Cycling and Staycations

Like many of you, I've been itching to travel but hesitant to do so, as safe conveyance remains an issue. That's especially true for those of us who rely on public and intercity transport to take us where we're going. Enter the venerable bicycle, which will take a non-athlete like me modest distances and get me some good exercise, too.

I bought a new bike recently, not out of indulgence but necessity. I seem to have reached old age a bit early, because back in May I fell off my old bike while trying to get on it. Lifting my leg that high has always been a challenge, but this was the final blow. Right then I realized I could no longer ride my bike safely and needed a new model with a lower crossbar. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Specialized Crossroads 2.0 Step-Through:

Now, back in the day, we used to call this a women's bike. As a certified male I'm grateful for the modern rebranding of "step-through," because whatever you want to call it, a bike like this is what I needed to keep cycling.

I'm very lucky to have procured mine, and here's why: even though it's a 2020 model, they're already impossible to find. The guy at my bike shop told me I snagged one of the last ones. See, back in the spring when the pandemic made public transport a dicey proposition, everyone took up cycling and mid-range bicycles like this flew off the shelves. From what I was told, it's hard to find any new bike these days for under $1500. In any case, the Specialized Crossroads 2.0 Step-Through has been out of stock on every bike-shop website under the sun since mid-June. There really aren't any left.

I won't bore you with bike-tech details, but here's what sold me on the Crossroads 2.0: (1) the lower crossbar, obviously; (2) 21 speeds, accessed by thumb-operated shifters; (3) mechanical disc brakes; (4) puncture-resistant Armadillo tires; (5) the reasonable price ($749). It's a beauty in appearance, handling and comfort—the perfect bike for recreational and fitness riding.

Now that the days are getting cooler, I'm starting to venture out a bit. Last weekend I had a picnic at Taylor Creek Park, which can be accessed from where I live almost entirely on bike paths. Yesterday's outing took me to The Beaches, again mostly on off-road trails. I'm aiming to bike out to Long Branch next weekend, and this I'm planning as a multi-modal trek, using GO's Lakeshore West train to shorten the ride back. In the coming weeks, weather permitting, I hope to make even more use of the GO train. With careful planning, I can take the train to far-flung places like Barrie and Burlington, tool around there on my bike and ride the rails back.

If you live in the Golden Horseshoe and are interested in active-transportation staycations, check out these helpful pages from GO Transit and the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. If you're not a cyclist, not a problem. You can skateboard, roller-blade, hike ... whatever suits your fancy. As for me, I aim to squeeze in as many bike trips as I can before autumn's chill sets in.

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