The commute is great... except for the part where you have to walk your wheels. Bikes courtesy of Brodie.
Tammy and Emily commute to work- week two
Tammy's highs and lows
Biking to work CAN be fun for everyone. Toronto has a ways to go though before it becomes a town that is fully accessible for two wheelers of all levels of ability and privilège.
As we learned last week in the kick off to our commuter series, Emily and I are lucky enough to have a shower and protected bike parking at our workplace. But only two of my workplaces over the last 20 years have had showers for cyclists, so I would never discourage people from biking to work just because they don't have a shower or underground parking. If you don't have those things at your work place you should lobby for them! Form a BUG (Bicycle User Group) in your workplace or contact Cycle Toronto to find out about advocacy groups in your ward.
Mostly, biking to work is just AWESOME no matter what work is like once you get there. You will be energized and ready to start the day.
Besides the awesome sunshine, (mostly) fresh air, exercise and the endorphins you get from biking to work, here are some of the other things that make my bike commute awesome. (And a few of the not-so-awesome things too.)
Can't get enough trees. And, even though my commute to work is all uphill, it is mostly through a fairly leafy (literally) midtown neighbourhood.
I did laugh though when I saw that a recent scientific study stated that people who lived near trees are healthier. Well DUH!
Besides helping you, you know, breath, trees are also great for providing shade on those super hot sunny summer days.
People who bike with their kids:
Pooches in the park:
I also really REALLY like smooth pavement (especially since there's not much of it on my commute these days.)
I also like drivers who share the road. Those attentive, considerate people who drive really make the commute a lot better -- for everyone!
I also love the disc brakes and many, many gears on this awesome loaner Brodie bike!
Okay, and so some of the not-so-dandy things on my commute are the City's "walk your wheels" signs and interruptions in the bike commute route. I mean, St. Clair is a nightmare for cyclists and it's kind of adding insult to injury to tell cyclists they have to walk their bike when they get to the end of Toronto's first-ever bike lane (Poplar Plains) that is what you are greated with: a transit right-of-way with no cut through for cyclists and a major jog east on a dangerously fast road,to get to a light and circle back OR "walk your wheels" for a long block. So, when there are no pedestrians on this sidewalk (which is often) I ride to the light.
I also dislike lanscapers who use leaf blowers and don't turn them off as you pass. When will the City ban these noisy pure-pollution machines?!
Oh and this tight gate on the designated bike path through Oriole Park (Emily's favourite part of the commute!) is also a bit of a pet peeve for me. Here we see Emily carefully manouvering the tight squeeze while another cyclist is approaching.
My quick/top tips for new commuters are:
Look around you! Use your neck. Especially at intersections: Always do a 360 and try to make eye contact with drivers.
Take your lane and take your ground.
Watch out for potholes and never lock your elbows.
Be sure that you're visible and use your bell or your voice to be sure you are seen by other road users.
Top tip: Have fun!
Ultimately, what will, of course, make biking much more accessible for everyone is more bike lanes. Emily, our intrepid first-time bike commuter, will try a new commute route this week and report back on that soon!
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