Being a bit down

standing panda

At the end of August I was hit by a car while riding my road bike. Luckily my bike only sustained handlebar tape damage and although my elbow is still a bit sore and can get itchy when I exercise, an ultrasound recently showed that it is merely swollen tissue that is taking a long time to heal. I feel extremely lucky that the rest of my injuries healed up quickly and I haven’t sustained any chronic pain.

That being said, getting compensation for my jersey, helmet and the mere $60 (with labour) to replace my handlebar tape has been a huge hassle. I feel like insurance companies try to make things as difficult as possible to try to reduce their costs by discouraging claims through tedious paperwork and long phone calls.

Through all my phone calls with insurance adjusters and claim intake people, I’ve recounted the collision at least half a dozen times with each call lasting at least 1 hour (not including wait times). I still haven’t gotten all my paperwork finished and filled out by my doctor and physiotherapist either.

Because of this, these past couple of months I’ve been kind of down. I can’t imagine having to go through all this if my injuries were worse or if I had to go in for intense physiotherapy sessions and deal with recounting the collision repeatedly.

If my small collision is having this kind of toll on my spirits, I can’t imagine how hard things must be for people suffering with PTSD.

So when my summons to witness came in, I couldn’t help but take it personally. Despite the police officer warning me that the driver who struck me would probably dispute the traffic ticket (because the fine and demerit points were really high), receiving the court notice made me really angry.

I know the driver is just trying her luck in hopes that either myself or the police officer won’t show up to court so that she can walk away without having to pay the fine and keep the 6 demerit points off of her driving record. But for me, I feel that her trying to dispute this ticket is so disrespectful. Disrespectful of my injuries, disrespectful of all the time that I’ve spent talking to doctors, insurance adjusters and going around and getting everything replaced. Most of all disrespectful of another human being that she could have killed.

Please wish me luck next Wednesday at 9am. I don’t know if I will even have a chance to speak, but I’m going to try to do everything I can so that the driver doesn’t get her ticket dismissed or even have her fines reduced.

Hopefully once this is all over, I will feel like organizing bike rides and brunches again.

Don Valley Trail in the Fall

Fall Bike Ride

A few of weekends ago I was able to catch more fall colours with this lovely couple:

Fall Bike Ride

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.

Fall Bike Ride

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!

Fall Bike Ride

Fall Bike Ride

RYB Denim

Me!

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.

ryb indiegogo oct2-nov17 from RYB Denim on Vimeo.

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, MontrĂ©al 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!
RYB Denim tour

A Lesson in Conflict Resolution

Fall 'mums! #pandashot #bike

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.

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Phantom Bike Lanes Ride

Phantom Bike Lanes Ride
Ward 14 Captain Laura, Ward 18 Captain Liz and Cycle Toronto ED Jared!

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.

Phantom Bike Lanes Ride

Better (and totally amazing) photos, by Martin, here!

Fall Country Road Ride

Milton Fall Ride

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!

Milton Fall Ride

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.

Milton Fall Ride

Milton Fall Ride

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.

Milton Fall Ride

Milton Fall Ride

Next time, we’ll try plan our ride to avoid holiday traffic so we can maximize time in the saddle.

Milton Fall Ride

Bike Ride Day Trip

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

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:

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!

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

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.

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

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.

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

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.

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 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!

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

St. Catharine's, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls

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!