Standing up

This weekend, Team Harlot trouped off on a bike trip (It’s getting harder and harder to impress the sock), and my arse has a profound opinion about my activity on said bike, and I am standing up.

We rode the waterfront trail for about 75 km, from Toronto to Darlington Provincial Park (just past Oshawa) , camped for the night then (much to the chagrin of my arse) turned around and rode back. That’s a two day ride of 150km, and while It’s not a feat like Claudia accomplishes, my arse assures you that considering one of the members of my team is 11 years old (Go Sam!) it’s really something to be proud of.

I give you the socks weekend in photos.


This is a bumper sticker on my bike, courtesy Jennifer at Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It says “My other vehicle is a spinning wheel” and I think that (especially on a bike) this is hysterically funny. I see it all the time while I’m riding and it cracks me up.


This is Team Harlot (and the sock..) totally ready to go. (Note the expressions on their faces. Doesn’t that totally say “My mother is a lunatic, please help me”?


The sock on a flight of stairs, just this side of Pickering. The sock was absolutely no help pushing a fully loaded tour bike up a flight of stairs. (Do not tell me how they don’t look bad. Push the bike first) As a matter of fact, I believe that the socks may be smirking. (I am starting to think that there is a possibility that the sock is a freeloading jerk.)


The largest wind turbine in North America. (Does the sock look impressed? No. I’m telling you, this was about 40k in, and the sock just wasn’t playing ball.


An Inukshuk. I love finding these on the trail.


A snake.


The sock resting at the campsite. For reasons I don’t understand, the sock is not afraid of that seat the way I am. The first day’s riding is fine, but when you get up the next morning and put your arse back down on that seat…it is briefly breathtaking, then settles down into a throbbing dull pain. More training does not seem to prevent arse pain. I think arses are untrainable.


The beach at Darlington, looking west toward Toronto. It’s sort of neat to look back where you came from, realizing that you have ridden so far in one day that you can barely pick your cities skyline out.


A frog. I can report that frogs seem to have less interest in knitting than snakes. Admittedly, this is a very small sample size (one frog and one snake, er…and one sock) but I will be watching for a trend.


The view from a bridge on the way home, looking out over Lake Ontario toward Rochester NY, though it’s far, far, far to far to see.

Today, I knit. (Standing up.)

97 thoughts on “Standing up

  1. I’m glad to know that the sock, frog, snake, and arse made the grand journey! (Fun to see you holding a frog and a snake — wow)

  2. My husband does quite a bit of bike riding (on average, about 70 miles) nearly every weekend. The best remedy we’ve found for “bike butt” is a good pair of padded biking shorts. There are some nicer styles available these days, where the lycra and padding are hidden inside a normal-looking pair of shorts. Next time you’re planning a long ride, consider getting a pair of biking shorts; your arse won’t bother you as much, and you may find the sock’s attitude less annoying!

  3. looks like a great trip to me ๐Ÿ™‚ For your sore bottoms you can also use some vaseline (not afterwards, but before you hop on the bike apply to the areas which chafe most). Also if you get bike shorts, dont wear any underwear beneath. And bike shorts don’t look silly, they look professional. Also your saddle seems to be tilted slighly upward at the nose, try to put is as level as possible, instant pressure relief.
    Have fun…. like the sock (despite its attitude)

  4. I grew up west of Darlington. Once made a day trip from Whitby to Port Perry (on road bikes). Not nearly as impressive! I always wanted to do a bigger trip. But I have arthritis in my SI joints so bike riding is not high on my list anymore. I remember seeing some great seats at the bike store though. Perhaps a different one would suit your butt better? You’re small, so maybe even a man’s seat?

  5. Biking and camping and knitting, oh my! Sounds like a lot of fun… except for the butt ache, of course.

  6. Gel seat. Padded bike shorts.
    At least the snake didn’t swallow the sock. That would teach the sock. And the snake. And you. Never mind – weird visual there.
    Trust me – gel seat, padded bike shorts.

  7. That’s a very impressive trip! Congratulations to Team Harlot! I’m not much of a cyclist myself – my spur of the moment purchase of a bike because it was on sale and I liked the colour and I thought I might become a cyclist has been sitting in the basement of my in-law’s place for about 6 years – but I thought I’d heard about gel filled seats that are available? Might that help?

