067 6/16/2013 – Today was Open Streets Waterloo! I started the day with biking around the Westmount Golf area, ending at King and Erb just in time for Open Streets Waterloo! 

When I left the house this morning it looked like the event might get rained on, but by the time I arrived, the skies were clear, the sun ways out, and the streets were filled with people.

There were dancers, hola hoopers (that’s so a word right?), jugglers, wrestlers, and of course various musicians!

066Ever played street scrabble? Ever played street scrabble with googly eyes involved? Anything goes on street scrabble! My friends Ashley and Amanda [and the Bad Idea Bears] have an awesome summer project of putting googly eyes on various parts of Waterloo, to symbolize the cartoon nature of Waterloo. They post pictures and blog about their adventure here, so check out their awesome work!

065Also, not sure why, but I seem to keep finding myself on top of scooters these days! Today I got to take an free spin on one of these scooters! The lovely folks at ZiP EcoRide brought out their bikes and were letting the public try out their bikes! No pin-up girl attempts this time, but I am really enjoying these scooters. Of course, I do believe if I did the Streets of KW project on one of these, that’d be cheating 😛

The next Open Streets Waterloo happens on July 20th! Please come out and enjoy the fun! I’ll be there, I believe I will be on official business volunteering for the event! Look forward to it!

 

 

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058 6/15/2013 – Before my bike route today, I went and checked out Waterloo Mini Maker Faire! It was very exciting to see all the various creative people who name themselves as makers; from 3D printing, LIDAR, to knitters, steam punk contraption designers, giant cupcake makers, woodworkers, metal smiths and so much more. It was really an event not to be missed!
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I had a blast there and took some silly shots. One of my most memorable displays there was ThalmicLabs.  Their cool new technology allows for a new degree of human-computer integration that could revolutionize the way we interact with our technology. I can see so many cool applications for this! I’m really looking forward to seeing their first pro-types due to come out early next year! Check out a short video of how their product works here!

Then there was David Ribble, who is a woodworker! The stuff he creates is made out of wine barrels! Based in Ktichener, if you’re interested in antiques, collectables, or have some furniture you’d like repaired, I think this is your man! I’ve included his email address in my post so give him a shout!

060 I have only highlighted some of the individuals I ended up interacting with during the event, however every one of the maker’s creations is truly unique and shows us the boundless creativity and talent within the Region of Waterloo. I’m truly proud and honoured to have been part of this experience!

After checking out all the wonderful things at the Faire, I continued up the street and completed a short route for the afternoon. It was actually the route I wasn’t able to complete the other day due to a tire failure halfway through! In the end, things tend to work out.

Looking forward to riding more tomorrow. The weather isn’t terribly promising, but I’ll be there rain or shine!

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055 06/09/2013 – So I had some minor surgery done and was told by my doctor to not exercise for a whole week! I had spent the time staycationing at my parent’s house. I was bored out of my mind!! I was eager to get back to cycling the minute I got back into town and was allowed again, only to be caught by a cold that left me bed-ridden for 3 days…

But!! Now. I’m. Back. [Baby]. And I’ve got so much pent up energy from being sedentary I’m going to be hitting the pavement again full swing~
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Today was the Grand Porch Party! The Grand Porch Party covers a number of blocks outlined by Dawson Street, Euclid Avenue, Alexandra Avenue, and Roslin Avenue where musicians play on the porches of specific houses. Visitors gather around on the streets, on the front yards (and even one backyard this year!!) and listen to the music played by local artists. I love events like this! It was so lively and seeing so many neighbours out and about reminds me that we really live together as a community.

Here’s a shot of everyone gathering around one porch, listening to music! Please bookmark the Grand Porch Party website if you missed it this year. This is an annual event you’d definitely want to partake in. The weather was beautiful!

I spent about 3 hours at the Grand Porch Party and checked out as many artists as I could. I was saddened when the event ended. I didn’t have enough fun yet! I met up with some friends there and did some silly memes (Youtube Video of how to create Hadouken Shots). :)
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So after the festivities of the Grand Porch Party, I went on my way to bike that subdivision (after devouring a DQ Blizzard). I biked 19.4 km today and was surprised that it didn’t tire me out. I was expecting to be very exhausted due to not having done any exercise in almost two weeks, however it appears that my body used the rest time and got stronger. I don’t remember 1hr22min of bike riding to be this easy! Go me 😀

On my way home, I stopped by UpTown Waterloo and saw this drum circle happening! Turns out is it hosted by Creation Africa and they are meeting here at UpTown all summer for public drum circles. The constant beat of the drum, decorated by the embellishments brought into the circle by each drummer was incredibly moving. I had never been part of a drum circle before, so when invited to drum with them, I jumped at the opportunity. If you’re interested in getting in on the next drum circle event, please check out their facebook page for even updates! I’ll definitely be going back to this, it was amazing!!

All in all, I’m happy to be back in the game, so to speak. Looking forward to biking more this summer. Please feel free to come out and bike with me, or if you have any suggestions or ideas about my project, get in touch!

 

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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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