Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sweet 16...kilometres...

With yet another storm system forecast to move in (typical for April), we thought it best to head out on our trikes earlier in the day rather than later, trading sunnier skies for the expected warmth of a mid-spring day. It wasn't even remotely breezy, a welcome change from the howling gales we often get at this time of year, so the issue of it having only been about 10 degrees or so wasn't all that important.

So, around 10:00am or so, we set out, heading south along Bridlepath, turning west (ish) onto Trapper's, then south onto Albion and finally east along Queensdale. One of the truly lovely features of Queensdale is just how long and straight it is. I say this because when you're sitting a mere few inches off the ground, being able to see far into the distance is a huge bonus. It also allows me to note very early on what other vehicles are there coming up from behind. It just makes planning and maneuvering on the street a lot easier...for me anyway. So, in no time at all, I zoomed along Queensdale and got to the intersection with Bank Street. Thanks to the existence of other cars who were stopped at the lights, we only had to wait a few moments (maybe) before we got the green light. We sailed through the intersection and found ourselves in yet another little corner of suburbia, where the streets were short, the bushes and trees were plenty and everyone else ran all the stop signs.

Turning north we sauntered through the neighbourhood, passing a few other cyclists heading the other way and a number of school-aged kids who had the Easter Monday off and were out taking advantage of the nice day (wouldn't you?). The one issue we both noticed was that despite my having made eye contact with other car drivers and displaying the correct right turn signal that my existence seemed to have caused a high enough level of anxiety. One minivan driver in particular, who was stopped at a stop sign stared anxiously at me as I approached, my right turn signal indicated clearly. She didn't so much as budge a centimetre even though there was no traffic conflict at all. Perhaps she assumed I would just zoom through despite my signal. So, I made my turn and only then did she drive away. At that point, I could only surmise that she didn't know what a right turn hand signal looked like. Funny, I had to demonstrate my knowledge of that when I was learning to drive aeons ago; maybe that's changed nowadays but I sure hope not.

So, now we found ourselves deposited into a different, though familiar neighbourhood and easily made our way down the slight hill of Quail Run to the intersection of Lorry Greenberg and Hunt Club Road. Once through the intersection, it was a short matter of getting to the library where I went to the drive through lane and returned the two books I borrowed. It's kinda funny how the deposit slot sits right where a standard car window would be but where I had to climb out of my trike to perform the very same act. No, I don't expect anyone to accommodate me. I'm quite capable of adapting. I just thought it was amusing.

At that point, Adam and I talked about where to go next. Feeling energized by the warm(ish) day and a little surprised at how quickly we got to the library itself, we decided to go back home but by reversing our track instead of just cutting through the lacy bike paths that emanate from the library itself.

Reversing our track was a venerable piece of cake but I also wanted to make a quick stop to get a couple of things. There is a Giant Tiger (store, not the real thing) right on the corner of Queensdale and Bank Street. However, the parking lot would be absolutely treacherous to negotiate so we pulled over on Queensdale and I got to enjoy the fun of trying to cross the street without getting plastered by a rushed and unobservant car driver turning from Bank Street onto Queensdale. Yet, I managed to do it successfully and I returned with the items I wanted to get (okay, it was Brie cheese and a box of orange sherbet bars). The rest of the trip home was equally simple and I finished this awesome venture having ridden 16 point something kilometres.

Now, a day later, the promised/threatened rain is here drumming steadily on the barely greening ground and my MS fatigue is acting up quite grimly. Such is the way of multiple sclerosis; flare-ups can (and often do) happen over a fairly short period of time. Oh well, I'll just ride this one out, too.

Not sure when next I'll head out but, with my stated goal for this year of doing a 100 kilometre trip in one day, I'm hoping it'll be soon. MS fatigue - for me at least - often doesn't last much beyond a week but that's only if I take it really easy which I will definitely do.

As an aside, Adam later in the day took his mountain bike out to check out the greenbelt trail just off Albion Road. It's the same trail we cycled last autumn and then skied this past February. It's supposed to be part of an expanding cycle network which will connect the Mer Bleue area to the east, travel down heading south of the airport and then emerge on the other side to end around Shirley's Bay. According to Adam, most of the trail is just not all that passable with some portions of it looking more (by his description) like a pockmarked warzone


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