Claire McFarlane - House on Parliament
I ride my bike throughout the winter because even in -20°C, it’s still the fastest and cheapest way to get around the city. Riding a bike also means that you don’t have to depend on the (sometimes unreliable) TTC.
I usually prefer to wear tall, waterproof boots in the colder months because they keep a larger portion of my legs dry. I often rely on my neoprene cycling gloves that are longer and cover my wrists so I don’t get that coat-to-glove gap. Having a pair of merino wool glove liners are also great and will help absorb any moisture. Lately, I’ve found that wearing a waterproof shell with a couple layers on underneath keeps me warm when the temperature drops below zero.
Although I’m no mechanic, I would advise to keep on top of your bike maintenance throughout the winter. Pump up your tires regularly (sudden drop or rise of temperature can affect your tire pressure), keep your chain clean and lubricated and, wipe off your bike after you’ve been riding in wet weather. This time of the year, try to avoid leaving your bike outside for long periods of time if you can as the weather can start to eat away at it.
Because it now gets dark so early, I carry my lights with me whenever I’m on my bike so I never have to worry about not being seen while riding past four in the afternoon.
Steak stilton sandwich, photo courtesy of House on Parliament
I ride frequently on Gerrard Street to get to school, even though the pavement and the bike lane are in dire need of repair. I often use College and Harbord (which has a fantastic separated bike lane) Streets to get to and from work. And, although it is a very short ride, I will usually use Berkeley Street to get to my favourite go-to pub, House on Parliament (by Parliament and Carlton). Everything on the menu is delicious (my favourite is the steak and stilton sandwich, mmmmm…), the service is always great and they have a wide selection of affordable beer. It’s a great place to go when you’ve worked up an appetite riding around in the cold.
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