As long as I remember

As long as I remember, waves have been crashing down
Something in the solace, a muse upon the shore
Ripples race upon my feet, amid sounds of hushing waves
Draws the heart to listen to life’s constant surging rhymes

How and why I travel, or frolic in the sun?
Waves seep through rock and sand, like birds that know the wind
Man has neither gills nor wings, for doubt has seized his heart
Something speaks in the breaking waves that draws us up above

A traveller brings the boat ashore, a burly hand upon my back
Your anchors are of no use, for you cannot hold love back
Listen to the sounds within, for love is a living source
The way is the guide and you, foretold by the wailing wind

We rise upon the waves, like freedom rising in the sky
We ride the waves of reverence, the traveller steers the only course
We hear a joyful sound, from very long ago
The song of life is infinite and plays in our waking dreams

As I look upon Soul’s journey, its like I’ve always been
Churning waves of mystery, like a child longing for the sun
All the ages passing, like dreams that rise upon my dreams
Yet now Soul has awakened, in the moment the journey has begun

The Simplest Question

Do we know what lies within the heart?
What makes us weep and thrill with joy?
What lies outside and within all things?
Or how to arrive at love?

Love can humble the hardest man
Like a heart broken child needing love
A musician can write a note
Both are incomplete in time

When love ignites the heart
Sees the journey from start to end
Hears the notes now complete
We are witnessing eternity within ourselves

The 19 minute 9 second Race

A Time Trial is a bicycle race of 10 or 20Km where you pedal as fast as possible. Instead, I chose to gradually improve fitness this year and just ease into training.

There was no one in my age category to race with. I could easily win by default for just signing up and then racing the final competition in August.

That night I went to bed wearing gold and silver medals won during my last race 2 years ago where I rode against the clock without a speedometer. That race was a race to manage one’s speed and arrive back at a predicted time. The medals I wore to bed were comforting. This race would be my first Time Trial riding at maximum speed with a speedometer.

The race was only a few days away. There was no time to train and make any fitness gains. I decided to rest up a lot instead, forcing myself to remain in bed and rest even though this was difficult. I didn’t feel like resting after all the extra sleep I had lately.

The rain stayed away but it was very wind. The route was over rolling hills.

As the group left the arena and cycled leisurely to the start line a few kilometres away, I noticed that no one was doing a warm up.

I dropped down into my lowest gear and started pedalling fast to warm up. We climbed a hill and I eased into a higher gear and pedalled easily to the start line.

The 20Km cyclists lined up ahead of me. I was the first 10Km rider. Every 30 seconds the front cyclist in the line would race off. Finally it came my turn. The jitters faded away and I was given the signal to race.

Within a half km I was into my deep breathing routine and pedalling at an effort I felt I could sustain. Within about 1 km I sped by the first cyclist like he was standing still.

A short time later, passed another. Then even more slowly passed a 3rd racer. At the 10Km turn around I was only a short distance from passing a 4th cyclist. I had gained almost 2 minutes on the racers ahead of me.

The return trip had me passing another 10 racers. People were cheering me on, apparently quite pleased with my speed.

The last few kilometres up hill into the wind was tough. The pace I sustained seemed easy at first but as the hill and wind worked against me, the effort increased. I was struggling to maintain my best effort.

I passed the finish line marker and pedalled slowly back to the arena where I discovered that I was the first one back. This felt very unusual.

My speed was 31.6kph average. Tom said I rode a very smart and good race.

The time keeper said that having ridden a heavy bike and having turned in such a low time meant I had cycling skills. I was surprised by her comment. I have been told before I had talent but was never quite sure what to do with it.

I was surprised too that I had turned in such a low time. Gold medal. 1st place.

I had raced myself and turned in my best time ever. Sometimes all that keeps us from success is getting out of our own way, put aside the nervousness and doubts, and just do your best.

Dangerous lack of snow clearing by Calgary Roads Dept

Airport Trail pathway has already been plowed this morning yet 96 Ave NE pathway past the Blue Ring is still knee to waist deep in snow.

I’ve been told that Calgary Roads Dept clears 96 Ave. The plow trucks also blast snow off the road and onto the freshly plowed pathway (even after the pathway is infrequently plowed).

Parks frequently clears Airport Trail (its a developing park area in progress so I’m told).

