Biking to work: the good, the bad and the ugly

Biking to work: the good, the bad and the ugly 

Guest blog by Josh Varickanickal

I finally went full hipster. I now ride a bike to work.

For the last few years, I have been reverse commuting to work (out of Toronto in the morning and back in the evening). I recently switched employers and now work downtown. So, I bought a Metropass — but after one too many delays and packed TTC subway rides, I decided to purchase a bike instead. I bought a well-used and affordable set of wheels from an University of Toronto graduate student and have been seeing the city from a new perspective ever since.

The good

The absolute best part about biking to work is the post-workout positive vibes I get. Instead of feeling fat and sluggish, I arrive feeling refreshed. I begin working hard as soon as I show up, and on time. (Full disclosure; I am telling my boss to read this.)

Second, I get to feel like a kid again. I’m can ride my bike wherever I want.  Life is awesome.

And finally, motorists are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be. I was a little nervous about sharing the road with fast moving vehicles, but they’re not moving. Construction may keep heavy traffic gridlocked, but it doesn’t stop me from gliding through.

The bad

The statement, “Biking infrastructure is lacking,” is a severe understatement. A painting of a bike symbol on the road is not really bicycle infrastructure, just a kind gesture at best. There are some honest attempts to facilitate cyclists but there are some serious flaws. The pedestrian bus loading zones in the bike lanes on Sherbourne Street provide a challenge and safety hazard for both cyclists and pedestrians. (I am sorry if I scared the pedestrians I passed too quickly but I did not see you there until it was too late.)

Pedestrian bus loading zones on the Sherbourne protected bike lane.

The ugly

The only ugly thing about cycling to work is me. Everyone I work with who rides bikes to work all show up looking radiant and fresh. I, on the other hand, am dripping sweat with two pit stains comparable to the Great Lakes. That said, the ladies in the office have attributed my excessive sweating to “excessive manliness.” So, I guess the ugly ain’t so ugly after all.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

A new cyclist’s review of the West Toronto Railpath

A new Torontonian’s first bike ride

A new Torontonian’s first bike


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One response to “Biking to work: the good, the bad and the ugly”

  1. Sean says:

    Awesome 🙂
    Keep it up Josh! The more positive vibes and experiences we bring to the world the more people will ride.
    Consider trying to get to work even earlier than you do now in order to chill for a bit and allow sweating to calm down, also consider making your bike more of a commuter (back rack, panniers, frame & saddle bags etc) to create an even more versatile vehicle (change of clothes, items of import, stuff etc). I know a back rack and other stuff will recess you a bit from “full hipster” status but just make the damn thing practical and don’t worry about hipsterism.

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