Forgetting Something….?

I used to write about interesting people on my commutes. These were stories of people doing “interesting” things on the bus, carrying “interesting” things, or just being “interesting”. Lately, if I were to do that, I suspect I would be forced to write about annoying people doing annoying things like talking loud, listening to horrible music without headphones, and not paying attention to the way their backpacks swing wildly at people’s heads when they carelessly shuffle around. Luckily, what I relate to in the following paragraphs will be more like the former….. or so I think.

The bus I take is equipped with bike racks at the font. I wish it also had racks for motorized scooters, but that is probably just wishful thinking. Maybe they will be banned. Again wishful thinking. I am already off track and I have only written two paragraphs.

My bus is equipped with bike racks. They hold two bikes and they are frequently in use. The main bus stop also has a couple of secure bike lockers which I have written about before. I have never seen anyone use the lockers, but, as I have explained, many people use the bike racks. This is important to the story.

One day last week, the bus arrived and people filed off the bus. I got on and secured my favorite seat. It isn’t my favorite seat because it is more comfortable than the rest and it certainly isn’t any bigger. It is just the farthest from the sun and doesn’t have anyone behind it to bother me. It is in the front section and provides a view out the front window. It also allows me to see when the driver gets on or off the bus–because they might be having a washroom break or a smoke break. They might also be having a chat with one of the staff, but since they usually talk really loudly, I don’t need to see that. WE CAN ALL HEAR IT.

On this particular day, the bus driver got up and asked the small group of people on the bus if the bike in the bike rack was theirs. He or she (because I don’t remember) had to repeat themselves a couple of times. This involved walking to the back of the bus as well to repeat the message. I know there is a microphone in the driver’s cockpit, but it seems to be used so infrequently. The driver got no response.

It appears that someone put their bike on the bike rack and when they left the bus, they walked away and went to the subway without a thought about their bike. I have come across bikes stolen and taken to bus stops (I called the cops to come pick one up recently) but this was a pretty nice bike to be abandoned on a bike rack. It wasn’t a department store special. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person was wearing a helmet and bike shoes. Surely you wouldn’t forget your bike in circumstance regardless of how little coffee you’ve had.

Who forgets a bike on bus? I understand it can happen, but it is surprising. I suppose if I worked in a lost and found department of a transit system, the stuff that might be found on a bus would vary wildly. I have heard that people have left their cremated loved one on a bus, but I just took that story for an urban legend. That couldn’t really happen…..could it?

What is the most unusual thing you have seen in a lost and found? I really want to hear about this.

Posted in bicycles, commuting, bus | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


Photo by cottonbro studio on

“When I look at you, I see Thursday” one of my students related to me. It was not the most unusual sentence I have heard in the classroom, but I might have to back before pre-pandemic to find a worthy rival.

It took a bit of time to get some clarification. It wasn’t that I reminded her of Thursday or that I embodied Thursday. It wasn’t even that our class together was on Thursday. It simply was a way she looked at people. I might have been the only one to understand because several people who were dubbed with “Monday” seemed quite angry about it. The person who presented himself at Saturday also seemed to take offence and I really couldn’t understand why. We spent some time discussing it and the thing that made me smile the most was when she asked, innocently, “Am I the only one who thinks this way?”

It was rather fascinating to think that our perceptions are so vastly different from one another. While no one could relate something similar, I was struck that perhaps we all saw the world differently but we all couldn’t express it clearly.

I decided to let the students talk about their special skills (mine is that I can give people nicknames that will stick with them forever–Sorry Gomez. Sorry Weedy.) While it wasn’t the best conversation topic, it did produce some interesting thoughts about unique abilities my students have.

The student who saw everybody as days of the week also saw people as colours–again, not in auras or actual colours, but rather each person presented as a colour without presenting the colour. I am purple. Since these were my school colours, I found that quite reassuring.

How about you? How does the world present itself?

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Peace of Mind Restored

All is right in the world and my peace of mind has been restored. Though it took two long weeks, indeed I have found my bike pump. If only the peace of the world and the economy would also follow suit.

I will try my best to explain how I found my pump, but I am not sure that my writing skills are up to the task. I am sure I can explain it, but I am not sure it will be entertaining. At the very least, I hope I can express my relief at having found it.

While I didn’t turn my house upside down to find it, I was convinced that I hadn’t lost it and narrowed my search to the areas where it could be. These included my bedroom, my office where I took off my bike clothes that fateful day, the front hallway, and anywhere in the house that the bike and bike stuff spends its time–basically the basement where I keep most of my bike stuff in a Cat5gear cyclist case–which is something wonderful every cyclist should have, and if this was one of those money making blogs, I would have amazon links right here.

