This story originally appeared in the latest issue of dandyhorse. Buy it here
Allan Brtinell rides to school with his family in Toronto's west end. Photo by Vic Gedris.
From the summer 2014 of dandyhorse: Bike to School
WE ASKED: Why do you bike to school? What would make your trip safer?
Robin, Sibi and Sonya bike to school downtown and really hope the Adelaide and Richmond bike lanes become permanent (and go further). Photo by Yvonne Bambrick.
Sonya Allin (wearing pink helmet):
I bike to school with Sibi for lots of reasons. For one, it’s the fastest way for us to get downtown. We don’t have to wait for the trolley; we just go. It’s also the cheapest way for us to get to school.
After the convenience and cost benefits come all the health and fun benefits. Our commute translates into a little less than an hour of exercise for me, every day. I build muscle, I get rosy, and I feel good, which affects almost everything I do. Then there are the ecological benefits. I don’t want to burn gas when I don’t have to.
And finally, the time that Sibi and I spend on a bike is a real bonding experience. Sometimes we spontaneously decide to go to the farmer’s market on the way home – it’s so easy to go on little adventures together with the bike. Bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide would help us for sure.
Photo by Yvonne Bambrick.
I cycle with my eight-year-old son, Oscar, pretty much every day; it is our main means of transportation around downtown, except in the dead of winter. It’s the most fun and most affordable way to get there. And it’s good for our health. And I think it promotes a good sense of ability and autonomy in my son.
What would make our trip easier and safer is a comprehensive cycling network downtown with separated cycle tracks, i.e. including a significant physical barrier that motor vehicles can’t pass. For us this means on Richmond and Adelaide, where we cycle every day on our route to school.
Photo of Dalen by 'Xander Labayen.
Dalen started biking to school in kindergarten. We live right off a bike lane which is perfect for a school commute. Biking allows for Dalen to ride home for lunch. The neighborhood supports traffic calming on streets.
Proper parking enforcement to limit the double parking, and 30 km/hr zones within two km of the school would make it safer. This would also encourage kids within that zone to ride. Side streets in the core and suburbs make perfect bike routes - if speed can be limited.
Photo by Yvonne Bambrick.
After four years of taking our kids to school by bike it is simply part of the daily routine. Sometimes riding is liberating: listening to Asher, five, either singing or talking to himself in the trailer or having some interesting conversation with his seven-year-old sister, Nina. Other times it does not feel like a very liberating choice, as it involves riding through snow, rain, and competing for road space with parked cars or car commuters using side streets as a shortcut.
Photos by Yvonne Bambrick.
For the distances within which we move, the bike is the most natural way of transport. I think I will miss the exercise when both kids start going to the school just down the road.
I am always tense when I bike with the kids, especially when they ride on their own bikes on the sidewalk, as every hidden driveway is a potential accident.
Photos by Vic Gedris.
It’s a fun way to get to school. I use my bike for pleasure, exercise and occasional commuting. Mehnaz and I want to encourage our daughters, Natasha, eight, and Aryana, five, to to think of hopping on their bikes.
Our route is pretty short and relatively safe. In fact, we sometimes meander up and down some of the side streets to make more of a trip out of it.
Our route to school is totally safe, except for garbage day - big trucks, narrow streets.
This story originally appeared in the latest issue of dandyhorse. Buy it here.
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