Home > Day to Day > Tottenham to HOME, via a Kleinberg cafe, the Humber trails, Blacksmith Cycle and the Novotel…

Tottenham to HOME, via a Kleinberg cafe, the Humber trails, Blacksmith Cycle and the Novotel…

I will admit to having murderous thoughts about the rowdy Tottenham campers – at 03:00, 04:00, 05:00… by 05:30 I gave up and got dressed, packed up and loaded my stuff into the truck. Bud was at the portable kitchen, making pancakes. The three Mouseketeers left to have breakfast in Tottenham. Owen and Landen and I ate and prepared sandwiches, in silence.

I had arranged to meet Electa and Drew at 07:30. Rather than subject them to the challenge of finding our campsite, Owen and I rode to the entrance. Barry’s Jeep rolled in a short while later. Electa and Drew unloaded themselves and their bikes and we were ready to go.

Drew planned a route that would take us either to the Novotel at Sheppard & Yonge, or to my home. I suggested a third option: the bike store that Drew mentioned, Blacksmith Bicycles, on Queen St. West – to try and deal with the increasingly loud and annoying clicking sound that seemed to rise from somewhere in my drive-train.

I thoroughly enjoyed not having to worry about directions. I rode in turns with Electa and Drew, catching up with them and with the world – the US debt crisis, $1600 gold, the downtown Toronto bike lane that Mayor Ford was going to eliminate…

I was delighted to see Drew so pleased with his new bike and so capable – he easily climbed 14% hills and left us far behind.  And I was also delighted with the wonderful cappuccino at the Italian cafe in Kleinberg. And as we set to leave a young woman with two young boys at her table asked about my jersey. Then she donated and wouldn’t give me her name: ‘Its not about me.’ But she took photos of me with each of her sons.

We entered the Humber bike trail system and rode this beautiful path a long way south, where we connected with a new path that took us to Dundas St. West, below Bloor. Drew sure knows the city’s cycling gems! From there it was a short ride to the Blacksmith Bicycle store.

The store owner, Mike, welcomed Drew warmly. And when Drew described my situation Mike took me and my bike to the back, where Jeff was working on a bike. Mike asked him to look after me right away and Jeff started a process of elimination to locate the clicks and squeaks. In the meantime Mike’s fiancée, Janie, made me a delicious cup of Americano – so nice to be with people who appreciate a great cup of java!

I had some time to scan the shop: very high end everything: frames of bikes I had never heard of, top rung components and other cycling gear, all displayed beautifully on the walls, racks and shelves.

Jeff took the bike out for a spin, then returned and fetched Drew to ride beside him and listen for the problem. When they returned Jeff announced that he identified a whole slew of noises…and that he would need a few hours to deal with them! We agreed that I would pick up the bike at 4:00 pm. And this time I remembered to leave the lock key for the wheels and seat!

Drew, Electa and Owen rode their bikes eastbound to the subway at Queen and Yonge, while I waved them on from the streetcar. Then Owen and I and Owen’s bike headed to the Novotel. With me mindful about making it to the 1010 studio on Yonge south of St. Clair no later than 3:00 pm, for the live interview with Ted Walyshyn.

First mistake: I took us off the subway at Sheppard station. Should have gone one more stop. Lost time going up, then back down, and waiting for the next train. At the hotel we checked in and learned that our stuff was in a storage room beyond the entrance. More guests were arriving. I did not insist on getting my eight (8!!!!) different boxes, bags and packages right away.

Eventually piled my stuff on a trolley, then filled the trunk of a cab with them. Asked him what the fastest route to home would be, and how long it would take. “Via the 401 to the Allen Expressway. It will take about 25 minutes.” Fine – that would put me at home around 2:30. I asked the driver to get me home ASAP and to then wait: I would unload the baggage and then have him drive me to the studio.

The cabbie was right – we were making good time. Then the taxi’s trunk started ringing: I forgot my cell phone attached to my pannier! “Should I stop?” asked the cabbie. “No, it’s ok, I’ll get it at home.”

Home at 2:30. All the baggage on the sidewalk. The cell phone rings again. It’s Dan, Ted Walyshyn’s assistant: ‘We’ve been trying to reach you! The show only goes till …3:00!!!’ Oh s—t! So no time to get to the studio! Dan and I agreed that we would do the interview by phone. I tipped the cabbie and extra large amount. And the interview went very well! (Several people heard it and commented favourably.)

