I spent the Easter long weekend visiting my family in Hamilton. It was great to get away and relax for a few days, especially after having to work the previous two weekends. Plus, I haven't visited my parents much lately, so it was great to be "home" again.
Since I now have my Bike Friday folding bicycle, I was able to take a bike with me to Hamilton for the weekend without having to ride all the way there. It turned out to be a bit more of a pain than I expected, but still definitely worth doing.
Friday: After spending most of the day catching up on some housework at home in Toronto, I took off on my folding bike down to Union Station. It was a great day, so I was happy to be out riding. When I arrived at Union Station, I folded up my bike and put it into the "travel bag". Fitting it into the bag was a little trickier than I expected, but like packing it into a suitcase, it may require some more practice before I'm good at it. I lugged the bike and my panniers through Union Station, bought a ticket for the GO bus to Hamilton, then went to board the bus. I placed the bagged bike myself into the luggage compartment under the bus. I probably should have waited to bag the bike so that I wouldn't have to carry it around as much.
When I arrived in Hamilton, I upacked and unfolded my bike, then hopped on and rode to my parents' place. It's very close the GO station, but it's straight up the escarpment! This was my Bike Friday's first real hill climbing test, and I must say that it passed with flying colours. The gearing is excellent, so I had no trouble finding a low enough gear. The bike is also nice and light, especially when compared to my heavy recumbent.
Saturday: I slept in and relaxed on Saturday. It felt great to do that! In the afternoon I rode my bike over to my grandmother's place to paint Easter eggs. It's a tradition that I've been doing pretty much all my life. My cousin Bob was there too, and we had fun hanging out with my grandma and painting psychedelic Martha Stewart easter eggs.
Sunday: Went to Easter Sunday mass in the morning, and then came home for a big brunch. I took off on my bike for a couple of hours in the afternoon to take a leisurely ride around the West Mountain Brow. Hamilton is a beautiful city, and I missed going for bike rides around there. I explored the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital grounds, some forests, trails, Scenic Drive, and more. It was a perfect day to be outside, and there's no way better to enjoy it than going for a bike ride. In the evening, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother came over for Easter dinner. The food was excellent, and it was great to see everyone again.
Monday: I had to get up early on Monday morning, because I had to make the commute from Hamilton to Mississauga for work. I had to catch the 6:14am GO train, so I was out of the house before the sun came up. Riding down the escarpment on James St. was a blast! I got a great rush from that, with very little effort! Hardly any traffic at that time in the morning too.
The ticket agent at the GO station didn't seem happy that I had my bike with me and told me that I would probably get in trouble for bringing it on the train. I tried to explain that it would be folded and bagged, and that I was getting off in Clarkson before the train gets totally filled, but he said there are no exceptions during rush hour. I risked it anyway. Up on the platform, another GO employee told me I can't bring the bike on the train. Again I explained that it folded up and went into a bag, and he seemed fine with that idea. The train started to fill up the closer we came to Toronto, but there were always empty seats while I was still onboard, and the bagged bike never got in anyone's way. I wonder what would have happened if a transit cop came on board? I only found out about the $45 fine for bringing a bike on board during rush hour once I was on the train. I had previously thought that at worst, they might kick me off. Ohwell. I may continue to risk this in the future.
When I got off at Clarkson Station, my ride to work was about 13km. Traffic wasn't too heavy yet, so I didn't mind riding right along Lakeshore Rd. and Hurontario (Highway 10). I had a great time busing and biking this weekend, but I think if I take my Bike Friday on the GO buses/trains in the future, I'll try to be more discrete to avoid some of the hassles.
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