Safety can be simple

Before I get started, let me offer a mea culpa.

I didn’t look at a clock before I hopped on my bike and headed out for my daily trek on the Bow River Pathway.

I’m typically in the heart of downtown, along Memorial Drive, in less than 20 minutes.

And today, that was right in the middle of lunch hour.

It meant I was left dodging pedestrians enjoying a mid-day stroll just to get out of the office and into the sunshine.

That’s cool. No one loves a solid dose of Vitamin D more than this girl.

But more than a few times, I felt I had to advise some good folks walking on the bike path that they’d be better off — and safer — on the pedestrian path.

They always give me that look like “what’s the big deal?”

It’s simple. The city has split the path on the north side of the Bow River to keep traffic flowing and to make it safe for all parties.

And really, you can imagine the shit storm that would happen if a cyclist rode on the pedestrian path. Am I right? Yeah, you know it.

Now let’s go over the City of Calgary bylaws relating to parks and pathways:

  • The speed limit along pathways is 20 km per hour, unless otherwise posted
  • Respect the rights of others (probably a suggestion more than a bylaw … who wrote this?)
  • Stay to the right side of the pathway except when passing
  • When on a bicycle, use a bell, whistle or horn when passing others
  • Yield to the right of way
  • Everyone, including walkers and joggers, must be visible to other pathway users

I keep RunKeeper on my phone so I know my speeds.

I ring my bell. And I get glared at by people who refuse to yield.

(Yes, I realize not every cyclist uses the bell. Did you know it’s an $80 fine to not have a bell on your bike? At least that’s what the guy at SportChek told me when I bought my bike.)

I even have to ring my bell to alert people walking toward me. They’re either looking at their feet, their phones or the hot ass that just went that way.

I come across families biking four across the pathway around blind corners.

I’ve almost hit skateboarders who maybe think staying to the right is uncool.

And then there are the dog walkers. Oh, the mighty dog walkers.

Here are your rules:

  • All dogs must be on a leash no more than two metres long
  • All dogs must be on a leash unless in a designated, signed off-leash area
  • You cannot cycle or in-line skate on a pathway with a leashed dog
  • All dogs must be under their owner’s control in an off-leash area

You know I have a dog. You know how much I love my dog.

His leash is 18 inches long and it’s always in use on the paved pathways. I loathe those retractable leashes that let people think they’re doing the right thing by letting Fido roam two, three or up to five metres away.

Why? Because I love my dog. Because if he was off leash or on a long enough leash that he strayed, I risk putting him in the path of a cyclist.

And that kind of collision wouldn’t be good for him. Or for the cyclist.

Or for me.

When I’m on my bike, I don’t want to be responsible for crashing into Fluffy or Fido.

Or your kid.

Or even you.

I try to be as safe as possible when I’m on the path.

It’s about safety.

And it’s about awareness. We can all stand to get out of each other’s way.

Most of all, we have to get out of our own way and start paying attention to the world around us.

But that’s a bigger problem than just sharing the pathways, isn’t it?

Let no good deed …

Go unrecognized.

Unless you consider getting your name on these pages punishment. Then we can go with the original saying.

Some people think all I do is complain. That’s just not true. I also don’t consider it complaining when I’m standing up for myself and the hard-earned money I spend.

But enough about me.

This is a page reserved for people who’ve done a great job lately.

Calgary Shawarma

I’ve twice dropped into this joint on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 9 Street SW. Twice have I been beyond pleased, not only with the food but the service.

I’ve been on the search for anything close to the Halifax donair for several years. This is the best I’ve found in Calgary.

Spicy meat sliced thinly to perfection (I commented on the guy’s knife skills and he beamed) and garlicky sweet sauce.

“Regular beef donair with onions, tomatoes, banana peppers and lots of sweet sauce,” I say when I order.

Without fail, he responds “oh-ho, you must be from the east.”

And I smile.

Oh and, of course, baklava for dessert.

It was delicious. Beyond delicious.

Thank you, Calgary Shawarma, for being awesome.

Master Tune

*Warning: this section contains a touch of negativity but not against Master Tune.

I’ve been taking my wee truck to Master Tune for a few years. They never fail me.

I get drawn away occasionally with a deal or a coupon or whatever. Last spring, Fountain Tire did an oil change and hit me with ‘oh hey, we did an inspection and you need brakes, a new sway bar, struts and shocks and it will come to about $1,600 and if you don’t get it done, you’re driving a death trap, can we book you in right away?’

No.

I got a friend to check and repair my brakes at the time.

Last weekend, I took the wee truck to Fountain Tire to repair two flats (two, I know! what luck) on warranty. ‘Oh hey, your brakes, struts and shocks need to be replaced, can we book you in right away?’

No.

I knew my brakes were due. I took the wee truck to Master Tune on 32 Avenue NE this morning and got my brakes fixed (and an oil change) for less than I would pay almost anywhere else.

“Oh hey, while you’re in there, would you mind checking my rear struts and shocks because Fountain Tire says they need replacing?”

“Sure thing.”

Dum dee dum dee dum dee doo …

A few minutes later …

“Your shocks and struts are fine. You don’t need to replace them.”

And like my Twitter friend Jud says:

 

Walmart — Deerfoot Mall

Walmart, you say? I know, right? Bet you never saw that coming!

I was toodling through the aisles in search of any gadget to buy. This is the first time in forever I’ve actually had money to spend. Woot!

I spy a stack of Bissell Steam & Sweep floor cleaners. It’s better than my Dirt Devil steam mop because it sucks up the dirt and dog hair in addition to wiping the muddy paw prints off the hardwood.

The sign over the stack said $19 and I thought ‘oh hell yeah.’

I got rung through the till and thought my total seemed a little high. Whatever, I thought, I bought a lot of stupid stuff (for some reason, I’m obsessed with collecting different kinds of body wash. I guess I just like variety). But when I got to the door, I checked the receipt and saw that I had been charged $98.

I turned around and went to the customer service desk to ask. Sure enough, they should have been marked $98. I asked to return the item. The gal ensured the issue would be corrected and got on the phone to the department manager.

And he was pissed. At his overnight stock staff.

Pissed.

Enough to tell the gals to thank me for finding the error and let me have the item for $19.

Now I’m sure a guy or two on the overnight stock staff are going to have hell to pay when they get to work tonight and I’m not sure I’m happy about that.

But a one-hundred dollar steam mop for 20 bucks?

Score.

Thanks, Matt the department manager and the gals at the customer service desk for being cool about it all.

Costco — Sunridge

It isn’t easy shopping for big items on your own. But when your big, strong man is eight hours away, you make due with what you have … yourself.

I went shopping for a mountain bike this morning. I had already spied the one I wanted at Costco.

I know … I’m still not convinced it was a good idea but I did it anyway.

I also bought a helmet and a bike rack for the wee truck.

Now … how do I get this cart and that bike up to checkout and out to the truck all by little ole self?

Cindy came along and happily wheeled my new bike up to the front for me. She was even stopped by another customer and responded “I’m actually busy right now” but the customer insisted she answer her question RIGHT NOW. Cindy smiled, helped her out and then continued on her way with my bike.

(I just laughed and rolled my eyes at the other customer. See? Sometimes I know how to keep my mouth shut.)

So thanks, Cindy, for being awesome.

Wrapup

It was a good day. I got home and realized I still need a part or two to get my bike rack onto the wee truck.

But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Besides I’m exhausted. And I need a nap.