  8. Sounds like an awesome trip, inspite of your arse’s uncooperativeness…
    Love the snake…aren’t they the neatest animals?

  9. I’m seeing snake patterned socks. Do you suppose Opal makes it?
    Rode my bike to work for the first time this season – lazy arse that I am – wearing – you guessed it – padded bike shorts. Sounds like a great trip!

  10. I’m so impressed: not only with the ride, but with your function as “wild animal wrangler”. You took the sock to places it never thought it would go. Is it begging to be taken back to bookstores?
    Keep the Tylenol or Ibuprofin coming, Harlot. This, too, shall pass!

  11. Very impressive and I’m sorry your arse hurts (but, um, it really isn’t that surprising – bike seats are the devil’s own work). Go Team Harlot! Why didn’t you make the sock peddle? Seems like it shouldn’t be allowed to freeload all the time.

  12. Oh dear!! You need to knit yourself a cushy tooshie for your bike seat!!
    It is good to see the sock getting some fresh air!

  13. Sounds like a great trip. I am glad that the weather cooperated unlike your arse. I think the snake does not see the sock as a threat unlike the frog. (Socks long tubes, snakes long tube, snakes eat frogs).

  14. Snakes??? I’ve touched them at the zoo, I’ve i-cord knit them as toys for my cats, but, just seeing that photo… ack…I’m bound to have nightmares about snakes in socks now… did you notice that the bungee cords in the next photo look like little snakes slithering on your gear? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    As for a bike cushie for your tushie you may want to check out gel seats and covers

  15. I LOVE the snake photograph! I don’t how anyone could see a snake as anything other than cute ๐Ÿ™‚
    Do you know of where I could find a map of this bike trail? I live in Toronto and it would be awesome to bike all the way out to Darlington… or even just stop in Oshawa to visit my mom (and not have to pay for the GO! Yay!)

  16. Cathy is right about padded bike shorts and a gel seat, but darlin’, you might start by replacing that 10″ frying pan that is your current saddle and get something to fit your anatomy a tad bit better. Terry is an all-girl bike company with many different seats for many different arses; you can check ’em out at (I have no affiliation or connection with them, I just know that they’re reputable and girl-biker friendly).

  17. Heck with these fancy-pants padded shorts and ergonomically correct seats. Knit a seat pad and stuff it with lambswool.

  18. Ooooh. What a fab trip. Sorry about the arse pain but i have to echo everyone else. Gel seats and padded bike shorts.
    cheers harlot

  19. You forgot to mention the part that makes it impressive – the heat and humidity you rode in – for more sympathy votes. Mentioning the nuclear power station nearby probably would have spoiled the mood, though.

  20. I got roped into biking for work, like you, with two young girls. First time on a bike in a decade. I hear you about the ass arse pain. (Is arse an east coast word or just a Harlot word?)
    I think I’ve found the solution (or at least a temporary one): ice cream! You at least forget the pain for a little while.

  21. So how did the sock like the trip back? Did it complain about seeing all the same sights for the second time?

  22. How are you pronouncing “arse.”? You readers probably assume “aaarse” though it suddenly dawned on me that – given your significant other’s Newfoundland background, you are probably pronouncing it “rrrrse”.
    ‘fess up.

  23. My arse aches in sympathy. Of course, I’m not nutsy enough to subject it to the tortures of a bike seat – not when I can plunk it in my cushy armchair & knit away. Just sayin’.

  24. I think you may be right. Arses are completely untrainable. I’ve tried. I can’t imagine riding that long over just two days, you’re all amazing. And the sock wasn’t impressed? I think maybe the thing to do is to stop taking the sock exciting places. You know, make it appreciate the small things in life. The grocery store for instance. The sock may be getting a big head (big toe??).

  25. Since there is no Harlot automobile this may not apply… I was going to a LYS in Vienna VA last week and two cars in the parking lot had bumper stickers on them that said “Save a life. Don’t knit and drive.” My husband thought that was amusing since I have been known to do that (not actually while driving, but will whip out the sock in progress at stop lights and such…..).
    That sock sure gets around. Be careful – people may begin to talk!

  26. The sock is getting kind of jaded, isn’t it? I hope the rest of you (your–ahem–arse excluded) had a good time, though!

