24 May 2011

Limitations of technology

This is mostly plausible, except for that somewhat sparse east-west straight line that involves walking on water:

and most of this is plausible, but the peak speed would require some explanation:
But, still, a reasonably representative depiction all in all.

Saw more birds than I want to type in; highlights include a pair of house wrens nesting in a concrete light standard, a cooper's hawk staring back down at me from its tree (a freaky experience; it might well be able to see my eyes through the binoculars, and was certainly acting like it could), some highly co-operative indigo buntings, two immense snapping turtles, and a great crested flycatcher holding still in unobscured direct sunlight for at least ten seconds.

Eighteen km of walking is much more work than fifty kilometers of cycling.

Bicycle Birding Attempt

So the idea was, since you can (by doing three sides of the curvy square) go from Guildwood GO station to Rouge Hill GO station entirely on a (lovely, paved) trail, to see if the upper part of the trail was as pleasant as the lower part of the trail.

Which meant getting to Guildwood, and the nigh-traditional Exhibition Station start.

The entire park was gorgeous; there's a variety of habitat, some considerable stretches identified as good for mourning warblers (which were heard, by those with suitable ears, but not seen), and if it rained it did not do so very thoroughly until we were quite out of the park.  Twelve kilometers is fairly long for a bird walk, but not fatally so.  And even on bicycles, it was a very pleasant, quiet, full-of-spring-and-birdsong thing.
The rain did get more thorough after that, but not so much so as to make enjoying the ride impossible, or even very difficult.  And by the time we got to the Ajax GO station, the sun had come out, something those of you with delicate aesthetic sensibilities are likely to regret:
(Or, at least, you may regret that the Ajax GO station is quite so elevated and transparent as all that.)

It was a nice ride, if a bit (40km) short, and I have put walking the route (or, rather, the part of it between Guildwood and Rouge Hill) on my calendar for next spring around peak warbler season.
Also, next time perhaps I will be able to find the actual bike trail up to the Ajax GO station, rather than engaging in the pathfinding equivalent of flailing about in the wilderness.

Bicycle necromancy

Or, at least, so I presume it to be.

13 May 2011


So I found out that, contra the (very nice, and just as surprised as I was) director at the company I'm consulting for, the property company has an inflexible policy that there are no bicycles permitted in the building; they do, after all, have dedicated exterior bicycle parking.  Said dedicated bike parking is, well, it's adjacent to the parking lot, which has no access controls and is behind the building; it's unobserved and mostly un-observable, being tucked into a corner by the loading dock; uses odd split wheel-only locking stations that are bolted into the concrete and could be unbolted with your common-or-garden 12" adjustable spanner, 2 bolts to the bicycle (the folks who use the space (all five of them) are using the surrounding railing to lock their bikes to, oddly enough); and, most vexing of all, is apparently the product of a sincere desire to encourage bicycle use.

Since I like the Experiement and wish, very much, to keep it, I won't be cycling to work anymore.

Which made Monday's trip home, well, especially interesting; it was going to be the last one, and I tried what ought to have been a pleasant variant on the "let us minimize major roads" route I'd taken to work. (that had not worked so well as I would have best preferred; 2 uphill km of a busy part of Leslie was decidedly sub-optimal, as was getting lost and winding up crossing the 401 at Bayview, rather than Yonge (though the Bayview crossing is arguably better in most respects) but, hey, it was at least mostly scenic and had fewer stop signs than the previous attempt.)
Until I ran into the slight problem that Google's routing for bicycles doesn't take into account things like flood control projects:

Which, while doubtless necessary and useful, rather remove from the bike path any kind of actual present utility.  (Off to the left there is some unbridged river, and I wasn't feeling quite that determined.)
Which meant  that the route recovery procedure was to get off and push the Experiment up a couple-four hundred meters of grass-grown ski hill, complete with chair lift.  I ought to have taken a picture at the bottom, but I didn't, and the view at the top is lovely:

From there, the rest of the route worked; there was minor delay due to a freight train:
but, hey, a chance to sit at a level crossing, drink water, and take some pictures was not to be disdained by that point.  (This is just before picking up the 3km or so of new, smoothly paved, and downhill rail trail that is the last stage of the trip home.)

