Scarborough to Pickering

In my continuing quest to paddle the whole north shore of Lake Ontario, I've now mapped another chunk of the lake: about 7.5K from Rouge Beach Park, the far east side of Scarborough to Frenchman's Bay in Pickering.

This also marks the first time I've paddled back to the car and had to use the Yakima rack twice in a day. It certainly makes loading easier than last summer's el-cheapo foam pads, especially since I can now load single-handedly.


Ottawa Cycling Trip: Day 2

Day two began with coffee & a Vector energy bar, then 17K of biking with about 30lbs of clothing and hardware on my back, to retrace my route from the night before and get back to the Eclipse Foundation office by 10am.

Stopping a few times to snap pictures (and seriously consider jumping in the river to cool off), it took me about an hour to get to the office... drenched in sweat. New to the area, I overshot Woodroffe and added a couple K to the trip.

Luckily, since I had everything with me, I was able to change quickly, and the workshop began with Denis chairing things while I attempted to cool down.

Bjorn offered to drive me to the train station to save me another gruelling 15K trek -- the added bonus being I missed the afternoon thunderstorms & rush hour traffic.

VIA was reasonably accommodating to my need to get home with my bike, and rather than forcing me to use Purolator and to maybe get my bike back on Monday, if not Wednesday (because of Canada Day), they instead allowed me to transport it on the train for $20 + taxes.

I thought I was adhering to the "only two articles" rule:

But digging through the site further, their site DOES state which trains and trips allow checked baggage, that bikes must be checked, and that checking a bike as baggage is $20. However, I had to dig through a number of locations before I found this information, so perhaps it's really a usability issue.

Or I'm just stupid, and misread the statement that bike BOXES are free to mean that the contents would also be free.

Still, it seems odd that the Toronto-Ottawa corridor wouldn't provide a baggage car given all the traffic that line apparently gets.

Ah, well, live and learn.


Ottawa Cycling Trip: Day 1

Ottawa-Gatineau, for those who don't live there and already know this, is freakin' beautiful -- especially by bike.

Unfortunately, VIA doesn't provide checked baggage service on its Toronto to Ottawa trains... so while I was able to bring my bike onboard because there was an empty train car (and their staff sympathized w/ my predicament), it's looking like I'll have to courier it home w/ Purolator for $40 or so.

So, after arriving at the train station, I biked the 7.6K to my hotel, showered, changed, and found some bike shops in Ottawa and Gatineau from which I could get the tools I'll need tomorrow to remove my pedals and twist my forks around so I can put it in a box. Yet another service VIA could offer, but doesn't, is to stock $25 work of wrenches to enable customers to adjust their bikes for transport.

Since there were 3 bike shops on my way to the Eclipse Foundation's Ganymede Release party, I decided to detour from the Google Maps route I'd brought and trek across Carling. Of the three, Cycle Power (with an actual website linked from Google Maps) came first and were friendly & helpful. I learned that bike prices are going up 15-20% over the next year due to rising fuel costs and rising demand for bikes. Until the supply catches up to the demand, expect to pay more.

Got to the party fashionably late, but with my return travel plan solved. Missed the food, but caught the dunk tank festivities.

After clocking 38K on an empty stomach, I walked over to the Thai restaurant across from the Museum of Civilizations on Rue Laurier, and ordered the special/sampler. Great soup. Nice, spicy chicken curry. Tasty, but unimaginative pad thai w/ two large shrimp. Despite the slow service (a table for 1, with one one beer, one dish, and desert took 90 mins), I'd go back. Unfortunately I didn't have time to hit the hotel pool... ah, well, next time.


By The Numbers

Paul suggested I keep track of my elapsed transit, so here's a quick recap of 2008 so far:

Bike Odometer Reading, Last Season:1917km
Bike Odometer Reading, Currently:2214km
Elapsed Cycling Distance This Year:297km
Est. Distance Travelled By Water (5 trips):30km
2008 Transit Distance:327km

And on the 7th Day...

