Brrrr. Last road bike ride for the season. It’s trainer time now!
A few of weekends ago I was able to catch more fall colours with this lovely couple:
We met up at a cute mid-town cafe called Rachel’s Coffee House (thanks for the rec Rhonda!), so that Andrea could have another entry for her Coffeeneuring Challenge which she’s signed up for a 2nd year in a row. It was also a nice, quiet cafe where she could do some lab marking and I could drop by easily after checking out an exhibition space (I’m going to be showing some new paintings in February guys!).
After we indulged in the huge cookies and some warm drinks we biked up to Broadway, to take Broadway east to enter the Don Valley Trail through Serena Gundy Park.
It was such a beautiful ride!!
We noticed that despite the many trees with glorious colours there were still a lot of green trees as well. So there may still be time to take in the last of the fall colours yet!
Last night Denise and I went to Urbane Cyclist for a fitting party for RYB Denim.
RYB Denim is a local fashion design start-up that just reached their funding goal on Indie GoGo to create their first run of cycling jeans made specifically for women.
Denise and I both found the jeans to be very comfortable and fit very cute. Denise even rode a bike to experience the joy of wearing pants that were seamless in the crotch. We were sold and we went home that night and both purchased a pair of jeans at the discounted rate offered through the Indie GoGo campaign.
Ladies!! RYB Denim is going on the road and taking their samples with them so you can try them on! If you are in New York, Philly, Montréal or Ottawa I urge you to check out and try a pair of RYB jeans on. Or if you are already pretty savvy at shopping online for clothes (I’m not!) then you can read the details of the jean fitting right on the Indie GoGo page. There is only 10 days left to get a pair of cycling jeans made specifically for women for the Spring 2014 season!
Last week I met up with some friends that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years for a bike ride and a concert.
En route to the concert venue we rode down south on John St and I rode into the left lane to make a left turn (signalling at the same time) at King St. Soon after my lane change a cab pulled up behind me with more traffic following it, so my 2 friends decided to make the left turn as pedestrians.
There was a lot of traffic in the opposite direction, so I was standing in the middle of the intersection while waiting for an opportunity to turn left. Finally as the lights turned amber, I mounted my bike to turn left when suddenly the cab behind decides to over take me in the middle of the intersection and make a left turn by cutting me off.
Much like Meg, my first instinct was to yell and bang on the rear quarter panel of the vehicle. If I didn’t brake hard my front wheel would have hit the side of the cab.
Most likely because I pounded on his car, the cab driver actually stopped after he drove through the intersection and pulled over into the right lane. In typical, short-tempered fashion, however when I got to the side of his car I started yelling.
Shortly after, my friends who made the left as pedestrians caught up with us and that’s when something almost miraculous happened:
Mariano (calmly): Heeeey, you know that you were supposed to let the cyclist go first right?
Cabbie: Whatever! Whatever! I wasn’t going to hit her!!!
Hyedie: WHAT!? YOU TOTALLY ALMOST HIT ME! IF I DIDN’T STOP MY FRONT WHEEL WOULD BE BENT, I COULD HAVE ….
Mariano (calmly): Buddy, you didn’t mean to cut her off, right?
Cabbie & Hyedie: ….
Mariano (calmly): It was just a mistake, right?
Cabbie: Yes, it was a mistake.
In 2 sentences, Mariano was able to de-escalate an argument and get the cabbie to admit he made a mistake! All thanks to his calm demeanor.
Lesson learned. Calm and even-keeled gets your point across faster and more efficiently. I mean all the shouting that I end up doing in these types of situations probably just makes me look like a certain mayor of a Canadian city anyway.
Yesterday was the Phantom Bike Lanes Bike Ride hosted by Ward 14 & Ward 18 Cycle Toronto Ward Groups! Despite the cold, the turn-out was great!
Bike lanes on Lansdowne were approved 4 years ago but haven’t been painted in … yet.
Better (and totally amazing) photos, by Martin, here!
My sweet Petey at Sweet Pete’s!
