0495/26/2013 – So I was cruising along at a good clip on a fine Sunday morning, doing a route as I usually do. Going in and out of streets, smiling at the dog walkers and baby walkers and the people with walkers as they gave me weird looks as to what I’m doing, when suddenly, just turning in from Westmount Road W into Westood Drive, I heard a hissing sound in my back wheel. “Uh oh” I thought, and quickly pulled to the side. Sure enough, a piece of glass on the road had pierced into my rear tire and it was flat within minutes.

Only about 13 km into a 27 km route, I was disappointed over the outcome. I wheeled myself slowly to the nearest bus stop and proceeded to make my trek to BikeFest via transit.

I have to say, if someone told me that I had to have a tire failure and asked me to pick a day, the day of the BikeFest would have been it!

I arrived at the BikeFest in the early afternoon and was surprised by the turnout! This excerpt from the City of Kitchener website:

“The City of Kitchener is excited to be part of this global momentum by promoting and encouraging cycling through BikeKitchener, a platform to promote and foster a sustainable culture of bicycling among Kitchener residents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Whether residents are looking for information on the City’s Cycling Master Plan, cycling routes, safety tips, promotional events or upcoming projects, BikeKitchener provides information, resources, and support to those interested in cycling.”

052 It was amazing! You can win prizes, Ziggy’s and Braun’s were both there doing free tune-ups for your bike. You could listen to information sessions and lectures on how to bike safely, as well as try out various other types of cycles (electric bikes!!). There was music playing by the stage, cotton candy, and so much more! Today at BikeFest, the 16 challengers of the Bike 2 Work Challenge 2013 were announced. These lovely gentlemen and ladies would be biking to work at least 3 times a week for the month of June and blogging about it! Man, if I had known about this earlier I would have signed up (hey, I’m basically doing that already :P).

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Back to my busted bike! Greg Shannon from Ski’N’Cycle Hut fixed me up with a new tube in virtually no time and at a very reasonable price! He tuned-up my bike and it’s riding now like never before. I love it! These guys are real professionals. We were standing there amazed at how quickly the wheel came off! We blinked and it was fixed! He advised me that my tire is due for a change soon (it’s cracking at various spots pretty badly). I’ll have to make some time to visit their store for a new tire in the upcoming months. If you need some work on your bike, I highly recommend these lovely folks!

050If just checking out the various things at BikeFest wasn’t exciting enough, Heart and Stroke Foundation was there with THE BIG BIKE! 

With a donation, we got to ride on THE BIG BIKE! and what a great way to view the city! It was amazing how a huge 30 seat bike, led by a police car, would attract so much interaction with the passerby. People waved at us, cars honked enthusiastically as we passed by, and we blared music from the speakers (somewhere attached to THE BIG BIKE) loud enough to hear the next block over.

So I didn’t really get too much in terms of mileage coverage today on the Streets of Kitchener-Waterloo, but I gotta say it was an eventful day altogether.

Keep on cycling people, and enjoy the summer weather!

 

 

 

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0435/25/2013 – I’d love to bike all day and explore the city and I wish that is the only thing that I have to do. Unfortunately other life demands on my time has made it impossible for me to bike in the last week. However, today was so eventful that I think makes up for the lack of biking in the last couple days.

Today was the Hohner Avenue Porch Party! Those familiar with the Grand Porch Party at Uptown Waterloo, this is kind of a similar deal. The road is closed to car traffic and is filled with people, children, and animals (generally on leashes 😉 )! Music and the sounds of happy people wafted through the air, carried throughout the neighbourhood by the gentle breeze that presented itself today. There were so many cool bands playing for us of various styles of music. Listed in this picture were just some of the highlights that I personally went to see, but there were lots more and I had a great time.

I was wearing my bright green Streets of KW t-shirt and struck up some interesting conversations with people who were curious about my project. My biking partner and I were stopped numerous times to explain the project (thank you all so much for your interest, it really makes this worthwhile). Through this all, I met tons of new people and had the honour and privilege to talk to so many of my wonderful neighbours.

I am a huge fan of bands, music, and those who play music (I play multiple instruments myself!). I love supporting local artists and this event was just so incredibly uplifting. It showed art, music, and a great sense of community. I met so many new people at this event and caught up with many old friends. If you have never checked out a porch party yet, please make sure to mark your calendars for the Grand Porch Party in two weeks! I will definitely check out Hohner Avenue Porch Party again next year, should they make it an annual tradition.

There was chalk and there was street, I couldn’t pass over this opportunity. I drew a quick sketch of the City of Kitchener logo. I joined all the small children in creating art on the road! Huzzah!

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After having spent hours at the porch party, I finally bid farewell to friends. My bike partner and I made our way for biking the actual neighbourhood. I have to say, I really love this area! The houses here have a lot of character and the personality of the older neighbourhood shone through. I would love to live in a neighbourhood like this. Everyone we passed nodded at us and were so friendly.

