Wrecked a favourite tshirt, saw a hawk

I guess that makes today a Good/Bad Day.

So I wrecked my favourite tshirt before I left for my bike ride. It’s my much beloved, much worn Mystery Science Theater 3000 tee I ordered from MST3K years ago. God, it’s such a soft loose comfy tee! It’s a shirt I love wearing whenever I go on a bike ride. Oh sure I have a couple of cycling shirts — space age sweat sucking material in an eye straining pattern. Great stuff. But my heart belongs to this humble tee. A good reason I attribute to the genius that was the tv show Mystery Science Theater 3000. One of the absolute best tv shows ever made! If you’ve never seen it, then get yourself down to your local video store and buy or rent an epsiode. Your life will change. First off, your life will no longer suck. Secondly, you’ll laugh and that is always good for your heart and spirit. Thirdly, there are loads of episodes available and you’ll never be sad again.

 

My poor beloved wrecked tshirt! I cry many tears! I hope I can wash you clean!

My poor beloved wrecked tshirt! I cry many tears! I hope I can wash you clean!

Stupid me! I poured 1/4 bottle of fruit punch Powerade all over it. I sprayed on some laundry de-stain stuff on it. I hope it washes out!

Earlier this week I saw a hawk sitting ever so casually on top of a tombstone in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Just sitting, enjoying the light  breeze. Probably planning to dive bomb a squirrel or a robin once he felt a little hungry. All I had on me to take a photo was my crummy cell phone! Ack! Ack! Lousy planning on my part. 

I went back to the cemetery to ride around the paths for an hour or so before supper. This time I brought by DSLR camera and I kept a look out for another hawk. Here is the one hawk I saw. I only managed to take a single photo because it was frightened off by a car starting up nearby.

 

Look! A hawk! W00T! Cool!

Look! A hawk! W00T! Cool!

As a bonus photo, two weeks ago I rode along the Don River Trail (a-flipping-mazing trail! Asphalt, no traffic, ok some freaky scary bridges. Try it!) and I saw a bunny rabbit. 

 

I saw this bunny 1 km south of the Pottery Road crossing.

I saw this bunny 1 km south of the Pottery Road crossing.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s ride. I’m not sure exactly where I am riding. I thought of the Beaches but there is a jazz festival on and the place will be packed. I may have to give the Beaches a pass for a couple of days. 

Wish me luck with laundry on Monday!

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It hurts too much to post

Basically my body hates me right now. I made it go on a 46 km bike ride and my back, legs, and backside are reminding me that’s the longest ride I’ve ever made them go on to date. They’ll thank me later when we can do a metric century in one day and be ridiculously proud of ourselves. But until at least tomorrow afternoon various parts of my body will torture me. 

Yeah…

So, I’ll do a proper description of today’s return ride from Yonge and Eglinton to the Leslie Street Spit via the Don River Trail tomorrow. I took pictures of the scary awful bridges on the way there, and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed (and really, that’s the only part of my body not hurting) and hope the bunny photos (BUNNY!) are good ones.

Riding your bike from Eglinton Avenue West and the Allen Expressway to Davenport and Dupont – the park route

It’s a quiet ride. The trail starts at the end of the Beltline Trail, south of Eglinton West station and meanders through parks and playing fields until it reaches the rear of St. Clair West station at Heath Street. Just think, approximately 30 years ago the city planned on carving up all of the neighbourhoods south of the Allen Expressway into downtown Toronto. We almost lost these homes, parks, and trails to a highway.

My bike near Glen Cedar Road bridge

Glen Cedar Road trestle graffit

Graffiti on the Glen Cedar Road bridge trestle - close up

 

If I am feeling adventurous I will continue to Wells Hill Avenue and St. Clair where the trail continues south east through Sir Winston Churchill Park. This leg is a bit tricky since the trail is narrow, steep and rutted for the first 100 metres or so. Once that part clears the path takes you under Spadina road and the trail changes from gravel to dirt to a weird concrete lattice to sand then back to gravel. The sand and gravel makes the ride soft and sludgy because it likes to grab your wheels and turn you about. The best thing to do is spin in an easy gear and be brave.  

Crazy concrete on trail to Sir Winston Churchill Park

Follow the trail up and then right and then down though the Roycroft Park Marshes. There are sunny hills, park benches, and shady woods right up till the exit at Boulton Drive. 

Boulton Drive has it’s own bike lane and goes down hill all the way to Davenport and Dupont Roads.

A totally fun ride that is hidden in the parks under Toronto’s busiest roads. 

Next trip: The Toronto Islands!

Catching up on my Fish-eye Lomo photos

In my quest to find ever new and exciting bike rides through Toronto, I found a challenging one you can find starting at Moore Street near Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It isn’t long, maybe 2 or 3 km to South Drive and Glen Road in Rosedale. But the trail at the start is steep and rutted, a little too steep and rutted for me and I walked 100 metres or so until the trail evened out. The last half kilometre is a doozy. I walked up a seriously rutted trail that I couldn’t possibly ride up. And I was eaten by mosquitoes. They love me. 