The City of Calgary has mandated dangerous conditions for people crossing the two 96 ave bridges in the winter time through a lack of plowing of the pedestrian overpasses in a reasonable time after snowfalls.

96 Ave is a divided 6 lane 60kph road which often has speeders going 100kph on it. The wide median is knee deep in snow which makes it impossible to get onto the eastbound lanes when cycling.

The pathway to the pedestrian crossing is buried in even deeper mounds of snow from road plows which prevents using the pedestrian crossing at all.

The only option is for pedestrians and cyclists to risk their lives getting across the bridge by cycling and walking in traffic, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.

The City of Calgary had no problem wasting $471,000 on the ugly Blue Ring but hasn’t provided sufficient finding or effort to plow the pedestrian overpasses or to allow snow angels to plow them.

The abandoned pedestrian overpasses and pathway is impossible to use unless plowed.

The city planned and installed a steep switchback pathway into Harvest Hills. This also is infrequently plowed, causing black ice to build up underneath the snow. When snow angels keep the pathway cleared of snow and ice, the usual response is that this is more dangerous than letting it ice up. There are a lot of dog walkers and handicap people who use the switchback daily.

The city doesn’t want snow angels to clear the pathway overpasses either. In effect, the City of Calgary has made laws to ensure that lives are put at risk. So when people are injured crossing in traffic because the city won’t permit any safe option, they should be on the hook for all liability and injury claims caused by mismanagement and the elimination of using a reasonable amount of common sense.


The Worst February 8th Snow Storm In 130 Years

Calgary had a massive 24-40 centimetres of snow that fell on Feb 7&8th. People in my neighbourhood were parking in the middle of the streets to avoid getting stuck in driveways. 73 snow removal vehicles were dispatched to clear major routes. Cyclists and pedestrians had to fend for themselves. Drivers had to fend off 575 collisions only a week prior. Even clearing a small driveway required 3 or 4 clearing attempts with a snowblower.

The icy roads that are a nightmare for drivers are a blessing to fatbikers which have much better traction on packed snow that is quickly turning into ice. Wednesday morning as the snow started falling and drivers were still cursing the icy roads from the week before, I was stuck behind a car spinning tires like a buzz saw from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I could barely even accelerate on the fatbike because of the slow progress of the car in front of me. I could have blasted past the car like impatient drivers frequently do to cyclists (when the cyclist is faster) except that I’m not that crazy. I would have however, shot through the intersection before the car was even half way through the turn. For now, I’ll have to be happy cycling head on into traffic on a divided 6 lane iceway (because of having no other option) until the pathway gets plowed by the city.

Quite the impressive drift on the pathway. Although I could clear the pathway in less than an hour, city politics continue to demand the right to endanger anyone who would otherwise remove the snow or use a plowed pedestrian overpass. Of course, by now, the cyclists who would otherwise have biked from the suburbs into downtown for the Winter Bike To Work Day on February 9 wake up to discover that there is actually no way to do that even with a fatbike or a Ktrak.

Surface 604 Boar

If you are looking at one bike for all your cycling needs; winter cycling (studded tires 4″&5″), night rides (lighted speedometer), windy days (350 Watt electric motor that draws more power to get you moving), lots of hills (1X10 gear train), long rides (80km battery range), off road (run lower pressure to soak up bumps), riding up ridiculously steep grades somewhere around 25-35% (I didn’t believe the GPS’s intermittent 50% reading which was impossible to believe), or if you just want to charge your phone, this one is a good bet.

For night riding, the speedometer is well lit. The background light can be manually turned off or on. The speedometer is very sensitive and will react quickly to slight changes in speed (.1 kph).

The battery level is unpredictable when running at high power when it drops 4 bars. I’ve had it shut off when the batter indicator was down to about 60%. Setting the power to a lower level after it shuts off will allow resuming the ride for a while longer. The speedometer is powered by the battery. When the power drops and it shuts off, turning the motor power off will allow the speedometer to continue working.

