Recent Riding

After my long ride last week I needed to take it a bit easier. I may have overdone it a bit with a minor injury that I need to take care of. That doesn’t mean no riding but it does likely mean that there won’t be another 200 km ride this year.

Last Tuesday I volunteered to deliver more vegetables for Bike Brigade. This was another great ride but there were some challenges. As I rode to my pickup point I saw that the sunny day was about to end. Dark dark clouds loomed in the west and were quickly coming. By the time I got to the pickup point they were almost on top of us.

Other cyclists are packing their deliveries with all of us getting ready for the rain. You can see that the restaurant’s patio tables are being packed up as we speak also.

I managed to get all the vegetables packed in my trailer before it became dark as night. I turned on my lights to be visible and got on my way. The rain was torrential for about ten minutes soaking me to the skin. It was a warm rain, though, and even as I was completely wet I felt a bit invincible. Look at me riding through any weather! (OK, sure, it’s not an ice storm but…) The deliveries were all in a relatively small area so I got them done quickly with one lone delivery on the other side of town. As I rode the rain tapered off and the quality of light became stunningly beautiful. The clouds were dark but there was beautiful light coming from a break in them. When I arrived there the people at the buildings were cheering to appreciate the frontline workers. I’m glad that’s still continuing.

As I got closer to home it looked as if more rain was on the way. And not only that my achilles tendon was complaining a bit. It looks like hauling 80-100 lbs of vegetables by bicycle all around the city was too much. I’ll be taking this week off from that.

I did still go out, though, and a few nights ago I went out on a 20 km loop to enjoy the sunset and check out the new bike lanes on Danforth Ave – a street cyclists have been wanting to see bike lanes on for literally decades here in Toronto.

Last night I took another ride out to do a bit of grocery shopping. I have been seeing this next thing nearly every time I go out to deliver vegetables but with a big trailer I tend to not want to stop. This time I had only my bike and so I stopped to share this with you.

To me, this is the path forward for humanity and nothing has made this more evident than the pandemic. “Give what you can, take what you need” says the sign on this Little Free Pantries box. Inside you’ll find non-perishable food left by caring people for people in need to take. Why? The Little Free Pantries site says this:

It is estimated that food insecurity affects almost 1 in 5 Toronto households (18.5%). Toronto Little Free Pantry Project’s objective is to address this need on a local level and ultimately make our city a better place. We are communities coming together, building, hosting and stocking Little Free Pantries in order to help those in need amongst us.

Little Free Pantries site

While it’s always been the case, it’s never been more evident that some people are having an easy time of life while others are struggling just to get by. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a relatively secure job with free time in a country where mostly the pandemic is being managed well. (A total of 230 new cases in all of Canada yesterday, for example). But people are in trouble. Therefore we need to do what we can with these additional blessings of time and money to help those who are needing it. And likewise, people who are in need should feel comfortable asking for help. This is how society moves forward and improves.

Be safe, everyone.

12 thoughts on “Recent Riding

  1. You’re doing two things you are passionate about simultaneously 🙂
    Rains made it a little more fun maybe this time.
    Little Free Pantries has a very nice concept. Not sure we have something like this here. Even if we do, it isn’t anywhere closeby. Such possibilities should be made available in every neighbourhood. I remember once I had read about a similar concept which was to do with clothes somewhere in Bangalore. And, I really thought it was such a novel idea. Not sure if it still exists during this pandemic time.

    1. It’s really true. And maybe a few more: meeting new people, getting in to unexpected situations, seeing new places.

      The first time I was in Raipur I saw a similar thing for clothing. I seem to recall there being food on offer there as well but I might be mis-remembering it. I know people can be a little weird about “redistributing” excess money, but other necessities like food and clothing should be easier to distribute than it is. I know when I was in Jaipur my host would even share leftover food from restaurants with hungry people. I know they tried that here with a place to leave leftovers from restaurants where people could take them. However, it was really poorly received, making those who took advantage of it often feel like they were treated like second class citizens which I completely understand. And of course now it’s a definite non-option with the pandemic.

      We also have Little Free Libraries with books that everyone can use. Several of my friends used those while our library was closed. They’re still not completely open yet but we can pick up holds that we order online so people are likely using them less.

  2. I am glad that you are letting your body dictate how much you cycle at the moment. It’s when we ignore those twinges that we get worse pain! Here, of course, madness prevails and many millions don’t have enough food since they have no money.

    1. I’d be better off if I had listened to my body even earlier but so be it :-). To be fair it was going to be a 226 km (140 mile) ride but I could feel that that was going to be a bit much and the weather was starting to look too threatening. I wanted to be within transit range of home if we had really foul weather like hail or tornadoes.

      It is so shocking to see so many people work to help those who want to work against people’s best interests. The mind really boggles.

  3. I love that idea of doing deliveries on a bike. If we could do that here it would take me out of home.

    I love that beautiful light that you sometimes get just after a rain. Aren’t you supposed to be masked on the street? What do you do in rain? That’s an existential question here.

    1. It is definitely a good way to get out of the house. Many of the people I deliver to are voluntarily self-isolating after being in protests so deliveries are necessary. I can go for a bike ride anytime but I always prefer it when I have a purpose whether it be to get groceries, do volunteer work or even just go somewhere to take photos to share here.

      That light is one of my favourite things to see. It makes everything look magical and sometimes even unreal like someone ran an Instagram filter on the entire world.

      Here the guidance is that masks are required in all indoor public spaces but they’re not required outdoors except when social distancing is not possible. So if we’re walking on an empty street or even one where we can give each other space it’s fine to not have your mask on. But most of us now carry them with us and put them on before going in to a shop. I tend to keep mine in a plastic bag on a rainy day. It keeps it dry and clean in my pocket or bag. That is what I did when making deliveries though some people who had single-family homes just asked me to leave the delivery on their porch and ring the bell. In that case I didn’t bother with a mask. I was the only one outside.

    1. Thanks! It is really rewarding too. Of course it isn’t all that difficult – telling me to go for a 30 kilometre ride on a 28 degree day is like asking another person if they’d like a free resort vacation. Of course I will! It’ll be harder to motivate myself when it’s -10 outside for sure.

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