dandyCommute series: around the Annex

dandyCommute #6

dandyhorse contributor Kaitlyn Kochany proves you don’t have to commute far to be dandy! Here’s her tour of the Annex on her way to her office (just south of Bloor and Bathurst).

This is the sixth installment in dandyhorse’s new dandyCommute series, which will continue with more stories and photos of riding uptown, midtown, downtown and beyond.

If you would like to share some of the joys (and challenges) of your bike trip to work, email us at supercommute@dandyhorsemagazine.com or check out our easy-to-use form here.

Published commuters/authors will receive a prize. The dandyCommute series will continue until at least the end of 2013.

Super commuter = anyone who rides a bike to work.

dandyCommute #6: around the Annex (approximately 2 km)

Story and photos by Kaitlyn Kochany

It's embarrassing how much I like to sleep. I'm one of those two-alarm-plus-a-nudge-from-the-bf kind of sleepers, and I tend to groan every time I have to leave my snuggly covers and get ready for work. I do everything to maximize my snooze time: I make breakfast and lunch the night before, and lay out my clothes before I go to sleep. In the mornings, I take a quick eye-opener shower, hard-boil some eggs to go with the fruit and cheese I've already fixed myself, and then hop on my Norco City Glide to get to work.

Despite the fact that it's a mere 2 kilometres, my bike commute is one of best ways to get my blood moving.

Traffic on Dupont -- avoiding this during rush hour makes me feel much safer

I start on Dupont, which is really busy and congested (and the drivers are impatient). I live a few hundred meters away from where Dupont and Davenport merge; it's an important intersection for drivers heading both north and south, and at 8:45 a.m. it tends to be brimming with honking, irate zoomers.

Every time I see this sign, I feel like I've put one over on the Dupont drivers (Dupont/Huron)

I head away from the traffic and south along Huron, where the streets are much quieter (there's a prohibition that disallows motorists from turning south, but cyclists are exempt - lucky us!). I hang a quick right onto Bernard to avoid the Huron Street Junior Public School’s morning drop-off traffic and cruise down Madison, a recently resurfaced southbound one-way with overhanging trees and big old homes.

Madison Avenue: in the spring and summer, this street is lush and green

I cross Spadina on Lowther, taking advantage of the morning crossing guard to push the crosswalk button. Circling around Gwendolyn MacEwen Park, I pass my first Toronto home. It's an old student house owned by Campus Co-op, and if I'm lucky I can see a flash of the pink walls of my former bedroom. I also pass one of my favourite fountains, at 44 Walmer Road, which looks like an intergalactic travel pod and amazingly 1960s/weird.

Fountain at Lowther Ave. and Walmer Rd.

I hit a dead end at Brunswick, so I head down to Bloor. I usually get stopped at the intersection, so on Thursdays I scan for the new NOW and Grid covers and plan my lunchtime reading. Then I zip along Bloor - mercifully free of parked cars at that hour - before pulling a Copenhagen left to turn south on Bathurst. My office is just one set of lights south from there, and when I arrive in the morning, the bike parking is usually pretty free. Later in the day, the ring and posts will be jammed, along with the fire escapes and fences in that neighbourhood. My office building is home to a lot of environmentally aware and urbanist workers, so the demand for bike parking far outstrips its availability.

In the evenings, I like to go straight north on Bathurst until I hit Dupont, and then east until I'm home. I can smell the fortune cookie factory in my neighbourhood, and I can avoid the tangle of one-way streets that only work in my favour in the morning.

I ride my bike because it's a 10-minute ride; when I'm really together in the mornings, I might walk, but that more than doubles my commute time even as it stretches my legs. Remember how I said I like to sleep? Those extra 15 minutes are usually spent in bed, snoozing towards my second alarm of the morning. Plus, if I'm heading anywhere after work - to a friend's, to get groceries, to a movie - the bike lets me get there without having to negotiate the TTC rush hour crowds.


Kaitlyn Kochany is a Toronto-based writer with big hair, big dreams, and a teeny-tiny apartment. She has written for dandyhorse magazine, interned at Spacing, blogged for the Huffington Post Canada, and also writes for XOXO Amore.


Related on the dandyBlog: see other stories by Kaitlyn Kochany here.

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.

(NEW: Check out our new easy-to-use, fill-in-the-blank upload template for the dandyCommute series!)

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