It was a windy day again, with the wind either head on or like sailing close hauled all day. And the rain chased me much of the day but never really caught me. I could hear the thunder and see the dark clouds behind me.
I did not find a really good way to leave Edmonton so used the ring road. I felt very exposed and out of place on a major highway with lots of on ramps and off ramps but the shoulder was at least three meters wide so a whole peloton could have been riding with me.
So much in Alberta and in Edmonton has to do with energy – jobs, politics, the economy, the environment – but I found it curious that most electricity in the province is produced by burning coal. There is a lot of it and it is easy to get at so the incentive to switch to something cleaner and renewable is limited.
I am finding the rumble strips are becoming my friend. Although they cut down the space on the road shoulder to ride on, they are a reassuring presence, especially on curves.
Throughout the prairies, there is a grid system of roads. The range roads run north-south and are spaced according to the earth’s meridian lines. But there is a problem. The distance between the lines – or roads – decreases as you move towards the north pole. Rather than curve the roads, at certain intersections, the range roads are shifted to account for the curvature of the earth. Here is a sign showing an example. As someone who once studied geography, I found this kind of cool to see.
I take a long lunch break in the pleasant town of Beaumont. It feels very French Canadian and indeed I find a park with the same name as my mother’s Acadian family.
I continue to push against the wind all day with the rain now everywhere but on top of me but for a brief shower.
As I pass some grazing cattle, they seem quite interested in the lone cyclist going by.
I make it to Camrose as planned at 8 pm to meet the grandparent of Pearson alum, Christie, Pearson College Year 32. I have the pleasure of a nice meal, a comfortable bed and lots of stories about this part of Alberta.
Stats – for Friday 22 June 2012
Distance: 110 km
Time on Bike: 5:55
Average Speed: 18.5 km/hr
Distance to Date: 2,484 km