Crivak's picture

How Was Your Ride Today? MONTH of AUGUST, 2018

Looks like we missed a thread for July.

So here's a thread for August and we can make up for all the missed stories ;)

Any detour horror stories? Exciting thunderstorms?


Crivak's picture


This Bowmont closure caught me offguard yesterday.

However, the frequent users of this river access had torn the fences down. So I was able to still go through. There did not seem to be any construction work. There was no indication of the closure on any routes leading towards the area. 

I entered from the south side, and came across this:


Someone had taken the fence and dragged it all the way across the bridge. I wasn't sure if this was open or closed, but continued. Nothing else seemed to be going on that was different and I even saw the regular amount of visitors / dog walkers. 

Once I passed the train overpass however I found where the original fencing had been taken from. It was clear this was meant to be fenced off. Quite frankly if it had been I would have been very annoyed coming from the other direction as it means you must climb back up the large Bowmont escarpment. It also removes one of the main direct routes into Silver Springs that doesn't involve a large climb. The alternatives are quite far from this location, requiring either a double-back towards Home Road or a double-back to Bowness Main Street towards Bowness Park. Not sure where a good location would be to warn of the detours though. Maybe Hextall Bridge? 

RichieRich's picture

Bowmont - Friday

I attempted this same route Friday about 430'ish pm and the fencing on the south side of the bridge was chained in place.  Yes I was also annoyed at the zero signage on the approach route, nor detour information.  I then had to cycle over to Bowness and across the busy bridge (which I'm fine with).  However yes it was annoying.  Another clear and easy solution missed by the City and contractors.  AGAIN another crappy desktop approach instead of common sense.  Why don't they learn?  aaaargh..

winterrider's picture

Bowness 1, City 0

I was down there today trying to let my dog swim in the river. I didn't realize they've shut down so much of the area. After realizing there was no quick river access from the main dog park, I drove to the south side of the river and parked in bowness to walk the south side of the river.

I quickly realized that there were a lot of people over on the island. And when I got to the bridge, the portable chain link fence (pictured above lying on the ground) had been removed and chucked over the railing (chains presumably cut and taken away), and access restored. I wandered over as there's nothing happening, and asked some locals who immediately replied that this was a typical Bownesian reaction, and the City would probably have to take the bridge out if they wanted to restrict access.

I didn't get as far as the blockage on the other side to see if that had met a similar fate.

Should be interesting to see what happens next...

DarrenB's picture

More changes they won't like...

It looks like you and other dog owners might lose those back channels where people take their dogs to swim near the railway tracks - the city is "reclaiming" them to compensate for riverbank damage done during flood mitigation. Sounds like a big project: 

That's actually a really cool area they are impacting, and I suspect many people will be angry to see it transformed into free-flowing river, if I understand the intent of this project correctly.

Crivak's picture

The pond

Looks like that's exactly it. Good find - I remember the talk about this area from years ago (even before the flood). I guess it's no surprise its finally gotten under way. Seems like its been done a bit more hush-hush than usual? I'm not usually one for the hush-hush "but I didn't know!" comments. To be fair the "Fish Compensation" sign has definitely been on the bridge for a while but I don't think it really adequately covered the scope here, nor that the area would be closed later. 

In any case, the Bownesians are opening this area up for access to certain places I think. There's almost always a group of young people by the "little fort" they constructed along the river banks. That's the area next to the bridge with the Canadian flag hoisted next to the log seats they dragged over.   Similarly, most dog owners tend to be along this bank as well, on either side of the foot bridge (but mostly the opposite side from the fort). In the image below, I've overlaid it with the long strip of green, with the location of the flag under the orange circle.




It's right along the edge of the construction work, so the city probably can work something out with them to leave the banks open. Otherwise it sounds like they're going to have a hard time keeping the entire area closed as the locals tear down the fencing. 

The other areas I've highlighted in the image here: the second area circled in green is the "swimming pond." This has been a popular area for years and years, where families bring their kids AND their dogs to swim. They're right in the fact that it's not a swimming pond, but a slowly drying up channel of the bow river where fish used to lay eggs. There are definitely still lots of wildlife in the area, but further up where channel 2 is marked. Channel 1 and the connection to the main channel has been bare rock for a long while.  In the past, this area used to only be suitable for swimming midsummer when the water was lowest. I don't think I've seen the water high enough to connect the channels yearound for many years though. In other words, even the "swimming area" soon would no longer be there, since it'd also dry up. But I believe there's some storm work here? There's definitely some sort of drainage pipe work in the location of the green circle where people swim. 