I did a pretty extensive search, including areas that I didn’t think it would be in, but figured I might as well check them. For two weeks I drew a blank. Virtually every day, I searched them again. I mean, I was sure I had it when I got home, but couldn’t find it. I had refused to give up hope.

Sad to say, last Friday, the day before the ride, I basically gave up. Having a pump in case of a flat is somewhat necessary. So, after doing this week’s grocery shopping I stopped at my local bike shop to buy a new one. It was too late to order from Amazon for the next day and generally, I would rather support the local economy even if that means spending a few extra dollars–I draw the line when the number gets higher, but a couple of dollars won’t hurt my bottom line that much. Unfortunately, the store was already closed by the time I got there. I hadn’t really been paying attention to the clock as it was the weekend. I went home and resigned myself to get one later next week.

I went to my office, and decided to straighten up a little, I noticed a pile of paper on my filing cabinet was balanced rather precariously on top of my handy solar calculator (yes, I still have one, and even use it occasionally) and the pile was in danger of sliding off. I decided to move it and rearranged part of the pile. No surprise there, I had padded this pile several times over the past two weeks. there was no round object at the bottom of this pile–or so I thought. When I sat down at my desk, the subtle movement of the pile revealed my pump. The base of the pile was two box like objects and the pump was sitting between them, rendering it impervious to my touch detection system.

So now I had my pump and I could go on a ride Saturday morning with a lot less anxiety. Buoyed by this triumph, I also figured out how to load my group ride maps onto my Garmin cycling computer. It was rather easy, but many other functions still prove to be elusive. That, however, is a challenge for next week.

The ride itself was good, and knowing the route was wonderful and freeing. Of course some club veterans chose a different route because they “knew better” and didn’t need to listen to me–though I have been with the club for five years. I didn’t really care and since I teach all week, I don’t need to try and teach other people on the weekend. It got a bit ragged and not everyone was disciplined–but who am I to complain on a social ride. I enjoyed myself and the weather was fantastic. I didn’t get any personal bests in Strava and I don’t think I really pushed myself, but I didn’t feel completely exhausted either.

The club had a coffee meet and greet for the new people, but sadly I could not attend.

Posted in conflict resolution, cycling, cycling gear, cyclist case, discovery, frustration, group rides, Newmarket Eagles, perfect moment, Saturday morning | 2 Comments

Missing in Action

Two weeks ago, after I came back from a ride, my portable tire pump disappeared. It hasn’t been seen since….and believe me, I’ve looked.

Things like this frustrate me greatly. I don’t want to buy another pump. If I consider the cost per use of the thing, it probably cost me over 10 dollars a use…maybe more. I don’t think it’s a money thing though. I just hate losing something.

I once read in Robert M. Pirsig’s brilliant novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that there were two kinds of mechanic shops. One had all the tools perfectly organized while the other looked like a bomb went off. He explained that the latter could lay his or her hands on any tool at a moment’s notice, but if you moved it six inches away, they would spend months looking for it. That is kind of how I feel. I am sure it made it home and didn’t fall out of my jersey, but from that point on, it’s anybody’s guess.

I’ve done all the things you’re supposed to do. I’ve retraced all my steps. I’ve looked in places I am sure I have already looked in. I have gone where it should be, and I have gone and looked where I think it can’t possibly be. I’ve tried to think like the pump, and I’ve tried forgetting about it. I’ve tried distracting myself, and I’ve tried concentrating. Nothing seems to work.

If I buy a new pump, I am sure to discover where the first one went. While it is true that I could then return the second one from whence I bought it (yes, I used whence–consider it a kind of highbrow test for my students). Of course, the timeline might work against me and I would end up owning two pumps and rarely using either of them.

I do have a CO2 cartridge system as well, and that is what I have bee carting around. I just really liked the pump.

Losing things really bothers me. I haven’t lost any sleep over this one because I have been telling myself (and largely believing it) that it is somewhere in the house. I didn’t lose it. I misplaced it because I was particularly tired and sore after that first club ride. I dropped my kit in a pile and took care of it later. Whether I took the pump out when I got in the door, or whether I took it out before I disrobed and took a shower, or whether I retrieved it before I put the clothes in the wash is a mystery to me.

If it turns up, I will let you know.

