The Trials and Tribulations of a Saturday Cyclist

August 24 2019

When I woke up this morning, I checked the weather forecast on my phone. This is something I rarely do because regardless of whether it is hot or cold, the thermostats in both the bus I take to work and the rooms I teach in have minds of their own.  I pack for all kinds of weather.

Today, though, the temperature was in single digits when I woke up and was predicted to barely clear that before noon. However, with no rain in the near future, I was undaunted and knew I was going out for a ride.  It would be my first ride in 3 Saturdays, because a nagging cold and horrible weather cancelled my last two rides.  I carelessly chose to wear what I normally wear and tried not to think of the temperature.  I have some warmer kit, but none of it folds up into anything small if I decide not to wear it.  Once I’ve got it on, it’s on till I get home.  I briefly considered warmer sleeves, but the weather forecasting in Canada is not that reliable–or perhaps the weather is not that predictable.  Who am I to say?

When I got to the meeting point, those who drove were having the internal debate about what to put on. I saw no fewer than four people put on warmer stuff and then take it off and throw it back in their cars.  Those that chose to wear warm sleeves ended up taking them off later and stuffing them into their back pockets.

The ride was a pretty typical Eagles ride. We went north and made a large rectangle back to the start.  Despite it sounding typical, the ride was anything but and features some interesting happenings.  I rode in the C group as a recovery measure so I do not know what went on in the B group, but based on what I saw, there ride was just as dramatic as ours.  These interesting things (in my group) included;

  • Some kind of couple spat. Two of the riders in my group are a couple (status unknown to me because I didn’t figure it was any of my business).  Just after our ride started, the male half of this couple stormed off.  I hadn’t heard any altercation, but something must have happened or been said.
  • One of my co-riders dropping her phone because she was trying to take pictures while riding. She had managed this feat earlier in the ride, but after telling me that she felt like she probably shouldn’t be doing that, she dropped her phone.
  • After passing two group B riders who had mechanical issues (but who waved off any help from us), one of our group had a flat. Fortunately it was fixed quickly.
  • We took a few roads I had never seen before. They were beautiful.
  • I dropped my cycling computer off my bike. I heard something fall, but didn’t know what it was until I was a few hundred metres away and realized what had happened.  It’s a Sigma 12 and not super expensive.  It gives minimal data, but I do like it.  Although, I have often thought of replacing it with a Garmin or Wahoo, neither of those things are really necessary.  I cycled back but didn’t see it anywhere.  I was afraid that it had ricocheted into the tall grass in the ditch.  Had that happened I would never have found it.  I was about to give up when I spotted it on the road ahead.   I quickly picked it up and headed off to meet my group.  Everything worked out in the end.
  • On the way home, I stopped to take some wonderful pictures. It made for a slow ride home, but I think some of the pictures are keepers.

Just for the record: 83.31km with an elevation gain of 634m.

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, exercise, fitness, group rides, Newmarket Eagles, photography, Saturday morning, seasons, smart phone, temperature, tires | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Morning

I know people aren’t going to agree, or even like what I am going to write for Today’s Perfect Moment. It isn’t going to be popular.  I expect a flood of negatives and only a handful of readers who agree.  However, it is Today’s Perfect Moment and there is nothing I can do about it.

As I awoke this morning, I could tell something was different. I didn’t even know what it was until I got out of the shower and was putting on my clothes.  I didn’t feel hot and sweaty.

Yes, that’s right. I am celebrating cooler temperatures.  I know, everyone wants to hold on to summer, but I sleep better when it is colder.  I am not wishing summer away, but I just appreciated the fact that the heat wasn’t all over me this morning.

The truth is that I much prefer the cold and enjoy Autumn and Winter more than summer. Summer is great for cycling, but some of classrooms I teach in get so warm that I almost fall asleep in front of the students.  Also, the left side of the bus tends to roast me so badly that I get off the bus sweating.

This evening, the temperature is also down. It isn’t freezing or anything like that.  It just isn’t as warm as it has been up until now.  I enjoyed this but my girlfriend found the bus ride less than enjoyable.

I know I am going to sleep well tonight.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, autumn, seasons, sleep, summer, temperature, weather | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Not When I Got to My Stop.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There were several candidates for Today’s Perfect Moment.

I saw a Canadian actress on the subway–or I at least thought I did. I am (now) unsure as to whether I “recognized” her or just felt that I knew her from some p lace.

I had pizza for lunch. This is always worth considering since it makes me feel good.

My boss didn’t official change my hours. I know it’s coming, but every day it doesn’t happen is like a little reprieve.

I overheard some of my Japanese students talking in the hallway. I felt good when I could understand some of the things they were talking about.

Classes went pretty well today. We covered a lot of material and I was quite upbeat for the students.

I spoke to one of my bus friends because she was carrying a giant golf umbrella. She explained that she took it because she had no time to reach for the small one.  If she had stayed out as late as I did, that umbrella was an inspired choice.  If not….well, she had to lug the gigantic thing around all day.

As you can see, these are all great, and worthy of being Today’s Perfect Moment, but I am going to have award it to a fantastic fluke of Mother Nature.

