How was your ride today? (week of September 10)

It's back to school for Calgary's colleges!  Bike racks at UofC campus were full...

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Roads are busier

The roads were definitely busier today now that all the schools and the universities are back in session. I managed to leave a bit later today and enjoy the warmth this morning.  Looks like it could be a fun ride home today when I travel westward to Tuscany -- 93 km/h wind warning! Wow.  (I would MUCH rather brave the cold in the winter then deal with those crazy west winds we get in the summer!)

Cold front

Decent ride-in this morning with the SW-ish wind.

 

But the Temp just dropped 10C on the weather site I follow. Wind warning may mean I'm on the bus for the trip home tonight.

Brrrrr

Got caught in the wind gusts and nasty rain up near Beddington late this aft on my way home from work.  Good thing I'd followed some advice offered here on BC for fall weather - carry that extra jacket!  MAN that temp sure dropped hard and fast.

Once the evening skys cleared a bit... looking westward I saw lots of white stuff on the mountains.  sigh...  even though this happens every year I still feel sad about warm & dry mountain-bike season coming to a close, excited about night-riding, and wondering how on earth I'll get into ski shape all over again. 

crispy

Not much wind for me this morning so a bit warmer... but I forgot to cover the ears so going through some of those valleys at MINUS 0.5C (according to my GPS) left things a bit crispy.  Glad I put on slightly warmer gloves today.


Whilst MUP traffic is down a bit, on-road traffic is up significantly especially on Crowchild Trail around Dalhousie area this morning around 715'ish with lots of very slow moving vehicles.  Definitely glad to be zipping along on my bike instead of sardine-canning it in the car.

Getting colder every day, but

Getting colder every day, but I am glad to see there are still lots of people riding to work! I'm carrying a jacket and lights every day, just in case the weather doesn't agree or I have to stay late. 

I also managed to ride the 24th St Bow Trail bridge last week and it is awesome. Kudos to the city on making that happen! Thanks!

No escape

My ride to work now consists of 7 minutes of quiet residential streets, an alley, and into my parking lot at work. Quietest commute ever, I hardly ever see a car.

But this morning I got buzzed by another cyclist coming out of the alley into my parking lot. He was cutting through on his way to the overpass over Glenmore just west of Elbow. Lots of riders do, no big deal. But this dude was right on my left shoulder as I wanted to turn left to park. No bell, just head down hammering to pass me.

No escape from pathaletes I guess.

A bit nippy this morning

Definitely a bit cooler this morning, but the ride was still quite enjoyable, until the last leg -- had too many close calls: I dodged 2 right hooks (one bad), 1 left hook, and one distracted driver who nearly hit me in a parking lot trying to pull a U-ball where I was standing at the curb. Sigh.

On the upside, it was SOOOO much fun to pass the blocks of cars lined up on 53st NW as I sailed down the bike lane!

Dodging Doze'

My count was


-1 Ninja Jogger


-1 MUP Zombie (why a guy would step out in front of any pair of headlights coming at hime at  a high rate of speed still makes me wonder)


-1 guy who passed me in his car and then pulled a Uey in front of me (further proof of my belief that once drivers get that front bumper past you, you are  instantly forgotten!).


 

cross training

Two trees down over the Glenmore Resevoir pathway one at the resevoir and gkenmore trail and the other on the pathway behind the hospital. Good cross training! love the ride home with a north wind, that happens once in a blue moon!

Brr!

Haven't ridden since last Thursday, and was shocked to find night still hanging on at 7 AM! After a good four months of making do with bad runners and really old workout clothes I think it's time to invest in some decent winter riding clothes. Also hoping the wind cooperates on the way home tonight!!

Mooooo.... cash cows out today

Narrowly avoided getting pulled over by the bylaw enforcement this morning as they were speed trapping (aka "entraping") the folks coming down the hill under 10st St bridge.  There must have been a good 7-10 of them, with lots of folks on the side.  My impression was that most of the caught offenders were on road bikes.  Oddly enough my "radar" was going off earlier in the ride that there may be some bylaw action soon, plus a LOT of commuters out this morning (relative to the cooler temps), and a lot of commuters going very fast.


