Not a ton to report from Toronto. I’ve mostly been hanging at one or the other of my parents’ apartments. That means I had a rare opportunity to combine TV, cable and lots of time with not a lot to do. I have to report TV still sucks – so many channels and so little on. I mostly watched sports. I have a slight addiction to any sport that’s televised and is holding some sort of championship tournament. Tennis, curling, hockey – whatever…if it’s a best of the best tournament I can get into it….problem is I can’t easily get out of it! Luckily the only championships I could find was in figure skating and they didn’t get out of hand. I also watched a bunch of NHL games. It’s a novelty not to have to head to a pub to watch a game. Of course not being able to buy a pint of beer was a clear downside to the home viewing experience.
Sadly both my parents have crap internet connections and neither has WiFi…how can they live??? Happily I was able to tether my laptop to my iPhone so I could work and surf the net during the trip. I haven’t used that feature much before, but it works great.
I did get out on my own Friday for a bit of a jaunt downtown. I met up with biker, blogger and all around nice guy – Jun Nogami for lunch at Sansotei Ramen. I’m not a ramen expert, but the meal was fresh and tasty. The place was bustling so they are clearly popular and worth a try if you are in downtown TO and have a hankering for ramen noodles.
Jun was riding a cool pink Rock Lobster. He’s an uber commuter and cargo biker. He was on his way to a human powered helicopter record attempt and invited me along. I was interested in checking it out, but I had to decide if I wanted to spend a few hours travelling around the city to see the helicopter or spend the time chilling in downtown.
Since it was my only day “off” on the trip I decided to roam the core on my own.
I headed over to The Urbane Cyclist LBS. It reminds me of a much bigger version of The Fairfield Bicycle Shop in Victoria. They both specialize in practical bikes for getting around with a nod towards the funky end of the bike spectrum. Quite a few years ago I bought my first folding bike [a Dahon Speed D7] at Urbane so we have a bit of history.
It was quite cold outside so I spent a lot of time just geeking out on bikes and chatting to the staff. I left with a cool metal bottle cage and a 2013 Ortlieb catalogue. Yes I am a bike nerd and I like my Ortlieb porn!
I saw some cool architecture near Urbane and really enjoyed tromping along the busy streets with music pumping in my headphones. When I was young that was how I spent a lot of my free days and something I rarely do anymore. Having a soundtrack to your aimless wanderings is fun. My ears are probably happy I don’t use headphones a lot anymore.
I’m not a huge magazine reader, but when I am travelling having a few mags in my backpack makes the inevitable waits, planes, trains and buses more enjoyable. My iPhone is an older 3GS version with a limited battery so I can’t really expect it to entertain me on the move too much if I want it working for navigation and other mission critical tasks when I need it. There are a few magazines I really enjoy so I scored copies of: Bicycle Quarterly, Surfer’s Journal and Dirt Rag. I also grabbed a Mountain Bike Action and a Bike Magazine – neither of which are on my A List of sports journalism, but like a donut the occasional empty calorie is fun as long as you don’t go nuts!
Surfer’s Journal and Stand Up Paddle Journal [sadly I had already read the current issue of SUP Journal] are truly excellent magazines with quality writing combined with stunning photos. You only get halfway through an issue before you start thinking about your next surfing trip. I’d love to find a mountain bike equivalent.
With some reading material in hand I cruised the core stopping at a few gear stores to see the latest shiz and warming up. I’m well stocked on camping gear and clothing so I kept my wallet safely stashed in my pocket. I’ll save my gear fun tokens for travelling this year and wear out some gear.
I found myself in a nice pub for a couple hours to beat the cold and enjoy some draught beer in a comfy setting. Once again the iPhone and laptop came to my rescue as I was able to get some work done while relaxing for a bit.
Eventually my free time ran out and I joined the throng for a Friday rush hour commute to the burbs where my dad lives for more family time.
I can’t say I really like Toronto. I’m not a big city guy, but it is fun to visit for a change of pace.