  27. My dad has a saying about the way a bike seat treats a person’s arse. Unfortunately (umm, or maybe luckily) it doesn’t translate to English. Anyway, when I was more athletic I used to ride the bike some 20-50 kilometres daily in summertime, and my arse only hurt after the first threeish long trips. Though I think some natural padding might have helped me on that point.

  28. Not being trainable is what makes ’em arses.
    Elegant snake (but aren’t those Sam’s hands, just aching for credit?)
    And your morning glories are looking fine, too.

  29. I love the gel pad I bought for my bike seat… it helps, a lot. Granted, I can’t think of the last time I rode more than a couple of miles, but it must be helpful in the long run, too.
    I tried to think of something witty to say about the frog and frogging, but I’ve got nuthin’. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Well, a padded pair of shorts and a gel seat would have helped for this particular ride, but when you do Ottowa…I hate to even say this because it’s gross, your children will think you’ve completely lost your mind, and yet you’ll be the one without saddle-burn…Bag Balm INSIDE the shorts. Yep, that’s right, a handful right in there where the sun don’t shine. I did the four-day AIDS ride from Boston to New York City in 1996, and if it weren’t for this particularly disgusting, yet effective, trick, I would not have survived Day 2. Because, as you noticed, it’s the second day of biking where your ass (oh, oops, this is Canada…your arse) decides it hates you AND your bike.
    No, Vaseline is not the same thing. Don’t ask why. You don’t want to know.
    That snake really seemed to dig the sock….

  31. I think the snake-in-sock picture is one of my favorite Harlot pics, ever! It’s right up there with the picture of two identical mittens. The green of the snake contrasts beautifully with the pink and purple pastels of the sock. It brings a shortness of breath, at the thought of pulling on a warm hand-knit sock, only to find a green wiggly thing in there. And then it got me thinking about what the little snake was thinking, as it surely has never seen a hand knit sock before. What a great picture! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m totally with you on bike butt. There’s no way to make it disappear. Thankfully, I’m usually distracted by the amazingly numb and tingly hands, which is even more annoying.

  32. Dear Stephanie’s Arse:
    Stop messing with Stephanie. You know that you can harden up with a little effort — say a couple of hours a week on the saddle. Stop being such a pain. In the…well you know.
    All the best,

  33. Perhaps a padded seat cosy would solve the problem? What yarn would be best for that?

  34. Way to go Team Harlot! That’s a great ride, and hooray for Sam! So was this in homage to “Le Tour”, which is currently underway? (

  35. I’ll repeat what others have said: padded bike shorts. Trust me, they’ve allowed this very large ass/arse to ride up to 50 miles/80 km at a shot with no cheek damage (we won’t talk about knees, quads, hamstrings…).

  36. Ok, I feel someone has to stick up for the sock here. Maybe it was *not* smirking. Maybe it was just HOT and uncomfortable. Maybe we should all put ourselves into the sock’s shoes (hehe) and think about what it might feel like to be wool and in some serious heat & humidity. I just *might* smirk too. And also, Stephanie, have you ever considered that perhaps you need to take some responsibility here too? That maybe, just maybe, you neeeeed the sock to react a certain way on your little sojourns, and that maybe the sock is just smiling along to please you. What are you getting out of that relationship dynamic? What do you think the sock is getting out of it? Just something to consider while everyone is playing dog-pile-on-the-ungrateful sock.
    And I won’t even get into letting a snake fondle the sock. Asking a bit much, doncha think??

  37. My sock is getting a little jaded, too…in the past week it’s been to the Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, climbed the Badlands of South Dakota, and withstood the blazing heat at the Wyoming and North Dakota welcome signs. Now it’s just hanging around in my knitting tote, poor thing.
    Great job, Team Harlot, on the bike ride! Your children look like mine do when I propose something interesting…

  38. It seems to me that the sock (mine that is) was equally impressed with its being hauled out in the air conditioned line at the bank as it was sailing on Sunday. You never know what’ll please the damn things.

  39. My congratulations to you for putting up with so much from the sock. I hope the sock is more grateful next time…

  40. BR beat me to it. I was thinking that was perhaps why it was unimpressed.
    Good on ya all for doing the bike trip! (Except the sock. Lazy thing!)

