Too Soft For Social Media 

Today I am reminded of why I took a social media break. I posted something this morning regarding my disinterest in using an airline given their shoddy track record and most recent incompetencies in the news. 

Right away a contact jumped on my post and used an over-arching (and inaccurate) analogy to accuse me of making an unnecessary assumption. The fact remains, however, that my simple repost and reflection was nothing of the sort. I was stating my personal opinion based on facts I’ve gathered over time, and expressing my personal feelings about the airline’s service and competency. 

Of course, another contact “liked” the argument with the overarching and inaccurate analogy in response to my post.

This experience reminded me again of my disinterest in being connected to argumentative people – those who tend to attack simple expressions (that were not even a harmful expression of anything significant to begin with), and also to those who support or encourage that behaviour.  It has been a really valuable learning experience being on social media and being so well – and in many ways, TOO well – connected. 

I come from a very large extended family of  sociable people. Though my personality is a genuine introversion rather than extroversion, I learned how to value a quality connection with the people around me – as opposed to a superficial interaction with small talk – and found that this created many more quality connections one through another. I know this thoughtful approach is something that was cultivated through the extended family relationships with which I was surrounded while growing up. 

Taking that learning into my adult life, I’m not surprised that I’ve become known for “knowing everyone” or always running into someone I know – mostly in London, but often even outside the city. The problem comes when the desire to be connected is exploited by something like Social Media. We use it for staying in touch with family, sharing photos with friends, and even for expressing thoughts and feelings. In many cases, though, I am finding that social media is not always a space for sharing the latter. 

If only surrounded by people of like-mind/heart, in theory, this space of interaction sounds wonderful! Sadly, many of us are not prepared for the outcome of the experience of opening ourselves up to connecting with others on a wider spectrum. It starts out innocently enough, with the hope of broadening horizons or spicing up life. However, those of us with softer hearts are often taken aback by the harsh reality of “free speech”.

Not everyone is concerned for another person’s emotional well-being. Many will actually go out of their way to look for a fight or approach a conversation (even a comment) with an argumentative stance. Surprisingly, there are many individuals that I have met in real life after first meeting online from whom I’ve had to disconnect because of their aggressive behaviour and methods of communications online. The instance described above is just one example.

Today I had the conversation with yet another friend about this exact topic. So, I know I’m not alone in this thinking. Still, I am sad to admit that this issue has quite literally reduced me to tears at times. For this reason, I sit here again re-evaluating the benefits of connection. I am ever so grateful for my online connection to family. I am also grateful for the opportunity to connect to some amazing and inspiring individuals who have encouraged me and supported me on this wild journey we call life. 

But…more and more I am realizing that social media is not always a wise place for a soft-hearted individual like me. I still see my soft heart as a strength more than a problem, it’s just that I need to be more diligent in protecting it while not allowing the negative naysayers to tear me down.

I guess it’s a process….

A Note About “Cheating” on my #TransitTrial #MultimodalTrial

It’s funny…after listening to my CBC interview (link here:, I noticed again that Rebecca used the term “cheating” on my transit trial and it made me think about it for a minute.

My reasons for this “experiment” were numorous. Mostly, I had to make an immediate and drastic change due to some unfortunate turns of events with my finances. But secondarily, I wanted to check out the system and review it from the inside for myself. Knowing that I had minor work obligations involving my vehicle, I decided to still adhere to those while on weekends vehicle-sharing with my boyfriend. It just made sense to me. This is how I’ve also saved 10$ more per month by only purchasing the weekday pass.

As I mentioned in the interview, the term “multimodal trial” was introduced – walking, busing, car, and now also bike. In fact, I had had the discussion with another friend during “the great transit debate” in the spring that there really was no reason why we as a community shouldn’t be incorporating all modes of transportation in our day. Anyway, I was struck by the term “cheating” just as I have been struck by other references and insinuations surrounding talk about Public Transit, and it got me thinking about the psychology around this discussion. 

I don’t actually consider myself as “cheating” on my Transit Trial when I use my car. I see it as a smart addition to my Multimodal Trial bag of tools. 

In bigger American cities such as New York and Chicago, in Canadian cities such as Toronto and Vancouver (or even Calgary), as well as all over Europe, public transportation is widely understood as a necessity and equal opportunity service and, as such, has a very high rate of use. The service provided is effective and there are many who use it in conjunction with other modes of transportation. In many cases, in fact, it makes less sense and is more of a hassle to have a vehicle than it is to use the well maintained, well laid out public transit system. It seems to be a service used by a wider demographic of people, and with the attitude that it is a smart choice (or the obvious choice). 