Regardless of speed limits etc etc... that's a poorly designed MUP intersection that combines speed, poor visibility, multiple users, and multiple pathways joining together.  A similar vehicular intersection would have caused a tremendous outcry and rework by now.

Sorry, I don't see the

Sorry, I don't see the problem there.  "Entrapping" is where the law enforcement encourages you to committ an offense.  In this case, they are just catching people who were violating the law, and would have without their presence.  Speeding can cause serious injury and even death, especially in a spot like this.  Of course pathways must be improved, to be safer, but that's not a bylaw officer's job.   Do we know if everyone got a ticket, or were most getting just warnings?

 

Having lots of officers is entirely appropriate.  It avoids the whole "why are you giving me a ticket when that guy over there is speeding too" problem.  

I could see complaining, if they targetted a location where it's safer to go a little faster (a remote area with a long straight stretch, good visibility, with nobody on foot nearby).  But, that wasn't the case.

 

The Pathways are for everybody.  People, including the elderly, disabled, children, and anybody else, have a right to walk along the pathways in safety.  There are places/times on the pathway, that I find somewhat unsafe walking as bikes buzz by, and I welcome some enforcement.  If I got caught speeding there, I would be very upset, but the upset would be at myself.

 

I agree

If that spot on the path is a dangerous one as was indicated, i would expect cyclists would be slowing down anyway, and no one should be getting caught in a "speed trap"?  The few times that i have walked the pathways to the east of downtown, which are less congested than going west, i have had cyclists speeding by me, too close for comfort (and ringing your bell doesn't allow you to speed by quickly and closely).


I think the accident where a cyclist ran into a jogger on 17th Ave overpass over Deerfoot (or thereabouts if i recall the news item correctly) had officers out trying to prevent a similar accident.

Touchy subject

Despite bylaws, the reality is that most COMMUTERS regularly exceed 10km/hr or 20km/hr limits wherever those may be posted and are typically active during certain defined times of the day, as compared to general population (as has been my experience).  Between Calgarys strong winds (ie tailwinds) and certain infrastructure designs it's inevitable that speeding will occur.  I am not arguing that improper speed at a poor location may or may not result in injury.  But, at the same time, speed does not mean that injury must occur.  Poor decisions are poor regardless of speed.


What I inferred was that at the officers appeared to be focussing their laser-guns (or whatever devices) at cyclists who were at the bottom of the ~100ft long hill and who may have reached their terminal velocity.  The actual design of this portion naturally encourages users to coast down without braking, and once they reach bottom then they would then naturally start braking.  The path then immediately angles upward and so by the time they reach the actual point of congestion (lets say by the pedestrian bridge) they may have slowed to the safer speed.  I don't recall if the bottom of the hill is within that 10km/hr speed zone or not... or whether there is a readily observable sign at the top of the hill.  Entrapment may be a poor word choice.  Regardless, there are no physical speed control measure(s) that force speed reduction.


To answer your explicit questions:


1.  I don't know about the ratio of tickets to warnings.  Certainly not all the speeders were nabbed.  It was not evident if they mostly nabbed frequent commuters, seasonal, or those trying something new - usually in the spring it's the newer riders that get pulled.  Today I didn't see too many runners or 'bladers on the path, but historically I have *never* (over ~10+ yrs of all-season riding) seen these groups pulled over for exceeding the speed limit (bladers can go ~30km/hr... and have poor ability to brake quickly), or dogwalkers for not adhereing to animal control/leash lengths.


2. Location targetting... touchy subject too.  Gets back to previous Forum discussions of when, where, or if it's safe to go "x" speed.  High use areas should be not only policed for speed, but also overall behavior - have ALL users educated via posted signs.  ie: Keep right, allow audible signals to be heard, walkers no more than 2abrest please, dogs on your right (not left), dog leashes no longer than "x" meters/feet, etc...  At least several times a year I encounter large running groups who are poorly led and/or don't have a clue how to share the MUP with any other user (including other runners).


