4 Management lessons from my 150 km bike ride (Toronto to Niagara Falls)


Yes, I meant a bicycle ride...it took me approximately 16 hours of biking split over two days to bike along the Waterfront trail (waterfronttrail.org). I’m a novice biker and that’s what made it all the more challenging. It was a great way to see towns all along Lake Ontario (Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Lincoln, St. Catherines, Niagara on the lake) and people were nice to people, especially after learning that I had started from Toronto with a bike and a backpack J (forgot my helmet)

Reflecting back on the ride, here are some of my simple management observations.

*drumrolls*

#4 – Plan all you want, the hardest step is the first one
Ok, this trip wasn’t the most planned out one (refer: opening paragraph, forgot bike helmet). But I did a fair amount of research on Friday night and by Saturday morning, I had filled a few pages of notes with hotel numbers, bike repair shops, couchsurfing contacts and a backpack full of stuff. Still, the hardest move was stepping out of the door knowing that my last great bike ride was only 20 km long (this one being 7X longer) and I was in for trouble (and excitement)

#3 – A 30% probability means don’t fret about it!
Yes, I even managed to check the forecast before leaving. A 30% POP for Day#1 and 80% POP for Day#2. Still, I went ahead with it. On Day#1, I was passing through Oakville when it started pouring. I took cover near a convenience store only to be spotted by a worker who noticed the backpack and bike and came out for a conversation. Turns out, he had discovered most of Canada on bike and encouraged me to continue biking in the rain. The man surely knew how to motivate. His exact words were “You’ve come a long way. Nature is saying @#$% you right now. What’s gonna be your response?” I got back on my bike and within a few minutes, it stopped pouring...

#2 – An 80% probability means run for cover!
Thankfully, the weather was cloudy on Day#2 with showers looming throughout the day. By the time I reached Niagara-on-the-lake town, it started raining heavily again. Only this time, I was in between the town and Niagara Falls with a very lousy rain jacket that couldn’t even keep me dry. Eventually, I hitchhiked with a fruit vendor that saved me about 2 hours of uphill biking in the rain.

#1 – Timing is everything!
I love this one. Check this out:
  • ·         On Day#2, I got up from a nice nap at a park bench in St. Catherines. On looking around, I saw a fellow biker resting on a nearby bench.
  • ·         This is the same biker whom I waved to (biker etiquettes...) a few hours back while passing by Jordan Harbour.
  • ·         On asking him about the most scenic route ahead, he looked at the clouds and DECLARED that it’s raining in Toronto and it’s coming this way. OK.
  • ·         Being a noob, I took his advice and took a shorter path to reach Niagara-on-the-lake town, which is when it started raining heavily.
  • ·         Completely drenched and scared from biking in thunderstorm, I stopped at a roadside fruit vendor to seek shelter from the rain. I explained the whole situation to the lady (attendant) and it turns out that her shift was getting over in exactly 5 minutes. She also lived near the falls and generously offered me a ride till the beginning of it. With no plan B, I couldn’t say No to this offer!


And to think of it, it all started with me bothering to wave to a fellow biker! Hhhmmmm....