Compare that now to London. Given our terrible history of investment in useful infrastructure – with money instead being embezzled in back room meetings for years – we are now left with a system that can’t possibly service the entire city in an efficient manor unless we do a MAJOR overhaul. Now consider that many major players in the decision-making world are still holding onto traditional London thinking “it’s good enough as it is” and you’ll understand the predicament in which a public transit advocate finds herself. 

From all of the conversations I’ve had, overheard, or heard about, the thinking in London often seems to be that public transit is for “those people” – the less furtunate, those with lower income or IQ, those too young for a car but old enough to be independent, or the many college and university students. The phrase even came up in my radio interview. I know 1000% that it was not used in a derogatory way, but Rebecca also asked an insightful question, what did I think about “those people” who have transit as their only option? Did I gain a new respect for them? Indeed! I have! In fact I used to BE one from 2008-2010 when I came home from Calgary, and earlier in my 20’s before I left for Calgary.

But, I digress…the point being that I really do think that many traditionally thinking Londoners have this subconscious “lesser than” mentality toward those who take the bus. I was one of them, so that’s how I know. I remember when I finally got my car in 2010, I really did feel like I had stepped up in the world because now I had access to more amenities, more opportunities for jobs, and it opened up a world not accessible to me otherwise. 

That alone is a shame, but is also a clear indicator of why the argument was made about the separation of the “classes” in London (through the distinction of using or not using the transit system). And yet…in the cities I described above, the top-notch transit with wider reach and more optimal accessibility neutralizes the playing field and is used by everyone. THAT is what I envision and want for London. I don’t want to think of  my driving car as “cheating” in my “game” of trying transit. I look forward to living in a city where we all make multimodal transportation a reality because it’s the smart thing to do for a sustainable future.

Riding “The Bowl” – Day Two of the #MultiModalTrial #TransitTrial With Bicycle 

So, without divulging addresses of clients, suffice it to say that today I rode clear across the city, from one corner to the other, then to the opposite side and back to the opposite corner and home again. This is how it went…

With Rebecca at CBC studio

I started my day near Fanshawe and Adelaide, rode to my on-air chat with Rebecca at CBC, had coffee and more chatting with John the “scuba guy” while downtown, then made my way down a new trail I’d never ridden before – the TVP path from downtown through old south, past The Coves, and south along Andover (up the biggest and longest hill – which I got off and WALKED), around construction and ending up on Southdale. Let me tell you…detouring round construction in a car is one thing, but on a bike it is quite another. An extra block here or there can really throw a wrench into plans – not only for timing but accessibility. Anyway…I made it. For all the times I’ve ridden through construction thus far – which is at least a handful of times (probably more) in just two days – I am grateful to have a mountain bike. 

I generally take a bus from the south west area of the city to White Oaks, where I grab lunch and then over to Pond Mills. Today, however, I checked the timing of bus vs bike and given that the next bus wasn’t to arrive for another 20-30mins, and Google told me I should be able to bike it in 18mins, it was a no-brainer. Google for the win! It may not have been helpful for the trip from downtown to south west, but it worked in my favour for this leg of the journey. My lunch ladies thought I was NUTS! 😆

I was a little later getting to Pond Mills than I had expected. It was an easy-ish ride on sidewalks up Southdale, but by this time even just the small hills were feeling huge. Upon leaving Pond Mills, I opted for a bus that got me to Victoria Hospital and then I rode down Base Line going West toward Wharncliffe. I chose to go north on Edward St rather than Wharncliffe because I figured the traffic would be lighter and more bike friendly. I was right. I much preferred this route to Tuesday’s choice of Wortley Rd.

Nearing the northern end of Wortley Village, I zipped over to Wharncliffe on the sidewalk and up to Riverside where I realized I was making good time to take the Hyde Park bus into Oakridge. I waited through two rounds of the other routes that also stopped there, but was lucky to have a very friendly bus stop companion. I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at my later afternoon client’s around 3:30 which was only an hour from door-to-door instead of an hour and a half. 

I left Oakridge the exact same way that I did yesterday, biking out of the subdivision onto Oxford and grabbing the bus at Wonderland. I transferred to the Express going north on Adelaide a ways in order to visit my sister, and then even after it had gotten dim I was able to make it back to my home area thanks to the well-lit main streets and the lovely wide bike lanes. The new bike lanes on Fanshawe east, where they widened the road, are nice and wide to begin with but then they also have an extra “buffer” lined area of about a foot between the bike and the car lane. Made me feel a lot safer than the other areas of the city in which I shared the road today. 