Whereupon I got home and discovered that the occasion of deck removal my landlord had warned me about in general terms had already happened:

One can surmise both where the deck used to be and why the landlord wanted to replace it; the stringers had been driven straight into the brick, which was not benefiting from this.  And it's all replaced now and generally improved, but this was still rather more care in getting the bike in the door than I really wanted.

All of which is a minor inconvenience, really; I'm less than pleased about the not being able to cycle to work part, but I'll live, and not having to cross the 401 is probably good for my life expectancy.

The "ow" is the discovery that the vague snuffly feeling  that had been going on for some time now (as in, some months) wasn't pollen, riding in traffic, or just plain unaccustomed exercise, it was an infestation of what could pass for satanic lemon curd, later diagnosed as sinusitis.  I now have antibiotics and some nasal spray and things are much improved, leading to me noticing how much it still hurts and how much less it hurts than it did before the antibiotics.  (The family pain threshold can be unhelpful, example n for large n...)  But it is getting better and I can hope that it shall well and truly go away this time.

08 May 2011

A wee loop

Very wee; 20 km. Enough to be reasonably sure I haven't utterly flubbed the handlebar re-alignment and to make Aoife look concerned when I get home.

There were perhaps 10,000 people in High Park, mostly looking at the cherry blossoms. (And the flanking apple blossoms, and probably also the waterfowl, new leaves, and general indications of the greening spring.)  Which made that part of the wee loop really, really slow, but the rest was pretty good for a Sunday.  The usual folks on roller-blades somewhat deluded about how fast they were really going (I get the impression that roller blades feel much faster than they actually are), family clumps going the wrong way on the bike path and ignoring the boardwalk 10 metres away, and a scattering joggers similarly unclear on the concept that they do not have wheels and might be subject to the "proceed on the right hand side of the track" convention.

Oh, and cyclists who ignore red lights, stops signs, due caution at crosswalks, and the concept of directional stability, too; I would not want anyone to think I'm prone to excepting other cyclists from the outbreaks of grouchiness.

It was really a lovely spring day, though, and the grouchiness failed to last.

Aside from the handlebar alignment, I found out that the finger-loops on my water bottles (which rotate freely on the neck of the bottle) can rattle like a fender about to disintegrate by knocking on the seat tube.   Someone, somewhere, must make really good stainless steel bike bottles, but I haven't found them yet.  (The Filzer bottles I have aren't actively bad, but could be improved.)

04 May 2011

It's amazing how long 45 km can seem

Even in two widely separated roughly same-distance chunks.

Managed to ride to work without getting direly lost, squashed, or collapsing in a heap, and I learning something—Google doesn't want to route cyclists going north onto Old Yonge St. for the good and excellent reason that it's a bit steep, and has really inconvenient stop signs.  Google also thinks McGlashan Road is a through street west of Yonge, and it isn't, and that was exciting; the handlebars are pointing a little right of the midline; getting into the highest gear leads to chain hop, which I suspect can be cured by tweaking some rear derailleur settings, and a 20km ride in sub-10℃ weather has me going through about a litre of water.  Oh, and the attempt to wrap the water bottles in self-adhering silicone tape is a success, in that they don't scrape on the bottle cages and are in there good and snug, and not a success in that the silicone tape remains willing to bond with itself and attracts dust and grit with amazing thoroughness.

Never been riding on most of those roads; found myself riding through a cemetery (nice ride, though there are ridge issues) and a rail trail (splendid) I had no idea existed before I started looking for a to-work route, so that's something.

Will be looking at a less road route, if I can; route-finding for a new route notwithstanding, all the stop signs keep the average speed low and the cars are mostly polite but it only takes one.

But, hey, I made it, the Experiment fits in my new cube, and if I manage to do enough of this in May riding around Niagara in early June will be more fun and less hurty.

01 May 2011

Her Importunate Majesty

This is the "looking away after the last bikket leaves her looking down at me from the top of a side pillar of the big bookshelf" expression.

It is very reliable of occurrence.