Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Junk Hat


Winter cyclists know that dressing for success, if not survival, means protecting the extremities, those most valuable digity bits, with high-quality gear like serious boots and full-on mitts. In fact, there’s a wide range of (very expensive) footwear and hand wear marketed to winter athletes and sportsmen and women, from cyclists and snowmobilers to ice-fishers and skiers. You can spend a lot of money on these items; and, in many cases, it’s worth doing so.

But what of protecting that most valuable extremity of all (at least, for dudes)? How is the winter cyclist or sportsman supposed to keep his willy warm on frigid days? Winter folk of all kinds have long had to deal with this problem. It’s said, for instance, that Norwegian scouts of the twelfth century embarked on days-long journeys through blizzards and drifts, protecting their family jewels with ptarmigan carcasses stuffed down the front of their breeches.

These days, alas, the winter-clothing industry hasn’t moved much beyond the ptarmigan method. I know of only a few commercial options available. Not surprisingly, however, resourceful winter athletes have invented their own ways of protecting their central extremity. Herewith follows a guide to some of the most common methods of keeping one’s unit from freezing off whilst awheel in the winter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dinosaur Provincial Park Loop

Dinosaur Provincial Park is the jewel of Alberta’s Badlands. Sure, the region’s largest city, Drumheller, has its charms: the Royal Tyrell Museum (with its world class collection) and a gigantic tacky T-Rex at the town’s tourist info centre (an essential ironic photo op). But if I had to pick one spot in the Badlands to recommend for sheer beauty and wow factor it’d be DPP, 48 km northeast of Brooks, Alberta. And if you cycle there or bring a bicycle with you, do not miss out on riding the brilliant 3-km gravel-road circuit next to the campground. It’s one of the coolest bike rides in Alberta.