These photos were taken on September 7, 2020.
Ever since we got our E-bikes, my beloved has dreamt of riding all the way to son L and daughter A’s house in Edmonton. Given our numerous rides on local rural roads, we felt we had enough experience and stamina to try this on Labour Day past. A temperature of 6 C/43 F meant we had to dress warmly, donning long pants, jackets, toques and gloves. The wind (19 kph/12 mph gusting to 33 kph/20 mph out of the NNW) meant we would have to work a bit to get there, even with E-bikes, but the ride home should be wind assisted.
So it was, we loaded our battery chargers into our bike baskets and set out on our adventure at 10:15 AM, not yet knowing if L & A were home. Getting out of town was easy and we soon found ourselves on Range Road 243, heading North to Township Road 510. 510 is a narrow, busy road and the riskiest area of this ride. In this 4 km. section, there either was no shoulder or just a .5 m (18″) wide shoulder. We were passed by 20 cars going the same direction as us. Most of them waited to pass until it was safe, but a few keeners just zipped on by as if we were not there.
Now at the Nisku Spine Road, we had a full 2.5 m (9 ft) wide shoulder and could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Gravel still abounded on the shoulder, so we had to be cautious there. Stopping at one point to take stock of our position in the South Industrial area, the new 92,903 sq. m (1,000,000 square foot) Amazon fulfillment center loomed ahead.
We turned West onto the multi-use path on the North side of 41 Ave. SW. Now separated from the cars, we felt much safer, as we continued to battle the gusting winds. The path allowed us to cross safely over the QE2 highway overpass. A few marked on and off-ramp crossings had to be negotiated as if we were pedestrians, but, we did get a nice view of the city skyline from our high perch. It was still 17 km (10.5 miles) away, but my 1,200 mm lens made it look tantalizingly close.
Running West down 41st Avenue SW, the sound berm gave a bit of shelter from the wind and the going was easier. I was doing a fair bit of manual and low power pedaling to ensure I retained enough power to get home.
We passed a few walkers along the path, most moving to the side to allow us to pass. One of them likely got a bit of a scare, as despite repeated bell ringing, they never reacted. Likely tuned out with ear buds.
A mixture of path and road North on Desrochers Dr., then West on Desrochers Boulevard finally took us to 141 Street, with its shared and designated bike lanes.
Approximately 55 minutes (including photo stops) after leaving home, we arrived at L & A’s house. Being a fairly new subdivision, there was still a lot of construction going on, even on a long weekend.
After a nice visit and a look at their recently completed landscape work, we set off for home. We both had enough power to make the trip, so chargers were not required. The blue sky, while it looked safe, was only a brief window and we knew afternoon showers were predicted. Now travelling South and East, the wind was our friend and the cruising was easy. Below is the landscaping on Jaeger Ridge golf course community.
We cruised quickly back along 41 Ave. SW and paused on the QE2 overpass to watch the red tail hawks soaring above, looking for lunch.
41 Ave. SW, aligns with the North boundary of Leduc County, so that photo stop was required.
On the way out, we had seen the old 101 Street turn-off which runs straight South as opposed to bending SW like the Nisku Spine Road. When the Spine was built, 101 Street was closed to through traffic, but, I was easily able to lift our bikes over the concrete Jersey barriers. We paused for a while to marvel at the fact that we had this road all to ourselves. It was at that point we noticed the darkling shadows and felt the first raindrops. Oopsie, had we dallied too long on our return. After a few field shots, my camera battery died and this may well have saved us from a major drenching.
As we turned East on 510, rain fell steadily and was soon joined by sleet. We found this hilarious and pedaled homeward furiously. As we passed the electronic speed reader, the reading said 27 k/h (17 m/h). We finally pedaled our way out of the rain, arriving home refreshed, if not somewhat damp. As I secured and plugged in the bikes, the skies opened up and the deluge began. We had just made it. All in all, a good day with 33.4 km (21 miles) ridden.