After a simply terrifying ride thorough the Moore Park Ravine, I found the Don Valley Brick Works Park. I’d heard of it, but never visited. 

(Okay, maybe the ride was terrifying only to me. I passed by a number of walkers and runners who looked perfectly at ease as they made their way through the ravine. But, in my defense, I’ve never ridden through the ravine before, and it was the day after the Don River and it’s creek brothers flooded portions of the valley and I’m not used to riding on slick elevated trails with a steep drop further down the valley. And I’m a sissy. There! I wrote it! I was terrified. Simply sick to my stomach as I rode cautiously through the valley. Everyone else was fine. I wasn’t. Sheesh.)

Don Valley Brick Works Park in Toronto

Brickworks building from the top a corrugated metal staircase.

Bit of river, bit of greenery, bit of blue sky.

I like the way the sunshine bounced off the lens. I have to remember that the fish-eye lomo camera takes better pictures the closer you get to the subject. Intrude, my friend, intrude.

After I took these photos, I continued along the trail on my bike. The trail is beautiful! Incredibly it’s smack in the centre of the city and you rarely feel like you are near a major highway. I felt fortunate to see a couple of finches, butterflies, a chipmunk, as well as hear some mysterious scrabbling in the bushes (I didn’t dwell, I sped up a little). 

Along side Bayview Avenue, and in the distance is the Don Valley Parkway

In the distance is the Don Valley Parkway.

I had a few exposures left on my roll and I knew I had to take a picture of a house on Shaftesbury Avenue that has a Tin Man and family sculpture on the attic balcony. Once again the lesson learned is get as close as you can to your subject with your fish-eye lomo camera. I may need to scratch that sentence on the back of my camera…

Tin Man family on balcony.

And a couple of shots of wildflowers growing on the side of the road:

Now I have to put calamine lotion on my bug bites and eat supper. I am starving! 

 

Today:

All I can think of is bikebikebikebikebikebikebikebikebikebikebike

That’s it. Today was not a good day to ride because I was busy working. And I had a bad headache. I bet dollars to donuts the headache would have disappeared in the first half kilometre or so, but I was occupied with too much work. 

But tomorrow… yes my sweet bicycle of joy and love, you and I have a date with the Beltline. It is clear of snow and ice… picture it my dainty lovely… I will wear my prettiest helmet and some darling bike tights. Let us not forget the chain lube.

Maybe I will bring my camera and I can take compromising pictures of you and me on the Beltline. Delicious!

Still Waiting For the 2008 Becel Ride for Heart announcement.

I’ve been waiting for the 2008 June 1 sign up for ages now. I’ve decided to ride the 50 km route, or if my training goes well, the 75 km route! Sooooo excited. I read someplace that the 2008 Becel Ride for Heart website will be up at the end of February.

My friends at work and I are ganging up to train together and ride in the Ride for Heart, we even have a blog Team F5f2shutdown although it is very bare bones because I’m taking some team photos this weekend at work. The team is named after the most important part of a cashier’s job — the shutdown at the end of the day. We hit F5, F2, and then choose shutdown from the menu when we are done for the day. The blog will list our training, photos of our sessions together, advice, encouragement, hints, photos of our ride together, and anything else we sort out.

The best part will be picking out our team shirts! And a mascot, preferably a cat.

Busiest Day EVAH on vingada.com!

50 Vistiors today at vingada.com!

50 People have visited vingada.com today! The most people in one day! Wow!!

One thing I noticed in the “Search Engine Terms” listing, y’all have an obsession with cats and gelatin salad. Me too! Preferably in separate bowls, please. Also, many people do click on my blog links especially http://www.cuteoverload.com and http://www.icanhascheezburger.com. That’s great! These are two of my favourite sites. The people running them are hilarious and always find the best cat pictures. I should be so hard working.

The only search engine term I didn’t understand (and I don’t want to, I think) is “hamster cake”. Ewww! I hope this is a line of cute Japanese manga or anime characters because I really don’t think hamsters belong in a cake. Maybe given a nice cake-like treat, but definitely not actually baked in one. If you or someone you know wants to include hamster in a cake recipe, please, drop the nice hammy and call PETA. They will talk you out of it.

Anyway, thanks for visiting vingada.com! I have a bunch of photos I need to upload but have been lazier than a cat since Christmas. I’ll get to those very soon. Hopefully I can include some cats and jello and possibly even hamster pictures to my flickr account. This year I plan on including more of my bike commuting adventures in Toronto. I hope to even have a road trip! Ooooh! I’ll bring my camera and band-aids.

Dang! It’s Dark Outside!

