Riding for $100, Alex…

24 05 2010

A bonus ride is one you never expected to make, but a sudden change in circumstance afforded you the opportunity.

When I got up this morning, I fully expected it would be a rideless week; the weather forecast was bleak at best, a continuation of our March-for-May rain and cold. Plus I had to work, a busy, full day. And I’m still feeling the phlegmy affects of the miserable cold that waylaid Katie and I just before we left for New York.

Victoria Day is the beginning of festival season around here; for the next six or seven weeks there will be some sort of community festival or celebration almost every weekend, and I’ll have to cover them all.

Today started with the Hyack Anvil Battery. It’s a quirky, historical variation on a 21-gun salute, unique to New Westminster. Back in the 1860s, the city’s Regiment was banned from using their guns for frivolous occasions, which included honoring the Queen on her birthday. So the enterprising soldiers poured a bit of gunpowder between two heavy anvils and lit it with the glowing end of a long rod that had been heated in a forge.

The Hyack Anvil Battery is a quirky event that is so unique I actually enjoy covering it every year. Plus they do it 21 times, so I get plenty of chances to get it right.

The loud reports were thought so worthy for the monarch, the ceremony endures to this day, and it’s become the centerpiece to a week of special events and parades in the city. all of which I’ve covered upteen times.

Then it was on to Burnaby Village Museum, a recreation of the city as it might have been in the early 20th century, where Queen Victoria herself would attend a levée in the town square. The woman who portrays the Queen plays her role to the hilt, and the whole event is quite delightful. Too bad I had to leave before the free cake.

"Queen Victoria" is serenaded by her subject, who apparently need a little help with the words of God Save the Queen.

While covering those events, the clouds started to part, the temperature warmed. And with Katie planning a 24-athon for the evening, I decided over dinner that I would take advantage by getting a ride in.

Of course, by the time I got out onto the road, the cloud deck had rolled back in, hastening the onset of dusk and cooling the air so I had to wear knee AND arm warmers (c’mon, it’s practically July for cryin’ out loud!). And my congested lungs rebelled at the physical exertion. So while I cut the ride a little short from what I can usually achieve after dinner at this time of year, 48 km is still 48 km, especially when I wasn’t expecting to do any at all.

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