Friday, July 27, 2012

Pit Stops: Edmonton Model Airplane Flying Field

Got caught out riding in a thunderstorm the other day. The online forecast had called for little chance of rain, so I foolishly ignored the dark clouds overhead and set out sans jacket. Fortunately for me, though, when the heavens opened I was close to one of my favorite pit stops in the farmland south of Edmonton. I took shelter at the Capital City Flyers’ model airplane flying field. It’s tucked kind of in the middle of nowhere: a small covered viewing area, complete with picnic table and bench and some metal platforms surrounded by carefully tended lawn—a perfect spot to escape the worst of the rain and take five. 
View of the Flying Field from the road. On a sunnier day.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Anatomy of the Tour

The Dusty Musette’s compilation of some famous—or infamous—body parts of Tour de France riders over the years. 


Hugo Koblet’s Coif: Great care was taken to ensure the Fonzie-like perfection of Koblet’s 'do. Rumor had it that he carried a comb in the pocket of his racing jersey while taking the 1951 Tour. Thumbs up!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Short Hills Thrills

Southern Ontario’s Niagara Region, a peninsula wedged between Lakes Ontario and Erie and the Niagara River, is famous for its vineyards, orchards, canal, and big ol’ waterfall. But its also got some damn fine road cycling. When I head back there to visit my old stomping grounds, I bring my road bike so I can hit the excellent network of quiet, paved roads that criss-cross the region’s main topographical feature, the lushly forested Niagara Escarpment. I grew up riding my bike around Niagara and thought I knew most of the best back roads in the region. But this past two weeks in Niagara, I’ve found that my bike keeps taking me to a spot I hadn’t paid much attention to in the past: the area around Short Hills Provincial Park.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Road Trip: Indiana

The Midwest, though looked down on by all the serious riders who have relocated themselves to Colorado, Arizona, and California, has a lot to offer the passionate cyclist.  There are no mountains, no year-round riding season, and not really much in the way of bike lanes, it's true.  But there are endless, endless miles of quiet country roads where one is surrounded by pastoral scenery and almost never delayed by an ill-timed stoplight.  Plus, you know, buffalo.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vélivre: Slaying the Badger

It’s early July, which means school’s out for the kiddies, the year’s hot dog quota has long been filled, and almost every other day seems to be a national holiday of one land or another. And, of course, it means Tour de France season. Now, cycling fans have their Tour traditions. Apparently some French fans like to don body thongs and run along the side of the road cheering on the competitors. Others, on this side of the Atlantic, may simply choose to take their breakfast with Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin while watching the day’s stage unfold on tv. Me, I’ve got my own take on Tour traditions: I like to suit up in my body thong, tune in to Phil and Paul, and pick up a book about the Tour.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Road Trip: Wisconsin Dells

The Wisconsin Dells is a semi-legendary destination for those who dwell in the American Midwest, and a place entirely unknown, I suspect, to the rest of the world.  A summertime mecca for generations of families from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and other regional states, the Dells have always been synonomous in my mind with station wagons and mini-vans. (And cheap Indian headdresses, foam tomahawks, and the Ducks.)  It's a substantially different city than it was when I visited it in my youth; the current incarnation is something like a Las Vegas aimed squarely at 11 year old kids and their beaten-down parents.  As a result, the amount of minivans and, yes, station wagons, jamming up its streets with desperate fathers and sun-stroked kids have increased exponentially.  It seems an odd place to take a cycling vacation.