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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Speedy buses are what's needed! LOL

An engineering feat so amazing, every single person subscribed to GO Transit's communication service, got a tweet or email about this

What's next?! An email broadcast about a working water fountain?!
Automatic paper towel dispenser?!

Doors that have a button you can push to open them automatically if you are using a mobility device?!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Police arrested a man brandishing a knife at Oakville GO Station last week

Currently only one mobility scooter is allowed to be tied down on a train, all others have to be dismantled and/or stowed

When you miss your VIA train

Lolololololololololololololol

In Canada, we call people who do this "crazy". Try it on a GO train platform one morning. Let know how it works out for you

500 km in 30 days - I can do this!


Nothing like a nice walk down memory lane, right?

2014 was shaping up to be a really great year. I had started moving my fat ass shortly after December 4, 2011 when I turned in the keys to my leased Chevy Equinox and walked away from car ownership. I was car free for almost six years. But now I drive a Fiat. Don't judge.

I walked EVERYWHERE. And I took the kid with me. We walked to daycare, to the store, to the park, to the library, to swimming lessons. Then I bought a bike - a real shitty one off of Kijiji, with a bike trailer and I rode it EVERYWHERE. I took the kid with me. To daycare, to the store, to the park, to the library ... you get the idea.

I then took up long distance walking, averaging 10 km a night for five nights out of a week. I walked through the ice storm, through rain, hail, over ice, through heavy snow and once, in a blizzard (uphill, too). I lost 90 pounds in under two years.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2014. I'm the most fit I've ever been but unbeknownst to me, my right knee was having no more of this shit, and I blew out my ACL while trying to take up running. It was a stupid move.

For those of you who have heard all of this before, I'm glad you're hanging in there. It's repetitious because I have to tell the 'new to this blog' folks my whole life story. Forgive me.

Long story short, I injured many other parts of my legs and feet, and in the middle of this past April, after a really bad day and many months of feeling sorry for myself, AND piling on 30 pounds over the past two years, I decided I had enough.

That's me, a year ago to this day. Injured and miserable.

Despite the pain, I was going to cycle 500 km in 30 days. I got back in touch with my dietitian. We worked out a plan and I was going to commit to it. The first week was hell. I also was told to quit alcohol. Although I am NOT an alcoholic, I can sympathize greatly with those who struggle to abstain because THEY HAVE TO, and not by choice. Next to giving up sugar, abstaining from alcohol is god damn hard because I LOVE TO DRINK. Unfortunately, my body doesn't like it, and it causes all kinds of bloating and inflammation I just don't need.

Advil Arthitis in its pretty yellow and teal bottle is my only vice these days.

To track my cycling progress, I am using S-Health which is built into my Samsung S7 with GPS enabled. I also hooked up my Adidas fitness tracker and was surprised by how accurate S-Health is. I no longer strap on the Adidas device.

For simplicity, and for those who want to follow along, I've made all of my cycling posts public on Facebook. I reached 200 km last night in 11 days of bicycling.



For those who are thinking of trying this same challenge, I encourage you to invest in a good hybrid bike. I gave up the shitty Kijiji bike in June of 2015. You don't need to spend a lot of money. The one I have is the Giant LIV Cypress DX W - the W stands for women and it comes with a saddle specially designed for our lady bits. I've put over 2000km on this girl and it's still going strong. Also, don't clip your feet. You're not trying out for the Tour de France here. You'll want to be able to kick your legs out as you go down a hill, trust me. It's exhilarating. Start out slow before you ramp up to 500 km in 30 days. Stretch. Do hamstring curls. Take care of your ankles. Follow AskDoctorJo on YouTube. Her videos will help you get your body ready.

I also suggest that you buy a nice sized jar of Vaseline. There are all kinds of special cycling pastes and creams sold to ease saddle soreness and chafing, but Vaseline or its econo version, Petroleum Jelly (same thing really, just not name brand) will quickly become your best friend. And don't be stingy, coat it on, coat it everywhere, in all the valleys and crannies, ladies. Don't spend money on fancy cycling clothes. You don't need them. Tights and a t-shirt, or long sleeve shirt, whatever, it works (and for god's sake, don't wear black - you need to be visible). Don't wear a windbreaker. They act like fucking parachutes. I learned the hard way. You'll also want lights, flashing lights, a headlight, reflective tape, wrap around glasses (because bugs!) helmet, horn (not a bell, HORN) and tunes. Buy a bike mount for your phone so you can listen to your music as you ride. Don't use headphones. You need to hear cars. 