There are 5 power level settings that can be selected using the + or –
buttons. Anything over 3 will deplete the battery very quickly. Level 1 is good for hills and to get moving. Level 2 is good for pathways at around 20kph. Level 3 will keep you around 27 kph and provide really good range. Level 4 up to about 30 kph. Level 5 is essentially full power until 32 kph. Would have liked the power to fade out more smoothly. There is noticeable surging at 32 kph and for trail riding at slow speeds I would recommend keeping the motor off. There is a lag of about 1 second when you stop pedaling before the motor shuts off. Despite the lower powered 350 watt motor verses my other 500 watt ebike, it provids plenty of power (up to 700 watts surge).

I did a ride at Level 3 and it took forever for the battery power to drop 2 bars at around 40-50 km. Then I upped the power level to 4 and it dropped 2 bars very quickly. Later I upped the power to level 5 as the ride neared its end. It shut off about 2 km from home at somewhere near 85-90 kms. Reducing the power level got me over the last few hills.

You don’t need to turn on the display to check the battery level. There is also a push button on the top of the battery pack. I couldn’t read this indicator outside in daylight.

The control panel is a simple affair but there are combinations of buttons to set parameters. It can be quite complicated to figure out the owners manual. Something as simple as resetting the trip/average/maximum speed is complicated and requires 6 button presses in different combinations. Press “i” 2X, press + (it shows “y”), press “i”, press “i” 2X to exit programming other features. There is no clock display.

You need the key to remove the battery for charging (up to 6 hours) and that is the only time you need the key. The lower end of the battery pack has a rubber cover where you can plug in your phone/computer via USB to charge it. Comes in very handy for touring.

You cannot plug in the charger while the battery is installed on the bike. I presume that is to prevent damage from the higher charging voltage/current. The charging socket is blocked by the seat tube to prevent plugging the charger in when the battery is installed.

To assist in removing the battery for charging, this odd spring loaded lever can be pulled out. It wasn’t that obvious that this was a lever.

The battery location creates a problem for carrying anything (water bottles/flat kit etc). You can order two racks (front&back). The front rack can carry 100 lbs (which explains the huge steering bearings). The maximum load is very high at just short of 300 lbs. This means that heavy cyclists won’t have a problem with weight limits that are typical of most bicycles. This bike could double as a cargo bike or heavy touring bike too. Later I installed a seat rack to carry a few essentials in a rear rack bag. The racks for this bike are pricey because they are designed to carry a lot of weight.

As you can see, I installed home made bicycle fenders for about $30 instead of paying about $140. The front fender has to be pulled in tight or it will hit the pedals when turning. I later shortened the lower front fender brace so it wasn’t bowed out (to temporarily provide enough foot clearance in the photo).

The right angle bracket over the front fender is a camera mount. The one accessory I would have liked to see is built in head/tail lights that run off battery power.

It is a very smart looking bike beside the Autumn colours!

Ward 3 election candidate info

Ian McAnerin​​Website:

Has lived in ward 3 for 23 years

Background: Has a BASc in cultures and religion, a law degree, has experience working with an Olympic Committee (Chinese 2008 bid, 2010 Vancouver Olympics))and has worked with all levels of government.

Fundraising is all grass roots and has stated he has acceptedno donations from home builders or developers.

Opposed the Harvest Hills Golf Course redevelopment

On his website he has clearly stated his platform and stance on local and city-wide issues.

Has worked with multiple levels of government and understands how they work.

Editors Comments: Ian is a down to earth grass roots candidate. He has the skills to do the job and supported the hard work we did in the community re the golf course. Webelieve and trust what he has said he will do for our community. His Olympic and multi-level Government experience are a real bonus as we look at doing an Olympic bid. We feel he is the best choice to be our Councilor.

Jun Lin​​​Website:

Has lived in Northern Hills for 7 years.

Background: Works with the Petroleum Marketing Commission, has a BSc and MBA.

Fundraising is all grass roots and has stated he has accepted no donations from home builders or developers. However, when asked about development at the community forum he stated he was pro development.

Primary concerns: Transparency of city council, protecting Tax Payers, Trend to removing green spaces in favour of development and wants the Green Line extended to north point.

Opposed the Harvest Hills Golf Course redevelopment

Editors Comments: Jun is an intelligent and capable person who would likely work hard for the community. He lacks government experience and this might make him less effective as our representative. We have some concern about his pro development stance at the Communitiesforum.

Jyoti Gondek​​Website:

Has lived in Northern Hills for 20 years.

