This morning we were at Grandma & Grandpa GeoKs’ by eight o’clock, ready to mount our bikes for our longest ride yet: somewhere between 40 and 45 km, mostly on paved bike paths, from SE Calgary to Chestermere Lake. The Lake is manmade, the result of Alberta Environment’s construction of the headworks for an irrigation canal system. The town of Chestermere surrounds three sides of the lake and is a short drive east from Calgary.
The first part of our ride was through a new subdivision area called The Quarry; the developer is putting in infrastructure first, such as office buildings, a shopping centre with a large grocery store, and some pathways and parks and then construction of residences will begin. This development is meant to showcase the new style of urban community where citizens can live, work, shop and play all in the same neighbourhood.
After about 5 km we were on the pathway system, which runs all the way to Chestermere Lake; the only interruptions are several grade level road crossings. Fortunately, the streets weren’t very busy today. We stopped once to check out the starlings, which are constructing massive nest complexes, like birde condos, under a bridge. And some of us stopped a second time to search for GC1PAY1 GYW Pothole Prairie, a nice ammo can cache hidden near a "pothole" wetland where we saw several varieties of ducks and some redwinged blackbirds.
We reached Chestermere Lake about 9:40, which is quite remarkable considering youngest GeoKid’s bike only has 20" wheels. The fact that all 12 gears on his bike are finally working really makes a big difference for him. Mr. GeoK headed off into a nearby subdivision to search for one geocache, while Mrs. GeoK rode out into a thistle-filled field at the end of the lake to search for another geocache. We teamed up to ride across the end of the lake to search for a micro, which turned out to be a very easy find. Meanwhile, the boys sat at a nearby picnic table to eat a snack and visit with Grandma and Grandpa GeoK. They advised us via walkie-talkie that they were starting back and planned to take a few rest breaks along the way.
The ride back was considerably harder, as we were fighting a headwind for the first 12 or 13 km. The boys rode pretty hard, as we were at least 6 or 7 km into the return ride before we overtook them. We stopped once and Grandpa GeoK and Oldest GeoKid switched bikes for a while. Thinner tires sure make for easier riding!!
We saw a gaggle of geese along the trail on our way back into town and a freight train went chugging by on the other side of the canal. We saw less than a dozen people using this trail during our ride today.
During the final stretch,we asked Youngest GeoKid whether he’d make the ride again. He said "yes, but not today", so I guess we’ll plan to make another trip along this very easy to ride pathway later in the summer. Total riding distance for the GeoKids was 40 km; Mrs. GeoK clocked 43 km and Mr. GeoK rode 45 km on account of his extra geocaching side trip!