As mentioned in previous blogs, I had changed brake pads to the cheapy Canadian Tire variety because the harder material in the orignal Trek Navigator brake pads failed to work during winter commutes as the rims iced up. Now, Ridleys had a different kind of brake pad with not quite as hard material. They looked weird because the brake fastener bolt was off center. The brake pad material wasn't as hard so there was a good chance the pads would work well on aluminum rims and cost around $12 a pair.
I used to keep adjusting the brake cables until the brake pads wore down to the metal. These days I just replace the pads when the brake cable adjustment is maxed out. Saves ruining brake cables from constantly adjusting them and breaking a strand of wire here and there.
For about a year, there just wasn't time to explore a pathway visible from Hwy 2 near Cross Iron. A few weeks ago, the attempt to find a route failed. Today I rode 15St NE all the way to Hwy 566 which is more like a narrow two lane road than a highway. This gravel route did keep me away from traffic after the single track along Country Hills.
It was a very pleasant, sunny and warm day to check out new sights in the country and find that illusive route.
One travels north under Stoney Trail up a sharp left. The gravel requires wide tires and several sections were quite treacherous on large, loose stones. Turning right onto 566 requires timing one's self with traffic. Just before the railway track is a pullout. Shortly after that a dirt road on the right leads south to that illusive pathway underneath Hwy2. You'll come up on a sharp turn to the left and in the middle of the turn a pathway suddenly appears on the left. With any luck you can get across the road before traffic comes flying around the corner.
The pathway goes along the ramp heading south from Cross Iron Mills. Take a left at the first pathway intersection where some horse had taken a dump and follow it around. There are several seating areas and ponds. There is also a dead end paved road on the left but just stay on the pathway and keep the speed down as wicked corners are ahead. A little bridge then up along the mall where you can access the parking lot and then it veers east along 566.
Without warning there is a slight downhill and the pathway vanishes. Sidewalk extends left and right. A left takes you to the intersection and the pathway continues on the other side. Fast moving traffic here is a bad place to have any pathway crossing a road.
The pathway continues east past Costco and turns south in a loop back to the pathway underpass. This is where those new brakes came in handy.
As a rule (seldom broken), I keep each middle finger on the end of each brake lever and the rest of the fingers have a firm grip on the handlebar. As I was approaching the intersection at Cross Point Crescent and Cross Iron Drive there was a large, deep gap in the pavement that was a booby trap. Immediately I grabbed the brakes full on and because of having only one finger on each brake lever, avoided flying head first over the handlebar as the rear wheel momentarily came off the ground as I stopped. Because of the angle of the pavement before and after the fissure, it was difficult to see until the last two seconds when brutal force on the brakes stopped me just inches from the wide crevice. So much for 20 kph being safe on pathways. On the video (yes I was recording a video of this loop), you can see a jarring as the rear tire lifted and dropped.
In Alberta at least, such booby traps are common on pathways. The City of Calgary did the same booby trap on 96 Ave during construction which never made any sense either and partly filled it with broken concrete before eventually filling the wide crevice with pavement to connect it with a concrete sidewalk/pathway section. Out here in Balzac they follow the same mentality, apparently, of building booby traps into pathways so perhaps its an Alberta thing. On the video you can see just how deep the crevice is. Either you jump over it or slam the brakes on because if you hit it there is a very good chance of serious injury even if you are just jogging. I'm uploading the 2.1 gb video to youtube and will edit this text with the link when its finished uploading with the link.
I continued and circled back past the horse manure to the pathway bridge to get enough dark to actually see what was on the camera screen then stopped at a bench for a drink before heading back, cutting through a fence onto Hwy 2 and onto Stoney Trail.
If there's one thing we can learn from this... always keep one finger on the brake lever. More fingers equals more chance of flying over the handlebars unless you have time to shift your hips back behind the seat and over the rear tire. This one finger on the brake lever habit saved my bacon today.
Time permitting, I will try to upload some photos as well.