Posted in cycling, cycling gear, philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What A Difference A Week and A Day Both Make

The first week of group riding featured a rather cool start. Hot on the heels of my hockey team’s crushing defeat, I worried that it would be much the same and my colder weather gear hadn’t been washed. I needn’t have worried because it was the most beautiful of days.

The C group had a few less people in it than the previous week. I am not sure if some moved up to the B group or if they decided not to join after all. We did, however, have a woman join our group. This is only remarkable because the club has a women’s division for those that prefer a unisex ride–something about ego and testosterone ruining it for some. When I started with the club there were lots of women on the ride. With the creation of the women’s group, that hasn’t really been the case. However, overall female membership is up–so that’s a plus.

Back to the ride.

The group did a good job of making a nice rotating paceline–both double and single as traffic permitted. I got a chance to catch up with a few people and exchange pleasantries with some of the new riders. I also tried cliff bar minis for the first time. Again, nothing remarkable about this except that maybe they are a good substitute for a full bar as I can eat two of them at two different times.

The route was good and I felt strong until the last 15kms. I started to lag again. I wonder if this is more psychological than physical. I have been doing some minor things at home to be more prepared for the ride. I’ve been stretching and working on my core muscles. For some reason, the legs just didn’t have it. At times, I got lost in thought and the people took off. At other times, I just couldn’t climb the hills as fast as I had been doing just an hour earlier. It is a bit perplexing.

The ride was good and I managed to do a few personal bests. I just wish I hadn’t fade near the end. Next week is another chance to tackle it.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good mid ride fueling bar available in Canada? I have done a little research, but most of the recommendations I have gotten have only shown me things I cannot seem to track down here.

Posted in bicycles, cycling, fitness, food, recommendations, supplements | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ten Strong–The First Official Group Ride of the Season

The weather suddenly got a little better and I knew I had to seize the moment. The club had an open invitation group ride–up till now, insurance issues prevented people from trying out the club before riding. As a result, we had the largest group I have seen since before the pandemic show up at the meeting place.

Last year, I was strong out of the gate and riding with the B group until Covid sidelined me and slowed me down. Actually, I was good at the beginning of rides, but had no stamina near the end. This probably wasn’t Covid, but rather a lack of training on my part. Besides cycling through Sri Lanka on vacation, I really have not taken care of myself over the winter. I went out for one tune up ride, but that hardly counts. As a result, I decided to go with a slower group. My friend Margaret from the slightly faster group warned me that trying to switch groups later would be a struggle. I suspect she’s right, but until I get my Garmin with the maps organized (not nearly as intuitive as I had hoped) I don’t want to hold anyone up.

Ten strong, we headed out on the route. The weather was beautiful and the people in the group were friendly. The pace was good and things went well. We barely had a good number for a paceline last year, and later when I fell off the back this made for some lonely rides.

The route was good. It had a few climbs, but only one strenuous one. I wouldn’t want them to scare off too many people from the ride. The scenery was nice and having taken this route before, it was interesting to see the changes. I was quite surprised to see the building of some new office parks. What with more people working from home, I doubted this would be the trend. Maybe somebody knows something I don’t know.

My choice for groups turned out to be the right one as I faded near the end. It was a 75km ride, and I was strong for the first 60. I was prepared for my kit and my hydration, but I didn’t have any food (maybe, deep down, I wanted to bonk) and I hadn’t set up my Garmin. I enjoyed it, but was completely exhausted by the time it was over.

Next week will be better.

Posted in bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, group rides, Newmarket Eagles, Saturday morning | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Customer Disservice

I should be planning one of my lessons for tomorrow. I should be sleeping. The fact is I need to vent a little. I also haven’t written in a while and the very real concern that blogging is slipping to the wayside confronts me out of the blue sometimes–but that’s a concern for another time.

Yesterday, quite late, my girlfriend and I decided to get Presto monthly passes for the public transportation. For the past few months we have just been paying daily fares. Owing to some holidays and days off, that seemed better. Frankly, they should make the monthly pass a decisively cheaper option–but for most commuters, unless they travel extra, it works out to be cheaper to pay trip by trip. If it were clearly cheaper, it would be a no brainer.

Because I got my pass a bit late and used the computer instead of the App (because there is not enough memory to add the App to my phone) when I got to the bus stop, the pass hadn’t loaded yet and I had to pay a cash fare on top of the monthly fare.

