|Round and Round and Round
There is a pathway that goes around the Glenmore Reservoir. For a few years it was my ride of choice. For the most part I would eschew going on the pathway during the day. I would arise with the sun and make the loop in the early morning hours. There were some magical moments then.
My affair with the reservoir loop has abated but I wanted to pay tribute to it on one of my training days. I decided to do a hundred mile ride around the reservoir that meant going around and around and around. Ten times. I would start in the early morning and make a loop about once every hour. By late afternoon I could go home.
My entry onto the Reservoir was from the east end. This is the area that has the highest usage of pedestrians and cyclists. It should be twinned. If Vancouver can twin the pathway around Stanley Park, Calgary should be able to twin the east end of Glenmore Reservoir pathway.
I started off for the reservoir just after 7 AM. In previous years, I made the acquaintance of a few walkers of the reservoir. These were people who were out every morning. The friendship would start with a hello as I passed. After a few hellos I would finally stop and have a chat. Cyclists and pedestrians can get along.
On this ride I was able to encounter Ian who was walking on the south shore of the reservoir. He wished me well with my training and I took off. As I was coming out of the west end, coming up the hill, I encountered Frank. Frank used to ride a bike into the Weaselhead and take photos of the animals. We had a friendly rivalry about what animals we had seen.
As I straddled my bike and talked to him, Frank told me that there were coyotes in the bush behind me. I turned to see nothing. Frank, you’re pulling my leg. Then he pointed out more coyotes. I was able to turn quick enough to see a couple of coyotes heading west. They must have been done foraging for jack rabbits in the city and were heading for safer environs for the day. He wished me well on my training as I bade good bye and got on with my ride.
It was only after I left him that I remembered what I had seen earlier. There was a muskrat at the pond. A pair of geese protecting their goslings and they didn’t attack me when I took photos of them.
A bush bunny ran across the path in front of me as did a chipmunk while I was in the Weaselhead.
All this wildlife is early morning stuff. As the humans come out to play they go elsewhere. In my first loop of the reservoir I encountered 18 pedestrians and 15 bicyclists. Most of the bicyclists were commuters. The second loop was 21 to 15.
It was on the second loop that I noticed that the number of smokers standing outside the Rockyview Hospital increased. Talk about what is wrong with the health system. If the schools can force the kids not to smoke on the school grounds or even be seen from the school, then maybe the smokers at the Rockyview can go elsewhere. What they have now is a gorgeous view of the water and the western horizon. And cyclists have to hold their breath as they go through. Not fair.
The cyclists dropped off on my third loop. The balance was 45 to 9, although there was a senior’s group of cyclists who snuck by me as I had stopped at the east end to write my findings down.
It was now break time for me. My mileage was up to 50 km and the time was close to 10 AM. I decided to give McDonald’s a try as versus Tim Horton’s. McDonald’s happened to be right handy being located at Glenmore Landing. I went for the comparison.
Slam!! Hands down. Tim Horton’s
I had an egg, bacon bagel with a grease filter and a coffee.
Can I get a muffin instead of the hash browns?
I took my meal and slunk off to a corner. Plus I got overcharged. There were signs saying that the bagel sandwiches were 50% off. My bill should have been on the sunny side of a five, instead I had to top it up. Did I make noise?
No. I was served by the manager; he wouldn’t pull a fast one on me. Maybe. It’s the front line staff who has to be careful. They can be replaced.
I ate my sandwich which was gummy; I didn’t have a toothpick with me and flossing one’s teeth while riding a bicycle is a no no in how to ride manuals.
Oh yeah, the coffee was too hot.
Tim Horton’s across Canada, here I come.
I went back to my circles of the reservoir. I was going in a clockwise rotation. On my fourth pass through the Weaselhead I encountered the senior’s bicycle group that snuck behind me at the end of my third loop and before I took my break. They were taking a leisurely ride.
There were more joggers out on the pathways now. My body count for round four was 56 pedestrians and 42 bicyclists. The fifth round had 35 peds to 32 bikes. A lot of the pedestrians were young mothers out pushing prams. They usually come in twos, side by side.
