Yesterday afternoon we went on our scaled-down suburban Critical Lass ride. It's the first weekend of Fringe Fest, and it was women-and-transgendered day at EBC BikeWorks, and some people were probably nervous about leaving the city's central neighborhoods by bicycle, so we had a smaller group than last time. Miss Sarah has already blogged about the ride from her perspective - if you haven't already seen it check out her post too.
We met up at the playground closest to Deborah's house, in a subdivision where the houses are a mix of faux-Victorian, -Georgian, and -Craftsman houses, like Halifax or Victoria rerendered in vinyl siding and concrete. We like it because the sidewalks, front porches, and garages placed on back alleys make it a more pedestrian-friendly area than the typical suburban front-garage development. Some of the bikes you see in the photo above belong to other families who had brought their kids to the park.
Bert isn't fixed yet. So, we put Audrey's trailer-bike on a borrowed 1980s CCM 5-speed named Violet (Thank you Monica!!! -D.). As you can see in the foreground of the photo above, Deb used basket straps to put her antique egg crate on the front - which really affected the steering once it had a heavy purse and water bottles in it. (I don't think I'll use the crate that way again, as pretty as it looks. -D.)
Angel adding some air while everyone chats.
Winnie's coaster brake isn't fixed yet, so Nicki borrowed Mary Poppins and Deb's polkadot helmet for the ride. Both bikes have 28-inch wheels and coaster brakes, so it was a good way to get her back in the saddle. This was her first time riding a bicycle in nearly ten years. Felt good, didn't it, gorgeous?
Angel rode Daisy. In the end neither of her kids came - Damien was hanging with his grandparents and Lili needed a nap. Notice the green purse in the milk crate that matches one of the shades of green in her floral dress. Dress and sandals both from Reitmans (different seasons) purse is from random mall luggage store. Would LOVE to find a lovely belt to make the dress less poofy (even though the poof comes in handy while biking in the heat, yaaaay built in "AC"). - A.
Sarah was kidless too, thanks to the older LRT cars not being able to accommodate a child trailer without taking the child out and folding it up. We can't imagine doing that solo with a wiggly baby! Here she has just put a CL pin on one of her polka dots. LOVE the skirt and the pearl necklace.
These women are effortlessly chic. Marilyn was wearing a beautiful shirt-dress with a pop of ruffly colour underneath. So classic. (I can't wait 'til my Uniform Project shirt-dress arrives in the mail. -D.)
Of course it is all about the shoes. Clockwise from top left: Sarah in shiny patent leather; Audrey in pink and Deborah with bows on; Angel's new silver flats; and Marilyn's divine Dr Marten's heels (covet!).
Just kidding. It's also all about the bikes. Here is Sarah's road bike at rest, with a Brooks leather saddle and reflective super-skinny rims and the beautiful Po Campo bag she's been trying out.
Mary Poppins awaiting action. Look how pretty the white saddlebag looks with the white vinyl saddle!
Audrey (the only child who ended up coming) didn't feel like staying at the playground, so we were quickly off on our ride and didn't stop at any of the other four playgrounds on our route (yes, four). We headed to a strip-mall area with a lot of cafes and restaurants and neat little shops. On the way, we were riding mostly on residential streets, where one driver was unconscionably rude, and a few were clueless about driving around bicycles, but many were great.
We parked our bikes at the library. It was disappointing to see so few racks in a relatively newly-built area, when according to the bylaws they should be more. Guess we'll need to call the mall's management and ask some questions? Then we sat in a franchise cafe and had iced strawberry lemonade and a wide-ranging chat. During which we totally forgot to take photos. Oops. It was delightful to be able to all sit at the same table this time and really get to talk. Unfortunately Sarah and Marilyn needed to take off after the cafe and head back to the LRT, so they didn't get to shop. Also, the locally-owned toy store has just closed this location (much to Audrey's disappointment). However, Angel found a great locally-owned kitchen tool shop where she can register for her wedding. Score!
Audrey took this shot of Deborah in the cafe's washroom. She is wearing windowpane-check bermuda shorts from Ricki's, a ruffled scoop-neck t-shirt from Old Navy, a thrift-shop straw-and-leather bag, a gold-plated necklace and fabric flower from Anthropologie, a cloche from local Etsy crafter Sugar Soul to cover the helmet-head.
Audrey did magnificently, especially considering that it was only her second time riding without training wheels (her first was the day before when we were testing the trailer-bike on Violet). We walked the uphills because she felt unsteady when I had to stand on the pedals. We think she'll be riding without training wheels on her own bike by the end of the summer. Oh, and yes, she did choose her outfit specifically to go with the pins for the riders, then lavishly accessorized it Fancy Nancy style. -D.
Attempted panda shot. I am wearing an older sport-style helmet that has never fit my head properly. It is actually not possible with the way it is shaped to get it to sit over my forehead... but it's a decent slightly-small backup when loaning helmets to friends who forgot theirs. - D.
View of downtown Edmonton from the bridge over Terwillegar Drive. It's rather pretty, except for the freeway and utility poles in the foreground - and it gives a nice idea of how sprawled out this city is. Our location here is about halfway between the inner ring road (the Whitemud) and outer ring road (the Henday).
Taking pictures at the end of the pedestrian bridge.
Nicki, Deborah, and Audrey walking up the hill. Angel was able to ride up with Daisy's 6 speed!
They made it!!
Nicki and the downtown view.
Despite being on the outer edge of town, many of our city's suburban neighborhoods are blessed with a well-planned system of multiuse trails, and most of them have sidewalks as well. Wide roads with two lanes in each direction on the collector roads make it less nerve-wracking to take the lane when needed than on some of the narrower roads in the city's core, and some of the collector roads are having sharrows painted on them that will help to make road-sharing more of a habit for suburban drivers. It may not be practical to go completely car-free, and it takes a little planning, but we think that using a bike instead of a motor vehicle so that you're driving less often is totally doable in the suburbs. Not to mention fun!
To end the ride we headed back to Deborah's, where some other friends with children met us for a barbeque. Good food and good friends, what could be better?