Posted by: Silver | May 16, 2011

Taber to Brooks

Distance: 103 km
Ascent: 310 m
Cycling time: 5 hours, 33 minutes

Have I mentioned before that I don’t like rumble strips much?! In BC, I was at least prepared to accept that they had a valuable role to play in helping to prevent people plunging off the edge of cliffs, but in Alberta?! Nevertheless, here they were again, taking up a good half of the shoulder and forcing me onto the main carriageway once more. Fortunately, of course, the sightlines on Alberta roads are generally much better, so it was a lot easier for both me and any following vehicles to see if it was safe for them to pull out and overtake. And this being rural Canada, it generally was. As I neared the end of my ride, one of the vehicles that overtook me was a police car; this would have been entirely unremarkable, except for the fact that he then set his lights flashing…

I knew my helmet and lights were all present and correct, and I was sure I wasn’t speeding, but it was still a relief when the officer’s first words were “Don’t worry, you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong”. On this occasion, however, he wasn’t just wanting to admire the trike: apparently, some trucker (and yes, I am using rhyming slang there) had actually gone to the time and trouble of making a complaint against me for being ‘in the middle of the road’ (trust me, I am never any further from the far right hand edge of the tarmac than I absolutely have to be…). The officer was consequently duty-bound to investigate, and did want to make sure I wasn’t suffering any medical difficulties that might have been causing me to weave, but having very quickly established that all was well, he reassured me that I had every bit as much right to be on the road as the truckers, and that it was their duty to either pull out or slow down.

So there you have it: I’m absolutely allowed to be in the main carriageway. But that won’t make the slightest bit of difference to my policy of escaping onto the gravel whenever I see a vehicle coming that can’t easily go round me: regardless of the legal rights and wrongs of the matter, in any argument with a juggernaut, I know perfectly well who would come off worst…

It took a few seconds to realize just why these trees were catching my eye so much: they were the first deciduous trees I've seen this year with leaves on!

Yellow-headed blackbirds admiring the subtle beauty of the Alberta landscape between Taber and Brooks

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Responses

  1. Laughing a bit at “carriageway”. The reason we have the rumble strips here in Alberta is this: in the winter time you can’t see where the road is half the time, including the edges and the middle, so the rumble strip is quite a life saver. Continue to have a great trip, and stay on the right side of the law 🙂

    • What, you don’t call it a carriageway over here?! What *do* you call it then? So, you can still feel the rumble strips through the snow? I’m impressed! But yes, that does then make for a good reason to have them, I guess…

  2. Hitch-hiking from Berne back to l’Alpe d’Huez many years ago I was dumped on a hard shoulder on the wrong side of Lausanne. As I wandered down the hard shoulder looking for a lift, a nice pair of policemen stopped me and questioned my right to be there. Feigning complete ignorance of their language and, in particular the phrase: “c’est interdit de faire du stop!” I was put in the back of the car and gently escorted to my next destination. Harder to pull the language barrier in Canada but as a good girl you don’t need to!

  3. While you’re in Alberta, by the way, don’t forget to make them stop all that tar sands nonsense ( ‘nice’ pictures on http://www.borealbirds.org/tarsands.shtml ). I reckon a stern word from you should do the trick!
    John.


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