Tuesday, July 12, 2005

cycling adventures

It didn’t take me long to start hating Edmonton upon my arrival here. Its bland, dirty, empty downtown, its mindless urban sprawl, lack of any grand culture, bars that close down at 2 a.m. (though admittedly it’s a North American thing, could be worse). But what makes my existence less miserable was what I knew all along. Once I’m done with my studies I will be outta here, to a greener pasture of the East Coast U.S. or whatever. Initially I was very sure I’d be presented with the opportunity to really ‘turn the corner’, not a horror prospect of ending up in an equally, if not more, hideous place such Saskatoon or Regina. But lately I’ve begun having doubts about it.
Last weekend I went to a cycling trip. It wasn’t supposed to be a long one and I spent half an hour planning the route that would take me out of Edmonton and back through St. Albert. But having forgotten that the shortest road is the one you know I altered my plans on the fly and wound up cycling on the Century Drive near Spruce Grove. Perhaps, the name fooled me. I had forgotten for a moment that in North America the significance is opposite proportional to the signified. The humble name Broadway stands for one of the greatest streets in the world while the Century Drive… After a mile or so, the highway gray asphalt turned into the brown coarse and few hundred meters later I found myself cycling on the gravel country road. My bike is a touring bike so it did get me through and I got no flat tire but it wore me down. But when I finally reached the ‘promised road’, regional highway 633 and my velocity burst to 35 km per hour, I found myself feeling happy. It was a hot sunny day and I was zipping by a giant canola field gazing at the pristine Alberta blue sky enjoying myself. I dunno whether I am to leave this place and there could be better rides out there but for one thing I’m sure – I shall never forget that one little moment when I felt absolutely, utterly in peace with myself and the world – Alberta, thank you for giving me this!


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