suburban siberia

transitioning from Los Angeles back to Edmonton

Month: May, 2014

baby steps

I live a bit far from downtown. Distance is different for everyone but I usually like to live within 15 min of my work place. Currently my daily commute is about 30 – 45 min to work. Since I bought a bike a few weeks ago I’ve hoped to ride it to work. In theory it is a great idea but it’s going to take some commitment since it’s an hour or so bike ride each way and at work we are nearing a deadline so I don’t think biking home at midnight is an ideal situation. So I’ve been taking baby steps. Last week and this week I was able to park my car near Whyte Ave and then ride across the High Level bridge, past the Legislature grounds to my humble downtown work place at Manasc Issac.

It’s still about a 45 min commute but I get free parking and a wee bit of exercise. Hopefully I can park farther away from work and ride longer distances till I can commit to the full bike route. Below are a few pictures of my morning ride last week and my evening return on the impressive High Level Bridge and Leg grounds when it was a balmy 26 degrees (78 degrees Fahrenheit) yesterday.

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first bike ride of the season!

So I bought a bike! It’s beautiful, lovely and a delight, For those who care it’s a Gary Fisher Trek bike with hydraulic disc brakes and shocks that I can turn on or off for city and trail riding. While I often complaint about my neighbourhood I have to confess that I am nearby the river valley which has peaked my interest to explore the city. While I enjoyed biking in the LA heat (mostly around the LA River), Edmonton’s river valley trails are full of adventures. Not only is the air incredibly fresh, the ravines have perfectly time pockets of cool air to help keep you going in an up hill battle or during the down hill glory.

My first ride was awesome! I wasn’t really sure where I was going but in the end I found myself at my mom’s place. I find it strange that my first ride of the season was to go home. Below are a few images of the pedestrian bridge under the Anthony Henday, suburban construction in Cameron Heights, and some river valley greenery – which looks better in person as you can imagine.

Temperature: 15 – 17 degrees Celsius (59 – 63 Fahrenheit).
Route: Terwillegar Towne (my house) to Thorncliff (moms house)
Time: 1.5 Hrs (About 2 hours if you include my stop at the Callingwood Dairy Queen for a chocolate dipped cone)

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-that’s right! You too can live in a Manhattan or a Brooklyn.

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the mullet

I was biking around my neighbourhood yesterday (Terwillegar Towne) and I found a gem of a townhouse a few blocks from my house. While all of the townhouse designs in this area hold a special place in my heart (not really) this one I thought was pretty good. I call it the Mullet. Business in the front and party in the back.

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Incase you haven’t been to a hockey game in a while and/or forgot how glorious mullets are:

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civic pride

I’ve been dreaming vividly of LA for the past few weeks. It finally quieted down last week but it was jarring to dream about living in one place and then waking up in another. I asked my mom why I was dreaming about it so much (since she knows everything) and she said that it was probably because I was home sick. Home sick?

I never really thought of LA as my real home but I guess I spent so much time there it became so without fully realizing it. This has always been a dilemma of mine. I often think and talk about a place other than where I am. When I lived in Halifax I talked all ways to Sunday about Edmonton. When I lived in Edmonton I daydreamed of Halifax.  When I lived in LA I eat, slept and breathed being Canadian and now that I’m back in Edmonton I can’t help but miss the warm sun on my skin.

I read recently that because we are so far removed from a large urban population (New York or Beijing for example) we have no choice but to be consumers of culture rather than creators. It’s an obvious but profound statement. Recently I visited Vancouver and even there I saw that they too were creators of their own culture in an overt fashion. Where as here in this city there are somewhat large gaps of disconnect between groups and trending crowds believing in larger ideologies. To be clear I am not complaining about Edmonton, but merely mulling over the situation.

Edmonton is the 5th largest municipality and the 6th largest metropolitan area in Canada (according to Wikipedia) and has the longest stretch of urban park land in North America thanks to the beautiful river valley (plus it still has the largest indoor mall!).  That’s pretty awesome in the grand scheme of things but sometimes it’s hard to think of this place as being competitive with other cities.  That’s why it was timely for the Royal Bison to be open this past weekend. They had great vendors this year and it was easy to see that everyone there was in love with Edmonton and finding many ways to make it great. Edmonton is an underground city. It’s subtle, remote and generous. OMA cited that messy ideas are progressive over smooth and agreeable ones. Refinement means acceptance and popularity which means it no longer has excitement and ingenuity. Similar to that I think Edmonton’s rough edges are a good indication that we are on to something real.

Also – I bought a sweet bike this weekend from United Cycle. It’s a crossover bike that allows me adjust my front shocks so I can ride river valley trails and city streets! It’s a big deal!

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