Alternate forms of transport

Someone is commuting to work by bicycle.

A man in a purple shirt is riding a bicycle with panniers

Improved Pottery Road

You can see some of the results of the improvements to Pottery Road in Toronto here. There’s a wider bike path, a reinforced hillside, and a shared car-bike lane on the downhill. Out of sight, there’s a pedestrian island and better signs.

A road, one lane each way, leads up a hill. A wide bike path is separated from the road by a sturdy fence. In the downhill lane, road markings of a bicycle and arrows mean to share the lane with bikes

Bike ride, Leslie St. Spit

Tommy Thompson Park on Leslie Street Spit, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaIt was warm, almost hot, at home as I pulled on wool gloves in the sunshine, so I left my jacket and gloves behind. We biked down to the Spit, a park that is built on landfill and exists only on weekends (and holidays). On the Spit which extends out into the lake, it’s much cooler.

I saw a lot of the commoner birds: redwinged blackbirds, gulls, possibly a tern or two, a pair of mute swans (invasive foreign species) and ducks, and cormorants.

I certainly don’t have my cycling legs yet as I got tired just pedalling downhill to the lake. We experimented with a more gentle slope for our return route, but there’s no avoiding some climbing back up the old, post-glacial shoreline a kilometer or so from the lake.

It was nice to get out.

Biking on a stand

The usual way of training for cycling in winter is to get a stationary bicycle. It seems neater, somehow, to use the same bicycle for both outdoor and indoor biking. You can buy a stand that holds a bike’s rear axle and applies a variable amount of pressure. It’s a little harder on the seat of the pants, because the bike doesn’t sway and change pressure points. However, we got a second one and so far I’ve had two short sessions side-by-side with my SO: about 40 minutes yesterday and about 20 minutes tonight. It’s not bad so far–I have the pressure on the tire very light. It might make the spring jump onto the bike a little more successful.

Family weekend

We had our granddaughter in Toronto for the weekend. She had a short visit with her dad on Saturday afternoon, but he had forgotten it was her weekend and was hosting a party that evening and working on Sunday. Work is good.

On Saturday evening we picked up a possible Hallowe’en outfit for her at Value Village, a for-profit thrift store that stocks new and used costumes for Hallowe’en. On Sunday we went back to Value Village for a very nice charcoal-grey satin formal that was just a little big for her but should be perfect about the time she graduates from elementary school.

On Sunday morning LotStreetWiz headed out for an 8-hour bike ride with only two protein bars in his pocket. If biking burns off a few hundred calories per hour, you have to eat more than that to stay caught up! Eating enough to stay fuelled is one of the challenges of the longer triathlons. After dropping off our grand-daughter, I drove on and picked him up in Niagara Falls, rather cold and tired but triumphant at riding 100 miles.

First kids’ tri of the year

We’re back from a very brief trip to Lindsay for AthleticKid to swim/bike/run a kids’ triathlon. This is her first one of the season.

Lindsay-2009-kids-tri-06-bike-race-spectators-A-crop3

She put in a respectable time and moved up three places from her performance last year — in her estimate, measured from last place.

Biking Saturday

2009-05-24-biking-2-start-out-crop-med
Today we had a fun ride. LotStreetWiz, AtheticKid, SilentLight, and I all biked down to the Leslie Street Spit, around the outer road (three times for L & A), and back again. We put in about 17 miles plus a few extra for our athletes. We took the Don Trail both ways to find a gentler slope. I generally brought up the rear. At the entrance to the park SilentLight and I hung back to have something to eat. I felt more energetic after that.

2009-05-24-biking-4-Leslie-Spit-EoPaved-crop-med

The Spit had a community event with nature lookout points and bird boxes for swallows or perhaps bluebirds. Apparently it was part of Doors Open Toronto. At our turnaround point, just before the road turns to gravel, there was a display including some bird skins, so we were able to compare herring gulls, ring-billed gulls (a little smaller), and common terns (a lot smaller). We learned that a pair of great egrets are nesting, or at least hanging around, past our turnaround. That was about our only stop as the emphasis was on letting AthleticKid get in some training time.

still, we saw a lot of birds: cormorants, Canada Geese, gulls, terns, swallows–barn swallows?–and lots of smaller ones. We heard a lot of robins. The red-winged blackbirds are everywhere.

The beaver lodge in the big pond is higher and we saw freshly gnawed and felled trees back by the park entrance. So either there are two beavers with different territories or one wandering animal.