069 06/20/2013 – Today I had the fortune to speak on Radio Laurier’s show Guitar Strings and Community Things, hosted by the lovely and talented Anna Beard!

I spent about 15 minutes at the station talking about my experience and my project. It was really fun!

On my way there however, I heard a lot of noise was being made at Kraus Street and Northfield at the William’s Cafe there. As I got closer, sure enough, it appears that it was Yogurty’s grand opening today. They were playing music, dancing, and lots of people were in line for some delicious froyo.

Now this plaza truly has got everything; coffee, breakfast, sushi, various eateries (Benh Thanh!) and now froyo!

Yesterday I took a 25km ride around Glen Forest area! I must be getting really fit as the 25km was a cinch. I remember the first time I started (route #1!). It was 13 km long and afterwards my legs felt like jelly for about three days.

I have also noticed I have better attention span and generally increased energy throughout the day. So if the gym’s not for you, come cycling with me!

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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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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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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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