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4/19/2014 – It’s been a long cold winter and I have been itching to get out and cycle. For those who were wondering, I have not given up on this project but took a few months off to hibernate from the cold Canadian weather.

I am however super glad to get back on the road again and strengthen my endurance to new levels while at the same time exploring the outdoors and our community.

Before starting this project, I was not so familiar with all the cool and interesting things that are happening in our town. Kitchener-Waterloo is a truly unique and vibrant place and should you choose to embrace it, you will discover something new about it every day. Last year I explored the various summer festivals and outdoor events that were happening and there were so many of them. This year I will still be going to these events, but I think I’ll be looking at more obscure and less well-known events, businesses, and communities to cycle and chat about here.

Today I cycled with CLIPPED Outdoors’ event: Spring Community Bike Ride! About a dozen or so men and women gathered in front of Kitchener City Hall at 1pm today for a 2 hour tour of the local trails and the city. The group was very energetic and the weather was incredible.

This is my first ride for the season. I expected my endurance to be much worse, but playing ultimate frisbee all winter (indoors… please, I’m not that crazy) really helped keep my cardiovascular health up. However, after the 23km, I could still feel the tiredness set in. I am looking forward to cycling a lot more this summer and getting up to speed again! Perhaps I’ll see you out on the Streets of KW!

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2013/10/06 – Despite not having updated the site much in the last little while, I ensure you that this project is still one of my top priorities. A lot has happened in my life recently so I am just getting back into the groove of things. Today I am here to share with you the awesome event I had attended as part of Streets of KW, Color Me RAD 5K!

I will be forgiving this time that they spell Color the American way, but only because the race was soooo awesome!! I had gathered a bunch of friends and perfect strangers to join me to run the 5K with me. The race started at Kitchener City Hall and ended at Victoria Park! Our team of 10 runners got separated during the race as there were so many people, but reunited at the end of race for some colourful and sweaty hugs! :)

I had previously injured my shins playing Ultimate Frisbee the week prior, so the 5K was actually very difficult for me to run, however I made it and had a great time! At the finish line, the resident food trucks of the region as well as a stage playing live music was there to greet the colourful crowd.

I expect to continue to cycle and attend events in the awesome region of KW until the weather gets a bit colder, at which point I will put the project on hiatus and resume again in the spring! Look forward to sharing more stories with everyone!

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099 8/18/2013 – World Accord, an international charity based in Waterloo ON, whose mission is to support development activities in proverty stricken regions in LATAM and Asia, hosted a cycling event that coincided with Open Streets Waterloo.

The cycling event, Cycle for Sustainability, focuses on business and farms in local areas that have a sustainability focus. Participants received a “Passport”, where stamps/signatures from these businesses are collected when we arrive to the location. The individuals of the local businesses would talk about their business.

Streets of KW was happy to participate at this event, and have chosen to do the 50km route, which was the longest route offered by this event. We registered, got our T-Shirts, and soon were on our way. However, before we left, Queen Street Yoga was there, giving the cyclists a short yoga exercise to loosen the muscles and relax us before our ride.

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Our first stop was at Pfennings Organic & More, which sold health products and organic foods. The below excerpt is from their website:

Support of local organic farming is a main priority of our store. We get as much produce as possible from our family farm, Pfenning’s Organic Vegetables (located between Kitchener and Stratford) as well as other local organic farms. Certified organic farmers throughout Southern Ontario are contributing to this service by growing a wide and diversified selection of local fruits and vegetables.

So if you are ever looking for a place to buy some organic foods and support local farms, please visit Pfennings!

They also provided to us fresh apricots and plums, as well as water and other fruit drinks. Our passports were signed and we were on our way.

Our next stop was Vibrant Farms.  Vibrant Farms has been a family farm for over 200 years. It is currently a certified organic farm. We were greeted at the farm by The Farmer’s Daughter, Melissa. Melissa was super friendly and awesome. She was born and raised on the farm, has a degree in Marketing and Business from Western and has her own blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, where you can find a lot of information about the farm, being organic, and just Melissa.