Either way, I think the channel work is probably a good idea to be done. To be frank I think they'll disrupt more than they'll fix redigging the channels, and they'll bring more water in than they should. I'm fairly certain this is the area where that young girl drowned in the 2005 flood. Hopefully they do just enough work to bring water flowing into the area during the important parts of the year, but that the particular bank will remain as calm waters. Oh. And, do you think they could fix ALL the bridges? ;) 

The orange section on the left. I tried to come back this route at the end of last week and discovered the fencing there as well. Oops. Didn't look at the map. This one didn't span the entire length and folks were just walking around it. I really don't know how they plan on keeping the area closed. The detour is insanely lame though. The greenline north of the orange circle is not a pathway, it's a sidewalk across the bridge. This sidewalk is barely wide enough to fit a stroller. And the guard rail is on the wrong side of the road. I don't know anybody who likes walking across this, let alone pushing their bike (you kind of can't, even though the sign asks you to dismount, because there's not enough space). I'm not sure what the solution is, but I feel they could leave that span of pathway open to through traffic without issue.

xcrider's picture

Out of Scope

Why is the City spending money on fish habitat?? Do fish even vote?? 


DarrenB's picture

I believe it is a requirement

I believe it is a requirement under the federal Fisheries Act any time you disturb aquatic habitats. Developers do a similar thing if they have to drain a wetland to put in a new subdivision - they have to reclaim or restore a wetland elsewhere to compensate, although I am not sure what legislation prescribes this.

xcrider's picture


Then Mother Nature should be paying the bill because she changed the flow patterns of the river not "The City". I know she is broke and has fallen on hard times, but........


DarrenB's picture

Perhaps, but...

It's not the natural changes to the river channel that the flood has done that requires fish habitat reclamation - it's the damage the City has done to the natural flow and bank of the river for flood mitigation. Human activities are what trigger the legal requirement to compensate for habitat damage.

The river has been doing what it does for millenia. We humans just haven't been very good at paying attention to what rivers do or at planning for the inevitable natural outcomes. Can't fault the river for that!


Scratchy38's picture

Very unhappy

I've always liked riding the south side of the river through Edworthy, as it's quieter, and because I am one of the few people riding away from downtown at 7am I don't have to deal with all the racers that run me off the path regularly on the north side as they try to pass each other.  However, since the detour began, and people have switched to the south side, I have had numerous close calls with people trying to pass each other right in front of me, and people drifting around corners.  Like I'm not even there..  Come on!  Really?  Race to work?  How exciting.  There are numerous blind corners and crumbling pathways on the south side.  And if there is a train that stops a bunch of them watch out... frantically trying to pass one another in a big pack once they get started again.   I'm not very big, a head on collision with another cyclist would be a very bad outcome for me.  I'm going to have to ride the roads in instead - I hate riding with cars but at this point I actually think it's safer.  Thanks a lot guys.

2wheeler's picture


That's terrible!  I've only ridden the Bow river pathways west of the city a couple of times in peak hours and had the same experience you describe.  If people would only realize that biking on the pathways should be chill.  If you want to race get out and ride hard on the roads!  After a couple of hard sessions with stronger people you'll gladly softpedal the pathways.


Maybe you could get one of those airhorns to remind people to slow down!

Newzones's picture

Unsafe Passing

I echo the other comments about the south side - I saw an extremely close call this week, I slowed as I approached a slower rider before a blind corner only to have a 'pathlete' thread the needle and come inches away from an oncoming cyclist around a blind corner. It sucks that some people are in such a hurry that they need to take these risks.

Kerryv's picture

Great summer so far

Been riding a lot, but I also finally caved and got an e-bike for those days when pedal power alone just isn't suitable, like these really smoky days.  I admit that I'm enjoying it a lot when I need a break but still want a bit of exercise. My days of using the car to get to work or go on small grocery trips are going to be almost zero!

Kerryv's picture


Got a RadCity:

Really happy with it... and my wife has used it a few times as well and loves it.  Usually she'd bike to work a few times a summer (less than 10) but now she'll be on the e-bike 2 or 3 times a week.

