Humber River Walk

WalkToday I spent the afternoon out on a nice walk, mostly around the Humber River north-east of home. I had a great time exploring some places not too far from home that I hadn't looked at too closely yet. Check out the picture gallery for a detailed look at my day, especially if you like bridges and birds. ;-)

Riding the Long Way Home

Ontario Place LightsFiguring that it might be the last chance to take a long ride on my recumbent bike this year before the snow and salt take over our streets, I decided to go for a long bike ride after work. Basically, I rode from work near Square One in Missisauga, down to the lake, east into Toronto, up Yonge St., and back west to Etobicoke along Bloor St. What a great night out. I really need to do that more often. I took a bunch of photos of various places that I stopped at along the way. More pictures and the complete story over here.

Bike Parking at Islington Station

Smashed bike and rackI took a few pictures of the bike parking mess at the Islington Subway Station tonight. The sight of a bike rack completely destroyed by a car prompted me to go home and get my camera. Glad it wasn't my bike, but this sort of thing really ticks me off. I wrote up more commentary about the sad situation of bike parking and being a pedestrian around Islington Station over here.

Walking Around Toronto

Vic at City HallI wanted to get out of the apartment today, and since the winter bike is in the shop, I decided to go for a long walk. I covered more turf than expected, escpecially once I threw in a couple of subway and streetcar rides. Dundas and Islington, Chinatown, Nathan Phillips Square, Dundas Square, Yonge St., Yorkville, and more...
The whole photo gallery with descriptions of where I went is over here.

Ottawa, November 2005

Parliament BuildingsI was up in Ottawa for about 9 days this month for an office consolidation project for work. Since it was a work trip, I actually spent most of my time working, including the weekend. I still managed to see a few friends and visit with family, but I hardly took any pictures even though I had my camera with me all the time. I just took some night shots of downtown Ottawa from my hotel window on the evening I arrived.

It was a fun trip. Even though I spent so much time working, I got to meet some other out of town co-workers, and our company really treats us well when we travel too. Still, nice to get back home when it was all over. I'm looking forward to going back to Ottawa in December.

Candlelight Memorial for cyclist Ryan Carriere

Cyclist with candleRyan was riding his bike at the corner of Queen Street West and Gladstone Ave. on October 31st 2005 when he was run over and killed by a large truck. He was on his way home to spend Halloween with his family, but didn't make it.
Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC) organized a memorial ride from Nathan Phillips Square to the collision site, followed by a candle-light vigil. Over 100 cyclists rode down Queen St. together, and we met up with probably 100 more of Ryan's friends, family, neighbours, etc. It was an amazing response, one that I never expected. The whole thing was very emotional, but I can't describe what it was like to be there. I just hope we don't have to do this again anytime.
I feel that cycling is generally a very safe activity, and the benefits definitly outweigh the drawbacks, but we need to be reminded that it can be dangerous. Collisions, injuries, and deaths are all avoidable.
I hope that memorials like this can raise awareness of cycling issues, and hopefully help make cycling a safer activity for all of us. Cyclists and motorists need to be better educated, roads need to be safer, cycling facilities should be designed or improved when appropriate, and of course we need to make people more aware that there are cyclists out there so be careful! The issue of truck sideguards has been brought up again too, and I hope something can be done about that.
I took pictures and posted them over here along with some links to media coverage.

Toronto's Halloween Critical Mass Ride, October 2005

Witch and Jackolantern on BikeAnother fun Critical Mass ride! Since this ride happened just a few days before Halloween, many people decided to dress themselves and their bikes up for the occasion. A bunch of the Winking Circle people from Uxbridge brought a wonderful collection of their hilarious choppers and tall-bikes, Tanya dressed as a spider and her bike was a web, a "One more broom, one less car" witch, and I think my favourite was the guy on a tandem with a skeleton riding as stoker.

Pictures from this ride are posted here.

This Critical Mass ride reminded me of the two previous Halloween rides I did with my HPVOoO friends up in Ottawa. Here are the pictures from 2003 and 2004.

The Toronto Critical Mass rides gather at the corner of Spadina and Bloor at about 6pm on the last Friday of every month.

