Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Little bit of a morning stretch

Each weekday morning my watch kindly wakes me without disturbing Susan.

I rise, meditate briefly, exercise, then go for a ride. While I exercise I think of what path to take on my ride.

One possible route is to take the Finch trail east to the Don river trail which is my favourite trail. 

I have only rarely taken that route because of the distance, and because, I am ashamed to say this... concerns about coyotes. I have come across coyotes twice on the Finch trail. There was no cause for concern because the Finch trail runs under a hydro electric transmission corridor, it's wide open, and in both cases the coyote was warily keeping a great distance and going about its business.

Until this morning, I felt that the Don river trail presented more risk of coyote issues because I imagined I would be the only person on the trail because it was early spring, and because the trail, while set in an urban area, actually feels quite remote. The narrow paved path wanders along the ravine, following the Don river branch (more of a stream than a river, truth be told). My concern is that I might startle a coyote and prompt an attack. 

Yes that's a little silly, and cowardly.

Today I decided to go that way.

No coyotes, or even foxes, the wildlife was only squirrels, a woodpecker, delightful sounds of rushing water... and ten or twelve pedestrians and walkers, often with their pooches. Far from threatening in any way, it was pure delight. The music streaming in my AirPods matched the scenery. 

On the return route, I took the Sheppard subway for a couple of stops because parts of the route have serious climbing, and I needed a break. Besides, as wonderful as the Don river trail is, Sheppard avenue from the top of the hill west of Leslie to Yonge is very urban, and not bike friendly.

Occasional rain drops fell on the two kilometre ride from Sheppard subway stop back home. All told, 11.74 (excluding the subway ride) kilometres bright and early this morning, for a total of 2,607.22 kilometres since I began tracking my cycling on November 20, 2021. 

Not too shabby.

Maps of this morning's two segments. The scale is different in each, and therefore misleading.

Friday, May 19, 2023

2 B's and a F

 I was rarely a really good student. I made sure to pass, and to get really good grades when I could see that getting those grades was vital to an eventual next step.

But this, is not about, that.

And no, it's not about B-words and F-words either. Well I guess it is, but... not those...

You see, we live in a very urban area, Our condo tower is among the shrimps in our neighbourhood at 24 stories. New skyscrapers are constantly popping up like spring tulips.

Fortunately Toronto is blessed with numerous ravines. Most have streams running through them intent on dumping more and more water into Lake Ontario. The ravines are generally sufficiently steep so that builders avoid them as too costly for building homes profitably. 

And thus, as I do my outdoor morning rides on well-maintained bike trails in the midst of wonderful green spaces, including some in the nearby ravines, my almost perfectly silent Brompton fails to alert the local fauna lurking in the flora, and this week I saw two bunnies, one of which crossed my path a little too close for comfort, and this morning on my way down into the Earl Bales Park ravine, a sly but shy fox was about to cross my path but made an abrupt U-turn and sprinted into the greenery, not to be seen again.

Thursday, May 18, 2023


The scene as I left my firm's town hall meeting yesterday evening
How do you know when the urban environment is threatening and bullying the green environment?

Well, one thing you can do is pay attention to the trees.

Shocked tree seen on our evening walk

Monday, May 15, 2023

Mother's Day

 You can't make this stuff up!

Our kids organized a very nice Mother's Day brunch at a local restaurant.

There were flowers, and treats, and laughs, and fun with the kids and grandkids.

I enjoyed a little creativity, colouring with crayons with my granddaughter, building and re-building a little pyramid from the usual trash.

I suppose I was inspired by the "trashion couture" art on the wall... I had already taken pictures of six of the works to add to my digital collection. Lora Moore-Kakaletris's work now lives in my collection with works by Andy Warhol, Monet, Lawren Harris, and many, many other artists whose work struck my fancy over the years, including work from museums from Montreal, Athens, Toronto, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Portland, Seattle, Bayeux, and Amboise.

We had a very enjoyable brunch. Then came the funny finale, and the silliness that inspired this post.

I had my credit card handy, waiting my turn to pay, when... a power failure took the restaurant out. There was a collective ooh and ahh from the crowd, questions from the kids, and the wireless card reader that the waiter was offering me became...

That instant irony made me laugh!

We hung around waiting for the power to come back on. Just as I thought of telling our waiter we would return later in the day to settle the score, the power returned, and a few minutes later, their payment software branded as "Toast" returned and I was able to pay.

Soon after, we came home (the restaurant is just down the street from where we live). The music I had left playing, wasn't. That's not good, I thought. You see all my music plays on our network thanks to Apple and the wonder of streaming.

The power failure had been brief at home, but knocked my Mac out. Oh the joy of recovering all my work-related spreadsheets.