While taking the bus home, it suddenly started to rain. Because it had already gotten dark, it was hard to tell how hard it was coming down looking out the bus windows.  However, when the bus doors opened to let off or take on passengers, it became rather obvious that it was raining hard.  Saying that the sound was thunderous would be hyperbole, but it would give you an idea.

The people who got off the bus scrambled for their rides or the relative safety of the bus shelter. The ones who got on the bus were soaked and looking profoundly stunned.  Two young ladies who sat next to me could barely mumble swear words to each other.  They didn’t even take out their phones to tweet about it.

Yes, I had my umbrella, but luckily for me (and the Perfect Moment part of this post) the rain stopped one stop before mine. When I got to my stop the ground was dry and the dark evening sky was clear.  I didn’t use the umbrella or any rain gear, but I was still dry.  That’s Today’s Perfect Moment.

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Two Parts of a Perfect Moment

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Today’s Perfect Moment comes in two parts.

The first is seeing my new student role his foldable bike into my classroom. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love bicycles and anything to do with bicycles.  Seeing a decent looking folding bike out and about is awesome.

He was kind enough to show it to me, and he was even willing to unfold the whole thing. I told him it was unnecessary.  I liked the way it looked folded up.  I am not sure that it is something I would buy for myself, but it looked like a great piece of technology.

The other Perfect Moment came when I was waiting for my bus. In the afternoon the bus gets rather warm on the left side.  Most people opt to sit on the right side of the bus.  Unfortunately, most of the seats on the right side are perpendicular to the seats facing forward.  They are pointed towards the window and are rather uncomfortable owing to their seat height.  There are only 4 seats pointed forward on the right side of the bus.  These are near the front.

I tried to get to the door closest to one of these seats, but a bunch of ladies beat me to it. So, I opted for the back and was pretty much resigned to feeling hot and sweaty.  I was pretty sure that I was going to fall asleep on the bus and miss my stop.  In positioning myself that way, I was able to take advantage of the bus arriving early and letting people board at a different place–to which I was standing closest.  I got the window seat on the right side and felt very happy.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, bicyles, bus, commuting, Viva, York Region, YRT | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unintentionally Intentionally

Today’s Perfect Moment falls into that weird category of unintentionally intentionally happy little things. If you’re confused, all I can do is ask you to read on.

On Friday, as a treat to myself, or perhaps as the dessert to my lunch, I had some Lindt chocolate I bought at the grocery store on Thursday night. I was kind enough to share it with someone.  After a few pieces, we both agreed that we should not eat all of it and save it for another day.  We are both trying to be a bit more health conscious or at the very least calorie and sugar conscious.

Truth be told, I expected that I would eat it later that night after I got home or at the latest on Saturday after my bike ride (which did not happen due to rain) or after I sanded and painted the front of my house. I suppose that really wasn’t in the spirit in which I stopped eating the chocolate on Friday, but all’s fair…..

For whatever reason, I did not eat the chocolate and there it was in my lunch bag on Monday morning when I packed my sandwich, peach, and yogurt. Though I considered eating it for breakfast, I left it in my lunch bag. When lunch rolled around, I had a nice dessert–which I shared again.  Fortunately, it was still delicious and a perfect ending to my lunch.

So, I intentionally did not eat it all on Friday, but I unintentionally still had it on Monday for lunch. That’s how we got to Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, chocolate, dessert, lunch, Swiss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Look at Sharing

trains 001I don’t know what it is inside of us that wants other people to like what we like. At my most pessimistic, I think it has something to do with our own insecurities and our need for external validation.  At my most optimistic, I like to believe that we just want to share something good with other people.  It could be our favourite song, or drink, or restaurant, or YouTube video.  It could be a particular flavour of gum.

Today, after a meal at J-Town (the Japanese shopping centre) which consisted of both Tonkatsu and chicken-katsu, we did a little shopping. I was planning on having a shucream–which, I have to suppose, is the Japanese version of chou a la creme.  What I came to learn is that these are already available in my girlfriend’s country of origin and hold absolutely no surprise or delight.  However when I loaded up my hands with some Hi-Soft, she asked me just what kind of chocolates they were.  There was a complete look of surprise when I explained that these were soft and chewy caramels.  So she bought a box.

We hadn’t even gotten our seatbelts on before she had opened the box and put one in her mouth. She seemed genuinely happy with the taste.  She then managed to do something that I have never been able to do. She closed the box and put them in her bag.  I usually devour the whole box before I can stop myself.  How she managed to do it, I may never know.

It turns out that she liked them….a lot. Her willpower eroded once at home and she texted me later to explain that she had eaten most of them.  I was not surprised, but happy.  It is one of my favourite treats and I want other people to think so too.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, comfort food, ethnic food, food, food blogging, food shopping, grocery shopping, Japan, Japanese, Japanese snacks, shopping, tonkatsu | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Dog Who Wanted a Coke

If there’s one thing I am sure of, it is that my girlfriend loves dogs. She gets pretty excited when she sees one “in the wild”–this could be anywhere, and includes being on a leash.  The thing is that her excitement is contagious.  She has that kind of character.

