Trip to St. Albert by bike (Yuzen for Ramen!)


In Edmonton, this is a good day, nice and warm, despite that it says cloudy, it was actually really sunny too! To me this screams get out of the room, and get on the bike 😛

But where to go yo? It’s been awhile since I had nice ramen. In Edmonton, the only place that has nice ramen is Yuzen, in St. Albert.

Destination: Yuzen, St. Albert

The Plan:


15KM ride leaving from downtown. Unlike last time with Sherwood Park (link), I did not get lost so this is also what actually happened.

Preparations


Battery for emergency charging (bike lights, phone what not)

Snacks for me. I cannot emphasize this enough, bring some emergency snacks for bike rides. In this case it is especially important since I am going on an empty stomach and I can run out anytime.

No tools this time, as I am riding my GT Avalanche and I am not expecting this bike to act funny on a short trip


Ready to go!


Yuzen only does ramen up till 2PM, last order 1:45PM. Better get going!


Obstacle course by design? This was on 112 Street. Due to parking on the sides, it’s pretty much a bi-directional single lane. However, cars here are very slow and very courteous. Cars drive towards the sides or even stop to let me pass. Other times I do the same for cars, it’s mutual.

Riding in the neighborhoods. Minimal traffic, very calm, quiet and great weather. Beautiful


Sherbrooke Ave, one more turn and I will be going into the St. Albert Trail, the main road.


St. Albert Trail. This is the last photo before I enter St. Albert. There is a reason for that. Remember what I said two photos ago?

“Riding in the neighborhoods. Minimal traffic, very calm, quiet and great weather. Beautiful”

Yeah, toss all of that.

Here on the main road, traffic is real, getting up to speed is very important. My shifting strategy was 32:24 >> 44:24 >> 44:18 as described previously. (link)

Max speed here is 60km/h and 60km/h is probably what these vehicles are doing. Me? I was doing 28km/h-ish.

At first I rode near the curb for safety, but people like to push their luck. Some cars still thought it was a good idea to pass me with one meter clearance in the same lane when the other two lanes are wide open.

So I used another tactic, in the right most lane, ride in the middle and “dominate” the lane. Much safer, cars get the message and now use the other two lanes.

Sidewalks availability is spotty. Sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right. So if you want to traverse St. Albert Trail on sidewalks, you’ll have to switch left and right quite often. Every time you switch, you are crossing six lanes of traffic, not good.

So I stuck with my ride at the right lane, and dominate the lane strategy.


Welcome to St. Albert. For some reason, I really like seeing these “Welcome to” signs


I have arrived at Yuzen!


40 minutes, 13KM. What? 20km/h? So slow?


Finding parking. It took me 10 minutes to find a place a place I can lock my bike to. Unlike Edmonton, where there is a place to park everywhere. St. Albert? I didn’t see any near Yuzen.

I ended up using some pole that seems to protect the water pipes from getting crashed on by cars in a back alley.

Locking strategy here:

First u-lock locks front wheel to fork brace

Second u-lock locks back wheel and frame to the pole

Not the best, ideally I want both u-locks to go through the pole, but this is best pole I can find around.

Took me another 5 minute to walk from parking to Yuzen. Arrived at 1:30, just in time as their last order is 1:45 🙂

Yuzen


Oh did I mention Yuzen only does ramen Saturdays 11:30am-2:00pm? Yes, one day for 2.5 hours a week.


The menu


Being a ramen fan, I loaded this up 😀

Tonkotsu ramen – 12 CAD

Chashu (the meat) 5pc – 3 CAD (the ramen comes with one, so now a total of six)

Ni-Tamago (soft egg) – 0.5CAD (1CAD originally, but owner said it’s not perfect today so 50% off. Even though it’s “not perfect” today, they still beat just about any Edmonton or Vancouver ramen shop you can name. Yes, even Vancouver, it’s that good)

Seriously, don’t let the plain looks from the camera fool you. This bowl of ramen is probably one of the best tasting ramen I’ve ever had in my life. That’s saying something because I’ve had a wack load of ramen at all kinds of price points in various places. This is definitely up there. How do you know it’s up there? I biked all the way from Edmonton downtown to St. Albert in winter just for it. I’ve been here before (by bus which is painfully slow) and I know, at the end of the bike ride, I will be rewarded with a bowl of nice ramen.

I won’t describe the taste as I don’t want to spoil the magic moment you get a taste of it. Actually, it’s just so good I can hardly convert it into words 😛

So I’ll just leave it at this: 10/10 or as the kid that sat next me likes to say: “A+++++++++++++…” (so cute!)

The return trip

Normally, I would just take the same way back, but then I had a bit of a “Jacky moment”. I thought “hey, let’s trying going straight down into University of Alberta! I think it’s going to be really quick” (I will soon find out, quick indeed)


So instead of turning at Sherbrook Ave, I ignored it, and went straight down. In hindsight, sigh… I will quickly regret this decision.

Oh well 😛


Through the small roundabout, into Groat Road

The lack of real life images probably tells you that I might have been busy…

Groat road… max speed 35km/h.

Normally I bike at the gear 44:18 for a speed of around 27km/h. Then downhill…

*click* I shifted into 44:15

*peddle, peddle* 33km/h…

*click* I shifted into 44:13

*peddle peddle* 38km/h…

I was tempted to shift into my final gear 44:11 but I’ve hit the speed limit. As a law abiding citizen I stopped shifting, and I am now traveling as fast as the cars around me.

What’s the fuss? Roadies do this stuff all the time.


Look at those curves… and the frozen road. I’m on a mountain bike without winter tires. I definitely understood why the 35km/h speed limit was in place. I knew if I went any faster, I might skid. If I tried to brake I might lose control of the rear wheel. Pick your poison scenario.

I decided to freewheel through at ~37km/h, off saddle and shifted my weight to the back just in case an unavoidable pot hole comes up. That turned out to be an okay decision, given the situation.

With every decline, there is an incline. Yeah, that wasn’t much fun either. Some fish tailing here and there but I was on a sidewalk this time. Also I was only going at a puny 15km/h so no big deal.


I reached University of Alberta in about 25 minutes on this path. An extra 10 minutes to get back to downtown. The route was 4.5KM longer, but I still got back five minutes faster.

Conclusion

Overall, not surprisingly, staying off the main road (St. Albert Trail / Groat Road) will be the safest and most peaceful way to get to St. Albert. A safer route will be going through normal streets and minimizing time on the main road. However this safety detour will probably add another 5KM to the total. Totaling upto to 20KM.

For those who like the fastest way, St. Albert Trail and Groat Road is doable in the winter, but not for the faint hearted. Maybe better in the summer? At least slip and slide won’t be an issue.


Looking at this should give you a good idea of what I looked like after the ride.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t like to go fast in winter.


Oh well 😛


But hey! I burnt 471 calories!


… and most importantly, I came back for this 😛

Until next time