I'm lucky I live less than 2 km from some of the most amazing rural road bike routes in Durham Region, which is why I can cover the distance that I do. Find out where your local bike paths are, and bike lanes, and use Map My Ride to plan a route. Or, come out my way, park your car in the plaza at Highway 2 and Courtice Road, and just ride. And for god's sake, for the love of all things holy, STOP AT STOP SIGNS. I have zero respect for cyclists who blow through them. All you do is piss off drivers who then decide that I'm one of you, and so they do stupid things to "teach me a lesson". You're feeding into the game. Just obey the rules of the road. Don't be a dick.

I've lost 10.8 pounds in the past month and I'm down 14 pounds from my highest weight this year. My muscles and tendons have loosened up. The strength in my quads has slowly returned. I can get up off a chair without pushing myself up with my arms. I can now wear 65% of the clothes in my closet, up from 25%, and I move better. There's still pain, I won't lie, but it is no where near the level it was before April.

I have accepted that I will never be able to run again and though I've tried, I can no longer play tennis and probably never will again. That's been the hardest part of all this. I've played tennis since I was six years old. It was my passion. I can't part with my rackets. Tennis was a part of my life that was great and rewarding.
It's been heartbreaking to accept.

I'm also being careful to listen to my body. I rest when I should. The anxiety I had about re-injuring myself has greatly subsided.

I'm not a pro athlete and never will be. I'm just a fat girl on a bike.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Presto pulls through ... thank you

X
Today at 2:02 PM

To Cindy Smith

Afternoon Cindy, so what we have is this:

You loyalty steps cannot be transferred with your funds, so we will need to let GO complete that at the end of the month. I will check on that on June 1st to ensure it is completed.

Your funds and registration have been sent to the machines and will be picked up by your card on your way home this evening.

I also took the liberty of adding $6 reimbursement for the card purchase and $10.85 for your ticket in this morning, as this would not be included on your loyalty calculation.

Sorry we couldn’t get the loyalty steps transferred, but we will ensure that it is completed for you.

Have a great afternoon,

Name withheld
Customer Care
PRESTO /METROLINX | 20 Bay St | Toronto|ONTARIO | M5J 2W3
This e-mail message is privileged, confidential and subject to copyright. Any unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited.

I like to drive my car... for now...

Getting used to having my own car again has felt weird each morning and evening when I drive it. There's some guilt when I see the Durham Transit 922 bus, but then I feel vindicated when I cross paths with the Durham Transit 411 bus and notice it's running late. I thought I could stop caring. But I can't.

It's only been a week, but on average, it has taken me 18 minutes to get to the GO station each morning. I leave the house 20 minutes later than when I left for when I took the bus (two buses because there's a transfer). So I can sleep 20 minutes longer (and I have ... and it's glorious). It doesn't sound like much, but I'm not waiting for a bus that may, or may not, be on time, which was the reason for breaking down and buying a car.

Parking at Oshawa GO has not been an issue because my car is so ridiculously small. I can easily find a spot next to a parking donkey with a pickup truck who has left no room beside it and the vehicle one over from it for a sedan or larger. I fit. I've been scoring some premium parking spots.

I've been averaging 25 minutes to get home (some days, exiting Oshawa's parking lot is a breeze, and other days, it's a nightmare) compared to 30 minutes on the GO bus and a 20-minute walk, because I am unable to use the same bus sequence with Durham Transit I would take in the morning for the evening bus ride home. In total, I'm getting back over an hour of my time every day by driving.

There are pros and cons to this decision I've made. So far, the pros are outweighing the cons. It's still early. I'll get back to you on this in six months...

My Presto card broke. Again. And because people don't read every word of every post, this post also has a shout out to the amazing CSR at Oshawa GO Station re: 8:30pm on May 11 (Holla!)


It may be time to run another contest. It was just a little over 2 years ago that my Presto card cracked... and now its replacement has met the same fate!

Surprisingly, nothing has changed with respect to the hassle for replacing a card. You still have to pay $6 for a new card. No warranty is offered. Your old balance can't be transferred right away. You have to spend close to an hour in telephone IVR hell across two different phone systems (Go Transit and Presto Card) to get the new card registered, and initiate the balance transfer and STILL... STILL ... STILL lose your loyalty steps. So then you have to rant and rave on Twitter and hope that someone reaches out and tries to help.

I've been told loyalty steps can be re-established but it's on a case by case basis. I've got a ticket in with GO about this and an email has been sent to an analyst at Presto Card. But until I have an answer, while all of y'all are paying $1.31 a ride on the days near the end of this month. I'll be the sucker paying full fare.

However, it wasn't all bad, at Oshawa GO, I had a great interaction with the agent working last night. She was incredibly helpful and took great care of me, which I appreciated. Front line staff at GO have all my respect. ALL OF IT.

