The sincere, kind and ingenious cyclists I met this week made me really proud to be a citizen of Toronto. This gig rocks!
Ever heard of the Drain Ride? Last Monday, I met with a young man who, along with his friend led a dozen people through the Wilket Creek Storm Trunk Sewer system, on bikes. The system runs from York Mills Road/Bayview to the hydro corridor at Finch/Senlac. The entrance is so wide, you can ride 10 bikes abreast. By the end, they were exploring on hands and knees. Listening to his story felt a little like 30,000 Leagues.
Tunnel Vision, anyone?
As a mother, a personal trainer, and a concerned citizen, I came to this interview suspicious and cynical. I worried that including the story would look like I was endorsing unsafe activity of questionable legality. While my interviewee wisely refused to provide the exact entry location, he advertised the event publicly. Indeed, a reporter met them at the drain entrance when they returned from their adventure, refreshing drinks in hand. Further, my young friend delayed the adventure by one day, because the weather forecast included rain. You see, he does not want anyone to enter the system unprepared or unprotected. He himself had been into the drain twice before, so he knew what to expect. While I continue to discourage illegal sport, I do applaud his adventurous nature, and was delighted to learn that his approach was responsible.
Riding through the drains was everything you’d expect and nothing you’d expect. We met at a park where one of the drain’s grilles had been installed, so I could experience something of the venue firsthand. As we stood on the grille and looked into the drain, I was stunned by the clarity of the water (well, it is Wilket Creek after all) and at how cool and restorative the air circulating around the grille felt.
It’s a great, great story but well, how about you just read about it and dream?
For more information on the Wilket Creek Storm Trunk Sewer system, visit www.vanishingpoint.ca/wilket-creek-storm-trunk-sewer
This weekend, Toronto hosted the Northside Regional Qualifier Tournament, at Dufferin Grove Park. I went to a few of the practice events and was watching the competitions on both Saturday and Sunday. My purpose in attending was to get some more bike interviews from people who know bike polo, but surprisingly I got a lot more than that. I’m delighted to tell you that one of the men on the second place team (yaaay Toronto!) has agreed to an interview. In addition, I will be speaking with the owner of Modrobes Eco Sportswear and the owner of Hoopriver Bicycles, both sponsors at the event and both intriguing bike fanatics with their own stories. Better still, I have an interview with the man who custom built the event’s nets. He also happens to build “tall bikes”. Watch for these interviews in coming weeks!
For more information on the tournament, visit www.bikepolo.to
Finally, I happened to be watching the Sunday morning competition standing along the boards and looked down to find a caramel rat trying to make eye contact. His name is Boitsbeel.
His owners happen to have access to several discarded bike frames, with which they have built a protective barrier–doubling as a ghost bike memorial–around a garden oasis in a Green P lot. It went from this
and finally, to this enchanting stage.
As you might expect, they have a battle on their hands because of the garden’s unconventional location. However, the story is inspiring. And so is Boitsbeel. I feel really honoured to have met such gentle but misunderstood characters.