With signs of spring finally showing up at least a couple of times a week, it’s time to get out to explore Calgary’s extensive pathway network on our bikes. We have new road bikes this year: Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Chance, their new, unisex, urban ride. Equipped with an 11-gear rear hub but no suspension, we weren’t sure what to expect compared to the ride we experience on our mountain bikes.
After a 25 km ride from Edworthy Park to Pearce Estate Park and back, we concluded that these bikes move quickly, which we attribute to the almost smooth tires (which can also be a bit of a hazard when navigating through all the loose gravel left by last winter’s sanding trucks). The ride’s a little rough compared to the dual-suspension we enjoy on our mountain bikes, but should be fine for pathway riding in the city. By the end of the ride, we were missing the extra low gears, but after a few more rides our legs will be in better shape for cycling season and eleven speeds should be ample.
As for the “geo” part of our geobiking excursion, spring also seems to be the time of year for geocache maintenance – when geocache hiders go out to ensure their caches with a few DNF (did not find) logs, comments about full log books, comments about damage to the container or any other concerns can be checked and remedied. We had three caches to check on this ride. First stop was GC1BRVG – Kopjafa, a nano cache we placed near a piece of art in Calgary’s largest downtown park. It’s been found more than 200 times, which means the tiny log roll has to be replaced on a regular basis. Our second cache maintenance stop was at GC1R0KK – Wagon Wheels, another nano / downtown park public art cache with more than 200 finds. These two caches seem to be popular with folks who work downtown or people visiting Calgary on business and staying in one of the downtown hotels. Both caches are placed so that they can be found without worrying about going back to work without dirt, broken twigs or dust all over your clothes and shoes. From the past several logs, it seemed like the Wagon Wheels cache was missing, and several minutes of searching confirmed that it was. We debated whether to replace the container – again – and decided to give it one more try. We’re not sure why this one has gone missing a few times, but it continues to be found on a regular basis so we decided to keep it going for a while longer.
Our final geocache maintenance stop was in Pearce Estate Park, to check on a cache we placed in conjunction with a World Wide Flash Mob we hosted three years ago. GC1BDA8 – The DHARMA Initiative, has been found well over a hundred times, but the last few logs suggested it might not have been replaced where it was originally hidden. We found the container exactly where we placed it in April 2008, so simply replaced the log sheet before turning around.
In addition to geocache maintenance, we also managed to find four geocaches along the way. We stopped at another set of coordinates, but had to take a DNF on the fifth cache. All-in-all, it was a pretty good ride: 25 km, 4 smileys, 3 maintenance logs and 1 DNF. We look forward to lots more geobiking on the Calgary city pathways as spring turns to summer…turns to fall.