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4/27/2013 – Saturday! It was absolutely gorgeous outside and I couldn’t have asked for a better day for a bike ride. I decided to cover some ground on the outskirts of town; the dividing line between the City of Waterloo and the Township of Wilmot… Wilmot Line!

I have to admit my naivete here. In the last 8 years of having lived in Waterloo, I have always stayed close to the city centre and to me, suburbia was reserved to places like Burlington, Oakville, and Mississauga. However I suppose I didn’t have to travel too far from home to get lost…

There were a couple interesting things that happened with mapping:

1. The map I used to plan my routes had streets mapped that were planned but not physically built yet.

2. The GPS map I used to track where I was was missing streets that were already in existence.

All in all it wasn’t too bad. There were a lot of people out on the streets, in parks and lots of kids on the road with their bikes. A nice family offered me water and asked about my quest! Such friendly folk here, which is one of the many reasons I love this region.

009So I did finally reach the dividing line of the Township of Wilmot and the City of Waterloo. This street was very very very hilly. My entire route had 126m gain, which I suspect is mostly attributed to Wilmot LIne.

So the cool thing about routing and this type of project is I use Glympse to live track my routes. This means that people can figure out exactly where I am while I am on these routes, and come find me if they so wish! Like… this lovely gentleman who sneaked up behind me towards the end of my route! Say hello to Karl!

It is always nice to have locals show you the way around town. After completing my route, Karl showed me the wonderful escarpment at the top of the hill, from which vantage point one could see much of Waterloo!

All in all, a very successful trip on a fine Saturday afternoon!

Looking forward to more biking and walking opportunities in the summer! Feel free to join me to any of my routes this summer, everyone is welcome to partake in this endeavor. :)

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04/24/2013 – When our family friends had heard that we were moving to Canada back in 1997, they told us a joke. “Do you know why it is called Kanada?” they exclaimed. “No? Why?” the curious child-me asked. “Well, an explorer had landed on the shores of Kanada.” they explained, “He looked around and said ‘Keiner Da!’”  For those who do not speak German, ‘Keiner Da’ means ‘No one’s here’.

This was certainly how I felt today as I biked through the streets in the southeast block by Westmount and Ottawa. All the streets were empty. There were a few cars passing by, but really only to get to one’s driveway in order to get out of the cold. Radcliffe Park was empty. It was rather… depressing actually.

001So as I started this project, I had first considered investing in a bike GPS. One that can integrate with my MapMyRide account or where I can upload GPX routes. My search ended in me deciding that there was a much much cheaper option. Behold, my poor man’s GPS! This time I put the paper in a plastic sleeve and duct taped it to my arm. This worked out a lot better than fumbling with a crinkled piece of paper while signalling, shoulder checking, and gathering my bearings as I did last time.

My route ended with a brief tour of McLennan Park. I saw one person with a puppy there. One. The strong winds, wet snow, and chilly weather may have had something to do with it, but it was definitely very… solitary. In case you don’t believe me about the snow, I have captured evidence (image is darker due to flash).

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The first thing I noticed about McLennan Park was that it was on a hill, and at a higher elevation than its entire surroundings. Turns out McLennan Park used to be a landfill site, which was closed in the 1970s and built over with homes. However, the area had issues with high levels of methane gas, and pipes were built to release the gas for many years. Since then the area has naturalized and became McLennan Park. The City of Kitchener invested $3M into the development of this park and it includes playgrounds, splash pad, skate park, bike trails, dog park, picnic areas, toboggan hills, and many other amenities.

Overall I think it’s a very nice park that should really be enjoyed more. I certainly didn’t pick the right time to go visit, now did I? I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already… on a nicer day.

 

 AN: 4/26/2013 – It appears to be very important to note that it is called Mount. Trashmore. Everyone I know who is local has been reminding me of it! So here.. I am making it the official declaration! Mt. Trashmore!! 😛

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The first bike ride was completed. Area covered was around Northfield and Wissler in North Waterloo. Here are my takeaways:

  • On a Sunday afternoon, there are a lot of children on the streets
  • It takes me approximately 4 minutes/km at a casual pace
  • There are a LOT of Crescents. A LOT.
  • Wissler and Old Abbey area have very pretty houses
  • It is hard to signal left and right while holding a paper map, need a better navigation procedure

The route covered was 13 km.

How many kilometers is the total of all the streets in KW? What’s a good estimate?

The first route is planned! Due to having not biked for 12 years, I picked a small quiet neighborhood in North Waterloo to tackle. The purpose of this route is to test a few things:

  • My ability to remember how to bike (and prove/disprove the age old saying “it’s just like riding a bike!”)
  • Figure out what will kill me… (Understand my endurance and strength capabilities)
  • Test mapping and futuristic toys (Glympse tracking and MapMyRide on my devices)
  • Try not to get run over by a car (learn how to bike on roads)