What an absolute pleasure it was to not have to divert from my intended path, to busy, noisy Lakeshore, and then down again for a few more short moments!
Today was my first go at the recently completed bike path outside our Mimico apartment, and so, when I came to my usual "divert back to Lakeshore" spot along the million-dollar townhomes and condos of the wealthy, just past the butterfly habitat, while riding home this afternoon, I instead continued straight ahead along the water and on towards the more affordable slums of Mimico, where I rent an a top floor, waterfront apartment with a stunning city view, for about the price of my neighbours to the east's monthly condo fees!
Hitherto, the two worlds were separated from one another; we apartment dwellers couldn't get within 500 meters of the uppercrust down the road, but now, I can walk, ride or rollerblade right on over to my wealthy neighbours, and they to me!
I can't think of a better way to celebrate Sunday morning that rejoicing in this very practical and much-needed bridging of a gap. Finally, the west end and the downtown core truly are united.
I would like to advocate here, if you are a cyclist, for pumping up your tires.
Keeping ones tires pumped has several advantages, two of which I was reminded of today: Firstly, you reduce the risk of becoming completely flat, resulting in getting stranded and having to then call your girlfriend to come rescue you with a bicycle pump (how embarassing is that?!) Secondly, being pumped up allows you to bike faster, so that you can get home and warm up quickly, rather than FREEZING outside while your slow-ass bike drags you slowly through the frigid fall air, causing all exposed parts to turn blue!!!
Had I taken a few minutes to pump up before leaving the house this afternoon to go fix my glasses which have been held together by electrical tape for the past month, and which I finally had a chance to take to the optometrist this evening, I would have been home an hour ago, and been writing about all the glories of bike riding, rather than complaining about being SLOW and COLD while my girlfriend makes chastizing remarks about my lousy long-range planning abilites!
After a fairly lazy 3-week-or-so stretch, I finally got on my bike again today, to ride to the airport for my flight lesson this afternoon. IT WAS COLD!!! Thankfully, I had enough foresight to pack my riding gloves and a headband to cover my ears, but nevertheless I was unpleasantly shocked by the change in temperature since last I rode my trusty steed!
I am determined to ride twice to work this week, to get in as much fall sun (even if the air is crisp) before winter sets in, and the waterproof pants and other winter riding gear become a daily necessity rather than a distant memory!
How good it was to be back at our home church this morning!
After a summer of traveling, it was nice to be back in the folds of the familiar, despite the positive church experience we had had in PEI. Worship is – in my opinion – as much about the company you keep as about the sermon preached by a specific pastor, or the songs sung by a particular choir. Just being together and sharing the collective experience of those things, catching up with people’s personal news (much of it very sad unfortunately; our church had a death and several illnesses over the summer), seeing the sea of smiling faces at the front of the church during children’s time, and being in the presence of people with whom I have a shared history presented a much-needed re-grounding for my tattered soul.
And then, it was a bike ride along the lake to the airport for my first flight lesson of the fall. Yep, I flew a plane today! Couldn’t remember if I could still do it, actually, but it was quite good in the end, considering it’s been a full three months since I last piloted an aircraft!!!
Flying offers a high (no pun intended) like no other: After a somewhat hellish week on the home front, and a coincidentally-hotter-than-Hades first week back in my 32-degree-Celcius classroom at school, I wasn’t even sure that I had the stamina to taxi off the apron, let alone do all the radio work and simultaneously fly the plane. But, as it turns out, flying is an immediate antidote for any kind of emotional trauma... there is something quite spectacular about pulling back the throttle, and -- moments later -- soaring over the city! After my lesson, I felt genuinely refreshed and newly optimistic about a variety of concerns, both personal and professional!
We finished off the day with a little picnic dinner at Leslie Spit, and some geocaching at Sherbourne Common before heading home for bedtime and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, which we have just started reading together this week.
A Sunday like this one is surely the medicine needed for an excellent week ahead!
So, guess who showed up Tuesday night just before midnight on her bike? That's right, Tatiana!
She flew into Moncton, stayed overnight in a hostile, bought a bike the next morning, and biked all the way to our house in PEI!!!
It took her 11 hours. (She flew back home from Ch'town on Friday.)
The boys were delighted to see her, and our visiting friend from Lyon was able to meet her before flying home, too.
During the short visit we hung out at the beach (low tide), finished off the scallops (Trevor was able to try his hand at our friend's "Whiskey Scallop" recipe), and kept up our tree-watering schedule (with such a dry spring/summer, the newly planted row of evergreens need to be hand watered almost daily to establish roots).
Sat morning we hit the local farmer's market in Morell, and the boys set up their lemonade and toy stand at Wayne's Yard Sale This afternoon, it's off to the St Peter's Bay Blueberry Festival -- yum!
I am thankful. It is not the kind of thankfulness that we try to embed into our daily lives after we read some self help book or article, the kind that is more grounded in logic (I know I ought to be grateful for…) rather than unbridled passion (Wow! This is incredible, I am soooo lucky!)
Nope, I am filled with the kind of gratitude one sings about in the lyrics of the
Some guy rolled down his car window and yelled at me the other day as I was cycling home, listening to my iPod... “Get a helmet!”, he shouted angrily, before speeding away in his gas-guzzler.
I would have yelled back, “Get an education!”, but I was too busy focussing on
Not sure what I am more taken with, the giant, golden moon I observed hanging over the city on my bike ride home from work tonight, or the "stars", a million twinkling lights, I saw from the left seat of a Cessna 150, as we glided overhead the city the other night on my first flight in months...
Life is Good.
Keeping my promise to ride through the winter this year (my first year of biking to work twice a week) hasn’t been hard. Of course, the impressiveness of this all-season feat is considerably diminished by the fact that we’ve had very little snow in Toronto this winter. Beating the cold is not a challenge; surviving snow covered roads, on the other hand, can be.
But tonight I finally I finally got to try out the treachery of winter riding.
Luckily, I had my cycling expert girlfriend with me; she had ridden through ice and snow to bring me dinner at school, where I was staying late to rearrange my classroom – long story, separate blog post once time permits – and accompany me home.
After a briefing ("go slow, don’t lean into turns, get off saddle and put one foot near ground in case of instability, ride straight, no braking…."), we set out. Rather than my usual fast fare, I opted for Vivaldi’s Quattro Stagioni in my headphones to guide my slower pace and carry me through the slushy ride home.
It was definitely slower, but not as treacherous as I had anticipated.
I heeded my girlfriend’s wise advice, and made all the right accommodations, resulting in only one near slip, and no falls at all! Yay!
Soon, we were turning into a familiar driveway and stopping for a quick photo in the parking lot out back of our building.
My first ride in the snow.
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!) Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
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