Monday 8 June 2015

A Beautiful Place To Walk

There are about 800 kilometres of bike pathways in Calgary. There will be an additional 138 K of paths once the Greenway is completed. For those who don’t know, the Greenway follows the ring road around Calgary. Not all of these are just for bikes; often we bikers have to share the paths with pedestrians, skate boarders, in-line skaters and sometimes babies in strollers. Most of the paths are very pleasant for a leisurely ride on a warm, sunny day, but aren’t very good if you are a destination oriented person.

The people who are in charge of the pathways don’t seem to view bikes as a viable method of transportation. They say they do, but if you want to bike somewhere in the fastest possible way, you will have to ride on the streets. The pathway system meanders like an old river and often in places large cracks erupt from hidden tree roots. Just because you are riding a bike to get from A to B it doesn’t mean that your time is any less valuable than some guy in a Hummer.

I have very strong opinions on this subject and tonight isn’t the night for them.

Tonight I want to talk about leisurely rides that Louise and I have been taking on the completed portion of the Greenway by our home. There is very little traffic and enough up and down to make it interesting. You will ride by wetlands that are home to aquatic birds, frogs, insects and quite possibly alligators. Okay, I made up the alligator bit up, but I suppose it could happen. There are quite literally thousands and thousands of ground squirrels that are digging holes everywhere there is dirt and some places that I swear they have to bring in the dirt.

Louise took a tumble in one of these hidden holes today when she was turning the bike around. Thankfully, she was going very slowly and it was mostly her pride that was hurt. Mostly… Whenever we meet someone on the path we will either say hello or just give a tip of the helmet to acknowledge their presence on the planet. They generally will smile or even wave back at us. The odd person looks at us like we are something that needs to be scraped off the bottom of a shoe. Personally, I think those people should be scraped off of the planet, but that is just me.

A couple of days ago we passed by a young woman that didn’t even look up when we approached. She looked as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders and just couldn’t hold it up any longer. Her face was red and blotchy and I suspect that she had been and was still crying. Of course I will never know what it is that is bothering her, but I hope that someone that loves her or cares for her well being will give her a helping hand. She could have just lost a job or a significant other; there might be some personal tragedy that is weighing heavily on her shoulders.

I know that there are times when money problems can bring you to tears. There was a time in my life that a broken car, needed tires, faulty washer or dryer or a furnace that died in the middle of winter brought me to tears. I made it through and generally when you stop feeling bad for yourself, a solution often will present itself. Not always though. Some problems just can’t be solved with a positive mental attitude. Sometimes nothing can help.

I hope that young woman can get over whatever is bothering her. We saw her today and she seemed to be just as sad, but Louise thought she was marginally better. I don’t know, but then again I have never been very good at dealing with other peoples emotional problems. Well, at least there is a beautiful place for her to walk.

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