Biking in Toronto

The Untold True Story of My Pinched Nerve From Cycling

The Untold True Story of My Pinched Nerve From CyclingOn June 7th of this year, I biked 123.95 km to Hamilton as part of the Ride to Conquer Cancer. My previously longest ride was a little over 60 km. That means I doubled my longest distance ever and I felt great.

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My legs weren't sore, I wasn't overly tired and I was rather pleased with myself. I had a training plan, I stuck to it, and I reaping the reward. I was ready for day two and the final 103.38 km of my journey.

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I was probably about 50 km away from the finish line at Ontario Place when I noticed my fingers were numb. I chalked it up to the constant vibrations from so much biking in two days. Then, with about 30 km to go, I started feeling a sharp pain in my upper back under my shoulder blade. But with 30 km to go in a 230 km quest, I wasn't about to slow down.

I finished my ride with no pain in my lower body, but this sharp pain in my upper back and completely number fingertips. But I finished, and I was happy. Off to brunch I went with my family.


I took the next day off, but went for a couple of 20+ km rides on the Tuesday. The sharp pain in the upper back returned, morphing into numbness mere minutes after completing my ride. My fingertips remained numb. I decided to take two more days off, finishing off the week with a couple of 23 km rides.

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I was able to bike about 20 km painfree before the sharp pain and numbness struck. Because I'm an idiot, I banged my head against this wall 8 more times until I realized I needed to take a break. When severe pain strikes, biking ceases to be pleasurable, as you can imagine. In hindsight, I don't know why I rode in pain for so long.

Following my ride on June 25, I promised myself I wouldn't touch my bike for an entire week. When I resumed biking on July 3, I capped my rides at 15 km for a couple of weeks. The back pain never returned, and my fingertips eventually got their feeling back.

I've Googled the mess out of this, and as far as I can tell I had a pinched nerve. I don't know if it was due to poor posture or simply a result of biking 230 km over two days. I do know it was extremely painful and to this day I won't bike over 30 km at a time for fear of it returning.

Has anyone else experienced a pinched nerve from cycling?

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I'm a Loner, Dottie. A Rebel.


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I Just Killed a Bird

I Just Killed a BirdI've biked 2266.42 km so far in 2014, but today I did something for the first time. In fact, today I did something for the first time in my life. Today, I killed a bird.

It was completely unintentional. The little bird flew into my spokes while I was going about 28 km/h. It was dead on impact. There was nothing I could do to avoid the accident.

To make things worse, it was witnessed by two little kids walking the waterfront with their parents. They just got a good lesson in the fragility of life... especially if you're a little bird.

Now I know how Randy Johnson felt.

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Biking Lake Shore, from Norris Crescent to First Street: An Update

Biking Lake Shore, from Norris Crescent to First Street: An UpdateIn the spring I wrote about the stretch of the Waterfront Trail between Norris Crescent and First Street. This is really the only part of the trail that's not off-road, not on quiet side streets and doesn't have a designated bike lane.

Since then, I've cycled this stretch with my two oldest kids many, many times, and I've seen how dangerous it can be. My daughter is a confident street rider, and she knows how to ensure she doesn't get doored by parked cars on Lake Shore, which forces her into unmarked lanes. Experienced cyclist Sue Trainor was killed in this very section just last summer. Surely we can do better for a key part of the 1400km Waterfront Trail.

I tweeted Mark Grimes, the counsellor for this area, about this concern and learned about PW32.6.

The Waterfront Trail stretches over 1,400 kilometres along the Ontario shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair, as well as the Niagara, Detroit, and St. Lawrence Rivers. It connects 68 communities and over 405 parks and natural areas. The Waterfront Trail follows Toronto's waterfront on a combination of multi-use trails, quiet residential streets and in a few locations along major arterial roads. The long-term goal is to relocate the Waterfront Trail from these arterial roads wherever feasible and to provide a continuous route on multi-use trails and quiet residential streets. The Waterfront Trail was recently extended from just west of Humber Bay Park to Norris Crescent. However, there is no opportunity to provide a continuous Waterfront Trail route further west, between Norris Crescent and First Street, because there are no connecting streets south of Lake Shore Boulevard and no public access along the Lake Ontario shore line. To continue west, trail users must travel along Lake Shore Boulevard to First Street to connect with the Waterfront Trail, continuing along quiet residential streets and multi-use trails to connect with the Mississauga section of the trail.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee has requested Transportation Services to investigate the feasibility of providing a cycling facility along Lake Shore Boulevard West to connect the Etobicoke sections of the Waterfront Trail. This report provides an update on the ongoing investigation. A final report on a proposed solution will be submitted to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in the first quarter of 2015.

I'm looking forward to reading the proposed solution early next year and I'm pleased this issue is getting the attention it deserves. I'll be following this home and will update along the way.

