Posted by: Silver | June 1, 2011

Red Deer to Lacombe

Distance: 31 km
Ascent: 160 m
Cycling time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

People often ask me how far I tend to cycle in a day, but as you can see from my last two journeys, it really does all depend on how far apart the communities are. Since my goal is not ‘to cycle across Canada’, I don’t have an ‘average’ distance that I try to aim for each day. Obviously, there is a maximum limit to how far I can go before energy and daylight both run out, but within that limit, I simply pedal until I get to the next town in which I’ve managed to find a host, then stop. That way, I get to spread the word about SOS Children’s Villages to the maximum number of people, and that is my goal. So, when the population density starts to get a little greater, I start to get a few easier rides. Especially when the rain finally stops as well. 🙂 I still wouldn’t describe the weather as ‘sunny’, but it was fine and warm and the shoulder on highway 2A was enjoyably wide, so all in all, it was a nice little ride.

I was on a schedule though, as I was booked in to speak to the Rotary Club of Lacombe (‘la-KOHM’) at noon that day. Fortunately, I made it in plenty of time, and the meeting seemed to go well, with a couple of people even making donations as they left. One of the club members, however, was a professional public speaker, and her constructive criticism of my presentation, though solicited and genuinely helpful, did leave me all too aware of just how inexperienced I am at this whole thing… 😦

Having already made it onto the front page of the local paper before I even arrived, I was able to take a bit of time to enjoy myself in Lacombe and spent an extremely enjoyable and sunny afternoon at the Ellis Bird Farm just outside town. The previous owners were keen conservationists and the site is home to a wonderful variety of birds and other creatures; since their death, the farm has been maintained by… the petrochemical company that built a plant on some of the remaining farmland. Wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about this, but at least the area is evidently being well cared-for and even developed further for the benefit of the local wildlife.

Just in case you were thinking that the weather had finally stopped causing problems altogether, though, my hopes of a ride in my host’s motorboat were dashed by those good ol’ prairie winds… 😦

The sun may have been weak as I pedalled out of Red Deer, but at least you could see it

There were many attractive water features around the farm - but remarkably, no bugs!

But of course, it was mainly all about the birds, and there was certainly an impressive collection of houses to make them feel welcome (incidentally, that's not cloud in the background but, apparently, smoke haze from the Slave Lake fire...)

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