Leaving the City!

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!

9 thoughts on “Leaving the City!

    1. I did – it was only a little over an hour but it was still really wonderful. But then I had a fantastic day *in* as well with several social events. And now I’ll be starting a delicious dinner. 🙂

  1. I have loved seeing the increase in bikers around my home. And no doubt, nice to have no traffic. That is changing. I hope people continue riding to work and to do errands. Nice ride!. Donna

    1. Thanks! I’m hopeful it sticks around. It really is a great way to travel for many people when it feels safe for them. Even those who aren’t at peak fitness can benefit from bicycles with electrically assisted motors.

      And for me I like how self-sufficient it makes me feel. Getting somewhere under one’s own power is so rewarding!

  2. It will be disappointing when the roads fill up again. I love that you have that freedom to ride right now. Do you have any thoughts about the vaccine development in Massachusetts?

    1. Me too! I have to look at what’s happening with vaccine development. There are a BUNCH of candidates out there (have a look here for a list – it’s pretty impressive). The company I work for has at least two. There’s a company in Quebec City that’s got one that’s showing promise in animal tests. GSK and Pfizer each have several candidates, J&J has still more. Timing is the question. The balance is going to be speed to market versus time spent in clinical trials. But check this out. There’s even a project where thousands of younger people have offered to deliberately be exposed/infected to provide a larger pool for controlled clinical testing.

      I think that if a vaccine is possible, it will get to market faster than any other before it. After all, it is clearly a very transmissible virus with serious consequences. The market for this really could be close to the entire world population. So roughly 8 billion people times, let’s say, $20-30/dose (cheap estimate, I think) and that’s a $100+ billion market. I’ve said it before and will say it again. The first to market with a good vaccine and the capacity to produce in quantity will be printing money and have the best PR possible. We all know Jonas Salk’s name, after all. And marketers won’t let us forget the name of the company who does the most to end this.

      1. Did you intend for there to be a link? I would like to see the list but couldn’t. Thanks for all the further thoughts.

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