After the fifth round I changed direction. I wanted to make sure the world was balanced so after doing five rotations in clockwise direction, the next five would be anticlockwise. The first lap in the new direction, the sixth loop of the reservoir, saw the number of bicyclists getting close to the number of pedestrians on the pathway. It was 55 pedestrians and 53 cyclists. It was also time for my second break of the day. I stayed away from McDonald’s and went to the deli at Safeway. That would be my last stop for the day except for photos. Each time I got to the pond in the Weaselhead, I would take a photo. Each time I got to the east end starting point, I would take a photo. It was at the starting point that I would get off my bike, from some water or an occasional snack, and write the stats of who was using the pathway.
Round seven had 59 pedestrians and 63 cyclists.
Round eight had 55 pedestrians and 63 cyclists.
Round nine had 39 pedestrians and 54 cyclists.
Round ten had 40 pedestrians and 66 cyclists. The number of cyclists was going up because it was quitting time. The commuters were heading for home.
It was on the last loop around the reservoir that I started thinking about riding safely. Not that I don’t, but if there was something I should be doing to ensure that I get to the start line in Vancouver on June 22. I mused about whether that might even be a safety hazard to change the way that I am riding now. I am conservative in my riding. I look both ways twice. I stay away from high volume traffic streets. I go out early in the morning. Usually at the same time because I know the traffic patterns. I avoid being on my street route between the time of eight and nine in the morning. It goes past a school and the moms are dropping the kids off at school and you know how excited they are by that. Both mom and child.
So I was musing away thinking about riding safely. Out of corner of my eye I saw a speeding cyclist coming at me. I have to backtrack about twinning the pathways on the reservoir. There is a twinned pathway for part of the south shore. In winter the lower pathway ices up and cyclists have to use the high road. In summer the cyclists are to use the lower road. These two paths intersect at right angles by the boating club house.
It was off the high road that the approaching cyclist was bearing down on me. It didn’t matter that he barrelled through the parking lot with nary a look to see if it was safe. He was coming for me and he was on my right side. In hindsight it would have been me who should have stopped. I braked hard and came to a complete stop. Sans helmet and sense he cruised by me. Oh! Hello!
I started up my ride again. Hmmm. How should I ride more safely? Well, I’m coming onto the lower pathway, it is getting more crowded because it’s late afternoon. The workers want to get there day in the sun and the commuters are coming home. I had better be a bit more cautious on this section of the pathway. I’ll even go a little slower.
There is a blind corner coming up, better stay tight to the right because there could be pedestrians on the path. There were. And there was a cyclist thinking about passing them. I hadn’t heard a bell. Doesn’t matter because there is going to be a collision. I steered myself into the bushes to my right. The cyclist grabbed his brakes and squeezed hard. He slid off his bike to a complete stop. The back end of his bike came up now that he was off the seat and the front tire locked. The back end swung to his left. Whack. I got smacked. Well isn’t this interesting.
Oh wow man, are you all right?
I had to back out of the bushes. I looked down at my hands. They were okay. My brake levers had protected my hands. My upper body had no dents in it. My leg felt that it got twigged by a tree. Probably have a few minor holes in me. That’s okay I was going to get another piercing for my birthday. Now I have a selection to work with.
The bike seemed to be okay.
Yeah, I’m okay.
Oh man, it was totally my fault.
And what clued you in to that Sherlock? These zippy comebacks are always after the fact. All I could say was to say the obvious: take heed; there are other people on the pathways.
I never looked back to see if the pedestrians were doubled over in convulsive laughter at the side of the path way. With those pithy words ringing in the other guys ears, I remounted my bike and headed for home. You can be as safe as you want but accidents come looking for you. I decided my best course of action in regards to riding more safely was to not think about riding more safely.
I made it home without further incident(s). My total mileage for the day was 166 km. I had passed 423 pedestrians. I had passed 355 bicyclists. I’ll pass on doing another loop of the reservoir for a while.
These are the last photos of the day.