As a side note, I have 2 small kids who I'm trying to slowly educate with respect to riding a bike safely (or using scooters.. or walking).  It's a long slow process and until I'm comfortable I won't allow them anywhere near certain areas of the MUP because I trust neither their skill level nor other users judgement.  It's sad...  Other less-congested areas we're ok riding along at ~5-10km/hr.


3. Yes current pathways are intended for all, but not currently designed and build for all.  That's something Calgary needs to keep striving for.   Education of all users is key and needs to start sooner rather than later (see my previous rants on elementary school awareness).  This site is an excellent resource for those so-inclined to navigate to the respective forums, to engage in these discussions, etc etc... Certainly the best we have in Calgary since other online "discussion" sites (ie Sun, Herald) are trolled by haters-of-all-that-isn't-on-4-wheels.


4. Back mid-June'ish I posted some of my experiences re: cycling in Paris France where there were thousands of cyclists all over the place all the time.  There were general rules and conventions that indicated some education had happened.  I did not witness or hear a single case of road rage or accident.  Upon returning to Calgary my impression was that over-regulating and excess self-entitlement seemed to be taking the place of education and mutual consideration.


Rant over??

I counted...

I did a count on the Bow River MUP this morning on my way in and 13 cyclists without lights. My favourite though was the guy who had no front light but a red light tucked into his armpit. And a couple of ninja joggers. 

But it was a bit chilly. I gotta rethink my sock and shoe situation. 

For me, it's the hands

Been commuting for years and I still haven't figured it out for this time of year. Slow learner I guess. The winter bike I have figured out - I love my pogies! But for the road bike I think I have to dig out the mitt shells.

I got my clothing mix just

I got my clothing mix just right this morning, but I forgot that I needed to check my wheels.

About 5 minutes in to my ride I lost a spoke and had to make a quick call to the broom wagon to come pick me up. I was lucky that my wife happened to be 3 blocks away when I made the call.

After a restart at home with a different set of wheels I had a great ride in.

Parkdale Blv adn 27th street crossing

For many years now when crossing at this controlled crosswalk I have dismounted and "wogged" my bike across. Most times other cyclists have ridden past me - whatever. This morning however there was a guy on a bike about half a block ahead of me who I saw get off and jog across the road, then I came along and did the same thing, before I finished crossing there was a cyclist coming from the pathway who also dismounted, and as I looked behind me yet another bike rider walking his bike across the street. Four ppl in a row - first I ever saw that :)

Later in the commute I have to say I was gritting my teeth as a VIP bike rider blew past me when I was stopped at a red light. I guess he got clearance from somebody special!

Pathway repairs...

Around Carburn Park, they've ground-down more tree roots/bumps from the Southland dog park north to Glenmore Trail.

 

Good ride this AM, but it was barely above zero when I left the deep south and nowhere near the 10C or 13C reported on TV. Wish there was a south weather station. :)

lights down please

Most of the discussion over front lights on the paths has focused on 1-2 watt lights set on strobe.  That message seems to be getting out there, with most people (including me) setting/switching to a steady light on the MUPs.  I noticed this week that people are pulling out their high lumen count (500+) front lights with winter on its way.  These used to be rare but seem to be the new standard.  I find them worse than a blinking front light when they are set to project at eye level.  Can we aim them down or shield when passing?

Project at eye level?

This has been a question for me, as i have had cyclists yell at me to turn down my light or turn it off (preparing to start yelling at me well ahead of passing me).  i have looked at my light from my perspective and tried to get it to shine just far enough ahead on the roadway so that i  can see anything that might be in the way before i hit it.  I also have a bright light, as i go through Carburn park, which has no lights and some parts are quite treed and dark.


I like to have my light on when i start, if i think it will become dark by the time i get home (by dark, i mean street lights are coming on and i can see car lights).  I don't want to keep moving my light up and down, as this is a little awkward to be fiddling with my light while i'm riding. 


I have had bright lights coming towards me from other cyclists, and for the 2 seconds that it takes for them to pass me, i usually just try and look down and to the right, to avoid the brightness.


