By | June 30, 2010

I finally did it – I got over my fear of biking on the Queensway and took the kids on a leisurely ride to Sunnyside Park.

Before we left, I loaded up the long john with picnic blankets, food and drink and all the other stuff you need to leave the house for more than an hour with three kids (read: a lot). I checked my route one last time: Royal York, Queensway East, Humber River Trail to the MGT. And before I could chicken out, we were off. Now, as anyone who bikes in this fair city knows, towards the lake is generally downhill. That meant the ride to the park was fairly easy: I had a tailwind on my side too. That also means that I managed to build up a fair amount of speed, and when I got to the entrance to the Humber Trail on the Queensway I was going pretty fast.

Now, here is the wipeout part of this story…

This is also the route my husband takes to work, and he warned me about the wheel eating potholes and ignorant truck drivers in front of the Food Terminal. I was preoccupied with watching for holes and other depressions when I tried to take the curb at the entrance to the trail. I turned my wheel too late, hit at a funny angle, and… crash. Wiped out going at least 25 kms/h with all the kids on board. As we were going down I saw the front wheel bending and thought for a second it was going to spin right around and shear off.

Good news: everyone is fine. I’ve got a nice bruise above my right knee where I landed, but otherwise no one seems to have been injured. Even though we were completely on our side, the harnesses kept the kids in their seats until I managed to right the bike and get them out.

Bad news: the excessive twisting on the wheel has loosened up the steering rod on the bike significantly and now the handling is very sloppy. We tinkered with it last night and I’m hoping that it’s fixed – giving it a good workout again today so we’ll see.

So after we picked ourselves up, with the help of five (five!) city workers who rushed to help us when they heard the crash, we were on our way again. Across Humber Bridge, along the lake, to the playground. That was definitely the best part of my day – the temperature was perfect, the sun was bright, the views of the lake awesome. And a lot of smiles and waves from fellow cyclists on the trail.IMG_6791

We played for a while, had our picnic, enjoyed the sunshine, and then headed home. I said earlier that the way there was mostly downhill, which made the trip home uphill. With a headwind. And sloppy steering. UGH. The ride home was brutal. I had to get off and push twice, and was going so slow on the Queensway that I got honked at twice. Side note: luxury car drivers honk louder and more often than other drivers. It’s true, isn’t it?

However, all that said, I DID enjoy the ride, and WILL attempt it again. I will have to alter my route for the ride home however – I’ll need to avoid the Queensway when I’m tired and slow.

Now – I need to go load up the bike for today’s adventure!


duncan on June 30, 2010 at 9:51 am.

Great photo! Now that’s how you slide with determination.

Glad no one was hurt and you’re right, BMW and Lexus drivers are the most honky, least willing to pass safely, don’t know why or have hard proof though.

michael holloway on July 2, 2010 at 6:37 am.

I think the Luxury cars are more insulated for sound, so their horns are set louder. Incidentally that’s also why, I think, emergency vehicle’s sirens are louder – almost dangerously loud for other road users hearing – because of these super sound insulated vehicles.

On the behavior of Luxury car owners and others who use their horns to scare mothers and their children while their struggling home after a nice day at the lake, I always say, “Less horn, more brake!”


duncan on July 2, 2010 at 7:51 am.

Oh wow, I didn’t actually get the full image in my head until Michael mentioned it. A large bicycle with mother and 3 very visible children and people are honking at you? Disgusting behaviour.

Well, good for you for setting an excellent example for other parents. You’ve made the choice to move yourself and your children by bike and from what I have read you’re not backing down. I’m sure there’s some proverb about falling down and getting back up again, but hey, hearing a real-life example of this is far better than any old saying!

cFletch on July 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm.

:) Thanks guys.

I forgot to mention after getting honked at (about 100m up the road) a gentleman came out of a store, stood on the sidewalk and cheered for me! He clapped and shouted “YOU GO GIRL!”, which totally made my day.
Can’t believe I didn’t mention that before…

Joe T. on July 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm.

Super ride Claire!

Has anyone else found that BMW drivers honk a lot but Mercedes drivers not so much?

Glad that you and the kids are okay, Claire. :)

michael holloway on July 4, 2010 at 8:13 am.


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