Riding with Eagles


Yesterday was supposed to be my first ride. I blabbed to everyone at work that I was going out on Saturday.  Unfortunately a harder than normal work schedule and a windstorm that knocked out the power conspired against me and waking up Saturday was an impossibility.

So, early this morning, I headed off to meet the club. Sunday rides are not as heavily attended as Saturday rides.  However, since I have not had any luck meeting single female cyclists, this isn’t really important.  Hopefully with a bit of training and a bit more discipline, I will go out both days.

This morning four of us: a couple of newbies and myself–though since I didn’t ride with the club much last year and despite my time in Asia, I felt like a newbie, headed off on the classic Musselman’s Lake ride.  It’s about 45 to 50 km–depending on who you ask and whose electronic devices you trust most.  I tend to put it closer to 50.  We were scheduled to ride an average of 24kms per hour.

It felt great to be back on the bike, but it wasn’t easy. We had some strong wind.  When it was in front of us, I was slowed considerably.  When it was at my back, I flew down the road.  Obviously, you know which one I prefer.  The air was warm, but not too warm to make me sweat.  Almost perfect.

I also made the conscious decision to join Strava. I don’t think I will be breaking any records, but it will be nice to see my overall mileage for the year, and hopefully I will go a little faster.

I may be a little sore now…and I might be a little sore tomorrow, but I feel pretty good about calling this Today’s Perfect Moment.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, cycling shoes, fitness, group rides, Newmarket Eagles, practice, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Cyclist’s Smile

I got off the bus and realized that the world had turned green.  Perhaps I should have noticed it from the bus window, but between the book, the sleeping, and the interesting commuters (drunk and fighting, drunk and mumbling, loud and obnoxious, beautiful and brazen…) I only glanced out the window.

It had obviously rained sometime during the day.  You could smell it, even if you couldn’t see it except for the green that it had promoted.  I waited for the crossing signal  and the stoplight to change while eyeing everything.

Across the street I spotted a woman on a bike.  It was a woman’s commuter bike of tan colour and smaller diameter wheels.  It crossed the intersection light as air and smooth as silk.  I cannot say with any definite resolution that she was beautiful–the combination of a bulky neon sweater, helmet, and sunglasses made making a physically determination difficult.  However, intuitively, I have come to believe she was.

We exchanged smiles as she passed.


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Things that signal spring is either here or on the way:

  • I saw people with big heavy coats on and people wearing shorts all in the span of 100 metres.
  • My cycling club membership arrived in the mail.
  • Grocery stores have started selling a lot of greenery.
  • Smokers are no longer huddled in groups, but have started to wander.
  • The early morning bus stop is no longer bathed in darkness and the glare of headlights is less obvious.
  • The formless mass of humanity on the bus has ditched their puffy jackets (mostly).
  • I heard a child asking (well screaming really) his mom for ice cream.
  • The bike parking is now being used at the grocery store.
  • The various patios have opened for business, whether they be bars or coffee shops.
  • Construction still hasn’t finished and things advertised as opening in Spring don’t look anywhere near finished.
  • The mail carriers have changed their uniforms.
  • Hockey Playoffs have gotten more intense.
  • I have stuff to look at out the windows when I am drinking my coffee.
  • I hear birds making a lot of noise.

It will be official when I see:

  • a convertible with the top down.
  • someone eating ice cream outside.
  • a group ride that isn’t shivering for the first ten kilometres or wearing arm warmers.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, seasons, Spring, weather | 4 Comments

Confidence Building


I am not a total butterfingers, but I have very little belief in my ability to do certain things. This doesn’t stop me from doing them, but it does make me pause before starting them and it usually means things that can be done quickly, seem to take much longer.  I just don’t’ have the confidence.

Today, I managed to buy the wheel and tube for my suspension-less mountain bike. I’ve changed the tube on my road bike several times–under adverse conditions no less, but I haven’t changed this one despite owning it for many more years.IMG_20180429_193143510


Surprisingly (though not surprisingly when I really think about it….because it isn’t that hard) I mounted my new tube and wheel combination in exactly the amount of time it should take. I didn’t think about it and make it a bigger deal than it was.  I didn’t flinch or second guess myself.  I just did it.