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One of the coolest things on Melissa’s blog is Dinner with the Farmer’s Daughter. Melissa hosts and prepares 5 course dinners at the farm with fresh ingredients directly from the farm! How cool is that? If you are interested in knowing more about organic farming and are interested in having dinner with lovely Melissa, please check out her website on how you can have dinner with her.

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After visiting the farm, we made our way back into the city proper and stopped by World Accord’s headquarters on Frobisher Road. There, we were greeted with an impressive spread of fruits, granola bars, cookies, ice, and water. We were not shy in having our fill of delicious food and replenished our energy. At this point, we had about 8km left to go on this route.

The last stop was Raintree Cafe. However, they were already closed by the time our group got there. Unfortunately, we were not able to check out the Cafe this time, however I have been there before and love the place.

103Finally, Seven Shores provided cyclists with a complimentary lunch of either a veggie or chicken wrap, served with awesome side of salad and fruits. We drank, we ate, and we were happy (at least, I was happy… haha). The chicken wrap was delicious!

I learned a lot about organic farming and wish to say kudos to those organizations who have made sustainable methods and operations a priority. I hope that in the future, more businesses will follow their example and move to sustainable methods of operations.

While I did cycle 50km, unfortunately, much of it was outside of Kitchener-Waterloo borders and/or areas I have already covered. Of the 50km, I was able to add 16km more towards my completion of cycling/walking all the streets of KW.

I had a great time, and look forward to doing this again!

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7/17/2013 – On Wednesday, I went to the Downtown Kitchener Art Market that was open down on King street. It was a hot hot day and the vendors were telling me they had broken out into a water balloon fight in the early afternoon when it was hottest. I arrived there around 6 pm, just in time to see Bicycle Opera!  The description below is stolen from their about page:

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The Bicycle Opera Project brings Canadian contemporary opera to communities across Ontario by bicycle!

We bring Canadian music to people who might otherwise have little opportunity to hear it, and work to close the distance between audiences and opera singers through performance in intimate spaces. The project focuses on operatic repertoire that deals with contemporary issues relevant to all audiences. Our scenes are sung in English (with one in French) so that audiences can more readily relate to the material.

In July 2013, we will be cycling west of Toronto to Hamilton, Guelph, Elora, Fergus, Kitchener, Waterloo, Bayfield, London and Stratford! Demythologizing the idea of “the opera singer” (we get dirty too!) and operatic traditions (who says we can’t cycle?), and providing a car-free alternative to touring.

I encourage you to go to their website and check out upcoming shows. It is definitely worth seeing! Support your local artists!
Speaking of supporting local artists, I bought the above giant scrabble pieces from a woman named Rhonda Holden, also known as the ruler lady! Please check out her awesome work!

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After checking out the Art Market and finding dinner at Bobby O’Brien’s, we proceeded to start our cycling for the evening. We started around 8:30pm specifically due to weather and hoping that it would cool down. The only downside is that about half of the route is done after nightfall, so good headlights and reflectors are highly recommended!
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This time, to change things up a little, I had brought with me this BlackBerry Mini Stereo Speaker that I have recently purchased. I love the clip design as I was able to clip it onto a reflector band and wear it on my arm. The device was connected to my phone via bluetooth and my cycling buddy and I were able to listen to tunes as we cycled through the street.

I was actually interested in knowing how loud this thing would be while I’m cycling on the road. I have to say that I’m quite happy with it’s output. This device is capable of a lot of volume and I think I was only playing it mostly at about half volume, which I was able to hear just fine even over the noise of the traffic. The quality isn’t as good as a surround sound home theatre system, obviously, but for such a tiny device, I was quite impressed with the clarity of tone.

Overall, it serves my purposes and you can be sure I will be taking it out for walks, and for cycling more in the future!

All in all, a pretty eventful day!

 

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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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