One of the interesting things I noticed is that how quickly the human body adapts to new levels of physical activity. I have not biked for about 5 days and it gave my body time to heal. Today when I rode the 23km of the route, I did not even break a sweat, or change gears at all! This was surprising to me as last week, this distance and the hills would have been quite a struggle.

I am looking forward to getting stronger and more physically fit. I’ve still got a long way to go but as I keep telling myself, “Baby steps, love. Baby Steps.”

 

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0385/19/2013 – Today’s bike ride covered a very nice area of Waterloo, Beechwood! This is an upscale neighbourhood and the properties here were very impressive. There was a trail connecting two crescents in the upper Beechwood area and what I saw through the trail was what I have captured in this picture. The tranquility in the forest was unbelievable. For a while, I completely forgot that I was in the middle of a city!

The route ended at Regency Park, where a friend of mine was organizing public display of fireworks for Victoria Day celebrations! For a self organized event, we had an impressive array of firework display. Many people have brought their own fireworks, which meant we ended up with quite a long show with lots of “ooh”s and “aaah”s. In the end, a Chinese Lantern was set off, floating through the night sky.

Overall, not a bad way to end a bike ride. Happy Victoria Day Everyone! :)

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033 5/18/2013 – So I have been hearing about a Psychic Fair happening in Kitchener at Bingeman’s and I thought I’d go check it out. I mean after all, I’ll have to go that way eventually if I were to cover all the streets, so now’s a good time as any. Unbeknownst to me, I actually planned my “to bingemans” route straight through Woodside National Historic Site!

Zipping through there, I felt like I was almost in a different world. I have to say they did a good job of maintaining the area around the house to maintain its original look.

Here’s the excerpt from the display:

“William Lyon Mackenzie King, tenth Prime Minister of Canada, spent his adolescent years at Woodside, where he lived from 1886 to 1893. The country setting he enjoyed during this formative period among books and family mementos fostered his later spiritual, moral, and intellectual development. Close ties with his parents, sisters and brothers shaped his image of the ideal family life. The home, originally constructed in 1853, along with its picturesque gardens, also recalls the daily life of a genteel family in the late 19th century.”

034Eventually I did get to Bingeman’s for the Psychic Fair. It was pretty interesting. I did get a reading (well I was there anyway!) with Mother Mavis. It was an interesting experience, as I have never done a psychic reading before. I do not feel any different coming out of it, but hope that when she said that “good things will come in the near future” she was talking about my Streets of KW project. 😛

I had originally thought I would be talking a lot more about the psychic fair, but the most memorable parts of this trip turned out to be on the return back into town center. I passed by Kolb Park, situated right along the Grand River, on my way back. Kolb Park was named after Jacob Kolb and his family that settled in the region in 1829. There’s some interesting history, for interested readers here. Otherwise, Kolb Park is an excellent fishing location and the view is pretty astounding. I’m not a fisher myself, but could totally see myself enjoying it on a fine day like this.

The map to real life aspect isn’t 100% accurate, so there were some discrepancies between where the map was taking me vs actual available roads that made me hit dead end a couple times, but overall it wasn’t too bad.

I really hope the great weather keeps up as I’m totally enjoying the outdoors!

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02805/17/2013 – Today we biked Breithaupt Park area in Kitchener Waterloo, I do believe it was sitting on the dividing line of the twin cities! Our cyclist pictured here who joined me smiled happily as he clipped on his helmet at the starting point, eager for some exercise and biking I’m sure :)

As always, I enjoy biking with others through sub-divisions. We are usually able to bike close to each other, are not disrupting the flow of traffic, and I have someone to chat with for the duration of the ride!

The block on around Breithaupt Park showed some really upscale neighbourhoods which were really interesting to see. Some of the houses in the area are probably going to stay out of my budget for a long time, if not forever.

So at the corner of Arnold and Lancaster we quickly zipped by a small unobtrusive restaurant. At first glance, we passed right by it, but the text on the fence caught our attention.

030Behold Veslo Family Restaurant! I have never heard of this restaurant, mostly because I have never been at this part of town before. It was a shame that we arrived there shortly after 8pm, their closing time, or else we would have gone in and talked to the owners. The buy one schnitzel and get one half price deal would have gotten to us as we both could have used dinner and a break. If I’m ever in that area again, I will definitely make it a point to visit.

Instead, we stood in front of the gate and gazed on longingly. With “mmmm, Schnitzel” being muttered forlornly,we continued on our way.

029Two hours after the starting time, we reached at Breithaupt Park once again, I saw off my co-cyclist and made my way over to King and Union, where my route ended for the evening.

All in all, it was a successful evening, even without Schnitzel. The weather was agreeable and just right for biking!
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