Today’s Perfect Moment is believing in oneself.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, confidence, cycling, cycling gear, repair, tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Power of the Puppy


It really won’t matter if you are a cat person or a dog person or a no animals person. You should find something warm in this post.

I got on the subway after work, much like I always do. It was late afternoon and the subway wasn’t full.  I looked around at the various commuters and I noticed something out of the ordinary.

Everyone was smiling.

Today happened to be Friday, and the temperature was quite warm. However, even that cannot usually raise a smile from the hardened commuter.  Yes, things are back to normal since Monday’s tragedy.  It had been remarked that people were more considerate and friendly, but didn’t it lead to smiling on the subway.  It just meant that people were more patient and forgiving.

No, this was something different.

I spotted it and knew instantly that what everyone was smiling at was a cute little dog. He wasn’t doing anything, but everyone seemed to be stealing glances and smiling at the little dog.  I could tell that this diminutive creature was having a positive effect on everyone in the area.

I went over and asked the woman whose dog it was if I could take the dogs picture. As you can see from above, she said yes.  I took a few minutes to pet the dog.  This seemed to open the floodgates as more people went up pet the dog.  One man, who obviously wished he had a dog, spent most of the rest of the trip lavishing affection on the wee animal.

The power of the puppy was great.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, dogs, public transportation, smile, subway | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Random Things

On my way to meet my friends, a woman approached me on the subway.  It was after traditional dinner time, so I probably shouldn’t fault her for being heavily intoxicated.  She claimed to be a biker, but that didn’t really jibe with her riding the subway.

I met my friends at a bar called Hemmingway’s.  Whenever we go there, I wonder what it would have been like to be a writer then.  Did they have it easier than we do now?  Was there a more willing audience?  Were publishers more willing to take a chance on someone unknown?  Without facebook and instagram, how did they pester people into buying their work?

My friends asked me about my blog.  I explained that I enjoyed writing it, regardless of how much response I get.  I might not be a published author, but I am writing words that people are reading.  I am getting a chance to get my voice out there.

I also explained that writing takes practice, and the blog provides practice not only in writing, but also editing, rewriting, and marketing.

On my way home, waiting at the bus terminal for the bus that would eventually get me home, I heard a tap tap tap sound that pulled me away from the book I was trying to read (Kerouac’s Dharma Bums).  I imagined that it was a strong female wearing high heels and dressed in a power suit.  I imagined that she had on a trench coat and probably vaped.

When the tapping grew louder, I craned my neck to see if my observations were right.  She was a beautiful tall woman in rather tall high heels, dressed in black and looking severe.  I had been wrong, but somehow, I didn’t mind.

On my bus, a woman boarded with three young boys who were out past their bedtimes.  They had obviously been to the Blue Jays game (sadly for the boys the home team lost).  They looked as if they had had the best experience of their young lives.  They were exhausted, but their smiles couldn’t be erased.

I left the bus with fantastic music playing in my ears.  My front door and then my bed beckoned….and I thought I should blog rather than sleep.  I won’t know if I was right until tomorrow morning.


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By now, most of you have read or seen what happened in Toronto Monday afternoon.  This is one reason why there was no Perfect Moment yesterday, and why there isn’t one today.  However, I feel the need to reflect on it a bit.

First and foremost, I and everyone I know and care about is fine. I was, at worst, slightly inconvenienced and had to walk the two subway stations that were put out of service.  It was a pleasant day and the walk did me no harm.  The takedown of the suspect happened in front of the building where one of my students is staying, but she reported that it only meant that she couldn’t use the front entrance.

This tragedy affected many people and I wish my sincerest condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives, my wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured, and a thank you to the brave and dedicated people who responded.

The reason I chose to reflect is something that one of my students explained to me. He said, “My sister knew before anyone sent me any information.  She called and asked how I was.”  Several other students confirmed that they received calls and texts from their family members before any alerts came across their phones.  They felt that somehow, someway, their phones should have alerted them before their parents did.

It should be remembered that I am an ESL teacher and all of my students are visiting Canada to study English.  It is only rarely that I have French-speaking Canadian students.  As for not getting alerts; my students don’t have any Canadian news Apps, but they think that their “smart phones” should be smart enough to alert them.

It is no surprise to me that their parents and other family members called them. The school also sent out email to update them on the situation and make sure that they were okay (though many thought it was spam and didn’t check it out until later)  In my school’s history, we have had to deal with SARS, the blackout, 911 (though not happening here, the maps broadcast on international TV made some parents worry).

I reflect upon this because, in addition to the aforementioned disasters, I was living in Japan during the Great Hanshin Earthquake and was rattled awake in the early morning.  My family desperately wondered how I was and had trouble getting in touch with me.  The maps shown on TV seemed really close to where I lived.  This was pre-internet (pre-commercially available internet) and the phone lines jammed up rather quickly.  Getting information was not as easy as it is now.  They were relieved to know that I was fine.  This was despite the terrible images of the fire.

So, I have some sympathy for my students and their worried families. Fortunately, all of them reported being able to get in touch with their families, calming them down, and soothing their worries pretty quickly.  I sometimes complain about their addiction to their phones, but this is not one of those times.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Toronto | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Best Laid Plans….


My long time friend needs some new shoes

So after writing about my plans and optimism, and doing some grocery shopping, I realized that the day was too good to waste and I decided to go out for a bike ride.


I didn’t want to get all kitted up and so I decided to take my mountain bike out of the garage and tool around on it.  I had used it just before I went to Cambodia to test the legs on that cold winter day that hadn’t snowed.

Sadly, I noticed that the front tire was flat.  I started to pump it up, but then realized that the tires were not gripping the inside of the wheels very well.  It seems that the cold winter weather and sudden spring did a number on the tires.  I started to deflate the tube (which I could see bulging out of the wheel area) and it popped with a rather loud bang.  I have never had that happen before.


a creek I came across in my ride that became a walk


My idea of a spring discovery ride turned into a walk.  The scenery was nice, but ….I sure would have loved to ride around a bit.  I now have to buy a new tire and tube for the mountain bike if I want to tool around on it.  If I don’t, it will just rot away in the garage and possibly never see the light of day again.  And that wouldn’t be fair.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, bike shop, Canadian Tire, cycling, cycling gear, repair, shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments




I don’t know whether it is the spring like weather we are finally having, or the encouragement of one of my students., but I am filled with optimism for the cycling season.

For the past three years, I have been a member of the Newmarket Eagles Cycling Club. I have mostly enjoyed the camaraderie of the group rides.  Last year, due to a clotted artery, I stopped cycling after a few weeks, thinking it was a muscle pull and that I needed time to rest and recover.  I was wrong.  By the time everything was diagnosed, the cycling season had come to an end.

I did manage to end the year on a high note and make it to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to cycle across the three countries.  It wasn’t pain free, but somehow I managed.  Since then, I have improved my circulation and while I do not expect it to be pain free, I am hoping to at least ride in the C group this year.

So, today, in that spirit of optimism, I signed up for the Newmarket Eagles again. I don’t really know when I will have the chance to ride, but I hope it will be in the near future.  Of course, I had better start pedalling the stationary bike.


Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, club, cycling, cycling gear, exercise, Exodus Travels, fitness, membership, Newmarket Eagles, optimism, optimistic, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Accent of my Inner Voice

circle of friends

Yesterday I watched a film that I had, but never got around to watching. Someone had given me the DVD several years ago.  I had put on an out of the way shelf and forgotten about it.  It could be that they hadn’t sung its praises loudly, or perhaps the fact that they hadn’t ever wanted it back that led to its banishment.

The movie was A Circle of Friends.  I didn’t love the movie.  I didn’t hate it either.  It was a fine film with a good cast and had a nice throwback appeal to it.

Just so you know, this post is not a movie review. The reason I am writing about this movie is that it was set in Ireland.  As a result, the voice I hear in my mind–not the nagging one–the one that has all the introspection.  Now, whenever it pipes up, it has a definite Irish accent.  I can’t say as I mind it.  I like my normal inner voice, but this one isn’t too bad.  I guess it is kind of like getting an update on your Siri or Alexa.  I guess we’ll call that “Yesterday’s Weird Moment.”

I suppose if it weren’t my inner voice but my outer voice, it might be attractive. Any thoughts loyal readers?  Is there any accent that you love to hear?  Is there any accent you find irresistible?


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