  41. I was going to tell you to get a Vagina Bike Seat, but it looks like you’ve already got one. That’s the extent of my knowledge about preventing arse pain.
    Feel better!

  42. Maybe if you dangled the sock off of high places it would start to appreciate the scenery and wildlife while you’re holding it safely? Cute snake, and I’m so not a snake person that’s really saying something. Hope your butt gets better soon, I mean Tuesdays are for spinning and you can’t do that standing up.

  43. I’m most impressed by the photos of the sock with the snake and the frog. I can’t understand why I didn’t think of it myself (I mean, so many photos of knitting with flora, why not with the fauna, too?).

  44. There really is a love hate thing going on with the sock and such a lovely sock it is (I don’t want to get on it’s bad side!). Lately I have been knitting bags and purses on my travels and have yet to have a problem with attitude. Maybe because I let them evolve at their own pace and in their own manner. Maybe the sock doesn’t want the heel where you put it… have you ever thought of that? SET THE SOCK FREE!!!

  45. There really is a love hate thing going on with the sock and such a lovely sock it is (I don’t want to get on it’s bad side!). Lately I have been knitting bags and purses on my travels and have yet to have a problem with attitude. Maybe because I let them evolve at their own pace and in their own manner. Maybe the sock doesn’t want the heel where you put it… have you ever thought of that? SET THE SOCK FREE!!!

  46. What a delightful adventure… and I do sympathise about the bike seats. They can send a man to the moon…but can’t make a cushy bike seat!

  47. I quickly scrolled through comments to see if anyone mentioned(in addition to gel bike seat, padded bike shorts, Bag Balm) Gold Bond medicated powder for sore skin while biking. My daughter recently passed through your fair city of Toronto with cycing group of 80 people(deCycles) riding 1600 miles in 20 days from Bloomington Indiana to Portland Maine. The cycling daughter says that Gold Bond is wuuunderfullllll for rashes(not muscular pain).Guess is reduces nasty friction.
    Question about your current sock–what yarn is it? So beautiful.
    Diane in Bloomington

  48. You see…I’m thinking that the sock is laughing at you and your sore arse. It says, “Hey, you stick pointy needles in me all of the time, see how it feels!” It’s thinking that it is payback time! LOL!
    And…eeeewwwwwww….a snake! YIKES! I would have been flipping out, not holding it close!

  49. You always have such interesting colored sock yarns. Makes mine look drab. And I like the snake and toad.

  50. all of this talk of biking and cycling and traveling long ammounts of geography in short periods of time has me thinking that I should start traveling with two wheels instead of four. It’s really too bad that I only have a short stretch of “my” summer left before I have to turn into a scut-monkey.
    How does the second sock of the pair feel about being left out of the trip? does it want an equally (dis)-interesting (based on this sock’s, um, “remarks” (somewhat implied, of course)) trip? or is there an unwritten, yet understood, “one adventure per pair” rule?

  51. If I’d known you were biking through Whitby, I would have come out to cheer on the sock and your arse!

  52. It takes a bit to build up butt callouses (that would be “arse callous” to you *g*), but you do eventually get them, and it doesn’t hurt to sit on the bike anymore. Feels like you’re sitting on knives right now, I bet…but I promise that if you ride more often, that goes away.
    Otherwise, why would I keep riding my bike? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. Yeah I already posted. But the Darlington you went to, is that the same Darlington that Moxy Fruvous wrote a song about?

  54. Stephanie, the bumper sticker I’ve always wanted is “My other car is a broom.”

  55. *waving frantically from my window* In my apartment in Rochester, NY. Did you see me? *g*
    My arse so sympothises. A couple years after my low back injury, I hoped on my son’s stationery bike to show him how “easy” it was. My daughter tried to warn me, and I waved her off. Well, after I got both my feet on the peddles, my eyeballs literally popped out my head with the sciatic pain.
    My two oldest had to each take me by an arm and a leg to lift me off, while I screamed adjectives about how stupid that was.

  56. On the subject of arses, I just have to quote Sally, from “Coupling,” “Bottoms are our natural enemy. They follow us around our entire lives, right behind us and constantly growing. How do they do that? I’m sure mine’s back there secretly snacking.”