Today, after going out for dinner, we spent a little bit of time in the Yonge and Eglinton area. This is becoming a bit of a neon jungle and the construction barriers and fencing doesn’t really help.  There is a nice spot where the Aroma cafe took up residence.  Mostly this is due to the fact that they decided to plant some trees.

While in this area we came upon a couple out doing some shopping and walking their dog–at least I hope it was there dog.

In the couple, they seemed to have various jobs. The woman held the leash of the not particularly small dog and the man held the alcohol and the six-pack of mini bottles of coke he bought–there’s an LCBO and a Metro grocery store on this corner.  The man was horsing around with the dog.  He seemed to be a little rough, but the dog didn’t seem to mind.  Perhaps that is the way they always played.

They soon headed off and we found ourselves a step or two behind them. That is when Today’s Perfect Moment happened.  The dog, playfully, made lunges at the mini coke bottles.  His collar rattles off some of the bottles and he managed to get his mouth around the caps on the bottles briefly.

The man stopped and asked the dog if he wanted a coke. The dog failed to vocally reply, but he did make another lunge at the bottles.

My girlfriend found this rather hilarious, and I was smirking pretty hard at this as well. I found the scene to be genuinely amusing in a way that TV can no longer portray.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, construction, construction equipment, construction machines, dogs, restaurant, Yonge and Eglinton | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

At the Bookstore

I have been reading more lately and this has had some positive consequences. My commute has become more tolerable and I am feeling a bit like my old self–before I got tired of reading and just wanted to spend my commute time staring out the window.

This afternoon, once work finished, instead of heading straight to the subway, I decided to take a look around the bookstore. I wasn’t intending to buy any books–I’ve got a perfectly good library near home, and a queue of books waiting on my night table–but I just wanted to look around and feel that book environment again.  There’s something satisfying about walking around a bookstore that I can’t get in any other store.  Sure, I can look around a bicycle store for quite a while.  I could probably thumb through some stamps at a stamp store, but it isn’t the same.

There’s something about a bookstore. Perhaps it is the combined weight of all the words and phrases.  Perhaps it is the knowledge that something eloquent may be on those pages just below the cover.  There’s just so much promise there.

My time at the bookstore was not nearly as long as it could have been. I didn’t want to get caught in rush hour, and I still had Hemingway’s The Dangerous Summer to finish on my way home.  I left the bookstore, but since it had been Today’s Perfect Moment, I knew I would be back.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, books, bookstore, commuting, reading | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Rains

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Photo by Joel Papalini on Pexels.com

There was an odd kind of symmetry to my day involving rain. When I got to the subway stop nearest my work, it was raining, despite not raining before that.  When I left work, it rained on my walk back to the subway station, but not after that.  So my walk to work and my walk from work both had the potential of getting me wet.

The walk home was in heavy rain that soaked me from my ankles down, and had I not turned my backpack to the front at my girlfriend’s urging, it too would have been soaked. Several buses and cars threatened to splash giant arcs of water at me from the roadside.  The traffic lights, rarely friendly, seemed to conspire against me.  They forced me to wait and absorb more water.  Other people walked unpredictably carrying their umbrellas precariously.  I didn’t fear getting my eye poked out, but I did fear tearing my umbrella.

This was in great contrast to the morning’s rain. That rain didn’t penetrate the radius of the umbrella, and I counted only a few drops on my shoes.  The skies, though not sunny, seemed light and airy.  It was hardly a difficult walk.  Most people gave way easily and the crowds really only existed in the subway entrance and not out on the streets.  I arrived at work no worse for wear.

Though perhaps not as amazing as free books free books or chocolate, and perhaps not as positive as many recent posts, this morning’s walk into a light sun shower is Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, commuting, rain, subway, summer, Toronto, TTC, weather, work, Yonge and Eglinton | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pizza for Breakfast

20190810_115729.jpgI am still catching up on Perfect Moments, and I think I am almost there. Over the weekend, I took some time to rest, and hopefully finally get rid of this cold that has been plaguing me for weeks.

Somewhere I managed to have the breakfast of champions. That’s right, pizza for breakfast.

Okay, I realize that this is not the breakfast of champions and if I were in the Tour de France, I would be left in the dust even more than expected if I ate pizza for breakfast every morning. So maybe this isn’t breakfast of champions, but it is the breakfast of a teenager.

As everyone knows, I love pizza and pizza loves me back. How could I not salute it.

A funny story related to pizza for breakfast was from a previous co-worker who had also spent time in the Kansai region of Japan.  When his host family asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he replied that he wanted Pizza for breakfast.  He meant that he wanted to buy it at night and eat it cold for breakfast the next morning.

Perhaps something was a little lost in translation because what they understood was somewhat different and they convinced the owner of the pizza place to get up early and make a pizza for his birthday breakfast.  I am not sure if they went and picked it up or whether it was delivered.  In the end, I was impressed by their efforts.  Sadly, he was not.

What is your all time favourite breakfast?

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, breakfast, comfort food, food, food blogging, irony, Japan, pizza, stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments