A Weekend with my Bicycle

With some great weather over the weekend of April 16th, I finally had the chance to work on my bicycle AND do some training.

So I woke up on Saturday and then pulled out the bicycle multi-tool that I had crowdfunded on Kickstarter some years ago.  Until now, it had sorta sat in my drawer but I was happy that The Nutter from Full Windsor was completely helpful to me as I worked on adding a new pannier rack.  I managed to pick one up from a local Trek store near my work.  It just so happened that they had a sale on so the discount was a bonus.

The Nutter bike multi-tool was helpful because I really had no idea what tools I needed to work on my bike...
The Nutter bike multi-tool was helpful because I really had no idea what tools I needed to work on my bike…

As I was adding on the pannier rack to my bike (a 2010 Trek 3700), I found myself fiddling around with the tools and even almost removing the wheel by accident.  Oops.  So I took a step back and made sure I knew what I was doing.  I had initially thought that I’d have to remove the wheel in order to install the pannier rack.

What I soon realized was my bicycle frame had specific holes in place for specific upgrades or components.  I also realized that I eventually need to get a bicycle stand.  Relying on leaning the bicycle against the wall is eventually going to drive me nuts when I have to pump my tires and install components.

Successfully installed! The new pannier rack on my bike
Successfully installed! The new pannier rack on my bike

So that was Saturday.  Success!

On Sunday, a friend and I began preparing for our 75km Ride for Heart by opting to train on the Toronto Waterfront trail.  I’ve never biked on this trail before so it was a pretty cool experience.  We managed to tackle about 25km by riding around some areas off-route after realizing that the route we took would only cover approximately 24km.

Using the empty spot where fold-up seats are to park my bike.
Using the empty spot where fold-up seats are (to the right) to park my bike and not get everyone’s way. [Photo via BlogTO]
On another note, because I live in the suburb of North York — I had to take my bicycle on the subway to the downtown core.  Now, one of the things that subway trains still fail to tackle is the transportation of bicycles.  This is why bicycles aren’t allowed on the TTC subway trains at certain times.

Surprisingly, I found the perfect spot to park my bike while on the subway.  I didn’t get in people’s way — I merely took up a spot.  Of course, if someone were to come into the subway train who required that space for the wheel chair — I would immediately move out of the way.  Today, there were seats galore — everywhere.  I was just simply enjoying the subway experience when suddenly I heard a, “Hey buddy, move out of the way — I need to sit.” — to which I immediately apologized and got out of the way, moving my bicycle aside.

This is when I came to the realization that he had just gotten on the subway and there were seats available immediately left of the entrance as well as opposite of where he was standing.  I guess he really wanted to sit down in those fold-up seats.  Can’t please everyone!

Aside from that peculiar experience on public transit, bicycle training was a success this weekend and the goal is to aim to tackle 50km.  Let’s just hope the weather will work out for us again!

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Boston for a Few Days

Fenway Park

I know.  Another long-overdue post.  During early October I had the fortunate opportunity to attend eMetrics in Boston.  Aside from an awesome conference that I won’t go into detail here, I decided to take a few additional days to explore some of Boston and area.  One of the first places that I had on my mind was Fenway Park — just simply because of the history.

One thing I love about Boston is its public transit and the ability for someone to simply wander all over town by foot, stumbling on to used bookstores and very old architecture.  I even made use of AirBnB this time around (which might I add, I highly recommend for Boston because accommodation in the area is very expensive) so I got to hop on the local public transit.  I only wish I had the opportunity to try Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe.  I arrived by foot too late!

Trying to stick to budget was difficult because there simply were too many interesting restaurants so I ended up becoming a regular customer at Laz Cafe in the South End neighbourhood where I was staying for the week.  I think I went there so many times over the period of a week that the folks there thought I was a local resident.  Good people and generally good food and value.  I definitely recommend trying out one of their “roll ups” — I will caution that they are pretty large!

I had the opportunity to just sit back and relax and watch trains of tourists walk through and along the Freedom Trail.  I liked most of it but there were some parts that simply had way too many tourists hovering around.  I guess that’s to be expected.

After the conference, I waited until good weather settled into the Cape Cod area, I hopped into a nearby Zipcar early in the morning (3am to avoid the rush hour traffic) and took off for Provincetown. The drive was extremely peaceful and it felt like I was the only one on the road — that is until I got to the single lane highway leading into Provincetown where I grabbed an early morning tea, a fresh cinnamon bun, and a blueberry muffin … and walked out to the beach.  Everyone must’ve been in the process of waking up because there was barely anyone around.

As I strolled around town, I came across Bubbles.  Bubbles must be well-recognized internationally.

Say hi to Bubbles

One of my favourite moments during this trip was during my stroll through the main street in Provincetown, only to look down an alleyway and see an “Art” sign from a distance.  I have to say it was quite inspiring to walk down an alleyway out to face a beach on one side and an art gallery on the right.

Also for anyone visiting Provincetown, be sure to check out the public library — it’s got quite a view of the town and there’s an actual boat in the library itself.

Art in Cape Cod

I had originally intended on cycling across much of the national seashore but I just didn’t have the time so instead I ate some super fresh fish and chips and then drove out to see this stunning long strip of sand.  It was incredibly hot for a day in October but perhaps perfect given the fact that I was on a beach.  I can really see how there could be a significant number of people during the summer trying to get to the beach.  Wow.

Anyone travelling through the Cape Cod National Seashore should really check out the lighthouses — they are pretty spectacular.

Cape Cod National SeashoreProvincetown

My one day in Provincetown and the Cape Cod area made me yearn for more time to explore that region but with one day left before flying home, I decided to explore Boston and its public transit some more.  This included making a visit to Harvard Square which was enticing initially until the point when I arrived and saw the square packed with people (most of whom were likely students).  After wandering around the area a bit, I decided to hop back on a train back to the core … only to end up having a thorough discussion with some dude about yoga, meditation, and the rationale for meditating.  What a bizarre way to end my visit to the academic area of town.

Charles River

For the remainder of the trip, I simply walked some more around town hitting up used bookstores, and chilling out along the Charles River which was really a beautiful public space of the city to sit back and relax — watching the boats go by.

Boston Downtown

Also got to witness a very talented busker musician in the Quincy Market area.

Also have a clip of his performance too. Listen to the fascinating sounds of the market and him.