#30DaysOfBiking Day 22 – Another Strange Toronto House

On Day 22 the day seems to fly by. I wake up at 4:15, out the door by 5:30, volunteer until a little past 9 and then head back home. A quick snack and then I’m faced with a choice: coffee or nap. By 10:30 ‘nap’ is the clear winner as Sage heads in to a workshop.

Saturday morning naps are becoming a thing for me – waking up at 4:15 or earlier will do that to you. But there’s something especially delicious about these as there’s a depth to that sleep that seems to exceed even my night’s sleep. To make sure daytime sounds don’t bother me I put in some earplugs and try to read some more of my book. Two paragraphs in I see that that’s not going to be possible. In minutes I’m asleep. It’s the kind of sleep in which you’re not even aware of time passing. I wake over two hours later feeling groggy and heavy like I’m under the lead apron you wear when getting dental x-rays.

I have the coffee I was considering in the morning but am still slow to get moving. Finally, I find my way to the computer and write the two entries I posted yesterday before looking up at the time. It’s 6:00 PM. I have a Hindi class at 8:00 PM so, I think, I have tons of time and relax with a bit of social media before changing my clothes and heading out for today’s ride. Like the previous couple of days a destination has come to mind and before I have a chance for internal debate I head out the door, a bag over my shoulder for a quick grocery trip on the way home.

Today’s spin of the April weather wheel comes up with “Cold but not too cold – 12 degrees” but also threatening clouds, no rain and a bit of wind. The traffic wheel is a little less friendly, giving me a couple of drivers who pass and/or follow too close. I’m trying to treat them with a bit more equanimity rather than ascribing intentions to them: impatience, entitlement, anger. Maybe they’re unsure of what the impact is on cyclists at all. This was really made clear to me when we had a “Safety Minute” in a meeting on Friday at work and someone brought up ‘Watch out for e-bikers who don’t pay attention to red lights and wear earbuds the whole time. Which, to be fair, is grounded a bit in truth. There are people like this, I saw many on my trip yesterday. But I also saw law abiding cyclists and drivers who didn’t obey the law. Guess who stuck out in my mind? The ones who were most memorable: “Holy cow that guy just ran a light, weaved between the cars and kept on going all while acknowledging an order on his phone!” During the discussion I also asked them, as drivers (I’m the only regular cyclist in the group) to watch out for me and give me a metre – or better yet more, especially if they’re going faster. “What if I dodge some glass or a pothole you can’t see?” I said. Some were really surprised: “I hadn’t thought of that!”

I’ve also been thinking lots about the context of these things as well. Here it shocks me when someone passes me a bit close. When I was cycling in India, it became normal and comfortable to hear a quick toot on the horn, I move over a little to the left and someone passes on my right. Or, as happened a couple of times I had to move gently off the road to let an oncoming bus in my lane who was passing some cars get by. If that happened here I would be shaken all day. But there it was normal and I didn’t feel particularly at risk.

So I think the trick is to try as much as possible to decouple the feeling of being startled/scared by someone passing close from the judgements about the driver and their reasons for doing what they did. In reality it’s probably not all that different than what I said yesterday about hills and headwinds. I can do things to avoid them or mitigate them but I’m no more going to stop that driver from behaving badly or teach them something by catching up to them and yelling at them than I would by shouting angrily at a hill for being so steep. Both, instead of being cathartic, just amplify the anger. Better to just let it go. And let it go I did. I didn’t let those six seconds of irritation ruin my 70 minutes of fun.

My ride took me through the city, this time through the gay village with its bars, rainbow crosswalks and really great bookshop where Sage and I went to Drag Bingo as part of 52 Adventures just before the pandemic hit. As I got closer to downtown, in a callback to my Friday work meeting, I started seeing couriers on e-bikes running lights. The irritation at this is an even more irrational habit I’m trying to break. They very rarely put me at risk, only themselves and yet there I am being bugged by them. I dispel this by thinking about the purpose of anger: usually to get ourselves out of a dangerous or risky situation and to spur us into some sort of action. But what useful action is there? None. Let it go, look around and enjoy the fact that you’re riding on the streets of a big city you live in, just look around with your 22 year old eyes and enjoy.

I finally arrive at my destination, Toronto’s “Half house”. When companies went on a land buying spree to hopefully make tons of money in future development they came to the owners of a duplex. One owner was willing to sell. The other was not. The developers were not to be discouraged, though. They bought half of the house – and when the time came to tear down the one building they owned, they just carefully cut it off and closed up the massive hole.

Having reached my goal I looked down at my watch. 30 minutes to go until Hindi class. How did I miscalculate so badly? It took well over 30 minutes to get here. I may be late but I’ll do my best to arrive home as quickly as I can to allow for a shower and a bit of dinner without being too late. I push myself to get home as quickly as possible, still stopping at every red light along the way – which seems to be nearly every one I pass. I arrive home with seven minutes to spare – impressive speed but not enough to allow dinner and the shower I now need very much after such a hard ride home.

And to think I thought I could stop at the grocery store as well on the way. Time management is definitely something I need to work on.

3 thoughts on “#30DaysOfBiking Day 22 – Another Strange Toronto House

      1. Excellent! Still within tolerance of acceptability! 🤣🤣🤣

        Sometimes I enjoy getting “lost” and poking around places I end up and lose track of time … challenging when one has other places to be.

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