The first 2000km

The first 2000k. Still indoors
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With the exception of my spring break 100km ride in Essex, UK and 180km of commuting when I remembered to turn on Strava, it’s all been indoors. Today I had planned to ride outside. With both wheels. I spent some time yesterday getting all the sensors lined up, took the bike into The Cyclery for a brake tweak, which they graciously provided on the spot, and got all my gear ready.

But this morning, the only time I had to ride, the temperature was still -10C. It is meant to rise to 4C this afternoon, but at -10, my shifters would probably fail. The GPS would die. And my new friend the power meter might die too. Oh – and frostbite? First world, modern cyclist problems to be sure.

Ah well. I’m still pretty pleased with the work I’ve done to get ready for the actual road riding season, including Lap the Gats wherein I am riding to raise money for Parkinsons research. You can still sponsor me. I’m 40 per cent of the way to my distance goal but only 18 per cent of the way to my fundraising goal. So I could use your help.

Any amount is appreciated and all donations are receipted.

First solo walk to school

Ipodding in bed - Mallory vacation heaven
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This actually happened Monday, but things were too squirrelly to note it then. However I cannot let this event go unmarked.

Lately she’s been walking to school with her next door neighbour and friend C. Which has been great – school is not far, there’s a crossing guard and C. is older by a couple of years.

And I always figured it was Mallory that was too timid to want to make such a foray into the world alone.

But on Monday, C’s family hadn’t come back from their spring break vacation and Mallory was faced with having to go to school (worse – day care) accompanied by her dad.

She was not at all happy about this. She insisted she would and could walk by herself. It took a lot of re-thinking and a couple of deep breaths on my part, a quick non-verbal parental conference with Irene and the matter was decided.

Off she went. Later, when I realized there would be no “Where is your daughter” call from the school’s “Safe arrival” line, I realized that I had once again underestimated my child and the anxiety was all my own.

Canada’s public sector keeps private sector pain at bay: Michael Babad in the Globe

Okay, that’s my take on his headline. Unlike him, I am morally and contractually bound not to repeat the enemy’s framing. At least in a headline. But apart from that Babad’s commentary in the Globe today is just about right.

It’s a critique of a CFIB study complaining about how much harder life is for employees in the private sector and asserting that, because life is harder in the private sector it should therefore be harder for everyone.

I’ll let the rest of the fair minded internet slice and dice that oft-repeated, assertion which falls apart with the mere posing of the question “who benefits?”

Babad’s reasoning for dismissing the CFIB study is a bit more hard nosed. It goes like this: the private sector is too busy keeping its employees in misery and its beneficiaries in profits to do stuff like create jobs. (Compare and contrast with the rhetoric from the Harper government wherein the private sector are the job creators).

So as the private sector is cutting back on wages and hiring, it makes it harder and harder to provide a market for all the things it creates while it’s creating all this wealth for its shareholders.

It seems people with unlimited resources forget the simple truth that you have to earn money to spend money.

Babad has not. He points out that the public sector has actually been adding jobs and cushioning the blows the private sector has been dealing itself in the name of austerity.

Like a parent or care aid would keep an autistic child from self-harm.

Heading home

london skyline detailAfter a short stay in London I’m heading home today. Currently enjoying Heathrow’s new terminal 2.

Here’s a photo for you from yesterday’s walk about.

Back on two feet

I made my way back to the bike hire place today, wending my way down from Hackney through Shoreditch, Liverpool Street and Bishopsgate to London Bridge.

I don’t know quite how bike commuters handle it. I found riding very tense, the streets utterly choked with cars, buses and taxis.

One close call with a moped but otherwise no serious scares. However it did seem like it would be only a matter of time before something happened.

So I am glad to be back on two feet, enjoying a leisurely takeout lunch in a Soho park.

Humbling ride through the wilds of Essex

At a certain point I just fell off the back. I’d been keeping up with the three Cycling Club Hackney riders in the group that chose the longer route, albeit wheel sucking the whole way.

But about 10k from the planned rest stop the other riders just kinda floored it. I tried to match them but my heart rate was through the roof and I knew I couldn’t hold that speed.

Off they went.

Except for an early collision, it had been a great ride. And left on my own I could sit up and have a look around, as opposed to staring at the rider in front of me.

But I was still riding clueless in Essex. I did have a UK map on my GPS but having directions and knowing the roads are two very different things.

The club website says that sometimes riders do get dropped. So I figured I was about to have to do a version of the return trip solo. But I rounded a corner and there at the top of a rise was the group leader. Waiting at a roundabout to bring me to the café.

After the food break we headed off again, and I tucked behind the other (much stronger) riders. They went easy on me and I was extremely relieved, as we got back in to London, to be with experienced riders whose line through traffic I could follow as they skipped across multiple lanes of traffic, navigating roundabouts and construction

I don’t know how I would have got back on my own.

It was a real treat to be outside though, riding on roads albeit in cold spring conditions (like the kind I anticipate experiencing in Ottawa in a few weeks). The rental bike worked perfectly.

Thanks to my fellow riders for making that such an enjoyable ride and especially to Gareth for looking out for me

I hope to be able to return the favour some day.