My Winter City.

November 8, 2012

Dexter arriving home from school while I was out shovelling 

Yesterday it snowed!

Now, if you live in Edmonton and a reader of this blog, you probably know there is currently a whole movement about loving Edmonton as a winter city. The city recently came out with a report about embracing winter and falling in love with it again - after all, it's winter here for the larger part of a year. 

Without linking up a storm (pun intended), I'm just going to simply say I am totally on board with this snow-embracing! When we were kids, my mom used to send us out there with our snow pants and we would gradually make it home in our then knee-deep snow. We would take the ice "plates" from the windrows and smash them over our heads like we were insane WWF wrestlers (my brother was a big fan of watching wrestling). When we were really bad, we dared each other to knock over the lawn Santa at the brown house at the end of the street. Until the lady came out and yelled at us that one time.

When we got home we would stick our gloves and stuff over the heat vent, to get them dry and toasty for the next wear, and maybe whip up an instant noodle to eat while watching a TNG. 

Current state of our front patio, soon to play host to fires and drinks again
I know this is my bicycle blog. You know, it features me riding my bike around a mid-sized North American city. There isn't that much in terms of revolutionary bicycle infrastructure (though I believe it is slowly improving) aside from our impressive network of river valley trails and my beloved high level bridge. I write about riding in Edmonton because it's the home I was born to and the home I consciously decided to continue calling my own, well after most of my much-loved and creative friends left for the metaphorical greener pastures of bigger and more exciting cities. For me, Edmonton is home, and it's not boring to stay here and continue investing my time and love into my community. 

I travel quite a bit and there is seriously nothing that makes me more excited that getting around cities on my own two feet (or two wheels, if the opportunity presents itself). It's just so civilized. And it's what we were designed to do. You know... walk and move! I am a firm believer that the excitement of active transportation can be replicated here at home, even with our comparably limited bicycle and transit networks. 

As we move into these cold and snowy months, I hereby renew my dedication to Edmonton as a winter city. It might not mean being on the bike every single day, but I aim to continue illustrating how being active in transportation and active in the community can keep your heart and your hope warm year-round. Even with an infant and a toddler. 

 Get out there, get to know your neighbours, and have fun!

A go-pack of elm sandwiches when it snowed last week

Yesterday, due to a few cancellations resulting from bad road conditions, I had a little time free before the babysitter was off duty. Don, having come home from work early, promptly got our new cross country ski gear prepped and suggested we take a spin. 

It was awesome! My first time out cross country skiing! I'm pretty sure my technique was just horrifying, but I was cruising along nonetheless (have plans to get instructed in the near future). The low clouds were reflecting the city light so things were eerily bright, and the walk over to the path was 2.5 blocks away from our house. 

One of the reasons for picking cross country skiing as a winter sport in addition to winter cycling (which is mostly transportation), is because it's something we can do right by our house and we can wear normal clothes. Don had his cycling gear on. I wore my work clothes (jeans and a cashmere sweater), a hoodie, puffy vest, mittens and hat. No performance wear required, unless you count the ski boots. Even getting the boots, bindings and skis wasn't all that expensive. No membership fees required at any given gym and fresh air to boot. It's right up my alley!

Winter riding with studded tires
 Finally, in my enthusiastic stories of winter, is my tale of shovelling. I was out clearing a preliminary path, and upon shovelling past my corner, ran into my neighbour who was doing the same. We got all caught up while shovelling towards one another and working in tandem. I actually had a good time. And on the way back from skiing, we stopped to chat with our new neighbours across the street. Made introductions, joked about how the lady of the house does the shovelling, and made plans to hang out soon (her granddaughter is over often, and just a month older than Alice). Sounds good to me!

So I haven't been posting as much lately due to having near zero time to invest at my computer keyboard (the piano keyboard is another thing), but I'm still here and we're still trucking. I hope you will enjoy more stories in the coming months of my winter city adventures, both on the bike and off!


Julia said...

I love your blog, biking or not. Keep it coming!

Ainsley Wiles said...

Keep it coming, I love snow stories. We get a couple to six inches every couple of years here in the Southern US.

rita said...

Glad to see I'm not the only crazy person who actually enjoys living in this city, all year round :)
Have to get started on the cross country thing, good idea!

An/drea said...

Where did you purchase your skis and boots?

I'm also in Edmonton and I'm looking to get into x-country for similar reasons. My guy doesn't like gyms, and frankly I prefer fresh air (though I do love classes and swimming).

It's nice to know that someone else in this town tries to walk/ bike/ bus as much as possible. We don't own a car and sometimes people talk to us like we're crazy hippies--when really we're trying to be the new normal.

Char said...

Great you got cross-country skis and are enjoying them! :) I have them too, and I agree with you on all your points about how fun they are, and also about getting outside in the fresh air - - whether it's cross-country skiing, walking, biking, etc. :) Enjoy!

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