By Tracey Tief with photos by Shannon Kennedy
Send us your dandyCommute story for our series and you could win a bike at the end or 2013! Send us your super commute story today and win bike swag.
dandyCommute: Dovercourt and Bloor to Dewson and Concord (and further) (distance varies)
Describe your commute -- how long is it?
My workplace is usually the ground floor of my home - Anarres Natural Health on Dovercourt one-and-a-half blocks north of Bloor. So my daily "commute" to work isn't long.
But I do take the kids to school at Dewson and Concord in the morning by bike and trail-a-bike. I'm at the front, seven-year-old Bram rides the trail-a-bike bar sitting on a hat and seven-year-old Xana pedals at the back.
I also offer workshops at places like Karma Food Co-op at Palmerston and Barton, or Gilda's Club on Cecil Street just west of Spadina and participate in fairs around town and out, so I bike there. I have impressed many with my solar caravan tent on wheels, my two big back panniers and my seagrass Baskets -- one of which fits in my giant front cargo basket. I also have a bike trailer. I normally need to carry a lot of stuff - containers, ingredients, tools, pots and pans, hotplates etc. Pulling things off my bike and out of my panniers has the "Mary Poppins effect" on non cyclists.
I admit to being pretty proud walking into the room with a helmet on in the winter - especially when I am teaching in Mississauga at New Directions Aromatics near the airport. I actually just bike the kids to school, then to the subway, then take a train and two buses, but the first impression they get of me is very pro bike.
Why commute by bike?
I prefer it in every way, except when I am travelling with non cyclists, or when I goof off during heavy rain or storms, and especially when I have a lot of stuff to carry in bad weather! I will sometimes take the TTC then. I'm not into it for the suffering.
I love the freedom, the efficiency, the challenge to car culture. And I love being able to move lots of stuff around without polluting. And I love that it's free.
What is the best part of your commute?
I admit it: going downhill. And arriving.
What is the worst part of your commute?
Biking uphill. Difficult starts. Forgetting to shift down gear. Getting cramped by motorists. Dooring threats.
What is the most surprising part of your commute?
I love passing through the city on my way to places. Biking is a great vantage point for spotting good curb gifts (other people's trash is often my treasure.)
I like trains versus planes for this reason, too.
What infrastructure change would make your commute better?
Any. Seriously. Bike Lanes on Bloor.
I got doored by a truck five years ago on King Street West just west of Bathurst and sustained a separated pelvis, five herniated discs and a pressure fracture behind my ear. The driver told the police who attended after I was in the ambulance that I had fallen off my bike. I had a hellish interview with the police while strapped to a spinal board, and when the police finally decided to look for witnesses, hours later, there were none left at the site. The driver was not charged. So far as I know, he is not aware that he severely injured me and caused me many years of hard work and suffering to recover. So I would also appreciate charges against careless drivers and especially those who door people.
Tracey Tief is a certified natural health practitioner. For more information on her workshops, see her website at http://www.anarreshealth.ca/.
Related on the dandyBLOG:
Do you have a dandyCommute story you'd like to share? Read other dandyCommute stories and fill out a form here. dandyCommute contributors will receive free 3M tape care of Sweet Pete's west end location (1204 Bloor St W) and will be entered into a draw to win cool prizes including an Opus bike at the end of the year!