Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where da cyclists is?
Now that the snow has gone and the days are getting longer and warmer, it’s time to head out into the garage and dust off the old steed. There’s no finer way to see the world go by than from the seat of a bicycle. You don’t have to be a Bradley Wiggins or Ryder Hesjedal to enjoy that pleasure, and they probably don’t take the time to smell the roses anyway.
The diehards of course have been riding all winter, however for mere mortals like myself I still consider cycling to be a seasonal pursuit in Manitoba.
We’re blessed here in River Heights by having the grand-daddy of all our urban cycling routes right in our neighbourhood. Wellington Crescent can be a delight to ride down at any time. You can saunter along at your own pace enjoying the view of the many fine houses that line the street or glimpse on the Assiniboine River as the Crescent hugs the water further west.
It’s hardly a high volume traffic road at any time, and on Sundays and holidays the street is closed to motor vehicle traffic from dawn to dusk as cars disappear to make way for cyclists, roller-bladers, joggers and walkers. So from wherever you are, ride up to the Crescent, where you can head westward all the way to Assiniboine Park. If you go on Sunday you can catch the free jazz concerts in the Leo Moll sculpture gardens at 3:00 p.m. running from June 23 until August 25.
An alternative ride would be to turn off the crescent by the tennis courts at the end of Renfrew Street and head north through the little park named after arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Then cross the Assiniboine on the old railway bridge, keep to the right at the end of the bridge and pass the baseball diamonds in Omand’s Park. Then go down the hill to cross the footbridge over Omand’s Creek and when you go up the hill on the other side it will bring you out onto Wolseley Avenue.
Just like Wellington Crescent, Wolseley Avenue is also closed to traffic on Sundays and holidays. Now you can follow Wolseley all the way east to the Maryland Street bridge where you can cross the river again and come back onto Wellington Crescent and complete your loop.
I know for some people their cycling will amount to little more than a trip around the block with the kids. However for the more adventurous there are many more delights that a bicycle can open up for you. As well as one of the better ways to achieve a higher level of physical fitness and weight control, it can also create other possibilities for commuting to work and saving on car expenses. It’s kind to the environment and better than that, it’s fun.
Did you know that Winnipeg has an Active Transportation Network? A system of multi-use bike paths, urban trails, diamond lanes and bike boulevards to simplify your commute. There’s more information on the City’s website. This will give you tips on cycle commuting as well as bike shops in Manitoba and links to the Winnipeg cyclists map and preferred cycling routes through town so you can avoid traffic and ride relaxed and safely.
Don’t forget the helmet, wear something bright to be visible, ensure your tires are well inflated, plan your route and ride just like you’d drive your car, which means obeying stop signs and traffic lights. And most of all…enjoy it!