Friday, June 29, 2012

Views from the saddle

The morning and evening commutes are as different as different can be.

This morning's commute was cool, serene.  I took the slow lakeshore route and savored the ride.

The view of the lake shimmering in the early morning sun demanded that I pull into the parking lot just east of the Pointe Claire marina, sneak onto the gravel pedestrian path that leads to the pier and snap a picture to capture the mood.
The evening commute was one of those "shortest A to B affairs".  The headwind was stiff, with lots of buffeting from passing 18 wheelers, everyone hell-bent-for-leather to the burbs for the Canada Day long weekend.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The evolution of Muvbox

"What is a Muvbox?", you ask, and "how does a Muvbox evolve?"

A Muvbox is a restaurant concept that was born in Quebec. Think a combination of a Transformer and a shipping container, with retail ambitions.

The first Muvbox I came across was in the Old Port of Montreal, down in the southernmost part of the city locals know as "Old Montreal".

I posted on this a while back.

Last week at lunchtime I thought "lobster shack". The only real-ish lobster shack in Montreal is the Muvbox in the old port.

When I got there the evolution was evident.
First off, there was a longer line waiting for lobster treats than I was prepared to queue for.

The second thing I noticed was the second Muvbox.

Porchetta serves delicious roast pork sandwiches with some interesting sides like rapini.

A much shorter line made the Porchetta Muvbox an obviously wise choice.

One word: delicious.

Now there are two Muvbox choices in the Old Port.

When I rolled back in to my spot in the underground garage at work, there was more evolution waiting for me.

Yes that's right, there's now a second scooter commuter working in my building.

It only makes sense, because in the past two years there has been a scooter explosion in Montreal. It was only a question of time before another scooter showed up in the garage.

Two's company. I definitely don't want a crowd.

PS: in response to Conchscooter's comment, here is a shot taken from our 6th floor window.

Eight PTWs on a day when I opted for the cage due to my daughter's vehement objection because of rain in the forecast.  Three years ago, there might have been one, on average, on a nice day.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Your ride challenge

Martha (Living among Tourists) proposed a blog challenge earlier this month.  It's an interesting challenge: post images of your commute.

I wanted to use my GoPro to record and upload a timelapse sequence of my commute.  Since timelapse can show things at a frenzied pace, it seemed to me that the best route to show in that way would be the bee-line route I take at the end of the day when I've had enough and I just want to get home.

On those days, I take the expressway.  Even with heavy-ish traffic, it's usually the shortest distance and fastest way home from the office.

It took a while to get this done.  The actual shooting was easy enough.  Getting the timelapse sequence from my GoPro to YouTube via my Mac took far longer than I would have liked.  But as with most tricky things, the good news is now I know how to do rudimentary timelapse video.

How cool is that?  Knowing how to do timelapse is important, because, while it's not appropriate for many things, it's often the only practical way of showing things that normally take too much time to  see in a short period of time.  Like my commute.

So here it is.  My timelapse directorial debut.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Return to normal

This morning's commute was interrupted for café au lait and a croissant at Croissanterie Figaro, a favorite of mine on the Plateau.

After all the excitement that May and early June brought, it feels good to be returning to "normal".

I use the quotation marks, because it's a new "normal" for me.  For 45 years I was in a different space.

The true normal mode for my commute began in 1965.  That's when I started High School in Grade 8.  There was no middle school back then.

I had to take a bus to a train, and the train downtown.  For most of my life I have been primarily a train commuter.  I know that's not the  routine for most North American commuters.  In my case the train just happened to be the most logical choice even though I have moved around the city a fair bit over time.

When I wasn't on a train, I commuted by car.

All that changed in 2010 when the scoot commute began.

For my 30 km urban commute  (at least 60 km a day), my Vespa gets me where I need to be faster, and happier.

Get a life!  Get happy! Get a Vespa!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Another year, more happiness

It's my birthday!

Normally I try to fly under the radar, but when you turn 60, that's hard to do.

My colleagues were determined not to let the moment pass without a celebration.  Silly me, I thought that they might not notice.

So, so, so wrong, I was.
I am very touched, and thankful.

Thanks guys and gals!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Superman had his phonebooth...

It's odd that I haven't posted on this very important aspect of commuting on two wheels.

Whether you commute on a bicycle, a moped, a scooter, a motorcycle or one of those Bombardier Can-Am Spyders, the reality is that street clothes are not a good option.

The bicycle commute will be too sweaty, and, the moped option aside, if you value your skin, armored gear is a necessity.

What to do?

I can only speak for my own situation. It took me a while to get it down to an art, if not a science.

I'm lucky because I have a closed office with blinds on the windows. It would be the perfect changing room, except for the window right next to the door.

The solution I ultimately stumbled on to get the privacy I needed to change my clothing was a very inexpensive temporary pleated blind. They are designed for use when you move into a new home or apartment and haven't got window treatments. You cut them to size with a pair of scissors. There is no hardware, only two plastic clips to hold the blind together when it is not in use.

I simply mounted some self-adhesive hook-and-loop fastener to the ends of the blind and to each side of the window frame. When I arrive in the morning, I put up the blind, remove the plastic clothes peg type clamps, and presto, all the privacy I need to get out of my gear and into the suit I must wear for work.

My riding jacket hangs on a hanger on a hook on my office door. The hook is one of those removable self adhesive hooks that won't damage the door.

My armored pants fit into one of bottom file drawers in the credenza.

My armored boots just sit under the return portion of my extended desktop.

At the beginning of the riding season I bring my suits into the office and leave them hanging in the closet. There's plenty of room and I always have enough suits to change things up.

As you can see, I also have a trenchcoat and scarf handy for when it's nippy in the spring or fall, or for when it's raining during the day and I have to go out for a meeting.

My dress shoes sit under my desk where I keep the riding boots.

My helmet sits on top of one of my bookcases.

And there you have it.

This solution works really well for me. It just needs a little setting up and dismantling at either end of the riding season to ferry the office clothing back and forth in the car.

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