Friday was a day off for us Canadians, and because I like the idea of a four-day-weekend, I decided to take Monday off as well. The only down side to not working is that I don't get to ride on my daily 20 kilometer commute. So today, inspired by an article in the Sunday Globe and Mail about the Donut Ride (a 120 km ride around Toronto which happens every Saturday and Sunday), I went on a ride for the sheer joy of it while Delphine and Amy took their nap. It's fairly rare that I go for a ride just to go for a ride, since usually I'm either commuting or riding somewhere to pick something up, even if it's just over to Bayview for gelato. Having a toddler doesn't lead to a lot of free time, and while she's okay for shorter rides, the one time we took her on a long ride, she got a little antsy. (Okay, so she was crying for the last twenty minutes, but we were on the middle of the Don Trail, and it doesn't exit until Lakeshore.)
Since I've never been on a long ride, I was wondering how far I could go, and how long I could maintain a speed. My route was quite simple, through the cemetary to Bayview, then North until I was done. All in all, I think I did fairly well for my first ride, although I certainly made some newbie mistakes. The most obvious mistake was going too fast at the start of the ride. Going down the hills, I would shift into the highest gear, and then forget to down-shift when I started going up the next hill. Between that and the excessive heat (the humidex was around 35, I believe)I was completely beat after 20 minutes. (On the upside, my average speed for those 20 minutes was over 27 km/h.) So, after pulling over onto the sidewalk (and getting a strange look from a lady out watering her lawn), and taking a water break, I felt a lot better, and continued North. I was hoping to ride for one and a half to two hours, but just before the 30 minute mark, I found myself at Finch and Bayview, and so I thought I would I cut over to Yonge, and head home, for a total time of a little under one hour. (57 minutes, 40 seconds.)
So, some more stats. My average speed (25.7 km/h) was quite a bit faster than normal. (I usually average around 22-24.) My fastest speed (51.2 km/h) wasn't faster than normal, so I guess I was keeping speed for longer than normal, which isn't surprising, since I didn't have to stop for more than three or four lights on the whole ride up to Finch. Finally, my current odometer reading is 1808.2 km, which is below the 1820 it would have been had I commuted on Friday and Monday, but is still fairly impressive for someone who doesn't really think of themselves as a cyclist.
Finally, in a desparate bid to get the three of you who read this weblog to comment, I have a question. I'm thinking of getting a cyclocross bike for commuting in the fairly distant future. From all I've read, the Surly Cross Check sounds like a frame I'ld enjoy, but they don't have dealers (any bike store can order in as many as they want, so the stores are stuck with unsold merchandise), so I don't know where I'ld go if I wanted to test-ride one. Can any of you suggest a store which might carry the Cross Check (or any other cyclocross bikes that you like) for test rides? (The nice lady at The Urbane Cyclist suggested their in-house Urbanite brand, which looked fairly similar, but which I've heard absolutely nothing about.