BACK TO INTRO7h26 Departure - a bit later than usual. I don't like leaving any later than 7h15, this could mean a very hectic ride up Jane Street. I will hit it at peak rush hour at the highway on ramps. Given the potential for a stressful commute I make a quick left turn onto Milky Way and avoid the mess of blockades at the Queen and Dufferin intersection.
click on any image to enlarge
click on any image to enlarge
7h56 Exactly one half hour into my commute and 7km covered, I'm waiting for the light to change at Rogers Road where it intersects Old Weston Road. I notice a man leaning up against the Nova Era Bakery. I wonder what he is waiting for, how long has he been there? What does he have packed away in that gray plastic bag? As the light changes I continue to cycle along Rogers Road to where it ends. I turn right onto Weston Road. No matter what time of day I take this road on my commute it is never busy. It's a nice wide road with two lanes. I always feel safe on this road.
Turn right onto Jane Street, passing the Saigon Flower Coffee Together Restaurant and café. I leave the relative safety of Weston Road. Cars start to chase me down. Their right rear view mirrors brush by my left hand. H. had his hand smashed last spring after a car passed by too close and the mirror caught it. A total of 15 bones crushed. It looked more like a worn, fleshy baseball when he waved his fist in my face exasperated.
Cycling north along Jane I'm nearing the on-ramps to highway 400 and the 401. Must keep my thoughts focused exclusively on what is happening around me.
8h23 Successfully maneuvered through the traffic vying to get onto the highway. Fortunately it is a Monday I find drivers to be less antsy, a bit listless on their way to work. Tired I guess from the weekend and in no real rush to be starting another week of work. I'm now at the corner of Jane and Sheppard Streets and notice traffic of a different sort - pedestrian. There are children about on their way to school.
A cross-walk guard stands at attention on a set of stairs leading to the parking lot of a plaza.
9h04 and 30km covered I am entering King township, with a light rain, and slowly becoming surrounded by farmland. The traffic is calm I see less and less cars, my body is loosening up, my brain opening up. My thoughts start to travel elsewhere not too far though just realized how much the terrain has changed within the span of an hour and a half. From downtown Toronto to farmland, from high rises to trees, from densely populated streets to wide open fields. I continue along, alone with my thoughts, on my way to work. Still alone no one to follow and no one following me. Artists Vito Acconci and Sophie Calle are known to have followed strangers. A conceptual practice that acknowledges the existence of oneself through the other. Cyclists follow one another in order to conserve energy, zapping others of theirs. I wonder if that was Diane Borsato's real reason for her project Touching 1000 People was it to share or capture energy. Like taking a photo, 'stealing one's soul'. A tiny death. Got to keep pedaling.
9h39 (45km) At the corner of Jane and Kettleby Road I make a right only a few kilometers from my destination.
9h43 I'm in Kettleby, almost there.
9h45 - 46km mark I'm here and, on time - average speed 23.5km/h not bad given traffic. Time to get to work.
Back on the bike, cycling south along Keele Street toward Toronto. The farmland is slowly being overtaken by suburban sprawl and industrial parks.
About 18km from home, I'm back within the city limits, cycling through the university campus.
18h55 Back on the bike. The sky is cloudy but it isn't dark yet. I cycle south along Sentinal Road passing depressing housing complexes, just my luck it starts to rain.
By 19h22 the sky is getting darker but the rain has subsided somewhat making it easier to see where I am going.
At Beechborough Road, just north of Eglinton I decide to turn off of Keele Street to get out of the rush hour traffic. This was a stupid move these residential street are poorly lit. With the rain and the darkness settling in I can barely see the road ahead of me ... really need to focus. The roads are a terrible mess of potholes and uneven pavement. My bike and I perform an awkward dance swerving and bouncing around the various obstacles.
20h00 - I have come out of the maze of small streets at Davenport Road I pass a restaurant where I notice the silhouettes of people inside. Possibly enjoying a warm meal or drink, completely oblivious to me passing by, wet and cold. For them I don't even exist. I turn right on to Symington Avenue and am delighted to be on smooth pavement and a well-lit road. I have forgotten completely about the warm, dry interior of the restaurant and those individuals within.
8h13 home sweet home - average speed 22km/h.
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