Another inconvenience thanks to the law of averages. The one law that never fails to apply. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Flat Friday

Geared up, unfolded, and good to go, with a plan to cycle my longest loop, but in the opposite direction. 

Wait… why does the front feel… wah, wah, wahhhhhhh.

My early morning ride time was re-allocated to flat repair.

Not so bad really. One puncture in just over 2 years. 

Plus, I got to fix it in the comfort of home, as opposed to outdoors, in the rain, on a cold day…

So here's another reason why I am a huge Brompton fan. Everything I could possibly need to work on my Brompton, is INSIDE the Brompton.

In this photo, you can see it, but unless I pull it out a little, it's almost imperceptible: the comprehensive Brompton tool kit, and the brand new never used spare inner tube.

With a tiny tug, here they are.

No need for a saddle bag, and when the bike is unfolded, the kit is invisible, because both items live inside the main chassis tube. That's an option that only has the potential to exist in a folding bike, and absolutely exists in every single Brompton.

It was my first bicycle flat repair in a long, long, long time. But, like riding a bike, once learned, the skill lasts a lifetime. I more recently fixed Vespa flats, but those are a cinch because Vespa tires are tubeless.

The one disappointment: inside the tool kit, there used to be two patches. My intention was to patch the puncture. Alas, somewhere along the way (the Vancouver trip? The Ogunquit trip?) the patches went AWOL So I replaced the inner tube. I then took the spare inner tube from Susan's bike and put it in mine. So I am back to 100% Boy Scout readiness, but I still need to patch the punctured tube and put it into Susan's bike.

All told, not the morning I was expecting, but you know what they say, experience is what you get... when you were expecting something else.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Go with the flow

I have ridden past this fountain many times in the last few years. Today may be the first time I paid it any attention. If the fountain had become the heart of a contentious issue, and had I been questioned as a potential witness, my response would have been "what fountain?".

It's modern, modest, doesn't splash, and it's a nice touch in a very urban setting.

I stopped to take the photo because I noticed the fountain as I waited for the light to change. Now that I am thinking about how to describe how it fits in this morning's ride, the fountain seems like an expression of my recent post about how change often behaves like ocean currents.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023


 This is a very short post.

Today our condo was assessing the underground parking as part of its capital planning and the experts wanted the P1 level empty today.

Condo life is relatively new for Susan and I. It's just over seven years. In all that time, I have never, ever, ever seen the parking empty.

Wow! That's just P1, but still, quite a sight. The other two levels were assessed yesterday and the day before.

The end of an era


It was time. It's about time. It's time.

In 2010 it was time to begin riding Vespas. The Scoot Commute is what I called it, because, inspired by what I saw so many Parisians doing when I was briefly in Paris in 2008, I decided to commute to work in Montreal on a Vespa.

It all kicked off in the early spring of 2010. I won't go into too much detail on what followed. It's all laid out in minute detail in this journal (blog? I like journal. I don't like that it sounds hoity-toity though. Oh well.). To make things easier there is a link to a chronological list of posts above, or you can click here.

That decision to live more of my life on two wheels affected so many things. I learned to be even more different than in the past. Although, to be honest, I was always different. A lefty, bilingual, raised a Catholic, but married a beloved Jew, disowned by my parents, then forgiven. The list goes on. Commuting sixty kilometres a day on a Vespa in a busy city, rain or shine, in the heat or the cold? That's not 'normal', but...

I made friends. Not in my neighbourhood, like 'normal' people do, but all over the place. In Ontario, in British Columbia, in Pennsylvania, in New York State, in Florida, in Germany. I rode scooters in all those places. I rode a scooter to the Piaggio plant in Pontedera, Italy (to be fair, Italy is not exactly Germany, but I was riding with my German friends, so there's that). Never in my wildest dreams could I have pictured all the joy my Vespas would bring.

Today it's time.

Journeys all have places where experience shifts. Sometimes change is abrupt and jarring. Mostly though, there is a gentle drift, when the dominant theme and a new theme join paths, like ocean currents, unseen, seamless, relentless, eventually drifting apart, each going their own way.

Miata, meet Vespa. David sails off on a dragon red Vespa, and the mid-life-crisis-red Miata (Susan coined that colour) is left behind, and eventually, over time, takes a different path (from David to Marc, and beyond).

Vespa meet Brompton. David pedals off, folding, unfolding, folding, unfolding... and just like a Brompton, the journey must always be unfolding and shifting. Now the dragon red Vespa sits idle, and soon, in a matter of days, it will take a different path (from David, to Adam, and beyond).

A note to Adam.

Adam, my wish for you, is that your new Vespa will light up your life, the way Vespas lit mine.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.