I can see how occasionally the light could get bumped and i would not realize that it might be a little too high.  but how can one tell when your light will be hitting cyclists coming the other way at eye level?  (My light is on the handlebars of my hybrid bike)


 

Suggestion to your question

"...but how can one tell when your light will be hitting cyclists coming the other way at eye level"?

I usually set my lights up on my bike in my basement.  I'll set the position, turn the light on, turn the room lights off and then see where the beam is focused.  If necessary I'll make an adjustment.  I don't have an exact measurement but I'm pretty certain it's somewhere around 7-9m ahead of my bike.

Of course, you are correct, it doesn't help if you're lights been bumped.  You'd have to just confirm occasionally.

Hope that helps.

me too

I do something similar, I point the front of the bike at my garage window where I see the reflection clearly, this gives me a clue as to the angle of the headlamp, if it appears to be aiming too high I just give it a tap on top to level it downward a bit.

Don't Strobe Your Neighbour

If people are telling you it's too bright, it may be too bright or set too high. You don't need 1,000 lumens to ride the pathway. 

My pet peeve is the high strobe setting on pathways. You aren't effectively lighting your way and you're distracting oncoming riders. Save the strobe for the roads. 

Turning it down

Turning down the intensity of the bright lights is something I definitely try to do on lit pathways or on un-lit pathways when approaching another cyclist running headlights.  However, running the lights on low is something I don't like to do on un-lit pathways when no one is coming, i.e. when I don't see approaching headlights.  A lot of this has to do with looking out for my own safety in wanting to see other pathway users who may have decided not to run lights or had an equipment failure (battery drained, broken mount) with their own light.  

My rule of thumb for the back-up low-watt strobe is to run it in flashing mode at most times, i.e. exception of where the flashing drives me nuts on un-lit pathways.  The justification is that I have seen many instances where low-watt solid lights are lost in the background light (think heading west on the pathway along Memorial Drive, where headlights from oncoming cars on the road drown out the low-watt bike lights on the pathway).  This section of pathway is pretty busy and the flashing light seems to draw attention much better. 

It's been very rare that I've run my bright light on flash mode, the exception being before they revised the 52nd Street NW bike lane, i.e. when I was riding (properly in the bike lane) counter to traffic who generally had no idea there was a bike lane because of the faded paint.  In this case I wanted to draw as much attention to myself as possible.  Running flash mode on the pathway on my bright light is something I can't see myself doing.

I agree though, pointing one's very bright light to far ahead is generally not helpful to oncoming cyclists...or pedestrians.

Relaxed on 10th

Surprisingly low-key ride down 10th today.  Being Friday, traffic was pretty light.  Speaking of light.  Arrived at the 16th intersection on red.  Interestingly the advance green went on, despite the fact that there were no buses anywhere that I could see.  It caught me off-guard and, since it doesn't stay on long, I only made it half-way through the intersection before it went black.  I really think that signal needs a "bike-red" that activates when E-W traffic has ROW or when turning traffic has an advance green.

Back at it

As usual...I'm riding more this time of year. I really dont ride much in summer. It's too hot often and too many bugs. I find I drive more. Shame. lol. In my defence, my car is an $800 heavily re-used old subaru thats pretty awesome on gas? Anyways, Sean at BikeBike set me up with a new commuter... the Brodie Once. Thanks Sean... a wonderful upgrade to my fleet. Wont be riding this in the ugly stuff though... got my dedicated winter bike for that. See y'all on the roads

Back at it

As usual...I'm riding more this time of year. I really dont ride much in summer. It's too hot often and too many bugs. I find I drive more. Shame. lol. In my defence, my car is an $800 heavily re-used old subaru thats pretty awesome on gas? Anyways, Sean at BikeBike set me up with a new commuter... the Brodie Once. Thanks Sean... a wonderful upgrade to my fleet. Wont be riding this in the ugly stuff though... got my dedicated winter bike for that. See y'all on the roads

Timber

20+ ft tree blocking the path in Douglasdale near the driving range. This should be fun to call-in to 311 with no address. :(