Today started with a beautiful walk with the dogs along the creek that runs through the U of T Scarborough campus, both in and out the water. The easiest way to get to this creek is to drive to Old Kingston Rd, park, and head north along the trails that track the water.

After some YouTube timewasting, including the discovery of Project Aiko -- a working female android prototype with the ability to read, do math, have a conversation, and learn -- I decided that it was time to get out of the house and do something useful. If a young engineer can build an android in his basement, the least I can do is get in shape so when SkyNet comes online I'll be able to fight back (or be assimilated, either way). :)

So, I biked down to the lake and did some more vigilante gardening, this time to repair a thunderstorm-damaged bit of connecting trail, and to improve a second path through an otherwise intractable mud pit.

After digging and moving dirt, and lugging stones to try to build a better set of stepping stones, it was time for a dip in the lake... which is still crazy cold, but very refreshing.

Went home, fed the dogs, watched the latest Homestar Runner cartoon, and headed back down to the lake, this time to Bluffer's Park. There, I launched the kayak and the paddled the 6.4K home to Galloway Road in about 80 mins, including stops to take pictures of the shore, the mist on the ever-so-glassy water, and a precariously balanced house with a whole lot of empty air beneath it.

After putting the boat away, I biked the 8.3K back to Bluffer's Park, retrieved the car, and headed for home.

What a wonderfully exhausting weekend!


73K: To Kipling Station and back

Seems I've been spending too much time in front of the computer:

So, to make things right, I took the boys for a walk from Sylan Park, down the bluff, across the beach, and home again.

On the walk home, I texted Paul and we decided to go for a ride. Little did I know that thanks to Paul's suggestion, it was going to be the longest ride I've ever done!

We started out at 2:10pm, and didn't get home until shortly after 7pm. In between, we rode from Guildwood to Danforth, across to Bloor, up Church to Davenport, down Landsdowne, back on Bloor to Kipling Station!

On the way back, we detoured through High Park. This is the first time I've ever been through this park, and I have to say it was beautiful! Out the east side of the park, we headed south to the Lakeshore, and tracked that until we got to the Beaches and picked up the Waterfront Trail, then eventually back to Kingston Rd and home to where I left the car. What a day!


Father's Day Weekend

Thursday: 4th time paddling this year: from put-in south of Galloway Rd to about half-way between Livingston and Brimley and back in about an hour

Friday: running from zombies

Saturday: moving and chopping wood (to further clear the lake access @ my favourite put-in); cycling 17K; first VERY brief swim of the season in Lake Ontario

Sunday: 23K by bike; the first 3K in thunderstorm, then lots of hills to warm up.

Saw a couple of deer in a field just north of Ellesmere, then biked under the road past a rather overfilled stream ...

... and some great graffiti.


Building A Boat Launch

Have you ever started a path? No one seems willing to do this. We don't mind using existing paths, but we rarely start new ones. Do it today. Start a path. -- George Carlin

Today I paddled for 2-1/4 hours, from Rouge Beach Park to the beach near my house.

This was partly to run a final test of the new boat launch path I've been building sporadically since April, and partly to finally break in my birthday present -- a new Yakima roof rack from Rack Attack.

Two months ago, I decided that since the beach nearest my house was a mere 10-minute portage from door to lake, I would take it upon myself to improve the access path, as the winter left a lot of debris on the beach and made getting a kayak down to the water very difficult.

One happy side-effect of this project has been to make the beach wheelchair-accessible, and on the first weekend I started, a group of local dog owners came by with their pack of collies, one of which is equipped with a pair of wheels to replace her non-functional back legs. In the past, her owner told me, it's been very difficult for her to get to the water. Now, she can roll right in with the rest of the pack. Her owner was thrilled, needless to say.

Anyway, I'm happy to say that despite some problems in the early beta tests (in May) today it worked great. The lake's still too cold for swimming, but the paddling's beautiful, especially with easy access to the water.