Phew! I dragged everything inside. I haven’t been here in what seems like forever – it’s so nice to be home! I let Magic out of her crate – she seemed wary initially, then pushed her head into me and inhaled deeply. All was well with us. So Gay and been here and had left Magic before heading out to fetch Barb from the airport.

What ensued can only be described as ‘fumbling and bumbling’: repeated trips transporting different packages (and then partial contents of those packages) to different parts of the house: basement (bike and camping stuff, especially ‘surplus’ items that I now knew I would not need); clothing to the bedroom; paperwork to my study; a few items to the kitchen; tent and rain fly to the patio, to dry out…and in the midst of this I heard the garage door open – Gay was home!

After a much needed catchup and greeting to Barb it was time to head down and fetch the bike. Gay zoomed us down to the store using her proprietary route. We only got caught up once on the way by the hoards heading down to Caribbana. Jeff told me of all the problems he found and addressed. Then Mike told me that it would be at no charge: their contribution to my ride! This will warrant a separate blog!

I rode towards home. Most of the old noises were gone. There was a new one, associated with mirror that Mike gifted me. (I later discovered that a nut from the old mirror was left inside the handlebars and was bounding around merrily and noisily!) I got to within a few minutes of home and then remembered: I forgot to retrieve the lock key! So this was at least the second “Oh s—t” of the day! I left a message on Mike’s phone. I had to have the key before leaving Toronto!

But first things first: we had a SchoolBOX fundraiser BBQ to attend, hosted by Jenn – one of the Super Ninjas. When we arrived at her home just off the Danforth several guests had already arrived. And more showed up soon after, till we had over 30 people there. Lovely mingling, catching up, telling and re-telling stories. Speeches. A fantastic buffet dinner. Realizing how much work has gone into supporting the ride – by staff and volunteers, friends of mine, friends of Shirley Case and of SchoolBOX, and even by much young people: for example Ruthi’s inspirational contribution via the pins she made and sold, helped by her sister Dara. Their donation came to a total of $350 (!!!), helped by their dad’s creative twist tax twist and then by the doubling gift of a remarkably generous anonymous donor! (The next day I learned that over $5,000 was raised at the BBQ! I was dumbstruck!)

It was long past my ‘ride bedtime’ and I was starting to fade. We thanked our marvellous hostess and many supporters, bid everyone goodnight and headed home.

What a treat, sleeping in my own bed! And it was so much more than just a comfortable bed. Being there with Gay, in the comfort and familiarity of my home, those made me so aware of how ‘unreal’ the ride was. At least in my case I was doing it for a great cause…how did the other riders feel? And I knew how most of the riders would answer at this juncture L

Great sleep. Ate a good breakfast at 7:00, knowing we would be having brunch at Fanny Chadwick’s around 10:00, but obeying my hunger. I then spent a couple of hours catching up with mail and other admin stuff.

Brunch was awesome – so nice to relax with good friends, knowing that the fundraising is going well, the ride is going well, the media coverage is going great… And I ate my brunch and pretty near half of everyone else’s! It was a riot of flavours and calories J An how cool that I will see Jon and Tom and Sara in Ottawa, and will meet Rachael! But Gay won’t be there… L

Home for a long nap, and then the pruning process: combing through every item and deciding whether I would use it during the remainder of the trip. I ended up leaving a whole pile of stuff behind and felt very pleased with myself!

The guys drifted in for the BBQ. Gay and Barb were cooking up a storm – thick Costco steaks with all the trimmings, and then some! After so much blogging about my fellow riders it was a treat for Gay to actually meet everyone (except Isabel who was celebrating her birthday with her twin).

We shared a lovely evening, making large dents in the large amounts of wonderful food and emptying many bottles of wine. Leftover steaks and chocolates were packaged for each of us, to extend our enjoyment into the following day. And every one of the guys went for a ‘weigh-in’ on the en-suite scale, reporting back with glee. The winning loser appeared to be Ric who had lost 16 lbs. Several of the others (including me) had lost 15 lbs. The least weight loss was 11 lbs. Holy Molly! In my case this meant that I was at 179.5 lbs – the lightest in over 30 years!

Gay and I decided to treat me to another night at home – I would subway up to the Novotel with my bike while Gay would take my gear there by car. And with all that good food and drink in me, it was an early sleep!

 “Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

Blacksmith Cycle in Toronto — with Mike (the owner)

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Categories: Day to Day
  1. August 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Here’s to the kindness of all the wonderful people that you have met along the way Ilan. Thank you to Blacksmith Cycle for supporting the Cycle 4 SchoolBOX.
    Cheers
    Tom

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