A few weeks ago I spotted the Toronto Cyclists Union
tent at the Brickworks farmer’s market. I thought “Hey, there’s a Transition-aligned outfit” and without much further thought, went over to sign up.
At one point in the conversation the volunteer asked “So, do you ride to work?” “No” I said. “Why not?”.
“Uh…It’s far?” I explained, lamely. I didn’t tell him I hadn’t been on my bike in two years. I guess I’d intended to support them more than to participate, and my answer was honest – I’m embarrassed to say I really hadn’t
even considered doing the ride.
A few days later my membership card arrived. Printed on the back was a list of steps entitled “In Case of Collision”. Nevertheless, I decided I must do it – I would ride to work.
Some bike maintenance, new equipment and several warm-up rides later I was ready. Between google maps and the Toronto cycle maps
I plotted a route through parks and sleepy subdivisions. Thirty kilometers round trip, over one third on the Belt Line trail, a couple of short stretches on main streets to get across railways. It looked possible.
… and then, this week I did it. And it was incredibly satisfying, all around awesome, and actually not that big a deal. And as I build conditioning, I think it will become how I get to work on most days.Proof: Bike + Cubicle
For comparisons sake, it took about one hour. Transit is the same or slightly slower (three vehicles, ten minute walk). Due to the oddly lopsided Toronto rush hour, car is faster in the mornings, as little as 35 minutes, and up to an hour at night if the 401 is a parking lot. But what a great feeling.
Recently I read that in Scandinavia riding a bike is simply “how you get around”. No fanfare, no fancy stretch shorts, no helmet (?!). I hope we can soon achieve that bike-by-default mentality here. Belt Line trail facing east, just east of the Allen