Saturday, May 10, 2008

Betty on Blades

One of the best things about spring is I can finally get back on my rollerblades. There is nothing like the feel of moving through space faster than a walk or a run. There is nothing like the exhilaration of flying down the path and passing people on bikes when you are on blades. You really get the feel of speed when you're on 'blades.

One of the benefits of living where I live is it is flat - and I mean flat. The only hill around here is the man-made hill that I can see from my bedroom window. It's a great little hill that is lined with walking/biking paths. At its foot is a large man-made pond that has Canada Geese, various species of ducks and the odd heron that drops by. Trees and naturalized vegetation abound as you walk you way up to the summit of the hill. From the top of the hill there is a panoramic view of Lake St. Clair where you can see sailboats and lake freighters. It's an excellent viewing spot for our area's annual fireworks display that celebrates both Canada's Birthday and the Fourth of July for the U.S.

It's really quite lovely until you realize this hill was born from a garbage dump. Before it was decided to build and develop the surrounding fields into a major sub-division, the 'hill' was a major source of summer fires from the spontaneous combustion of methane gas. It doesn't sound very appealing but the planners in their wisdom developed an extensive network of pathways for walkers/runners/bikers/bladers that stretches for kilometres. These paths take you around the hill, through naturalized areas, and along the main riverfront road. And the pathway is flat and free of cars (you just have to worry about the odd bits a debris and stone - a real threat to 'bladers).

Anyway, a flat topography is a boon to rollerbladers. A visitor from British Columbia once remarked that he was envious of our flat pathways for rollerblading. Quite ironic really because usually no one from B.C. is envious about Ontario.

So what's this got to do with the usual subject matter of this blog? Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, another one of my hats is that of teacher consultant for Health and Physical Education. I came across this neat site that allows you to map your run (or 'blade or bike ride) called Map My Run. It works in conjunction with Google Maps.

You can plot your route and it will calculate distance in kms or mi. You can use this when planning events such as fun runs and walkathons, etc and it allows you to mark out water stops and other areas. You can create an account and save various runs. You can find routes in various cities and keep track of your training. It's really a neat tool.

So where ever you are enjoy the spring weather, turn off the computer, map a route and get out and take a walk, run, bike or 'blade.

Image: Devil's Mountain (aka former garbage dump now East Riverside Hill). S. Seslija, 2008.

1 comment:

Doug said...

One of the fine things that we have in Essex County is the trail that runs from Oldcastle to Leamington. It's a spectacular ride where you can see all kinds of wildlife first thing in the morning. My prize sighting was my first ever jackrabbit in the wild near Harrow. A bicycle ride really clears the head and lets you enjoy all that nature affords us.

I don't think you need to apologize for the entry. It's important to take care of one's self and enjoy nature.