While it might’ve been hot, the previous day’s ride was excellent. It was so good to be out and about, soaking up the sun. On the hottest days here I truly feel like I am storing heat for the winter. More than once I have stood at an icy cold streetcar stop in the winter and thought of the hottest moments of summers past to keep myself warm.
Today I created a simple errand as an excuse to go for another ride. I would take a short trip – about 8 km / 5 miles each way to get Sage one of her favourite treats: spicy Korean chicken ramen. This kind is extremely spicy but also delicious with imitation ground beef, scallions, and sliced matchstick cucumbers.
Today the route takes me north along the same path I took south to the Brickworks. It’s a popular picnic ground and so it was full with families and friends having BBQs. With the heat, though, most were clustered anywhere they could find shade. The bike path itself was nearly empty of cyclists. I had it all to myself.
This route requires that I go on a relatively busy street for a few hundred metres to connect to a different trail. But as it is Canada Day, I am happy to see that there are lots of breaks in traffic. It’s an easy ride to the next rail trail. I’m the only one for most of the ride along the trail.
With a trail this empty the temptation would be to go really fast to make good time. However, with the heat index approaching 44C (111F), I just aimed for the sweet spot of speed – fast enough to create a breeze, slow enough that little effort was required.
When I first started riding a bike in 2007, many of these trails didn’t exist, and where they did interface with roads, it could be stressful and dangerous. While there are still places where that is very much the case, there are now exceptions like this:
Here there are bicycle-specific signals and crossing space. Pedestrians have a button to request a walk sign, and next to the bike lane is a button for cyclists to press. Not long after pressing it, traffic is stopped and my light turns green. I continue north where I connect with a bike lane that takes me to within a hundred metres or so of Galleria Market, a nearby Korean supermarket.
This market is great – it has a great produce section and lots of snacks, sweets, and drinks I can’t find anywhere else.
I am hungry now and head over to the prepared food section. They have a huge deli section with a buffet filled with Korean dishes and space to eat them. They also have noodles made to order. One, the spicy cold buckwheat noodles intrigue me. I go to an automated kiosk and order one.
I’m excited to see that I can order “Very spicy” from the kiosk. This is exciting because they won’t see me and think “He’s Canadian, he doesn’t know what spicy even means” and make it mild. This is a huge plus. It takes a little while but the noodles finally arrive. They are really interesting!
There are a few ingredients here. In the bowl are a bunch of buckwheat noodles, julienned cucumber, one piece of beef (a little skimpy, I think), a hard boiled egg, and large pieces of shaved daikon radish. This last item was surprisingly good – crispy and delicious. Next to it are gochujang sauce (the red hot sauce), and broth. The broth was a mild broth and as you might be able to see, it’s also got crushed ice in it. I mix everything together in the bowl and try it.
The verdict? It isn’t particularly spicy but I don’t think it’s their fault. The sauce is as spicy as it can be. They don’t make a special sauce for people who want it more spicy. I love the idea of a cold soup on a day like today and the flavours are really good. The crispy elements are really nice in the cold broth. I’m quite pleased with my purchase and would definitely have it again – maybe next time at a restaurant to see if it’s even better there.
I grab Sage’s ramen along with some scallions and head back. The ride home is even hotter and there are fewer people out than when I came up. On the plus side, aside from the very end of the ride, it’s all downhill from the store. I can travel quickly with very little effort.
I get home from this trip and after putting away the groceries, I decide to doze a bit. Two days of hot cycling has taken a little bit of a toll. Where did I go the next day? Wait and see!