and it was so worth the investment.  This trip was a prep trip for Tour De Jasper, but I do hope to do more overnighters in the future. 

The nice thing about living here, is that it isn't a far bike ride out until you hit the country.  Sure, there are no trains that can take you out of the city, but you don't need that here with the country being so close.  The only thing is any of the ways that you can get out the city with, all involve a big hill, so you get a workout to get out of the city.  You do a few of those and it's not so bad as you thought it would be. (except possibly in a headwind)

Since I am supposed to be writing about pros/cons of biking in our city, my one gripe about biking out on Foothills Blvd in the Hart, is that the 'bike path' is not safe to bike on at all, it wasn't repaved when the road was so there are lots of deep frost heaves and potholes.  At times it was so bad, that I was forced out on to the main road so I didn't hurt myself or my bike.  This is probably one of the worst sections of road that I have seen in the city.  And Chief Lake road out to Ness Lake has no space for bicycles, so it can be dangerous at times.  Ok, end of gripe.  All in all, an awesome weekend despite these flaws.


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