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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Magic White Bike

Went to see Overcoming, a documentary following a team of cyclists in the 2004 Tour de France with Paul yesterday, as he's a big biker. The film wasn't bad, but it was aimed so completely at cyclists that there were no explanations of anything for the non-cyclist. It's a good thing Paul was there to explain many Tour de France concepts to me. It's tough to get really enthused with the participants (or conversely, really depressed with them) if you don't understand exactly why they are up or down at points in the race.

Two things really stood out. One was how Lance Armstrong cast this vast shadow over everything the team did and the entire race in general (he won for his sixth straight time in 2004). The second was this moment when we're driving inside the team car, and they're handing one of their team members, Bobby, who's cycling hard some water, when Bobby suddenly just disappears. Everyone goes "WTF!?!", the car screeches to a halt, and we run back to where Bobby has piled up.

But afterwards, Paul says he has a (much belated) birthday present for me back at his place, and we head over there to find he's built me a bike! It's a basic city bike, no gears, but it's astonishingly light. I haven't rode for years and years because the city traffic made me nervous, but I rode it home and it was absolutely fun, and I've named it the Magic White Bike. I'm going to see about checking out some bike routes Sunday. Thanks Paul!

BTW, Paul warned me to be sure to lock the bike using the back wheel, as it's a lightweight one that he's rebuilt that likely worth about three times as much as the rest of the bike, so it would get grabbed in a second otherwise.

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I find as long as you pay attention to your surroundings and don't bike faster than you can predict what's ahead of you (you'll get the feel for it quickly), biking in Toronto is great fun and reasonably safe. There are certain busy "hotspots" to either avoid or be wary of, but like I said paying attention is your best bet.

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