As frustrating as that was, I felt confident that if I called customer service they would refund my money. Sadly no. Unsympathetically no. Angrily no. It was the epitome of customer disservice. Now I am out half a day of fares. Why doesn’t the computer work as fast as the App. Why couldn’t they just give me the money? They said if I had done it at the machine–which is only at the terminal and not where I got on–it would have been instantaneous. I’m not clear why one method is faster than another.

I understand my fault in this. Yes, I should have done it earlier. Had I not been trying to calculate whether it was worth it or not, I might have. While I might recognize my own fault in this, they don’t recognize theirs.

While I have no recourse except to write strongly worded letters, emails, and reviews (which I will do), I am wondering what would happen if I added 5 dollars at a time to my card as separate transactions. It would be annoying for me, but I wonder if the credit card company would take more of a bite of their profits if I did it that way. I know it’s petty, but I feel like being petty. I welcome any thoughts on how I can get my peace of mind back.

I also feel like ranting at WP for not letting me set the typography size for all of my writing at once. I understand for some people using this block system is great, but for me, it just multiplies every click I have to make. I have to change the size of type for every block. I have to justify every block. While the first one only requires on click per block, the latter requires 3. I certainly hope the next version allows me to do something once and apply it to the whole document. (I thought about leaving this in the small font that someone has decided is the default setting, but who would I really be annoying)

Back to planning

Posted in bus, commuting, customer service, fare evasion, perfect moment | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Almost Hitting the Trifecta

Is there a positive expression for “One of those days..”? Is there a way to explain the oddly wonderful rather than the simply odd? I could throw around words like “coincidence” or “one in a million” but none of them really sum it up. I like the phrase I wrote (oddly wonderful) but that really isn’t it. It might be less focused on odd that the phrase wonderfully odd, but oddly wonderful doesn’t really come close. I guess the best thing I can do is explain it to you. Either a correct title will come to me through the process, or you will have to suggest one.

After one failed errand, my girlfriend and I made a stop at a store in a plaza on the way back. It was unplanned, and over quickly. In the same plaza there is an oddly combined dollar and Iranian food store. Despite the obvious appeal, with the plethora of other options, it isn’t really on our radar. Nonetheless, on Saturday, we decided to venture in. Shortly after perusing the snack aisle–which is a no-no now that cycling season is upon me, a woman approached my girlfriend and said her name. It turns out that she is the sister of one of my girlfriend’s former students. A conversation ensued, phone numbers were traded, and the rest is history.

This is hardly remarkable in itself. People run into people all of the time. That cliché, it’s a small world idea is cliché for a reason. The world can, at times, seem really small. People we don’t expect to see can appear out of nowhere. This particular case is built on a bunch of unlikely store stops, but it happened. I probably wouldn’t even remark on it if the whole thing didn’t repeat itself a short time later.

After completing some successful errands and making a spur of the moment, but long considered, purchase of an air fryer, we headed to another store in search of affordable lettuce–sometimes, when I write sentences that I never thought I would ever write, I am struck by how they sound.

I digress.

In this other store, which we promised ourselves that we would be in and out of in a flash, we decided to take a quick peak for an air fryer cookbook (spoiler, we didn’t bother getting one since the internet seems awash in recipes). While doing so, a person standing in front of the magazine shelf turned to me and said hello. He then exclaimed that he recognized my voice. (I should point out that my voice is rather unique and while “unforgettable” would be boasting, it just might be apt). It turned out to be a friend I hadn’t spoken to since the early days of the pandemic. I had last seen him while I was out walking. We had one of those long distance conversations at that time.

We spend some time relating the happenings of our family and ex-mutual friends. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to get together. Basically, the same thing that happened to my girlfriend happened to me. Hers seemed more remarkable since it required a plane journey to facilitate it, but mine was no less interesting.

We had one more stop, and though we did not express it until we were home and coincidences were safely put away, we expected to meet someone that was known to both of us that we hadn’t seen for some time. The likelihood meant that it would have to be an ex-coworker or two–and we had someone in mind that we were glad we didn’t meet. It didn’t happen, but the chance for the trifecta was there.

**In case you’re wondering what the pictures have to do with the post…..basically nothing. I just thought they looked nice.

Have you ever run into an old friend or acquaintance under unusual circumstances?

Posted in chance meetings, coincidence, ethnic food, food shopping, grocery shopping, meeting people, shopping | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Catching Up

If ever a long weekend were in order, this was probably it. While I cannot say that I got all my spring cleaning done, I can at least feel like I got a lot of things done that I put as a priority.

My annual bike gear purchase is done.