And so ends day two of using the bike. I do have to say, now I truly “get” why someone referred to London as a “bowl” the other day. In a car one might not notice as much, but on a bike every hill and raised area is extremely noticeable. I also want to mention that my tracking of kilometers came in just half a kilometer shy of 40. But I’m sure my back tracking along the TVP and the extra block around construction would round that out nicely. 

Off to bed now for a well-earned sleep. Thanks for reading!

#MultimodalTrial – Introduction of the Bike…

Good morning, friends! 

Yesterday was my introduction of the bike to my #multimodal trial and I was so pleased with my timing. I made it to Pondmills in an hour and was home from Oakridge in under an hour, thanks to the Express up Adelaide and my bike in the communities. 

I know London really well, so I was able to track my route fairly well without any assistance. I’d say 75% of the total biking time was spent on the sidewalk, though. From my start, north of Fanshawe and east of Adelaide, I went down Glengarry to arrive at the Stoney Creek natural area and followed the path to Windermere. From there I took Adelaide, south to King. Let me tell you – Adelaide St North near the river is insane on bike. I was only on the road for about 20-30 meters, but I was grateful to find the sidewalk again. Drivers are impatient (driving quickly and irradically), and they don’t allow much room around bikes. 

I rode along the sidewalk from Adelaide and Kipps to King St, where I turned left to avoid the overpass. I was grateful to find that King St has a bike lane from Adelaide until Rectory, and then I zipped through the Western Fair parking lot and over to York to get to Eggerton. I rode the sidewalk all the way up Eggerton (going south) until Pondmills Rd, where I encountered the biggest and longest, steepest hill I’ve ridden up. It kind of reminded me of the hill on Gore Rd in Dorchester that I used to have to climb if I wanted to get into town on my bike. 

The first part of the hill wasn’t too bad, although I crossed once because it looked like the sidewalk ended. Turned out, it was just my eyes playing tricks on me. I ended up riding through construction (which the workers said was fine), and then headed up the steepest part of the Pondmills hill. But not before I stopped to buy some lemonade from some little girls with a lemonade stand! 😃

(Faces erased for their privacy)

I made it to Commissioners and Deveron on the sidewalk and then rode the subdivision on the road with no problem. On the way out, I crossed Pond Mills Rd on Deveron and went through a different subdivision on the road, but switched to the sidewalk when I got to Commissioners and Frontenac and came down the hill going west up to the hospital. I continued west on Commissioners, staying on the sidewalk, and was thrilled that so many respectful drivers backed up for me when they saw me coming. I made sure to shout my “thank you” going by.

At Wortley Rd I turned right and road up the street, thinking the village would be respectful of cyclists. Boy, was I wrong! The big SUVs and even small cars were zooming by without a care in the world. I even rode alongside a dump truck for a few minutes. I hopped back on the sidewalk and was pleasantly surprised to see my friend, John, who encouraged me to stay safe and on the sidewalks (if I felt it was warranted) as London roads are still not bike-friendly.  

I had planned to take Wortley Rd to Stanley Street and over to Wharncliffe, but construction on Wortley Rd meant I jogged over to Wharncliffe early where I rode the sidewalk up to Riverside. At this point I switched to a bus to get me into Oakridge. The bus driver was very helpful in instructing me how to strap my bike onto the racking system. He took me into Oakridge where I visited with a client and then got a call about last minute plans that I had forgotten that I made. 

A quick re-routing in my mind, and I rode my bike out of Oakridge to Oxford St. this time, where I hopped onto the 17 bus and rode until Adelaide, grabbed the Express going north to Fanshawe, and then rode my bike 5minutes back to my own community. It was a glorious feeling! I was home in less than an hour from leaving my client!! 😃

And to end my #multimodaltrial day, I hopped in my car to pick up my friend with CP so we could go visit another friend. 

I’d say this multimodal stuff is a GREAT idea, friends!

First Day Back to the #TransitTrial

Ugh…what a crazy day. I was a few minutes later leaving the house today after an incredibly long day and late night yesterday. So off I boogy’d down to my client in 45min walk. Then, as I’m walking to my client, I realized I had to be to Adelaide & Huron by 1pm. Ack!

Finished at client just east of Fanshawe & Highbury and I kick it into high gear. I must have checked my watch at least a million times, tracking my speed and judging my distance remaining. As I approached the point where I could have stopped back at my house, I had a brief thought about possibly stopping for my car. But then I checked the time again and realized I was actually going to make it if I kept up the pace. 

So, I pushed through. I reached the bus stop  at Adelaide and Fanshawe in 40mins. 

Finished my next appointment by 1:20 and  walked downtown hoping to grab lunch and hop on my Oakridge 19 bus. Got downtown after another 30min walk (a bike DEFINITELY would have come in handy here) only to find my lunch place was closed. Ugh. So a quick stop some place else, then onto the 19. 

