#30DaysOfBiking Day 12 – In a Rush

Day 12’s day of biking starts bright and early at 6:30 AM. I have surprised myself with my preparedness – my laptop and clothes for work are packed in my pannier and ready to go. I add in my lunch and a couple of snacks, fill a water bottle and put on my cycling gear: also laid out the night before. WHO AM I WITH ALL OF THIS PREPARATION?!? Someone who wants to remove behavioural friction by making it as easy as possible to get out the door without excuses.

What a difference a few weeks makes. Today even at 6:30 it is light enough that I’m OK without my lights. I’m also OK without a jacket, gloves or hat. I’m just wearing shorts and a jersey again. How great is this? Then there’s the fact that the roads are empty and there’s no headwind. Sure, there was 165 metres of climbing to do along the way but there’s no getting out of that.

The ride is even better than normal – a good reminder to leave early for work to reap the benefits. When I got to work I was the first cyclist to arrive so I got a good spot on the rack and headed inside. My client makes it really easy to commute as they have showers available with shower gel and towels. So I only need to bring a comb and my clothes to work in. I keep a set of work boots on site to use so I can just change into them at my desk. There is something about starting work 5 minutes after a 1 hour bike ride and a hot shower. I feel refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.

When I head back outside I’m shocked at how lovely the weather is. It’s now 27°C and sunny. This is my favourite cycling weather hands down. There’s a bit of a wind but most of the time it will be at my back – and it’s always nice to have a little extra push.

The night before I’d found a new park with some artwork in it to check out and used Komoot to map out a route home that included this park. The navigation was fine but it really showed me how nice my usual route home is. My usual route to/from this client’s site is about 1/3 entirely off-road. No traffic, no sharing the road. Today, though, I’m going down some bigger roads in North York. Overall drivers were courteous and gave me tons of space but with higher speed limits and more traffic it’s not the peaceful route I’m used to.

When I arrive, astute readers (especially Canadian ones) may have a guess at who this park is named after.

I’ve reached the Lee Lifeson Art Park, named after Geddy Lee (on the right) and Alex Lifeson (left), two of the members of the band Rush who grew up in Toronto – Geddy Lee quite near to this park in the neighbourhood of Willowdale.

Though I grew up in their heyday, they didn’t really hit my radar that hard. In the mid 80’s I was more into New Wave and Electronic music. I liked what they did but didn’t really listen. In fact, I remember well a time in Algebra class back in 1981. I had just been put in this class a few years early and was 3-4 years younger than my classmates. One day I sat down for an exam. Someone had written the word “Rush” on the desk in pen and I truly thought it was someone who wanted others to do poorly on the exam by telling them to rush and not check their work.

Still, later I did see a little connection. I do like some of the themes of their music and the video for Subdivisions that I didn’t see until I was well into my adult years, really resonated with me. Though I grew up in the country, I feel like I was a lot like the main character in the story in the video. I suspect my classmates from the early to mid 80s would agree.

The park itself is a little small. There’s a small performance space with a stage where the piece “Limelight” sits.

This piece, by Paul Raff Studio is a glass mosaic sculpture designed as a parabolic reflector for sound Its reflective nature and colour make me think of an abalone shell.

The other piece, 120 mirrors is described by the artist, Anna Friz and Public Studio as “120 Mirrors is a sound installation consisting of a series of horn-shaped sculptures that each play with a different aspect of human communication, specifically, the acts of listening, speaking, conversing, and reflection. The sculptures explore these elements that together make up the acts of dialogue and broadcast, through the simple acoustic amplification of landscape and voice. By separating the different processes into discrete experiences, the various elements of communication are emphasized, allowing visitors to become more mindful of the acts of listening, to themselves and to others. By using materials referenced in the historical Toronto Purchase (such as brass, mirrors, etc.),120 Mirrors seeks to deepen visitors’ engagement with the necessity and importance of generous communication in public space, and, through a sonic experience of space, to become more aware of their surroundings as a historical, political, and contemporary social landscape.”

The most striking piece is a pink, white and orange set of horns looking like speakers.

Elsewhere in the park are more similarly painted sound tubes with smaller openings. This is one of the times I wish I had a second person along with me as I’m pretty sure that there’s some communication between the various tubes and possibly this central installation. I may never know.

As I walk past one conical, mirrored sculpture at the north end of the park I hear noises that sound more like I’m sitting near a pond along Taylor Creek than in a busy part of the city. It turns out that that, too, is part of the 120 mirrors installation.

The ride from here home is tricky. My route takes me south to Sheppard, a very big road. When it suggests I ride on it I try to find another way around. A ride through a parking lot takes me to within inches of the road I need to be on but a tall fence prevents me from getting there. Back up to Sheppard I go and I take another detour along a side road to eventually get myself back on the right way. After this busy stretch my route takes me back to my usual commute and then, for no good reason, another detour that suggests I cross a 5 lane road packed with cars and hardly any breaks. I go up the sidewalk and back down the other side to the route it suggested and soon I’m in a neighbourhood filled with massive houses. And then, finding the seemingly hidden entrance to the park I was meant to take I find myself back on the route I would’ve taken normally. From here on out the ride home is easy and mostly free of any cars.

It took me a bit longer to get home and took me down some tricky roads but I’m still glad I did this detour. And now, it’s time to get out for today’s ride: a couple of errands and an interesting stop as well. See you tomorrow!

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