Story and photos by Lee Campbell
My commute takes me from the Junction to Yorkville, and I ride my trusty bike almost every day of the year, winter included. It usually takes me about 25 minutes to cover around 7 kilometres – not too shabby, right? I used to white-knuckle it across Dupont among the trucks and the hurried insane until a friend enlightened me: “Take the Davenport bike lane! It’ll change your life!” How true! I have to go a little out of my way to connect with Davenport – I cut north up Symington from Annette – but it’s totally worth it.
I commute by bike for a variety of reasons. I save money, stay in shape, get places quicker than I would by public transit, and avoid the worker-drone misery of the TTC during rush hour. I like the feeling of getting around under my own steam, at my own pace, and I enjoy the warm glow of independence and cycle-smugness. Unlike so many unfortunate slaves to the internal combustion engine, all I need to fuel my ride is a decent breakfast!
Cool pigeon mural on Davenport near Symington
I’m always pleasantly surprised at how easy, quick, and enjoyable it is to cross the city in a real bike lane. After years of struggling along Bloor or Dupont I was beginning to think that cycling in Toronto was necessarily a harrowing hell-ride where it was only a matter of time before my ticket would be punched. But with proper bike lanes, and drivers who have learned to respect cyclists as legitimate road users, commuting by bike has become a great way to start my day.
The best part of my commute is, well... the whole ride really. Safely getting from A to B on a bike without primal fear of heavy vehicles is great fun in any weather. I like being outside, and keeping my head up for the sights.
As great as the ride is, there's still room for improvement. For possible infrastructure changes, I’d like to see some repairs to the bike lane along certain parts of Davenport. There are some nasty potholes and patchwork asphalt that are getting harder to dodge with the gathering of winter darkness and frozen debris alike. Also, at a few points along the route the bike lane is suddenly interrupted - replaced by rows of parked cars, or a right turn lane with no trace of bike-lane markings. On a route that otherwise allows cyclists and motor vehicle traffic to peacefully coexist, these points of potential (and actual) conflict are a reminder that truly shared streets are still a work in progress.
A reminder to everyone stuck in traffic - there is a better way! Cycling!
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