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2006 10 06
Winter Streets and their Winter Treats


The mornings turn colder and darker and the evenings turn colder and darker. This is the inevitable truth of the retreat of summer and the entrance of winter's grip on our lives. As the weather turns, I see many retreat into the protected sanctity of their homes, cars and other weather-proof devices... Everyone except the all season cycling commuters.

I've had this discussion before with many, riding the in the summers brings out every sunny-day cyclist and fair-weather friend crowding the streets with a procession of two-wheeled life. It's like a daily parade. Gathering at stop lights, tailing each other's wind shadows, locking the cycles to the ever crowding lock posts around the city. It's a great feeling and a great sensation to be in the pack of these urban commuters. It brings hope to the idea that Toronto can and will someday be like the Europe and Asian cities that have so well figured out how to travel the city and use it's landscape to their advantage.

As the weather begins to turn, the fair-weathered friends begin to wane and the streets become less lively. Sure I see them now again on the crowded streetcars, pining out the windows and yearning to be on their cycles once again, but for these groups of people and for whatever reasons they cannot venture out into the cold landscape again until the warmth of May invites them.

As the weather increases its grip on the streets, the all season commuters begin to see each other more frequently...maybe not more frequently but easily picked out of the diminished crowds on the streets. Watching out for this group, I began to notice that we each exchange glances and no doubt begin to think the same things in our minds as we continue to use our cycles until the slushy ice of winter finally locks us all down.

In today's technocratic world we are loosing our sense of brotherly/sisterly camaraderie. Too frequently I see individualistic attitudes on the streets where communities unite. To lock ourselves into our own tiny bubbles is to segregate ourselves and eventually compartmentalize the entire urban landscape we cohabitate. This realization was given a wonderfully crushing blow last year in mid-February as I and 2 cyclists converged on opposite corners of Harrison and Lakeview on our way home one cold clear night. Skin covered from head to toe and glasses on all eyes, we were able to briefly recognize the group that we encompass and create. Although anonymity pervaded the situation, we all were able to recognize and give mutual good will as each of us took our turns towards home.

While I may meet these people on the streets in the better days of our weather, we are not able to recognize each other for facial features and unfortunately our anonymity wholly pervades our lives. While the weather joins us together in our pursuits through the colder days of the year, it separates us from each other in its it warmth.




[email this story] Posted by Alixander on 10/06 at 02:22 PM

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