Trying to have a good time without a car is challenging. There are lots of scenic bits in Ontario, in Canada for that matter, but the bike magazines just assume you have a car with bike racks and plan to drive 'there', park and bike. Sorry, but you're still part of the problem. And you should be going somewhere, like Amundsen. You can be the first cyclist to reach the South Pole only in your dreams, but you can find Everests, what's doable and a challenge, wherever you are. We have to reinvent tourism if we are to survive.

GO trains have been a godsend. When they added Kitchener (Berlin till 1914*), armed with my faux sleeping bag, I planned my next adventure: Berlin Paris Brantford Hamilton. Europe, colonialism all wrapped up together. Kitchener/Berlin was newly discovered land for Eric Cyclist, and biking from Berlin to Paris? Cool.

Over time I have accumulated 'my favourite Shakespeare hits' as doses of vitamin, my protein drink, as I ride. I love to find the bull's eyes and implant them, so they can come to my aid. Reciting aloud or in my mind is like playing Beethoven on the piano. Imitating speech (and song) is what makes us humans, gives us the miracle of speech. It's our primary learning engine. Parrots, mocking birds and a few others can, but no primates. It is speech that has turned the world into our world, transforming nature into ... No comment. But there is no wordsmith to rival the Bard. Maybe Dante.

Tolstoy didn't like Shakespeare: irreligious, amoral, teaches that in morality, like politics, you can’t establish any principles because life is too complex. The Devil is the main protagonist in Shakespeare's great tragedies, which suits me fine,

I sit here, serenaded by our neighbourrhood nice crazy (as opposed to the many very irritating ones. CAMH is just across the road). He’s probably 3 blocks away and his plaintiff tenor wafts through the air. I saw him singing fortissimo a few days ago, as he skateboarded over the college st trolley tracks in the busy traffic, his head high, dressed for modest but tasteful street living, the spitting image of Jake Angeli, the Siegmund parody among the jan6 invaders of the capitol.

Bike maps need a grain of salt. How to find the entrance to the Taylor Creek path? It's easy from the east end, where it starts just north of Victoria Park subway. But the western end is tangled up in the various ravines mixed up with the 4-lane monster Bayview "avenue' and the Don Valley expressway, snaking through, trying to straighten out Nature. Another false start. Last time I was with Ryan and he was impatient with my bungling, so we ended up at the tacky waterfront. It's an industrial wasteland now, and soon will be glistening high rises and manicured greenery. Yuck.

I had to do something risky and interesting, having chickened out of last week’s planned 90km trip into the traffic wastelands from Innisfil to Toronto. Right move, foot now fixed itself with some massage, bandaid splint, lots of ice, and lots of doing nothing. Time to prove my mettle. Supposed to be rain, but didn’t feel like it and I prefer cloud, so after defending Iraqi-Iranian friendship for Presstv, i packed my oranges, cheese, dope, cell phone with map stored so i could use offline, and offline i went by metro to the sticks. 

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here