dandyCommute series: High Park/The Junction To Leaside (after Hurricane Sandy)

dandyCommute #3

This is the third story in a dandy new series about commuting by bike to work. Dedicated cyclist Hannah Spence crosses town from High Park to Leaside after Hurricane Sandy and takes in the relatively quiet, traffic-free streets.

This series will continue with more photos and everyday stories about riding uptown, midtown and downtown, and what some of the challenges and joys are of riding to work every day.

We are inviting dandyhorse readers to share their commuter stories! Published commuters/authors will receive a prize. We’ll be adding an easy to use, fill-in-the-blank template soon. The dandyCommute series will continue until at least the end of 2013.

Super commuter = anyone who rides a bike to work.

dandyCommute #3: High Park to Leaside (approximately 15 km one-way)

Story and photos by Hannah Spence

It's pissing it down on Dupont. Davenport is soaked through the tarmac, Avenue is a one-way waterfall, Moore Avenue is a slippery, autumnal montage and my shoes are oozing and squishing at every six o’clock. Riding in the blistery rain has little to recommend it, and making one’s way through the aftermath of soggy Hurricane Sandy on a dark evening has few discernible merits – except, perhaps, one colossal one: fewer vehicles on the road.

My commute takes me 15 kilometres across the top of the city, from High Park to Leaside, using and crossing main thoroughfares (including Annette, Dupont, Yonge, St. Clair and Bayview). I could take a far quieter, more picturesque path through a few meandering neighbourhoods and several calmer roads; but I don’t. I choose a busy route full of cars, lights, hills and potholes.

Why do I that? Partly because it’s the shortest possible route and provides more time at home for me on either end of the workday, but also because I want drivers to see me and learn to live with me and other cyclists on the road.

And traffic hones my cycling skills. I still can’t do a track stand worthy of a postcard home and don’t even start with me about my dismount, but if I might take the liberty to blow my own horn for just a nanosecond, I don’t know a more observant, aware, instinctual and just plain good dandyCommuter out there. In my dozen years of cycling in this city I’ve never hit the bumper or driver’s side door of any vehicle (nor the fist of any driver).

On bad days we cyclists are confronted with our own aggression, impulses and judgmental thoughts; and no wonder: every day we are confronted with the reality that our lives are teetering on the edge twixt our own mad skills and their hands. But alongside these antagonistic, visceral reactions we experience the unmitigated pleasure of rushing endorphins. Are these dramatic highs and lows solely mine? Surely not.

Truth be told, after a week of riding in the wind, wet and cold causatum of sodding Sandy I’d be happy to never twist my greater trochanter over my titanium rails ever again.

Only, that’s not true at all: I’d be lost without my bicycle.

I’d have to walk – but I’m far too lazy; I’d have to take the TTC – but I’m far too impatient; or I’d have to drive a car – but I’m far too independent. No, the bicycle is the only sensible means – it just might not be in the midst of the swirling appendage of a travelling hurricane.


Here’s the nitty-gritty of Hannah Spence’s route to work, starting near Pacific Avenue and Annette in High Park/The Junction:

-       East on Annette/Dupont to Avenue Road

-       Take Avenue Road north to MacPherson Avenue, then go east on MacPherson to Yonge

MacPherson Avenue Parkette

MacPherson Avenue Parkette


-       Go north on Yonge to Rosehill Avenue, which turns into Avoca Avenue (at the world’s most redundant stop sign), then takes you up to St. Clair.

-       Turn east on St. Clair

View from bridge at St. Clair near Mount Pleasant, overlooking David A. Balfour Park

View from bridge at St. Clair near Mount Pleasant, overlooking David A. Balfour Park

-       Cross Mount Pleasant then head north on Welland Avenue

-       Go east on Moore Avenue, cross Bayview (after Bayview Moore turns into Southvale Drive)

-       Take a left on Hanna Road followed by a right on Randolph Road

-       Cross Millwood Road and turn right on Lea Avenue

-       Arrive at Enduro Sport (94 Laird Drive)


Hannah Spence is a wannabe writer, traveller and photographer. She owns two pool cues, a dozen pairs of beautiful shoes and she lives happily in High Park with her n+1 bikes and loving Burmese, Havana.

dandycommute / super commuter = any one who rides a bike to work!

This story is part of a new series about commuting by bike to work. 

This series will continue with more photos and everyday stories about riding uptown, midtown and downtown, and what some of the challenges and joys are of riding to work.

We invite dandyhorse readers to share their commuter stories too! We’ll be offering prizes to contributors to this blog series too, continuing through 2013.

Email supercommute@dandyhorsemagazine.com to submit your story and you could win a prize from one of our sponsors. 

Email: supercommuter@dandyhorsemagazine.com with your story and (at least two) photos today. (NEW: Check out our new easy-to-use, fill-in-the-blank upload template for the dandyCommute series!)

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