  • New cleats for my new shoes. I could have taken the ones off my old pair of shoes, but I think having a backup is important. If the cleat broke just as I was leaving, instead of having to change it, I could just change my shoes. Sounds logical to me.
  • Scratch Hydration powder for those long hot rides. I either go with Skratch or Hammer products. Both seem to work for me and both come in Orange. I think Hammer has a bigger range of products, but at least for the start of the season, this should do. I haven’t got any Cliff bars because they haven’t gone on sale yet.
  • New taillights. These are brighter and sit lower on the stays of my bike. They should be more visible because my current light is sometimes obscured by my seat bag. These are brighter and rechargeable by USB. Safety is important.
  • My big purchase is a Garmin cycling computer. I have been wanting one for a couple of years. In previous riding seasons, I didn’t worry because I could always keep up with the group. After being dropped a few times last year, I think having the route is probably a good idea. I got the one with the sensor data, so hopefully it can teach me something. My previous cycling computer is basic (distance only), but hopefully I can find a good home for it. I wonder if they sell well on FB marketplace.

I don’t know if my purchases are finished, but now it is time to hit the road. Today I took the bike out for a bit of a tune-up ride. I had been sitting around on my ass since I got back from the Sri Lanka cycling trip. I didn’t Zwift this year, though I kept meaning too. Work and commuting was just so exhausting. There were other factors, but I should just take the blame myself.

The weather was pretty good today and I decided that I should go out and see if the bike needs a tune-up before the club season begins. I took a route I knew well and had helped me prepare for the riding season before. It’s not too long, but it has a couple of climbs and the wind is unpredictable. I thought I started my Strava, but I forgot that the recording function requires more than one touch, and it actually wasn’t working. As for my Garmin, it needed charging and didn’t start this ride. I have finished all the set up work and it will be ready for next time–depending on how quickly I get it back from the tune up. I struggled on the way out (it’s a point to point ride rather than a loop) but was a little better coming back. I was completely worn out by the time I made the final turn to my home.

Other exciting weekend happenings include taking a walk. It was a little cool, but the sun was shining and the route we chose had a good mix of urban landscape and forest. I even found a fantastic factory to condo conversion that was rather awesome. I also got a good picture of the old Newmarket train station. It hasn’t been preserved like the one in Aurora. I guess I should say “pity” but maybe it needs to be put out of its misery. Aurora and Newmarket have far too many heritage buildings. I like them, but sometimes, something has to give.

Saturday, we decided to go out for some food. Tasted good and was reasonably priced. Not much more I can say about that.

Things under consideration

  • Riding season will soon be upon us. I haven’t secured my club membership yet, but I am thinking about changing clubs. I have reached out to someone I know to ask about the other club. I don’t want to be a traitor, but I am not sure yet.
  • I wonder if I can get in a late cycling vacation this year. I wouldn’t mind some feedback on this as I have only gone with two different groups. Maybe I am missing out on some hidden gem. Let me know which ones you have taken (pester your cycling friends if you must) and your reactions.
  • Hockey playoffs start soon. Go! Leafs Go!
  • You probably saw the Lonely Planet guide to San Francisco. I am definitely going to make a trip there this year. I am not sure as to when, but it is definitely on the calendar. This won’t be a cycling trip though. I will probably get a chance to pick up some Linn’s Stamp magazines. I have heard so much about them that I feel like I really need to see one.
  • Most of my students thought Monday would also be a holiday. I asked them what biblical thing happened on Monday and they were speechless.

For those that celebrate, Happy Easter.

Posted in Aurora, cycling, cycling gear, cycling shoes, Lonely Planet, perfect moment, recommendations, vacation, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Missing the Stop

I have missed my stop before. I’ve fallen asleep on the bus before. Either because my book was boring, or the sun was just brilliantly warm on the window pane, or I was just tired. I’ve missed it be one stop or two, and occasionally gone right to the end of the line.

Today, it wasn’t the case. I did not miss the stop. The bus driver did. The sun wasn’t warm or shiny, and I would hate to think that he was tired or bored. However, we missed the stop and in slow motion cruised to the other side of the intersection and stopped against the curb.

Much like my last post, the significance is in the insignificance. Yes, I got home a minute or two later. Yes, I had to cross a street I do not normally have to cross. Yes, I wondered if the bus driver was daydreaming and possibly putting our lives at risk. On the other hand, except for giving me something to write about, it really didn’t bother me at all.

Posted in commuting, bus, Viva, YRT | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment