Monday, July 29, 2013

Up the Mountain

The last three Monday night ultimate (frisbee) games have been at Redeemer College in Ancaster, but its a very enjoyable ride.
First I climb the escarpment. In local vernacular we refer to the escarpment as the mountain.
Once on top I cut through a wonderful community full of a variety of older and thoughtfully constructed homesI normally object to oversized houses and everything they represent but these are an exception. I should have taken some pics!
Next through the abandoned psychiatric complex.

I think you would agree that it's a bit eerie.  It conjures up images of several horror movies!

Then a stop at Olive & Kiwi's for a coffee. This place is kind of hidden away but worth a side-trip if you find yourself on the West Mountain.

Still trying to figure out the GoPro but this photo was a fun accident.

"Stand aside please. Professional photographer coming through!"
Coffee by My Dog Joe


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For the Beauty of Winona*

In among the pear tree's today. Too often I won't take the time to stop, enjoy and perhaps snap a photo. Today I did.

Across the field is the original E.D. Smith jam factory.  These days they mostly make their Garden Cocktail in this facility. Always smells really good when I pass by.

I look angry (or something) in this one, but I'm not used to how the GoPro takes pictures yet.
*Winona is the name of the village where I live.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pranks make the routine more enjoyable

About half of the way into the office there is a fountain in Old Stoney Creek that I pass.

It doesn't run during the winter months, but is a lovely spot for a cold drink during the warmer days.  It's at that time when someone routinely puts soap suds in the thing, and I have been meaning to take a photo of it for months. As a big wad of foam drifted across my path today I decided to finally pull over. What's the rush, after all?

I chuckle almost every time I see this. By now I am a little surprised that they haven't hidden a camera and caught the perp - such is the frequency of this vandalism.

I also find it comical that the city dispatches entire work crews to deal with this. I have counted as many as six, but only one ever actually working to solve the situation.

I had to pause once I had added up the potential cost to taxpayers though.

3 city workers
$30 hour for 3 hours
1x week
8 weeks

= $2160.00

And that's being conservative. It might be as much as three times.

I don't know who's up to this mischief. I don't know whether to laugh or cry either.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Commute Just Got a Lot Better (Highway #8 Improvements)

I have long said that Highway #8 is a treacherous piece of road for cars and bicycles alike.  And I have done my share of whining over the past 3 or 4 years but I  know how to give credit when it's due.  The city just completed resurfacing this stretch of my commute and I am very pleased with the result.

I still maintain that its the west end of the city (where all the $ is) that gets superior infrastructure but I guess they couldn't ignore us east-enders forever!

Ironically, I was just getting used to the unpaved shoulders (because of the gravel races I do) but I can always find more gravel.
You can see the single-lane for cars, the really wide shoulder and the
small gravel portion that are typical of this new stretch on Highway #8.

Another irony is that a cyclist fitting my description was hit by a car on this very spot about two days ago.  He was hurt badly and remains in the hospital.  I would have guessed that the new surface would somehow have equated to safer overall riding conditions but maybe there is no actual correlation.

Although I don't pretend to know anything about the road conditions or how the cyclist himself was behaving I will say that when I heard it was an 87 year-old person behind the wheel I kind of winced.  There has been a small epidemic of seniors-behind-the-wheel involved in accidents lately.

So, thumbs up to the City of Hamilton for attending to the worst road in Hamilton (sans bike lanes, but thats ok) and including a nice wide shoulder.  But thumbs down to inattentive driving by either auto drivers or cyclists.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"What is Flat?"

  Although I still consider myself primarily a bicycle commuter and not a bicycle racer, recent competitive events have given me some interesting perspective.
  At last month's Hilly Billy Roubaix I found that if we weren't going down we were going up. In other words there were seldom any genuinely level stretches of consequence. No sustained "flat."
  On holiday this past week an old friend loaned me a rather nice 29er and took me on some single-track for a couple of hours. I sorely underestimated what that meant as we proceeded up and down hills of rock that appeared more like sport climbing routes than bicycle trails. Each time he slowed to let me catch up he described the trail ahead: "From here we'll go down to the left where it really flattens out before we jump back up a short climb..." He would say. The downhills were always treacherous. I think instead of removing rocks from the trail the club actually sought out rocks to add. A counter intuitive maneuver in my experience.
  But more to the point, where was the so-called flat trail? How did I miss it again and again? My lesson from these two experiences? Flat is relative. I'll never complain about those few rollers on my commute to work again.
Riding in Dryden, Ontario.