We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather and get in another bike ride over the Thanksgiving weekend. Especially since Andre had taken the time to put the bike rack onto our car in anticipation of having to drive out to Niagara Falls and we didn’t want to waste his efforts.
So we (well actually Andre because I’m too short) secured our bikes onto the rack and headed out an area that Andre scoped out, which is close to where the bike portion of the Milton Triathlon event takes place every year.
Unfortunately we hit traffic on Highway 401 heading out to Milton and what initially was supposed to be a 45 minute drive ended up being a hour and a half!
Sadly we had to cut our planned route in half, but we were able to enjoy the beautiful fall colours and challenge ourselves on the rolling hills.
Please ignore these sunglasses. I discovered on the Niagara Falls ride that I lost some pieces from my regular sunglasses. So until I get a new pair, these MAMIL-y ones will have to do.
Next time, we’ll try plan our ride to avoid holiday traffic so we can maximize time in the saddle.
Happy belated Thanksgiving! What a glorious weekend!!
When Go Transit advertised on their website that they would have the bike coaches available through the summer until the Thanksgiving weekend, Denise organized a bike day trip through the Niagara region on the last weekend that they were to be available.
Unfortunately, 2 days before our big ride Denise noticed that, with no announcement, they removed the bike coach service for the long weekend on their website:
— Cupcake Ride (@cupcakeride) October 11, 2013
Luckily after a lot of tweets, emails and calls placed to the Go Transit customer service by an army of angry cyclists, they added a few cars to the trains so that 16 bikes could fit per car. Sadly, no one at the customer service call centre seemed interested in helping us. It was Amanda, one of the community managers for the @GoTransit twitter account, who really turned things around. Thanks Amanda!
Our route was really picturesque and bike friendly. Joe did an amazing job mapping it out and leading our group!
We got off the GO Train at St. Catharine’s, rode through the downtown area to head over to the Welland Canals and biked along the Welland Canals Parkway Trail. It was gorgeous.
From there we took Lakeshore Road to Niagara-on-the-Lake, stopping off at Konzelmann‘s winery for some tastings (which apparently weren’t that great, but I don’t know anything about wine so I downed a couple of ice wine samples). The shoulder along Lakeshore Road was wide enough to be a bike lane and with very little traffic, it was a relaxing ride to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
We were able to meet up with Amelia and her man in Niagara-on-the-Lake and after a yummy lunch, we all headed towards Niagara Falls.
We rode along the Niagara River Recreation Trail, past Fort George and stopped off at another winery. The trail almost got us right into the tourist attraction area of the falls! Where the trail ended, however, there were bike lanes that made for a comfortable ride.
There was a surprisingly large number of people biking along the trails that day. Many of them biking on rented bikes!
We were so lucky to have beautiful weather that day – not too hot, not too cold, but very sunny. And with such lovely company, it made for a truly perfect autumn bike adventure.
Thank you again, Joe and Denise for organizing a memorable excursion for us!
Photos of the new Queen’s Quay bike lanes from the Ice Cream Sandwich Ride test ride (the ride that never was).
I also explored the almost completed Corktown Common. Unfortunately it’s made to be bike unfriendly – they want pedestrians and children to use the space, but it’s still a beautiful addition to an area that was slightly wasteland-y.
Both Andre and Denise have been long time fans but for years and years but I shunned the Toronto made and designed YNOT pedal straps because I thought they were so thick and industrial looking. For some reason I didn’t find them aesthetically appealing at all.
But after having ridden a bike with step-in pedals, I really missed the power gains from pulling up on the pedal when you have foot retention. So slowly, I started to see how YNOTs were a great alternative to step-in pedals. Plus you can wear your regular shoes because the velcro system of the YNOTs make them really easy to adjust the straps to any shoes you are wearing for a perfect fit.
I had to purchase new BMX style pedals so I could slip the YNOT straps through. And tada! I can go faster on my bike!
Now I’m a convert and YNOT evangelist.
PS – YNOT is hiring!
PPS – The weather for tomorrow’s Ice Cream Sandwich ride isn’t looking too promising. We’ll update everyone whether we’ll be riding tomorrow.