Thursday, June 6, 2013

27 miles in the rain

... that's how much I racked up in a day of doing stuff on my bike. Normally, I don't even think about how much ground I cover, but I was curious today, because it was a fairly busy day... so I plugged my route into MapMyRide, and that's what came up: 27 miles, give or take. The distance can really add up when you have a bunch of stuff to do. If I were to set out to do a 27-mile ride, I'd feel like I was taking on something major. But when I left the house this morning, I didn't give it a second thought. (Although I admit that since it was sullenly raining and looked like it would keep raining most of the day, I had fleeting thoughts about taking the car. But no: I had no real reason to take the car, and many reasons to ride.)

Where does all the mileage come from? I wondered... well, that 27 miles included:

1. A run out to Hawthorne (in the hellish wilds of the southern industrial parks) to pick up a package from the CanPar depot, which turned out to be a press release. Really. A press release, and a CD, from TVO (who knew TVO even still existed?) about a new drama series. I mean, who does that? Besides, the run out to Hawthorne is hellish even when it's not raining. I hate industrial parks. Transport and heavy cargo trucks, a highway exit, two main artery roads, magically appearing and disappearing bike lanes, and appalling pavement. I actually just shouted for a couple hundred metres just to get it out of my system on the way down Russell Road (which has a thick edge of asphalt and a broken, gravel shoulder.)
The start of a "bike lane" at the corner of Walkley and Russell. Gah.
2. From Hawthorne, along St Laurent, Smyth and Main, and downtown to meet friends for lunch: a decent spin down Smyth, and then the narrow and pothole-riddled stretch of Main. On the Pretoria Bridge, I encountered a pedestrian who had decided that since the sidewalk had too many people on it, he'd rather walk in the bike lane. I rang my bell continuously, until I had to pull out into the car lane to pass him, and said, "Hey, this is a bike lane," at him as I did. It was strange adjusting to city traffic when I hit Elgin: after an hour and a half on arteries I was in a whole different headspace. (Incidentally, the burgers at Manhattans, in the food court on Slater between Kent & Lyon, are pretty damn tasty. Especially when you're wet, chilly, grimy, and have just spent an hour on a bike in the rain.)

3. A run along side streets (ah, Percy, and Bay) from my office on Gloucester to Carleton U and the CKCU studio for my radio show. Diverted traffic from the Bronson construction has really congested Bay Street at rush hour: but people seem patient enough with it. The puddles really soaked my shoes though. I love the bike lane down Bay that gets you to the Glebe, and the little deke over that takes you the rest of the way to Queen Elizabeth: but riding on Queen Elizabeth is always a little sketchy because you know the canal path is just over there but there's not many obvious ways to get to it.

One is the loneliest number...
4. A chilly but speedy ride along the canal path to 8 Locks' Flat, which is on the canal just by U of O. There had been some talk on Twitter about meeting up for drinks with a bunch of other #ottbike people, and that was the last place I'd heard it was going to be. Not realizing that it was a temporary patio which, um, closes when it rains, I biked there, found the place, and learned my sad lesson (and, apparently, missed the memo on where people were actually meeting. So now I'm the Snuffalupagus of the #ottbike crowd). Anyway, having packed another few miles onto the tally for the day, I turned around and rode back down the canal over to Main Street, and from there back onto Smyth and Alta Vista, and so to my apartment. 

27 miles. A day in the life.

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