On the way home we got downtown and I booked it up Richmond to grab the 13. Turns out the bus was empty and just sitting there, no driver in sight. The people lined up waiting seemed to have been there a while. Turns out, that driver was never to be seen again as the next 13 bus picked us up and took us to Masonville. Our new driver explained that sometimes at shift change if new driver isn’t there, the old one will just lock the door and leave. Weird.

Anyway…the good news is, I made it home. And so ends another day of the #transittrial #multimodaltrial. 

#TransitTrial #MultimodalTrial Tuesday…

Usually Tuesday’s are a busier day. I go from north east London to south east, to midwest, and then back to the north east. I easily spend more time traveling than working. Today, however, I opted for taking the car so that I could minimize travel time, give myself a few minutes to prep for a trip, then get to my visit to an ailing friend this evening. I would like to get to bed st a reasonable hour tonight! 

Some days multimodal transportation means using my car. I am on a very tight gas budget, so I don’t use it often but when I do it’s necessary. It’s definitely been an adjustment rearranging my schedule and leaving earlier to allow for the excess travel time, but I’m making it work. And I rather enjoying the process knowing that it’s helping the environment and saving me money! 🙂 

Also…be forewarned…there will be a blogging hiatus for the rest of the week. See you back here on Monday!

#TransitTrial #MultiModalTrial Monday’s

Check the weather, check the bus schedule, dress in summer attire, grab hat, put on sunscreen, lace up the #multimodal shoes – low key hiking shoes meant for lots of walking, with significant tread. 

This morning I realized I can get to my client in Old Oakridge from my place in Stoney Creek in just over an hour. I’ve tried a few different routes in the past couple of months which almost always involved 2-3 buses and walking. I think I used the Google Transit app once and it probably gave me this speedy route, but leave it to me to forget and go back to trying others. Did I mention I have a brain injury? It’s super inconvenient! 

Anyway, I’ve stumbled upon the route again and I’m really glad I did. Two buses in just over an hour means less rushing and more down time between clients and on the actual bus (which means more blogging time!) Who knew?? And lucky me, these routes are almost door-to-door. Many are not so fortunate.

That still means, though, that I won’t get home till at least 6 or 6:30 instead of 5:30 or 6 if I were driving. So, crock pot dinner it is! I’m grateful to have a few extra minutes midday for me to eat AND still get everything in the crock pot before I leave again. 

So, that’s the bus portion of my day. Monday mornings I am currently walking 40mins each way to see the client who lives closest to me in the north east. It’s a great way to get my steps in, but it also makes for a tiring start to the week. This is a part of my week that I could see myself biking. My mom and boyfriend bought a bike for me off a friend a year and a half back. It’s been sitting in a basement for a long time so it’s in dire need of a tune up and perhaps some replacement parts, but it beats buying something brand new. I’m excited to get it over to the London Bicycle Cafe so I can start riding it!

Afternoon Update: 

The great thing about blogging-on-the-go is that I can write in real time as things are happening and then save it and come back to add more as the day progresses! Here I am now sitting on the curb outside my house, waiting for the 13 to take me downtown (where I’ll hop on the 19 and go to Oakridge). The only thing is…my bus isn’t scheduled to be here for another ten minutes and I’ve already been sitting here for ten minutes. 

It’s a catch-22…I have high anxiety when it comes to timing in the day. So I start my day by planning my every move in blocks of 15min increments. Then I rush through the “to do’s” for that block of time and still end up at my destination early (which is then a blessing because I can sit and calm my energy for a few minutes before moving on to the next time block). Today the bus is early so I even had a few extra minutes to get myself situated with my donut cushion as I settle in for the 30min trip downtown. 

Watched the clock “like a hawk” and made sure to leave client’s on time at 5pm. It’s awesome how catching the bus on time gets me to my connection on time so that I get home in an hour instead of 2 like it took me on Friday. Also I think today’s particular driver of the 19 is one of my absolute favourites! ❤️ He’s suuuuuper friendly, says hello and goodbye to every rider, always cheery, is a safe driver, and today he recognized me from my multiple trips in a short time span. 

My last driver of the night, on the other hand…he leaves much to be desired – swerving in and out of traffic erratically, starting and stopping abruptly. 😖 I guess they can’t all be good ones!

But I made it home in one piece and that’s what’s important, right? Even made it back a few minutes sooner than expected as I made a sooner connection downtown. Every 15min block counts! That’s 15mins more with the family and 15mins sooner finishing my dishes and posting this blog. 😉

And thus begins my #multimodaltrial #transittrial week, friends. Stay tuned for the next installment tomorrow!