Man there are tons of Asians in this city, I wonder as I pound heavily on my pedals and woosh in front of a trolley. Traveling swiftly along Bloor street in downtown Toronto, I jump a curb and proceed to ride a manual on my back tire until the front front tire gracefully lands back on earth 25 feet later. A couple menacing kids scream for more, “hey pull a 360 or something” on of them yell as I glide past the baggy jean, chain wallet types that hang around this area. Used record stores proudly displaying their anti-conformist vinyl sales, used book shops cluttered with books from the beat days and making your own peyote, leather lingere shops featuring biker girls milling about out front and organic fuit stores with their brightly colored colonies of fresh pesticide free, child labor free, overly expensive kumquats and okra- all whirl past as I keep pounding on my pedals trying to keep up speed to make the Spadina street light- yellow- stop or speed up?- the thought lingers for a moment before I decide that based on my observations the drivers here in Toronto have way worse reaction to the green because unlike New Yorkers the cars are all neatly at the crosswalks even though it is about to turn green- in New York, the taxis will inch out until the middle of the box before the green is even registered in the stoplights’ computer. No here I have time before the barage of taxis, suvs, and smart cars crush between their hulking skulls of iron and rubber.
I am almost there- Bay and Bloor home to some of the welathier environs of downtown Toronto and of this phenominal natural- really man made- but not made for people like me- quarter pipe. Situated at the foot of a large chapters- well out of view from the ever present rent-a-cop security gaurds employed at c`hain stores and office buildings across N. America with the one goal of keeping extreme sports folks who make up the skateboard and bike riding populations from having fun while destroying public property at the same time.
These security guards sometimes wielding night sticks and having the aid of scaryt looking viscious dogs will stop at nothing to chase a simple admirer of those smooth silky concrete structures that due to the New Urbanist and greek architecture folks adorn office buildings and city parks everywhere. The smooth walls diagonally positioned under the Xerox building in Rochester, NY, providing hours of wallrides and sessioning by bikers and skateboarders in Western NY. The red brick under regions below the Brooklyn Bridge providing skatepark quality in crackhead infested, piss smelling, underworld of skateboarders and punk rockers. Even the ponds located below the Eifle Tower in Paris contain some amazing pool like quality of riding, when empty.
I have come to wet my palate for 180 stalls on the back tire of my bike- to the glee of any passerby under thirty- but to the extreme annoyance to anyone wielding a cane and wearing those insanely large dark sunglasses that blinding old men wear- these people will always tell you to break your leg, literally. Oh the joys and freedom of the momentary back tire stalled on a slab of angled concrete, with the front tire spinning wildly wondering where its assphalt has gone. The smoothness of the tire gently making its landing when the move has completed and the knowledge of the casual passerby taking time out of their cell phone conversation or hectic work chore to gain some free satisfaction from watching this beautiful event.
After a glorious, fall free, smooth session of this conrete slab, I pedal away satiated and on to searching for the next useless modern ornament that beacons the passerby to sit and enjoy its smoothness while sipping a latte and working on their blackberry.