  57. Sock IS a freeloading jerk! I would have so totally APPRECIATED being on your recent jaunt. And I would have sympathized as you carried me and the laden bike up the hill. I would have! Lousy sock…

  58. The snake has good taste! I can understand the frog’s lack of interest, though, as the sock wouldn’t really fit any of its feet.

  59. We call them cairns, and if you lose track of them you might go over a cliff–so yes, a very cheerful sight to see them lining up, showing the way, but there are imps out there too that create detours. Following a detour above treeline is not happy.

  60. Regardless of extra body padding, I can reassure that it doesn’t help. You cycling trip looked to be wonderful! Hope you and your Harlot bunch had a safe trip home and here’s hoping the sock finally pulled it’s weight!

  61. I can sympathize about the sore arse bit. Your description about reaquainting your butt with the seat the next morning really hit the nail on the head..*inserting some wincing here*
    What sock yarn and color are you using for the ungrateful *sock* ?

  62. A guy I know finally upgraded his bike seat – a 20 year old WOODEN bike seat. And yes, he rode on that seat for several summers. Although hearing about your arse pain gives me shivers, a guy riding a wooden bike seat? yeeoow!

  63. Stephanie, it’s wonderful seeing places on the trip I recognize….ahhhh, the shores of Lake Ontario. I’ve camped at Darlington Provincial Park…didn’t realize the rail lines were so close to our campsite as we set up in the dark, just about had a stroke when the first train whistle blew during the night.
    We’ve cycled Niagara Falls to Niagara-On-The-Lake, that’s a lovely overnight ride as well.
    Padding helps with the bike butt. Unfortunately the best form of padding is that gained with pain…butt callous. Once gotten your arse no longer cares…and throws itself upon the seat with glee.
    You must promise me to say arse at least a 1/2 dozen times when I see you in Seattle.
    I do miss the Eastern Canadian dialect….to hard to describe to the Left Coast people I’m living amongst.

  64. I have pictures of the sock (my very first sock, in fact!) in Norway–in front of a huge waterfall, at the North Cape, and with some yummy dessert. You and your sock are an inspiration! (And my Mom thinks it’s a hoot.)

  65. As someone who screams and runs for her life when snakes of any kind come across her path, whether it be in a park or on a computer screen, I would appreciate a big disclaimer before any snake pictures get scrolled down to ๐Ÿ˜‰ Quite a shock to the system. My work colleagues thank you for the entertainment though… and the biking looks fun!

  66. I don’t think the snake is impressed. They don’t have a big need for footwear…

  67. I think I’m coming to Toronto for the weekend, I just have to pump up my wheels and excavate the tent from the basement. Love the sticker!

  68. I have just run across your blog and there are just too many things we have in common: a June 14th birthday, daughters within a few years of each other, formal dresses that need to be sewn up in a hurry, not enough knitting time before the holidays, living outside of Rochester (So I can wave at you from this direction and I also choose to enjoy the warm weather more than the cold) and a sock who has gone many places with me (Netherlands, Belgium, a baseball game, work, appointments, etc.). My sock isn’t impressed with much of anything either. You wouldn’t catch me attempting that kind of bike ride; however, I would be likely to try it on horseback. Considering the shape I’m in, I’m guessing that I would have a variety of aches/pains to deal with, also. Hope you’re recovering nicely!

  69. here’s a thought for ya, darling. they make gel seats for bikes. i actually have one for my stationary bike. they work wonders, and if you’re putting 150k under your bum, it might not hurt to invest in one. and yes, the sock does look a slacker

  70. Actually, it’s a toad. Not to be nit-picky or anything, but a frog is a frog and a toad is a toad. I’m fond of all those slithery, creeping, jumping creatures, and don’t want to see them get a bum (or should that be “arse”) rap!

  71. Hey!
    First off your blog is great. I am sorry I am posting here because this post is unrelated to your bike trip which by the way the pictures of the sock on your travels are great. But back on topic. I cant figure out how to post to old entries, but this is in relation to your baby sweat on April 6 2005. I just started working for artyarns and I am creating a new section on their website ( This section
    is going to include reviews and pictures of what people think and do with
    artyarn’s yarns. I was wondering if I could use your cute baby sweater .(of cousre we would link your blog) It would be an honor
    to have your blog and knitting on our website. Thanks!

  72. Three cheers from the herpetology contingent for the lovely snake and toad photos.

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