Awesome things that happened to me yesterday

I promise, I have no intentions of writing a bike blog. There’s a lot more to me than my bike (for example: the banana bread that I made and wrecked and then saved, which I will not discuss any further), but a lot of me happens on my bike.

That last sentence seems kind of gross, but I can’t figure out why. I’m keeping it.

I woke up to what could have been a really yucky morning yesterday. I had slept in—not long enough for it to feel like a rollicking adventure, just enough to ruin my shaky morning-plans—and my cat wanted nothing to do with me. Max likes to snuggle in the mornings (you know, because I’d just spent the last 5-8 hours building go-karts with my ex-landlord), and he likes to push his nose in my face like he’s trying to make me snort his entire body. I love it. And all I got that morning was a casual glance from the top of his kitty tree. His high horse.

By the time I got out on the road, I was a full 10 minutes late compared to when I usually leave. My life as a daily transit commuter is at least four weeks behind me, but I still start to feel antsy at the 8:15 mark, because that used to be the definitive Why Is Brandy Still At Home moment where my rote memorization of the #22 bus schedule dropped off. A delightful side effect of riding my bike to work (and there are many) is that it’s faster than transit, but it still takes more than the half-hour I had remaining. I zoomed.

I zoomed past an adorable father-daughter duo, and the little girl had streamers. Streamers at rush hour! I can’t say that I don’t yearn for streamers of my own. And I hit almost every green light there is on my route, of which there really are not many. The best of all was the bottom of the big ridiculous Ontario Street hill at Marine. That never happens. But it happened. I zoomed! Little by little, my anxiety about going fast is disappearing. But I’ll always prefer up to down, hill-wise.

I zoomed past the future Canadian Tire/Best Buy/Sport Chek plaza nearing completion right by the office, and there was nobody to zoom past me. Open already, huge building. I can’t wait to tell everyone that I’m going to go grab an iPod, a crescent wrench and an Adidas tank top for lunch.

I arrived at work a mere five minutes late, which is not good but (thankfully) not lethal. The work day flew by, too. I would say that it zoomed, but it appears that I’m reserving that word for bike things. Fair enough. My ride home was quick, fun, and conveniently uneventful, and when I got home I played catch with the cat.

Max catches his tiny soccer ball
The sheer force of my pride devastated the quality of this image.

Maybe “awesome” is too hefty a word to describe any of these happenings, but that’s your judgement to make if you want. I smiled widely. I’ve got that planned for today, too.



My pretty new friend

My previous post stands as proof that I am no soothsayer (yet?). It’s overwhelming to have so much to say, especially when all the fun keeps piling up in the recent past, just begging to be documented, and I’ve been dealing with having no idea where to start by not starting at all. That’s smart, right? The only way to start writing (again) is to start writing (again), and this time it’s got to be about my recent brilliant decision to become a Bike Person.

Like everything I do, I let the idea sit around for yonks, cruising Craigslist for used bikes, mapping out the commute to work, searching out cute accessories. But the cost of a new bicycle, combined with my fear of it getting stolen, prevented me from taking the plunge. Did you know that most bike locks can be easily popped open with a slice of Velveeta? I’m pretty sure I heard that somewhere.

On top of all this fear and destitution, my workplace sits at the bottom of a looming beast of a hill, and my new commute would involve climbing that thing at the end of every day. That sealed it for me, at least until this beauty showed up in my life:

My darling Nishiki.
Chilling with the books.

When I was a kid, my mother had a sweet burgundy Nishiki road bike, and it’s instilled a huge Nishiki bias in me. I’m also fond of bright pink and charming turquoise, so I really couldn’t have turned this impulse buy down and continue life as myself. With the help of the lovely Scott, I bought it and rode it home.

Since then, I’ve taken transit to work exactly once, and I don’t plan on doing it again because the ride is so dreamy. The hill is truly a beast, and I’m not alone in this opinion. But it’s not impossible, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned this year, it’s that exercise is awesome, and riding to work gives me plenty of that. My entire route is bikeways and parks and calmed traffic. I get home at least twenty minutes earlier than my transit commute could manage, any stress from the work day long dissipated.

My weakness for pretty colours has paid off once again! I can’t remember the last time it did, but I don’t doubt that it’s happened at some point.