This morning we went out to bike the Ride for Heart. LotStreetWiz signed up for the 75 km route but wisely registered me and Andie for the 25 km. I’ve only been out twice this year on the bike so 25 km is quite enough for an early-season ride. We got started late, The ride, not a race, has thousands of people attending. It starts down near Toronto’s lakeshore at Exhibition Place, then goes east across the bottom of the city on an elevated highway called the Gardiner Expressway, then up the Don Valley Parkway. 25-km riders turn at the Bayview/Bloor ramp. 50-km riders go up to York Mills Road, which is almost up to Highway 401 (which runs more or less across the top of the city) and back to Exhibition Place. 75-km riders go up to York Mills Road, down to Bayview, then back up to York Mills road and back all the way to Exhibition Place.
Andie and I started out late, so we jumped in at Dundas Street, near the south end of the Don Valley Parkway, then cycled north. We went under the viaduct to the Bayview/Bloor ramp, where LotStreetWiz was waiting for us, as he told me via text messages. From there, we all turned south and went back to Exhibition Place.
At one point, he and Andie went ahead, while I tagged along behind at my own speed. Just when I was climbing the ramp back up to the Gardiner Expressway, my cell phone rang (I thought). When I got to the top I looked at it but I had no calls nor messages. Because of my recent problems with cell phones and water, I was carrying it in a small, sealable plastic bag, a zip-lock baggie. I continued, passing and being passed, among cyclists, parents with little kids, middle-sized kids weaving all over the road, bikes with trailers, tricycle bikes, recumbent bikes, fast guys and people slower than me, at least one with a hand crank and someone with an artificial leg. Everyone can play! Parents of small children were often stopped, waiting for their children to rest. I wouldn’t take a small child on this ride.
When I got to a point overlooking Fort York, the original fort nestled in the underskirts of downtown, I stopped. LotStreetWiz and Andie must be at the finish by now and I wanted to send them a message. I carefully snugged my bike up against the curb and stepped up on the curb myself, took off my backpack, and got out the phone in its baggie. I took out the phone and tried to open it. It slipped. It fell. It fell off the damn Gardiner Expressway, flat open, and landed in the middle of a lane in a small road below. No traffic. I shrugged on my backpack, jumped on the bike, and pedalled for the nearest exit — which happened to be against the flow of cyclists. I went the wrong way down an entrance ramp, slid the bike under the gate closing it for the Ride, and back up another ramp to Lakeshore Road. Around Lakeshore to Spadina, across Spadina, and back onto the little side road where I’d last seen my phone. No phone. No pieces. Nothing on the sides. It was probably broken anyway, but it seems that someone picked it up. I kept looking. Could I have mistaken my spot? I didn’t think so.
Toronto’s 2007 Ride for Heart was very smoggy
Now I had no way to contact the other two. I biked morosely back across Lakeshore Road past Ontario Place to Exhibition Place, then joined in the queue to approach the finish line. LotStreetWiz and Andie popped out of the sidelines and hailed me. I told them my sad news. It was all his fault. If I’d just biked with Andie I wouldn’t have been phoning. But I’d probably have stopped to look at Fort York. You don’t see much of it when zipping by on the highway. On this one day of the year I could legitimately stop. And then I would have wanted to take a picture. And I would have gotten my phone out. It was all my fault. I was the one fumbling the phone.
Less than two days! That’s the briefest phone ever. This time it’s gone with the flash card, my contacts, the movies I took of geese and goslings last weekend, and any pictures I took since Friday, such as our cats attacking a stuffed toy, the Girl Guide parade in Hamilton on Saturday, last night’s Stanley Cup game, or the massed cyclists on the highway. Luckily, LotStreetWiz took a couple of pictures of Andie in her biking togs.
After we met up, we all rode past the finish line and back to the car at Dundas and the Don Valley. So Andie and I got the 25 km, just with a different starting point than most people.