Toronto Critical Mass Ride, September 2005

Chopper at Critical MassThis was my third Critical Mass ride in Toronto. Had a great time again, and it was mostly a very relaxed and fun ride through the city.

The Toronto Critical Mass rides gather at the corner of Spadina and Bloor at about 6pm on the last Friday of every month.

Of course, there are plenty of pictures from the September ride over here.

Humber River, and Finch Ave. Flood

Finch Ave. FloodOn September 5th, I went for a late-afternoon / evening bike ride. I decided to explore part of Toronto that I hadn't really been to yet, especially since there was a good chance to see the aftermath of the Black Creek flood that washed away part of Finch Ave.

I left home and rode to the Humber River by the Old Mill. Good thing I wasn't far from home yet: My front disk brake had finally worn down too much and the clip that holds it in place got mangled up. I had to go home and change it before re-starting my ride.

I rode up the Humber River all the way from Bloor, through Weston, right up to Finch Ave., basically. It's a bit tricky once you get farther north, and the Humber River recreational trails disappear in places, and they're not very well signed. But it was a nice ride anyway. I always enjoy cycling near water, especially twisty rivers. I really like bridges too, that's why I seem to have photographed so many of them.

Heading west along Finch Ave. isn't excatly the nicest ride. Pretty much an ugly suburban freeway out there. I knew I was getting close to the collapsed section of road when I saw all the signs to re-route the traffic. A large area on either side of the collapse was fenced off, patrolled by a sleeping security guard who didn't seem to care that people were wandering through an unlocked gate to get a closer peek. I didn't want to venture in there, and I was a bit bummed out at first that I couldn't get a closer look.

Fortunately, a few minutes later a worker came up and said that the new sidewalk / bridge is open! Excellent! I was among the first group of people to walk over this bridge and get a look at the re-formed ravine from this angle (I have some paint on my shorts and bike seat to prove it..from sitting down on the bridge to take pictures...heh.).

It was funny, in a way, looking at the destruction. Black Creek is really just a small trickle. But the strong rain on August 19th caused an amazing surge in water levels that the creek couldn't handle. Maybe if everything up there wasn't so paved over and channelized, the water would have had a better chance of slowly making its way into the creek instead of creating that flash flood?

Bike Ride: Spitting on the Bluffs

Artwork on the Leslie St. SpitSeptember 4th was Jen's last morning in Toronto before flying back to Vancouver to continue her studies at UBC. After dropping her off at the airport and taking the bus back home, I decided to use the rest of the day for a long bike ride.

My bike ride took me down to the lake where I stumbled across the huge crowds gathered for the air show. It was interesting seeing the jets fly so quickly (and LOUDLY!), but it sure was a pain getting through the crowds of spectators along the pathways. I gave up and hopped on Lakeshore Rd., where the traffic was less chaotic. :-)

The first destination was Tommy Thompson Park, or the "Leslie St. Spit". I've been to this rubble-dump-turned-urban-oasis before, but this time I decided to explore it off of the main "roads" that go through it. Wow, this place is truly fantastic. I didn't realize there were quiet little beaches tucked away behind the trees, and beavers to chomp on those trees too. The number of birds on the spit is amazing, and I spent quite a bit of time just gazing at them flying around. I wish I knew more about birds so that I could tell you what they were. Even the freshly-dumped-rubble areas of the spit are interesting. It's like walking on top of Toronto's past. People have also taken pieces of rubble to construct temporary figures of various shapes and sizes.

When I left the spit at around 6:00, I decided to keep riding east, heading for the Scarborough Bluffs because I had never been there before. Once I got past the end of Queen St., the riding went from interesting city roads to the ugly suburbia of Kingston Rd., which seemed to go on further than I expected (plus it was uphill!). I didn't realize the Scarborough Bluffs park was on the bottom of the bluffs, so the steep downhill road was a real blast to ride down! I paid for that on the way back up... Well, it was already starting to get a bit dark by the time I got there, so I spent some time looking around and taking pictures, but I'll have to come back some other day to really take it all in and explore it some more.

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