Now when I come home from work it is dark outside. Not twilight, dusk, near sunset… DARK! On some streets I can barely see ten feet of road ahead of me. What to do?

Lights! And plenty of them. Half of the problem is making sure cars can see me. I am practically lit up like a Christmas tree… My lighting consists of:

1) Solid red light on the back of my helmet.

2) Blinky red light attached to the rear of my bike rack. It’s placed a bit precariously because it’s not attached to a bracket, but clipped to a refective strip wrapped around the rear rack posts.

3) Two led headlights sitting on my handlebars.

4) An led cuff wrapped around my left wrist, so cars can see me when I signal turns.

Lights I will add this week:

1) Flashing leds that screw on my tire valves. The front will be white or green (depending on what’s in stock at MEC), and the rear will be red. They flash like crazy whenever the wheels are in motion!

2) I may add turtle led lights on my forks and seat stays. It depends if the lights aren’t obscured by my basket posts and rear rack posts.

3) I may upgrade my headlights for 1 watt led lights. They are stronger than my current lights, but not as battery sucking as my old lead battery headlights.

4) Helmet headlight. I have to check if one will fit on my helmet. I have a bmx style helmet so I will have to choose a light with an appropriate bracket.

Hopefully these lights will work to keep me visible to cars and other cyclists. I really don’t understand how other cyclists can ride at night without any lights. I’ve had close calls with some riders because I can only see them when they are under a street light, or get too close!

It’s Hot Outside Now, But Soon It’ll Be Cold

This past Sunday morning was the coldest in months. I left home at 7am and the thermometre read 5 degrees celsius. It wasn’t windy but riding downhill definitely made the ride chilly.

Luckily I was prepared. I recently bought a pair of Terry’s Coldweather Tights to wear under a pair of shorts. The tights come with padding sewn in and are extremely comfortable and warm. They even blocked the wind while I was riding downhill! Under my windproof jacket I wore a warm and stretchy high collared Sporthill Explorer II top.

And then I forgot my gloves. I misplaced my winter riding gloves last year. I know they are tucked safely in a box or a bag somewhere in my front closet… I need to clean that closet out soon. Before I left I found a pair of gloves that worked but are too stiff for riding. My hands were cramped by the time I got to work, but until I can find my favourite gloves I’ll have to use these ones.

My ears felt cold during my ride but not unbearably cold. I keep a bandana in my pannier and will use it when it gets colder. I have a ski helmet that is rated for bike riding, and that has a lovely warm head and ear liners, but it would be a bit of overkill for now.

I wear skateboard shoes and they are roomy enough for me to add a pair of wool socks.

I’m hoping I can ride my bike through the fall until November or maybe even December. I don’t think I’ll ride in the winter, but if there are any mild days I will definitely jump on my bike and go for a ride!

I taste success! It is sweet and yummy!

Poplar Plains Road at Cottingham.

WAAAAAHOOOOO! I biked Poplar Plains Road!

I am good. Really good. I’m a gooey sweet cavity filled kind of good. Oh yes I am!

After two seasons of walking my bicycle up Poplar Plains Road, this past week I finally rode my bike up that evil evil hill.

Yes!

And I rode up that hill on Saturday. I rode up that hill on Sunday. And on Monday, I rode up that hill. Feels good! Feels really gooood!

Take that, PPR! Your asphalt is mine!

In other bike news…

I had to raise my bike seat. My knees were making crunchy potato chip sounds after a recent ride. Obviously I squashed my seat post down and now my knees hate me. Today during my pre-weekend maintenance (I know, I know, I should do the maintenance AFTER EACH ride) I removed my seatpost, snugged up the saddle bolt, greased the post, and set it back to my usual height. Easy peasy. All the tools I needed were a #5 allen key and a 15mm cone wrench, and a wee bit of bike grease.

I have no new bike gadgets to report, but I must sing the praises of my pedals. They are great! The original ones were awful: made out of plastic, with a bit of rubber for grip. Utter garbage. I spent $15 on nice metal platform pedals with sharp grippy pokey things on one side of the pedals, and it’s smooth on the other side. I like the sharp side best. They go well with my skateboard shoes, and I’m not terrified when I coast down Russell Hill Road from St. Clair to Davenport.

My next challenge: a quicker route downtown. I ride down Duplex to Chaplain Crescent, through the park, then take Lascelles to Lawton, take a right at Oriole Gardens, a left on Bryce and then a right on Heath all the way to Russell Hill Road.

I WANT to take Duplex to Chaplain Crescent, through the park, then turn right on Kilbarry, and continue on Kilbarry to Russell Hill. I think it’ll carve nearly 5 minutes off my commute. This said, Kilbarry might as well be called KilLaura considering the relentless uphill ride and then a sharp rise as I go past Upper Canada College. Sigh, I’m going to ride it tomorrow. It will hurt.