I'll post an update about my loyalty steps when I know more.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

GO Transit turns 50. No need to advertise it.


In my opinion, this monstrous banner hanging in the great hall at Union Station plus the other advertising signage on trains and in the York Concourse are a waste of money. There's a whole campaign around this milestone. Why? Do you care? I don't care.

What GO should have done, was have their history available online from the day they launched their website. No need for a timeline now. 

But what makes this second sign eye-roll inducing is the fact that Burlington GO still isn't finished and the escalator at Aldershbot GO is now two years in waiting on a part. So, despite what GO is selling, they are slow.


Meh.

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's not like I didn't try

Courtice will never be adequately served by local transit if Durham Region Transit continues to act like schedules are just a suggestion and the customer is always wrong.

I was always puzzled why anyone who lived in Courtice drove to the Oshawa GO station when there are four bus options - GO 90, DRT 922, DRT 402 and DRT 411. Mind you, the stops themselves aren't convenient for all, but generally, almost everyone is within a 2 km walk to a stop. And this works great ... WHEN THE BUS ACTUALLY SHOWS UP. It's even more great WHEN THE BUS IS ON TIME.

I have no complaints about the GO bus. It shows up. The drivers are great. But it's a long walk for me to Highway 2. There's a DRT bus stop 400 metres from my front door. Sometimes a bus stops at it.

Long story short, because the 411 consistently runs late, I'd miss my connecting 922 bus which can add an extra 33 minutes to my morning commute. One morning, I left my house at 6:21 am and did not arrive at work until 9:25 am, all because the 411 was late and the 922 bus operator missed a turn. I actually watched the bus drive straight through the light at Townline, westward, instead of TURNING LEFT onto Townline. DOES NO ONE READ A MAP BEFORE THEY TURN THE DAMN KEY?

And with the 411, it's been a new driver every damn day. In one month, I saw the same driver three times. How is this possible?

I'm tired of calling, tweeting and facebooking asking for change. After the whole driver missed the turn incident, I found myself installing the AutoTrader app on my phone and two days later, test driving cars. I had three in mind, Fiat 500, Chevy Spark and Toyota Yaris. I decided on the Fiat and eventually scored a great deal on a 2013 500 Lounge model with a sunroof, leather seats, six-speed automatic transmission and only 38,000 km on the odometer. It drives like a sewing machine and I love it. The windshield wipers are shit (three different wipe speeds and none of them are adequate), but I still love it. If you put anyone in the backseat, you'll amputate their legs, but I still love it. I also loved the price - $9549

Plus, it fits perfectly at the bottom on my driveway allowing for my husband to get in and out while our boat is parked.

The courtesy is appreciated

SJWs to the rescue!

Because who doesn't love some 4:10 pm LSE Go train drama!?

from:JW
to:"cj@thiscrazytrain.com"
date:Mon, May 8, 2017 at 7:42 AM
subject:Drama on the 4.10

So, I managed to catch the 4:10 last Wednesday.  Sitting upstairs by a window, reading my book and waiting to get home and enjoy some of the last nice weather before Sprinter came again.

In the quad in front of me was a young man (YM).  Sitting with headphones and reading a book, half falling asleep.

Between Eglinton and Guildwood a fare inspector comes up (BTW first one I have seen in months!).  Across the aisle from YM was a couple of young women.  One of them hadn't paid her fare and the inspector was writing up her ticket or warning.

At the same time, he woke up YM and asked to see his fare.  He spent a good five minutes "looking" for his wallet/Proof of Fare and couldn't find anything.  Not a problem, inspector was going to give him a ticket/warning after dealing with the young woman.

Before Rouge Hill, YM gets up and starts walking away.  Inspector asks where he is going, YM says off the train because he couldn't find his ticket.  Inspector finishes the young woman's ticket and went after YM.

As we were almost at Rouge Hill station, a passenger gets up to walk down to the doors.  He then comes back up to go to the other set of doors saying something about a scene.

At Pickering, I get up from my quad to move into the empty one across the aisle from where I was sitting to get sorted to disembark at Ajax.  I look out the window just in time to see YM being hauled off the train in handcuffs.  Blood on his face and spattered on his shirt.  Two inspectors and 2 witnesses were there.  They had to keep putting YM into a seat on the bench as he kept getting up and trying to attack people.

The one witness did find the wallet in the backpack.  Not certain what else happened as the train was already pulling out of the station.

After I finally processed what I saw all I could think was that this was a hell of a way to get out of paying a fare.  $10 or so is not worth that hassle.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Damn nature, such an inconvenience

Construction showing signs of life at Burlington GO