Something old…something new

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Replicas of ancient Aboriginal Teepee’s against the backdrop of modern architecture. First Nations University. f/4 @ 1/2000 second.

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Share the Road: A Legal Right?

NA-STJ-BK-FRONT

When it comes to honouring the legal rights of cyclists on the highways and byways of North America, it is a grey area at best. While cyclists, in my home province of Saskatchewan, have many specific legal rights to the road (i.e. are considered to be legal vehicles or vehicular traffic), the general public does not always perceive it that way. In my opinion, a few motorized vehicle operators, especially in the city of Regina, would just as soon run us over, than yield to a slower moving vehicle.

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Many motorcyclists have the same issues with less-than-courteous or dangerous automobile drivers within the city. The exorbitant increase in insurance premiums (due to automobile-motorcycle accidents) by the provincial insurance monopoly, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), has forced many motorcyclists, especially sport bike riders, to sell off their now heavily depreciated motorbikes and quit riding altogether. I was one of those “insurance cost” casualties, bit the bullet, and quit motorcycling indefinitely.

As strange as it might seem, Harley riders and road cyclists have more in common than each group realizes. I often get a “low-five” by a passing guy or girl on a cruiser or sport bike. It is almost like we have a shared love for padded shorts, the open road, and an equal dislike or loathing for SGI. Birds of a different feather flock together?

Leather and spandex is a little kinky 😉

Sounds silly, I know, but over the years I have been the object of a whole lot of flirting by women, clad in leather, straddling their Harleys. I usually just stand there, feeling rather naked in my skin-tight spandex kit.

“Hey…honey…are you a Racer? Love the shorts…and the colours…do you know Lance Armstrong?” 😉

I just smile and try not to turn fifty shades of red.  I am probably old enough to be their father!

But…I digress…

Recently, a fellow cyclist (Randonneur) and friend, in his Seventies, was assaulted on a bike path in the city. The outraged attacker started swearing and yelling that a #%%%* cyclist has no business on the bike path, and proceeded to push him into the bush. The cyclist was laying on his back, somewhat shaken up, when the attacker came at him a second time. A well placed “kick to the nuts” ended the unprovoked assault in a split second. It was the attacker who was now lying on the ground in agony. The cyclist remounted his bike and just rode away.

I was astounded at this story, and equally surprised that the long-distance cyclist did not report the incident to the police. More disturbing was the fact that a pedestrian did not think a cyclist had any right to be on a bike path (now known a the Regina Multi-use Pathway). Bizarre…really bizarre…what kind of person would attack a seventy-year-old man on a bicycle?

You can see where I am going with this…

Cyclists in my neck-of-the-woods are damned if they do and damned if they don’t!

If I had a dime for every motorist who has %$$@@ at me for cycling on the road, I would be a wealthy man. Retaliating by shouting back or giving them the middle-finger-salute only serves to enrage an already out-of-control motorist.

Anger management….

It is a no-win scenario for a cyclist to take on several tons of steel, and the arrogant driver knows it. We have all heard of stories where an angry driver, succumbing to road rage, had turned around and ploughed through a peloton or group of riders intentionally, seriously injuring or killing the cyclists.

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To be continued…

The Summer Heat

Lawn & Garden from Bruce Kraus on Vimeo.

High temperatures of 35C+ without rain for most of July in southern Saskatchewan has taken its toll on our yard and garden. Plenty of water and fertilizer has kept our front lawn green, but our once beautiful ferns and delicate flowers are drying up and withering away.  Thankfully, certain species of flowers like the Tiger Lilly and the Sunflower thrive in the heat.

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A Moment in Time: Criterium Racing

2017 Saskatchewan Provincial Criterium.

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The Willow Tree: Part Two

The Willow Tree:Part Two on Vimeo.

Without a doubt there is no shortage of images, video, and stories on social media espousing the extraordinary and the mundane. For me, life is about the simple things that combine and/or synchronize together into the complexity of life.

As a conservationist, I have always been fascinated by our natural environment and silviculture in particular. Our forest resources, whether natural or in a horticultural sense (i.e. the willow tree in my back yard), are renewable. If we treat our environment with respect and care, each new generation of our respective families, not to mention greater society, will benefit greatly.

The large willow tree in my backyard was cut down because the trunk had split, probably due to old age, and the willow tree was threatening to come down on the roof of our house, or perhaps the fence between us and our neighbours. It is conceivable that the majestic tree could have lived for another decade, but the risk of the perpetually strong prairie wind blowing it over was no longer acceptable.

According to one of the team members of the company that we hired, the wood chips will be recycled as ground cover for new trees and shrubs in private and perhaps public areas in the city. The useable firewood will likely be donated to someone in need.

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Motorized and hydraulic stump grinder in action.

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Canada Day: The Aftermath

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Canada Day aftermath. Garbage that was tossed into Wascana Lake washes up near the Albert Street Bridge. The green water is from algae bloom.

I was considerably disappointed with the numerous people that discarded their garbage all over Wascana Park during the Canada Day celebrations. Even two days later there was garbage seen floating on the lake and strewn all over the lawn and forested areas, often just a few feet from a garbage bin.

I cannot speak for everyone, but many of us were taught from an early age to avoid littering and to pack out what we brought in – at the very least to use the garbage cans that are conveniently situated all over the park.

We may have one of the largest and most beautiful inner city parks in North America (created and maintained with our tax dollars), but that does not entitle Regina and area citizens to dispose of their garbage wherever they want, expecting others to clean up the mess they left behind.

This apparent disregard for the environment can lead to public health and safety issues further on down the line. Please consider the long-term consequences of your actions and stop littering.

I was surprised when I discovered that individuals can be fined up to $2000 dollars and corporations up to $5000 dollars for violating park statutes. For further information, please refer to Parks and Open Space Bylaw Number 2004-27. Thank you.

Anti-Littering

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