Background: Was Jim Stevenson’s campaign manager, was appointed to the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC) by City Council. She worked at the Haskayne School of Business as an adjunct professor.

While a member of the Calgary Planning Commission she voted in favour of sending the plan to develop the Harvest Hills Golf to City Council for approval. She did add a couple of caveats to the proposal but these were not accepted by council.

Campaign contributions contain maximum donations from some sources. When asked at the community forum she declined to say who her donations have come from. Since the Forum she has released a list of her contributors. The list shows contributions from many home builders and Developers.

Primary Concerns: Better Money Management, foster safe and caring communities.

Editors Comments: Jyoti has experience with local government, has an academic background. However, as a member of CPC she did not stand up for Northern Hills communities. Also, with a significant portion of her donations coming from companies that are engaged in the development industry it makes us wonder where her loyalties will lie when there is a conflict between the needs of the community or the developer.

Connie Hamilton​Website:

Fundraising is all grass roots and has stated she has accepted no donations from home builders or developers.

Connie does not have a website but information on her platform is available on facebook.

Background: Connie was a committed supporter of the Harvest Hills Golf course fight and ran an active Facebook page, tracking activities relating to the golf course redevelopment project and providing a forum for people to exchange their views on the project. Her passion for the community has led to her decision to run for council.

Editors Comments: Connie has the passion to do the job. In the candidates’ forum she came across as genuine and handled herself quite well. However, we are concerned that her focus might be two narrow.

We encourage you to do your own research and hopefully this letter can help you in that process. We also encourage you to exercise your right to vote on October 16. There are many countries on our planet that wish they had the same opportunity.


When businesses don’t understand bicycle racks.

Recently I went to the Clique restaurant. At the checkout, the cashiers mentioned there was a bicycle rack.

I knew that.

The comment caused me to reflect on what Tom Babin at had recently written about badly designed and installed bicycle racks. The strange thing was, I had filled out a comment card at the restaurant explaining what was wrong with the bike rack. It was as if the comments had fallen on deaf ears.

Here are 6 points that critique what I like to see.

1) Placement. A bike rack jammed up against a wall doesn’t work. Many bicycles are around 5ft long. This means that there needs to be sufficient room to put a bicycle in the rack and room on all sides of the bike to allow people to lock them up. Some racks jam bikes so close together that all the spaces can’t be used so people often have to lock bikes sideways across the entire rack. Would you park your car in a lot with spaces so narrow that you can’t get out of the car? The trend for many years has been for narrow parking spaces that exclude wide two door cars that used to be very common.

2) Undesirable locations: Placing bike racks in undesirable locations like under greasy kitchen exhaust vents isn’t promoting bike customers. Its actually an insult and a statement about how little bicycle customers are appreciated. Customers pick up on this very quickly.

A similar situation exists for drivers when they have smoke from kitchen exhausts blasting them in the face every time they get out of their cars. They wouldn’t park there either.

3) Security. A bicycle rack that isn’t even bolted down increases the risk of bike theft and also theft of the bike rack. If businesses can’t even be bothered to bolt racks down, will cyclists see this as a lack of concern about their bike security?

4) Visibility. The best location for bicycle racks is where they can be seen by patrons. This means right outside a window. If customers have to carry locks, many will not risk leaving their bike in a rack where it cannot be seen. Even people who carry locks will feel more compelled to do business at places where they can keep an eye on their bikes. Bicycle thefts in Calgary are on the rise and it seems that increased drug addiction is causing the increased thefts, not just for cyclists, but for drivers as well.

5) Damage. Bike racks that cause damage. Some racks cause damage because of their design. Some racks bend wheels or cause derailleurs to hit them. A rack needs to provide support for the frame, not just the wheels. This didn’t use to be a big problem with until rim/disk brakes and derailleurs became common. Misalignment of these components requires additional expense for repairs. If drivers don’t want to pay for repairs when they park at your business, why would anyone else?

6) Managing risk. Where proper bike racks are not provided, metal fences provide better security than street sign poles for instance. People can figure this out. They are not going to risk a stollen bike every time they come to your business. If businesses don’t care, cyclists won’t care to do business either. Its a two way street.

Is it any wonder that I don’t see other cyclists at this business?

I think not.