It doesn't make my commute any shorter but it certainly makes quick work out of the hills and headwinds.

tlyyc's picture

Highs and Lows

That applies to both the weather and my blood pressure on my commutes.  I really appreciated the cooler air in the low parts of my morning rides.  Too bad those little pockets disappear on the 35 degree rides home.  The majority of my rides had the lower blood pressure and it has been a great summer to commute by bike.  I think my blood pressure did go up a bit a few mornings watching the maneuvers at 10th st NW turning left onto 3rd Ave NW in Kensington.  I was amazed by the risk some riders took in an effort to get across 10th instead of using the bike turn box.  It may not be a perfect system, but it looks to be the safest option for that intersection

RichieRich's picture

No complaints about Eau Claire

The City has done such a "good" job distracting us with the new detours that nobody has been complaining about the Eau Claire area towards Peace Bridge.  Frankly although it looks wonderful, in practice I'm not impressed at all.  It's been very random - in terms of access, consistency, seems neither peds nor pedals are going where they're supposed to, lines of sight aren't great, and merging areas are the worst and highest risk.  Bring back the old style!!  

Oh... and those new big green garbage bins that stick WAAAY out into the path?  junk!


bike-run's picture

Eau Claire

Yeah for my commute I'm coming off the Peace Bridge, going East on the pathway then South on 5th Street to the bike lane, and the pathway junction at 5th street is a joke, the pedestrian path is much wider and has a nice wide radius corner, but the bike path cuts across the 5th street path abruptly like it was an afterthought. Anyone else use that corner?

tlyyc's picture

Weekend To Do List

Find and charge lights, dig out lightweight gloves and look for those long sleved shirts.

Dionysis's picture

yah, it has been a bit nippley out the past couple of mornings

That is what I like about heading into the fall - the days may be hot but it cools off during the nights. Love riding in each morning in the coolness - hopefully the smoke won't be as bad as it was last Saturday. I hate having to wear a filter mask!

Been using my lights for a while now but then I am out at 5:30. I see sunset is now before 9 PM and sunrise not until almost 6:30 AM.

Kerryv's picture

Eau Claire

Haven't noticed any green garbage bins but the brown ones stick out quite a bit.  However they are on the pedestrian path only and not the bike path.  I think all of the work will be worth it once it's completed.

What a smoky morning! Not pleasant at all - should have rode the e-bike.

DarrenB's picture

Smoky morning indeed! 

Smoky morning indeed! 

In fact, before I left for work, I opened up some windows in the house and it set off a smoke alarm! Crazy.

I didn't notice it while riding today, but I did feel it once I stopped. Might have to consider alternate transportation for a while until air quality improves. Had to cancel my bikepacking trip because of the fires and smoke, too. I sure hope this isn't the new norm...

Kerryv's picture

St. Patricks Island bridge closed

No warning, no signed detours... but as an unexpected bonus got to try the new 12 St SE bridge on my way to Nose Creek.

Kerryv's picture

Nice couple of days

Got out and pulled 75 km and ~600 m elevation gain on the e-bike yesterday.  I used it for everything that I'd normally use the car for (except picking up my friends at the airport) and it was a lot of fun and great exercise.

Enjoyed the tailwind this morning on the way to work and stuck around downtown long enough to enjoy a calm and smoke free ride home.

xcrider's picture

Low Sun

Last night I was riding home from workaround 7 when a car turned left right in front of me going into Research Park. I followed him to the park where he was going with his family to ask him what the #$^&?? He said he couldn't see because of the sun but had gone slowly. I said what if I was a 3/4 ton truck that what he had done was ubsafe. He then asked me if I stopped for the stop sign further up the block as "cyclists" never stop for those. I was a little dumbfounded but recovered to say that yes I had and that his deflection had nothing to do with his poor driving. I told him he had to do better for his family, if I were a truck they could have been seriously injured or killed by his poor driving. What an asshat!

I guess the moral of the story is watch out as the sun is starting to be low in the sky during our commuting hours, keep a hand on the levers in intersections and all cars drivers believe all cyclists to be bad people.

RichieRich's picture

Low life... low light?

The other consideration may be to add daytime running/flashing lights for cyclists when on the road??  I've just started doing this with my road bike mainly because of paranoia but also recent studies have shown they're more effective than high-vis clothing.   Flashing daytime lights may also help, a bit, for your situation.  Maybe (but not likely).  I do however agree with you going and attempting to educate someone that they'd put THEIR OWN FAMILY at risk.  Making it personal often will result in them perhaps thinking about it later, or their family asking them why they did something stupid.

Also... easy to globalize our own opinions "all car drivers", "all cyclists" etc...    Don't forget you're lumped into probably both those groups, as are most of us.  A bad driver/rider is just generally a bad @$$ anyways.