PedalToTheMetal2020: A Rider's Guide

Welcome to #PedalToTheMetal2020!

PedalToTheMetal2020 is a lot of things.

Above all, it is a community celebration of the art of Slavo Cech. 

Slavo is cool. He is a metal sculptor who lives and works and thinks about living and working in Edmonton. That's him in the pic above all tuxed up after presenting the dude in the middle, Prince Edward, with a Slavo Cech bison sculpture during a City Hall ceremony with His Nibs, Mayor Don Iveson.

We're lucky Slavo is creating in our midst. 

So, the idea behind PedalToTheMetal2020 is to ride our bikes along an 18-km route in west Edmonton and stop at some of Slavo's art in yards along the way. You'll see bears, coyotes, magnificent gates, fences, trellises, bullrushes, lilies and gorgeous abstract shapes.

Joe Biden endorses PedalToTheMetal2020, by the way.

At each stop, Slavo, astride his trusted mountain bike, will talk about the artwork and take a question or two. You can also share your thoughts and questions with him along the route. We'll do our best to keep the whole thing moving along.

PedalToTheMetal2020 is a bit of work. We are pedalling. The course is gentle. No climbs. It will take us a couple of hours to get from start to finish. Here's the route:

We start outside Vi's for Pies, 13408 Stony Plain Road at 2:30 pm, Sunday, August 16. It ends at Cathy and Slavo's, near 176 Street and 57Avenue. It is worth underlining one fact about the route: we don't end where we start. It's not a loop.

So: we will ride back in a group to Vi's. That's some extra pedalling, of course.

Different route options

You have different options along the route to tailor its length to your taste. For instance, you can ride the first three stops from Vi's and experience a Slavo grand gate, a smaller gate, a bear, a stand of bullrushes, a lily and coyote and call it a day and still be in Crestwood near the start.

Here's the bear you'll encounter in the ride's first phase. Without the snow. 

For those who want to keeping going from Crestwood, it's over the pedestrian footbridge above Whitemud Drive and through Quesnell and Rio Terrace to a breathtaking Slavo Cech sculpture near the former Jewish Community Centre. Breathtaking. Guaranteed. 

Then it's a ride of another 20 minutes or so to Lessard where you'll meet a proud owner of Slavo Cechs. For those who want to call it a day there, it's a two-minute escorted pedal to Slavo and Cathy's. 

For those who want to keep going, we'll keep going into Donsdale. Here's one of the highlights of that leg of the ride: 

After standing agog there, we'll all head back and meet up at the Cechs' home. There's more outside art there, and a chance or three to win your own Slavo Cech sculpture, like this. For reals. 

And this: 

And this: 

For those who want to arrange a ride home, that's a good place for your vehicle service to scoop you. The rest of us will pedal back to Vi's or other directions home. The safest route to Vi's takes us through the Rio Terrace ravine. It's a walk-your-bike-up-the-last-little-hill hill for some of us. Modern portaging. 

Other notes

PedalToTheMetal2020 is happening during a pandemic. Bring a face covering for the portions of the day we can't physically distance. If you're ill, we'll see you next year. :) 

It's a bike ride. Flats happen. We'll bring as many tubes as we can and have air pumps for punctures. And first aid supplies. We'll have two physicians on the ride to help with everything from wasp stings to whatever else will befall me. 

It's a bike ride on streets with traffic. We have chosen a route that keeps us on residential roads, service roads and pathways, but we will encounter traffic. Safety is everyone's job. Keep a safe distance from the bike in front of you. Obey all traffic signs and signals. Ride at your own risk. Be visible. Wear a helmet, too. We'll do a safety briefing before we push off.

It's a bike ride that could happen on a really nice day weather-wise. Even hot. Like 27 degrees hot. Bring water. 

We're trying to rig up a tandem with a keyboard for live music during the ride. Maybe a little Water Music by Handelbar? Stay tuned.

In the end

PedalToTheMetal2020 couldn't happen in a Zoom call. Which is why we're doing it. It's a great chance to get out there into the world that existed before it went online. With the elements: wind, sky, metal. With good people you know or don't yet. To celebrate Slavo's art, to celebrate our city, and, yes, why not, to be happy we're alive and know it.

That's Slavo second from right during an advance ride of the route. He likes it.

See you Sunday. We roll out at 2:30 pm sharp-ish.

Call me, 587-599-6704, with any questions right up to the start of the ride. 

Thanks for being with us.


  1. The route we went on last Sunday (and the route on Strava) does not go through the RT ravine. It is flatter, going through a small dip into Westridge by 170 St.

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