The Reflection Pool

That Metre Can Save My Life

I was one happy cyclist this past September 1.  Ontario passed a series of amendments to traffic laws that are intended to make the roads safer for cyclists:

Photo Credit: kohlmann.sascha via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kohlmann.sascha via Compfight cc
  • All drivers of motor vehicles are required to maintain a minimum distance of one-metre, where practical, when passing cyclists on highways;
  • Persons who improperly open or leave opened the doors of motor vehicles on highways face increased penalties (commonly known as “dooring”).
  • The fine for non-compliance with bicycle light, reflector and reflective requirements will increase; and
  • Cyclists are permitted to use lamps that produce intermittent flashes of red light.

I know that these rules depend on cyclists following the rules themselves. This summer I rode with a couple of people who made me super nervous. They wove in and out of traffic, didn’t signal turns and didn’t stop for lights or signs. That’s the way to make motorists angry and, more importantly, get seriously injured or worse. I’m a driver too, so I understand how hard it can be to see cyclists.

When I head out on the road with cars and trucks, I am entering dangerous territory. I can’t count the number of times I have been squeezed against the curb by a vehicle who thinks I only need a little room. It is terrifying to be buzzed by a two ton car when you’re exposed on a little 10 kg bike with some lycra between you and the road. I really appreciate it when drivers give me the metre.

I hope that we can all share the road. And if you drive and don’t cycle, maybe you should get out there and give it a try!


Time Away Makes Us Better

My work schedule is full. Sometimes really full. The to-do lists grow and the calendar has less and less room. I bet yours is the same. I love my job, but it can sometimes impact my personal life. That’s not a good place to be.

Every so often, I get into a conversation with a colleague or an educator on social media about so-called work life balance. I always push back and say that it’s not about balance, it’s about boundaries. (See this excellent article for more thoughts on this.)

Photo Credit: jelloneck via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: jelloneck via Compfight cc

The #Aprilblogaday asked: what is our most important professional responsibility outside the classroom? For me, it’s simple. Set the boundaries (see above) and learn, read, do and see things that have nothing to do with work. When I take space away from my professional life, I’m happier, more rested and then can focus on my work responsibilities. In short, I do my job way better. Some people describe this as  “work hard, play hard”.

This weekend I have set aside time for one of my passions – singing. I’ve been singing for years in semi professional and church choirs, occasional solo work and even amateur opera. Singing produces fantastic endorphins, uses the whole body (when done right) and is a lot of fun!  When I’m singing I am totally in a state of flow.  Being fully immersed with a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment is a remarkable experience.

I currently sing in a church choir. Can you spot me in the photo below?DSC_7016

We have some big plans for this Easter weekend, including a performance of Bach’s “Passion According to St. John”. Singing this glorious piece of music will definitely contribute to my overall well being. I’ll return to the office and schools on Tuesday with renewed focus and energy.

That makes me better. What about you?