Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kay and Mike Take Toronto By Bike: Dundas ON

Now that I have free time, I thought it would be fun to start a blog series of bike adventures. Mike and I have made it an unofficial goal to visit as many neighbourhoods as possible in Toronto via public transit and biking. This is a multiyear adventure, and has no order, very few rules, and no deadline. For a type A perfectionist this goes against everything I normally do. The only rule with bike club is that we don’t talk about bike club. Just kidding! The only rule is that we have to get there without using a car, and then I have to blog about it.

This past weekend was official adventure number 1..and technically the heading of this series is already wrong because we actually went to the Hamilton/Burlington region on our first bike adventure..I’m a rebel without a cause!

Anyway back to the point. We went to Burlington to go to the Mountain Equipment Co-op Paddlefest Event at Christie Lake to meet up with some friends and try out some canoeing. I had gone to paddle fest in Barrie the day before, and enjoyed it so much, I thought it was worth checking out again.

We decided to make this a bike adventure when we did the math and between gas and parking it was about the same price to go train and then bike. Plus going on a train makes it an adventure!! We packed our lunches, some snacks, and hopped on the go train around 10:30 to Aldershot. On the weekend you can take your bike on the gotrain, and they were quite comfy on the route.

We arrived in Aldershot, turned on the GPS, and headed on our 20km ride to Christie Lake. I don’t trust GPSs and I shouldn’t have in this case. Penny (as we have named the voice on Mike’s phone GPS), lead us on the “scenic route”. At first it was all fun and games, rolling countryside, and pretty views on our way to Dundas.

Dundas is an adorable town with lots of old buildings, cute shops and restaurants. I really wish I had planned this better and we could have grabbed lunch there! Unfortunately we were on a deadline to get to the park by 1:30, so we didn’t stop. At this point our bike ride became more of a climb as we walked up the escarpment. Check out these inclines.

Now I wish I had stopped to take a picture from the lookout at the top because it was pretty nice, but instead I took a picture of this sign because I thought it was hilarious that you came up this giant hill, and then you go “oh bullocks, it keeps going up!!”

The last 7km were all up hill. Considering this was my first long bike ride, and Mike’s first bike of the year, our legs were pretty shot when we got to the park. It took us about 2 hours to do the route, which is a pretty slow pace, but nothing unexpected with those crazy climbs.

We finally made it to the park (albeit on the completely opposite side than paddlefest), we scarfed down our lunch, and then did a canoe lesson for an hour. Our friends kindly offered a drive back to the go train station after, so we relaxed at the lake until they were done their sessions. We ended up back in Toronto around 7:00pm, completely exhausted but happy knowing we had spent the whole day outside!

Lessons learned from this adventure: Take more pictures, not just of silly signs. Plan to stop in adorable towns. Wear longer shorts (leg chaffing is real!). Research the route before setting out. And finally, get my bike fixed. My front tire is bent so with every revolution it’s like I’m putting on the breaks, which didn’t bode so well on the hills! The next adventure I should be more prepared, and may be slightly less ambitions…I’m thinking Queen West ha!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spring Catch Up

Wooo summer time!!

I thought I would stop in and update you all on my life since I have been a bad blogger and haven’t posted in almost 2 months!!!

So what have I been doing all this time?

1. Tutoring! I feel like exam season lasted extra long this year, and I just wrapped things up this week. Ending tutoring is always bittersweet because as much as I am happy to have a little more free time, it’s always a little sad to wrap things up with my students, especially if they are in their last year! Since then though I have had some glorious free evenings that I spent watching Orange is the New Black, and BBQing and enjoying some sunsets on my balcony. It feels like I am on vacation!

2. Biking!

I got a new bike after mine was unceremoniously stolen last year. It is pink with zebra handle bars and it is amazing.

I am thoroughly enjoying my new way of commuting. While I was tutoring I would get Mike to drop off my bike up in the neighborhood I was tutoring in, I would transit from work up to my bike, and then bike to tutoring(s), and then after I would bike the 10 km home. For those familiar with Toronto, Russell Hill Rd, or Bike route 35, became my route of choice and I enjoyed biking through swanky Forrest Hill and near Casa Loma! It was also pretty neat to watch the season’s change over the course of the 8 weeks I spent biking home. In May, it was still pretty cold out, and by 9:00pm the streets were empty. I didn’t see a soul until I got down to at least St. Clair but then as the weather started getting warmer and the nights longer, more people were out and about enjoying this long awaited summer! 

More biking posts are definitely to come this summer! The picture above is actually from our first bike adventure that definitely deserves its own post!

3. Hot Yoga!

I have decided this summer to skip the triathlon (mostly because I am out of town for the races that are interesting to me), and instead I’m doing a 60 classes in 92 days hot yoga challenge. So far I have done 16 classes, and I’m on track. Considering I was trying to juggle exam week(s) tutoring and yoga, I’m hoping I will continue to stay on track over the summer!

4. House hunting!

Since the end of April, Mike and I have started house hunting out in the Mimico/New Toronto/Long Branch area. As much as I love real estate, and looking at houses is fun, house hunting is stressful and annoying, especially in a seller’s market. So far we have seen probably about 25 houses, and we have been seriously interested in 3 and bid and lost on 2. The whole experience has been a good learning experience, and I think I’m going to write some more blog posts about it, mostly because I can’t find anything online that would have prepared me for this.

5. Breaking Bad!

When I wasn’t busy with all of the above, most of my free time was spent watching all 62 episodes of breaking bad. Holy amazing show batman. I put off watching it for a while for two reasons, one I thought it might have been too “intense”, and also I knew once I started watching it I wouldn’t stop. And I was right about the 2nd part, I became completely addicted (ironic J). At the end I was kind of glad it was over so I could get my life back!! (And by get my life back I mean watching Orange is the New Black Season 2).

And that was my past 2 months in a nut shell, a whirlwind of yoga, tutoring, commuting, and house hunting! 

What have you all been up too? Anyone else getting hooked by Netflix?