Bike Riding

It astounds me that it’s been over a year now since I moved back to Winnipeg from Toronto. I was thinking about this during a fairly long bike ride that Renée and I went on tonight. The last time I rode my bike was just before we moved.

bike wheelI think it was a couple of days before my flight was leaving Toronto. I’m a nostalgic, sentimental person at the best of times, and so I did what any nostalgic and sentimental guy would do just before he and his sweetie uprooted themselves - I went out and did a kind of Jimmy Stewart, just like he did at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, except I wasn’t saying hello. I said good-bye.

“Good-bye horribly overpriced Starbucks at the end of our street that I loathed walking into! See you Cafe Diplomatico with your crappy food and overrated patio! Adieu Royal Cinema, where I spent many an evening with my good buddy Paul watching cheap, good movies!”

I said goodbye to the Green Room, a small hole-in-the-wall cafe / restaurant that always had mouse traps strewn about, and ridiculously inexpensive, tasty meals. I waved so long to my first real employer in Toronto (an independent book store chain that abruptly “laid me off” for some strange reason, which was the best thing that ever happened to my career). I rode through the world-famous Kensington Market and wiped away farewell tears, and biked past some of my favorite restaurants in Chinatown with the sweet sorrow of parting lodged in my throat.

I bid farewell to the stink at the corner of Spadina and Dundas, and blew kisses at the Horseshoe Tavern and the Rivoli. I saluted the place I learned and taught Web design. where I made some of the best friendships of my life. Before turning back I cycled past Gandhi Roti, and taking in the spicy atmosphere, I said good-bye to some of the best butter chicken I’ve ever had.

Riding my bike tonight with Renée, I remembered all of this and thought wistful, happily evocative thoughts as the dark shadows of trees embraced the road all around us, and the bike’s tires slapped a rhythmic staccato on the pavement.

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