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My 5 Favourite Quotes About Cycling

John F. Kennedy

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride."


Ernest Hemingway

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best."


Albert Einstein

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."


Arthur Conan Doyle

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."


H.G. Wells

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race."


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Perfect Day for a 30 minute 14 km Ride

Perfect Day for a 30 minute 14 km RideNow that the big ride is behind me, my go-to route is a brisk 14 km ride that takes me 30 minutes. I strapped on my GoPro when I went out this morning so you can follow along at home.

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The Idaho Stop

The Idaho StopIn 1982, the state of Idaho made it legal for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. Essentially, if it's safe, you can slow down a little and blow right through the stop sign.

I consider myself a safe cyclist. I signal, I respect vehicles on the road and, for the most part, I follow the rules of the road. When I encounter a stop sign and the coast is clear, however, I treat it like a yield sign. I risk the ticket and practice the Idaho stop.

It would be nice to see the Idaho stop adopted here, so that becomes legal. I'd also like to explore the option of treating a red light like a stop sign. In essence, if you're on a bicycle, stop signs become yield signs and red lights become stop signs.

Bikes. Bikes as far as the eye can see. #rtccto

It just makes sense, doesn't it?

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Ride to Conquer Cancer Update: Final Recap

My Ride to Conquer CancerIn late January, I decided I needed to do something epic. My friend was battling cancer, and I was turning 40 in June, so I registered for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and started collecting pledges.

At the end of this email are the names of the 86 people who helped me raise $5,080. That's double the minimum required to participate in this ride. That's awesome and I owe you big time.

Yesterday, I rode from Ontario Place to Mohawk College in Hamilton. It was 123.95 km and it took me a little over 5 hours. Here's the route we took.

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Today, I rode back to Ontario Place. This time, it was only 103.38 km and it took me a little over 4 hours. Here's the route.

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In total, that's 227.33 km. I'm very pleased with my times and had a blast camping out with the other 5000 riders. Together, we raised $20 million.

Nothing but blue skies #rtcc


Here again, for the last time, are my 86 heroes. Thank you.

  1. Ellen M.
  2. Rick C in Oakville
  3. Mike Kic
  4. markosaar
  5. Speysidephil
  6. Dale
  7. Brian A.
  8. Doug
  9. Rick2
  10. Al The Royal Pain
  11. Christine H.
  12. Mike from Lowville
  13. Cheryl
  14. Il Duce
  15. Michael Muzzin
  16. Liz B.
  17. Blind Dave
  18. Alex Patino
  19. Mike Engell and Colleen
  20. Cousin Jen
  21. Aunt Maura
  22. Brother Ryan
  23. Jason from Sudbury
  24. Jamie
  25. Mom
  26. Zachary
  27. Faunie
  28. Douglas
  29. Steve M.
  30. Kevin W.
  31. Katherine R.
  32. Marie C.
  33. Erin Davis
  34. Matt W.
  35. Chad H.
  36. Nigel Trousershrapnel
  37. Brother Steve
  38. Philly-Bob
  39. Audrey
  40. TheSweaterTuck
  41. Cathy S.
  42. Tim
  43. Domenico
  44. Julie N.
  45. Helmut
  46. Daniel M.
  47. Claire H.
  48. Andrew
  49. Jackie S.
  50. Gwyn
  51. Mofo
  52. Nicki
  53. CJ
  54. 519 Rob
  55. Pete F.
  56. Glen S.
  57. Darren C.
  58. Niel W.
  59. Humble and Fred
  60. Mike P.
  61. Chris M.
  62. Adam T.
  63. Jeremey
  64. Teena in Toronto
  65. Rosie
  66. Daniel
  67. Stephanie
  68. Lorne
  69. Elvis
  70. Argie
  71. McNulty
  72. Boomer
  73. Michael Z.
  74. Patricia B
  75. Jenny M.
  76. Bruce M.
  77. James E.
  78. Peter S.
  79. Steven M.
  80. Greg Brady
  81. Karim K.
  82. Stephen Y.
  83. Jason C.
  84. Matthew W.
  85. Barb M.
  86. Cousin Mark

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2014 Ride to Conquer Cancer Classic Plus Route

Pledge My Ride to Conquer CancerI finally took a look at the routes I'll be biking this weekend in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It's 125 km there and 100 km back.

Day 1

View RCTO 2014 - Day 1 - 125km (Toronto to Hamilton) in a larger map

Day 2

View RCTO 2014 - Day 2 - 100km (Hamilton to Toronto) in a larger map

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Bike With Mike: Waterfront Trail

Bike With Mike: Waterfront TrailI went for a nice long ride along the Waterfront Trail, making my way to downtown Oakville before heading back.

Here's a taste of my journey on the Waterfront Trail in the west end, starting in Long Branch and ending at Port Credit.

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