This morning I am on the bike early while the already light traffic was at its lightest. I’m beginning to get really accustomed to this level of traffic. Roads I once avoided – the six-lane arterial roads of the suburbs are now some of my favourites. With two lanes to pass me in, drivers give me loads of space. And with few stoplights, I can get up some good momentum. And so I head up Don Mills Road.
The weather is the perfect temperature. It is 13 degrees but once I ride for a couple of minutes I’m warm. The sun feels wonderful on my bare arms and legs. The absence of exhaust fumes is noticeable. Instead I smell trees and flowers. It feels like the start of a good day on a long bike tour and optimistically I hope for another tour in a year or two.
I’m going so fast that I wonder if I have a tailwind I didn’t notice – it wouldn’t be the first time. But when I stop at the next light I can see that that’s not the case. I’m just feeling strong today, I guess. It’s likely due to my having done some form of exercise – usually cycling – since mid-April and several times a week before that. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that most of the time I’m traveling with a trailer or full panniers on my bike so nearly unladen it feels positively speedy and agile.
I’m shocked at how quickly I make it out of the city even as I’m going uphill most of the way. I think back to the last time I left Toronto. February 8th. It was 105 days ago. Almost 1/3 of a year. Some of you might remember that trip.
I continue north, seeing many cyclists out – some in small groups, others alone like myself. We exchange waves. There are a few drivers out and our interactions are really positive. Some give me not just one but two lanes of space and I am grateful. At red lights I scoot to the left of the right lane to let them pass by to make right turns when needed and they make a point of thanking me. This is how sharing the road should always feel.
When I get to Highway 7 and the border of the next town, Richmond Hill and this seems like a good place to turn back. I may not be able to be in the same room with others, but I’ve got a book club meeting, I’m recording an interview and an improv class all in the same day. If I don’t get back soon I won’t have time to shower and get started on the day.
The way back flies by. After going uphill most of the way there, it’s now almost all downhill and I am shocked at how quickly I get back to my own neighbourhood. Traveling by bus during pre-pandemic times took much longer. And when I look at my stats, I can see that I’ve had one of my fastest rides ever. It’s a perfect way to start what promises to be an excellent weekend!